In the eighteenth year of the rule of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah took over the throne of Judah.
He ruled in Jerusalem three years. His mother was Maacah daughter of Absalom.
He continued to sin just like his father before him. He was not truehearted to God as his grandfather David had been.
But despite that, out of respect for David, his God graciously gave him a lamp, a son to follow him and keep Jerusalem secure.
For David had lived an exemplary life before God all his days, not going off on his own in willful defiance of God's clear directions (except for that time with Uriah the Hittite).
But war continued between Abijah and Jeroboam the whole time.
The rest of Abijah's life, everything he did, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. But the war with Jeroboam was the dominant theme.
Abijah died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Asa was king after him.
In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa began his rule over Judah.
He ruled for forty-one years in Jerusalem. His grandmother's name was Maacah.
Asa conducted himself well before God, reviving the ways of his ancestor David.
He cleaned house: He got rid of the sacred prostitutes and threw out all the idols his predecessors had made.
Asa spared nothing and no one; he went so far as to remove Queen Maacah from her position because she had built a shockingly obscene memorial to the whore goddess Asherah. Asa tore it down and burned it up in the Kidron Valley.
Unfortunately, he didn't get rid of the local sex-and-religion shrines. But he was well-intentioned - his heart was in the right place, in tune with God.
All the gold and silver vessels and artifacts that he and his father had consecrated for holy use he installed in The Temple.
But through much of his reign there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel.
Baasha king of Israel started it by building a fort at Ramah and closing the border between Israel and Judah so no one could enter or leave Judah.
Asa took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of The Temple of God and the royal palace, gave it to his servants, and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, with this message:
"Let's make a treaty like the one between our fathers. I'm showing my good faith with this gift of silver and gold. Break your deal with Baasha king of Israel so he'll quit fighting against me."
Ben-Hadad went along with King Asa and sent out his troops against the towns of Israel. He attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and the entire region of Kinnereth, including Naphtali.
When Baasha got the report he quit fortifying Ramah and pulled back to Tirzah.
Then King Asa issued orders to everyone in Judah - no exemptions - to haul away the logs and stones Baasha had used in the fortification of Ramah and use them to fortify Geba in Benjamin and Mizpah.
A full account of Asa's life, all the great things he did and the fortifications he constructed, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. In his old age he developed severe gout.
Then Asa died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Jehoshaphat became king after him.
Nadab son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in the second year of Asa's rule in Judah. He was king of Israel two years.
He was openly evil before God - he followed in the footsteps of his father who both sinned and made Israel sin.
Baasha son of Ahijah of the tribe of Issachar ganged up on him and attacked him at the Philistine town of Gibbethon while Nadab and the Israelites were doing battle there.
Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and became Israel's next king.
As soon as he was king he killed everyone in Jeroboam's family. There wasn't a living soul left to the name of Jeroboam; Baasha wiped them out totally, just as God's servant Ahijah of Shiloh had prophesied
- punishment for Jeroboam's sins and for making Israel sin, for making the God of Israel thoroughly angry.
The rest of Nadab's life, everything else he did, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
There was continuous war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel.
In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king in Tirzah over all Israel. He ruled twenty-four years.
He was openly evil before God, walking in the footsteps of Jeroboam, who both sinned and made Israel sin.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)