"And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the LORD, which is in the hands of David's descendants. You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods.
But didn't you drive out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make priests of your own as the peoples of other lands do? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may become a priest of what are not gods.
"As for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the LORD are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them.
Every morning and evening they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the LORD. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the LORD our God. But you have forsaken him.
God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. Men of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you will not succeed."
Now Jeroboam had sent troops around to the rear, so that while he was in front of Judah the ambush was behind them.
Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked at both front and rear. Then they cried out to the LORD. The priests blew their trumpets
and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.
The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands.
Abijah and his men inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand casualties among Israel's able men.
The men of Israel were subdued on that occasion, and the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers.
Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages.
Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the LORD struck him down and he died.
But Abijah grew in strength. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.
The other events of Abijah's reign, what he did and what he said, are written in the annotations of the prophet Iddo.
Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.
He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.
He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands.
He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him.
He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the LORD gave him rest.
"Let us build up these towns," he said to Judah, "and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side." So they built and prospered.
Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men.
Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with a vast army and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.
Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you."
The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled,
and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the LORD and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder.
They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the LORD had fallen upon them. They plundered all these villages, since there was much booty there.
They also attacked the camps of the herdsmen and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded.
He went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.
But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.
In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil.
One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress.
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded."