2 Chronicles 11; 2 Chronicles 12; 2 Chronicles 13; 2 Chronicles 14

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2 Chronicles 11

1 When King Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he called together 180,000 of the best soldiers from the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. He intended to go to war and restore his control over the northern tribes of Israel.
2 But the Lord told the prophet Shemaiah
3 to give this message to King Rehoboam and to all the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin:
4 "Do not attack your own relatives. Go home, all of you. What has happened is my will." They obeyed the Lord's command and did not go to fight Jeroboam.
5 Rehoboam remained in Jerusalem and had fortifications built for the following cities of Judah and Benjamin:
6 Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,
7 Bethzur, Soco, Adullam,
8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,
9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron.
11 He had them strongly fortified and appointed a commander for each of them, and in each one he placed supplies of food, olive oil, and wine,
12 and also shields and spears. In this way he kept Judah and Benjamin under his control.
13 From all the territory of Israel priests and Levites came south to Judah.
14 The Levites abandoned their pastures and other land and moved to Judah and Jerusalem, because King Jeroboam of Israel and his successors would not let them serve as priests of the Lord.
15 Jeroboam appointed priests of his own to serve at the pagan places of worship and to worship demons and the idols he made in the form of bull-calves.
16 From all the tribes of Israel people who sincerely wanted to worship the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem, so that they could offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
17 This strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they supported Rehoboam son of Solomon and lived as they had under the rule of King David and King Solomon.
18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, whose father was Jerimoth son of David and whose mother was Abihail, the daughter of Eliab and granddaughter of Jesse.
19 They had three sons, Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.
20 Later he married Maacah, the daughter of Absalom, and they had four sons: Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.
21 In all, Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and he fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. Of all his wives and concubines he loved Maacah best,
22 and he favored her son Abijah over all his other children, choosing him as the one to succeed him as king.
23 Rehoboam wisely assigned responsibilities to his sons and stationed them throughout Judah and Benjamin in the fortified cities. He provided generously for them and also secured many wives for them.

2 Chronicles 12

1 As soon as Rehoboam had established his authority as king, he and all his people abandoned the Law of the Lord.
2 In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign their disloyalty to the Lord was punished. King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem
3 with an army of twelve hundred chariots, sixty thousand cavalry, and more soldiers than could be counted, including Libyan, Sukkite, and Ethiopian troops.
4 He captured the fortified cities of Judah and advanced as far as Jerusalem.
5 Shemaiah the prophet went to King Rehoboam and the Judean leaders who had gathered in Jerusalem to escape Shishak. He said to them, "This is the Lord's message to you: "You have abandoned me, so now I have abandoned you to Shishak.' "
6 The king and the leaders admitted that they had sinned, and they said, "What the Lord is doing is just."
7 When the Lord saw this, he spoke again to Shemaiah and said to him, "Because they admit their sin, I will not destroy them. But when Shishak attacks, they will barely survive. Jerusalem will not feel the full force of my anger,
8 but Shishak will conquer them, and they will learn the difference between serving me and serving earthly rulers."
9 King Shishak came to Jerusalem and took the treasures from the Temple and from the palace. He took everything, including the gold shields that King Solomon had made.
10 To replace them, Rehoboam made bronze shields and entrusted them to the officers responsible for guarding the palace gates.
11 Every time the king went to the Temple, the guards carried the shields and then returned them to the guardroom.
12 Because he submitted to the Lord, the Lord's anger did not completely destroy him, and things went well for Judah.
13 Rehoboam ruled in Jerusalem and increased his power as king. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he ruled for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the territory of Israel as the place where he was to be worshiped. Rehoboam's mother was Naamah, from the land of Ammon.
14 He did what was evil, because he did not try to find the Lord's will.
15 Rehoboam's acts from beginning to end and his family records are found in [The History of Shemaiah the Prophet] and [The History of Iddo the Prophet.] Rehoboam and Jeroboam were constantly at war with each other.
16 Rehoboam died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City and his son Abijah succeeded him as king.

2 Chronicles 13

1 In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel, Abijah became king of Judah,
2 and he ruled three years in Jerusalem. His mother was Micaiah daughter of Uriel, from the city of Gibeah. War broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam.
3 Abijah raised an army of 400,000 soldiers, and Jeroboam opposed him with an army of 800,000.
4 The armies met in the hill country of Ephraim. King Abijah went up Mount Zemaraim and called out to Jeroboam and the Israelites: "Listen to me!" he said.
5 "Don't you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, made an unbreakable covenant with David, giving him and his descendants kingship over Israel forever?
6 Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against Solomon, his king.
7 Later he gathered together a group of worthless scoundrels, and they forced their will on Rehoboam son of Solomon, who was too young and inexperienced to resist them.
8 Now you propose to fight against the royal authority that the Lord gave to David's descendants. You have a huge army and have with you the gold bull-calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods.
9 You drove out the Lord's priests, the descendants of Aaron, and you drove out the Levites. In their place you appointed priests in the same way that other nations do. Anybody who comes along with a bull or seven sheep can get himself consecrated as a priest of those so-called gods of yours.
10 "But we still serve the Lord our God and have not abandoned him. Priests descended from Aaron perform their duties, and Levites assist them.
11 Every morning and every evening they offer him incense and animal sacrifices burned whole. They present the offerings of bread on a table that is ritually clean, and every evening they light the lamps on the gold lampstand. We do what the Lord has commanded, but you have abandoned him.
12 God himself is our leader and his priests are here with trumpets, ready to blow them and call us to battle against you. People of Israel, don't fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors! You can't win!"
13 Meanwhile Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to ambush the Judean army from the rear, while the rest faced them from the front.
14 The Judeans looked around and saw that they were surrounded. They cried to the Lord for help, and the priests blew the trumpets.
15 The Judeans gave a loud shout, and led by Abijah, they attacked; God defeated Jeroboam and the Israelite army.
16 The Israelites fled from the Judeans, and God let the Judeans overpower them.
17 Abijah and his army dealt the Israelites a crushing defeat - half a million of Israel's best soldiers were killed.
18 And so the people of Judah were victorious over Israel, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam's army and occupied some of his cities: Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, and the villages near each of these cities.
20 Jeroboam never regained his power during Abijah's reign. Finally the Lord struck him down, and he died.
21 Abijah, however, grew more powerful. He had fourteen wives and fathered twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.
22 The rest of the history of Abijah, what he said and what he did, is written in [The History of Iddo the Prophet.]

2 Chronicles 14

1 King Abijah died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City. His son Asa succeeded him as king, and under Asa the land enjoyed peace for ten years.
2 Asa pleased the Lord, his God, by doing what was right and good.
3 He removed the foreign altars and the pagan places of worship, broke down the sacred stone columns, and cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah.
4 He commanded the people of Judah to do the will of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his teachings and commands.
5 Because he abolished the pagan places of worship and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, the kingdom was at peace under his rule.
6 He built fortifications for the cities of Judah during this time, and for several years there was no war, because the Lord gave him peace.
7 He told the people of Judah, "Let us fortify the cities by building walls and towers, and gates that can be shut and barred. We have control of the land because we have done the will of the Lord our God. He has protected us and given us security on every side." And so they built and prospered.
8 King Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, armed with shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin, armed with shields and bows. All of them were brave, well-trained men.
9 An Ethiopian named Zerah invaded Judah with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots and advanced as far as Mareshah.
10 Asa went out to fight him, and both sides took up their positions at Zephathah Valley near Mareshah.
11 Asa prayed to the Lord his God, "O Lord, you can help a weak army as easily as a powerful one. Help us now, O Lord our God, because we are relying on you, and in your name we have come out to fight against this huge army. Lord, you are our God; no one can hope to defeat you."
12 The Lord defeated the Ethiopian army when Asa and the Judean army attacked them. They fled,
13 and Asa and his troops pursued them as far as Gerar. So many of the Ethiopians were killed that the army was unable to rally and fight. They were overpowered by the Lord and his army, and the army took large amounts of loot.
14 Then they were able to destroy the cities in the area around Gerar, because the people there were terrified of the Lord. The army plundered all those cities and captured large amounts of loot.
15 They also attacked the camps of some shepherds, capturing large numbers of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.