1Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem. He brought together 180,000 fighting men from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He had decided to make war against Israel. He wanted his fighting men to get the kingdom of Israel back for him.2But a message came to Shemaiah from the Lord. He was a man of God. The LORD said to him,3"Speak to Solomon's son Rehoboam, the king of Judah. Speak to all of the people of Israel in Judah and Benjamin. Tell them,4'The LORD says, "Do not go up to fight against your relatives. I want every one of you to go back home. Things have happened exactly the way I planned them." ' " So the fighting men obeyed the LORD's message. They turned back. They didn't march out against Jeroboam.5Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem. He made Judah more secure by building up their towns.6He built up Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,7Beth Zur, Soco and Adullam.8He also built up Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,10Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron. All of them were cities in Judah and Benjamin that had high walls around them.11Rehoboam made those cities even more secure. He put commanders in them. He gave them plenty of food, olive oil and wine.12He put shields and spears in all of those cities. He made them very strong. So he ruled over Judah and Benjamin.13The priests and Levites were on Rehoboam's side. They came from their territories all over Israel.14The Levites even left their grasslands and other property behind. They came to Judah and Jerusalem. That's because Jeroboam and his sons had refused to accept them as priests of the Lord.15Jeroboam appointed his own priests to serve at the high places. He had made statues of gods that looked like goats and calves. His priests served those gods.16Some people from every tribe in Israel followed the Levites to Jerusalem. With all their hearts they wanted to worship the Lord. He is the God of Israel. They came to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to him. He was the God of their people of long ago.17All those who came to Jerusalem made the kingdom of Judah strong. They helped Solomon's son Rehoboam for three years. During that time they lived the way David and Solomon had lived.18Rehoboam got married to Mahalath. She was the daughter of David's son Jerimoth. Her mother was Abihail. Abihail was the daughter of Jesse's son Eliab.19Mahalath had sons by Rehoboam. Their names were Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham.20Then Rehoboam married Maacah. She was the daughter of Absalom. She had sons by Rehoboam. Their names were Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith.21Rehoboam loved Absalom's daughter Maacah. In fact, he loved her more than any of his other wives and concubines. He had a total of 18 wives and 60 concubines. And he had a total of 28 sons and 60 daughters.22Rehoboam appointed Maacah's son Abijah to be the chief prince among his brothers. He did it to make him king.23He acted wisely. He scattered some of his sons through all of the territories of Judah and Benjamin. He put them in all of the cities that had high walls around them. He gave them plenty of food and everything else they needed. He also gave them many wives.
1Rehoboam had made his position as king secure. He had become very strong. Then he turned away from the law of the Lord. So did all of the people of Judah.2They hadn't been faithful to the Lord. So Shishak attacked Jerusalem. It was in the fifth year that Rehoboam was king. Shishak was king of Egypt.3He came with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. Troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites came with him from Egypt. There were so many of them they couldn't be counted.4Shishak captured the cities of Judah that had high walls around them. He came all the way to Jerusalem.5Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah. They had gathered together in Jerusalem. They were afraid of Shishak. Shemaiah said to them, "The LORD says, 'You have left me. So now I am leaving you to Shishak.' "6The king and the leaders of Israel made themselves low in the LORD's sight. They said, "The LORD does what is right and fair."7The LORD saw they had made themselves low. So he gave a message to Shemaiah. It said, "They have made themselves low in my sight. So I will not destroy them. Instead, I will soon save them. I will not pour out my burning anger on Jerusalem through Shishak.8But its people will be brought under his control. Then they will learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands."9Shishak, the king of Egypt, attacked Jerusalem. He carried away the treasures of the LORD's temple. He also carried the treasures of the royal palace away. He took everything. That included the gold shields Solomon had made.10So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to take their place. He gave them to the commanders of the guards who were on duty at the entrance to the royal palace.11Every time the king went to the LORD's temple, the guards went with him. They carried the shields. Later, they took them back to the room where they were kept.12Rehoboam had made himself low in the LORD's sight. So the LORD turned his anger away from him. Rehoboam wasn't totally destroyed. In fact, some good things happened in Judah.13King Rehoboam had made his position secure in Jerusalem. He continued as king. He was 41 years old when he became king. He ruled for 17 years in Jerusalem. It was the city the LORD had chosen out of all of the cities in the tribes of Israel. He wanted to put his Name there. The name of Rehoboam's mother was Naamah from Ammon.14Rehoboam did what was evil. That's because he hadn't worshiped the LORD with all his heart.15The events of Rehoboam's rule from beginning to end are written down. They are written in the records of the prophets Shemaiah and Iddo. The records deal with family histories. Rehoboam and Jeroboam were always at war with each other.16Rehoboam joined the members of his family who had already died. His body was buried in the City of David. His son Abijah became the next king after him.
1Abijah became king of Judah. It was in the 18th year of Jeroboam's rule over Israel.2Abijah ruled in Jerusalem for three years. His mother's name was Maacah. She was a daughter of Uriel. Uriel was from Gibeah. There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.3Abijah went into battle with an army of 400,000 able fighting men. Jeroboam lined up his soldiers against them. He had 800,000 able troops.4Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim. It's in the hill country of Ephraim. Abijah said, "Jeroboam and all you men of Israel, listen to me!5The LORD is the God of Israel. Don't you know that he has placed David and his sons after him on Israel's throne forever? The LORD made a covenant of salt with David. The salt means the covenant will last for all time to come.6"Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was an official of David's son Solomon. But he refused to obey his master.7Some worthless and evil men gathered around him. They opposed Solomon's son Rehoboam. At that time Rehoboam was young. He couldn't make up his mind. He wasn't strong enough to stand up against those men.8"Now you plan to stand up against the kingdom of the Lord. His kingdom is in the hands of men in David's family line. It's true that you have a huge army. You have the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods.9"But you drove out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron. You also drove out the Levites. You appointed your own priests. That's what the people of other nations do. Anyone can come and set himself apart. All he has to do is sacrifice a young bull and seven rams. Then he becomes a priest of gods that aren't really gods at all!10"But the LORD is our God. We haven't deserted him. The priests who serve the LORD belong to the family line of Aaron. The Levites help them.11Every morning and evening the priests bring burnt offerings and sweet-smelling incense to the Lord. They set out the holy bread on the table. That table is 'clean.' They light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. "We always do what the LORD our God requires in his law. But you have deserted him.12God is with us. He's our leader. His priests will blow their trumpets. They will sound the battle cry against you. Men of Israel, don't fight against the Lord. He's the God of your people who lived long ago. You can't possibly succeed."13Jeroboam had sent some troops behind Judah's battle lines. He told them to hide and wait there. He and his men stayed in front of Judah's lines.14Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked from the front and from the back. Then they cried out to the Lord. The priests blew their trumpets.15The men of Judah shouted the battle cry. When they did, God drove Jeroboam and all of Israel's men away from Abijah and Judah.16The men of Israel ran away from them. God handed Israel over to Judah.17Abijah and his men wounded and killed large numbers of them. In fact, 500,000 of Israel's able men lay dead or wounded.18So at that time the men of Israel were brought under Judah's control. The men of Judah won the battle over them. That's because they trusted in the Lord. He's the God of their people.19Abijah chased Jeroboam. He took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron. He also took the villages that were around them.20Jeroboam didn't get his power back during the time of Abijah. In fact, the LORD struck him down. And he died.21But Abijah grew stronger. He got married to 14 wives. He had 22 sons and 16 daughters.22The other events of Abijah's rule are written down. The things he did and said are written in the notes of the prophet Iddo.
1Abijah joined the members of his family who had already died. His body was buried in the City of David. His son Asa became the next king after him. While Asa was king, the country had peace and rest for ten years.2Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.3He removed the altars where strange gods were worshiped. He took away the high places. He smashed the sacred stones. He cut down the poles that were used to worship the goddess Asherah.4He commanded Judah to worship the Lord, the God of their people. He commanded them to obey the LORD's laws and commands.5He removed the high places and incense altars from every town in Judah. The kingdom had peace and rest under him.6He built up the cities of Judah that had high walls around them. The land was at peace. No one was at war with Asa during those years. That's because the LORD gave him peace and rest.7"Let's build up our towns," Asa said to the people of Judah. "Let's put walls around them. Let's provide them with towers. Let's make them secure with gates that have heavy metal bars. The land still belongs to us. That's because we've trusted in the LORD our God. We trusted in him, and he has given us peace and rest on every side." So they built. And things went well for them.8Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah. They carried spears and large shields. There were 280,000 men from Benjamin. They were armed with bows and small shields. All of those men were brave soldiers.9Zerah marched out against them. He was from Cush. He had a huge army. He also had 300 chariots. They came all the way to Mareshah.10Asa went out to meet Zerah in battle. They took up their positions in the Valley of Zephathah. It's near Mareshah.11Then Asa called out to the LORD his God. He said, "Lord, there isn't anyone like you. You help the weak against the strong. LORD our God, help us. We trust in you. In your name we have come out to fight against this huge army. Lord, you are our God. Don't let mere men win the battle over you."12The LORD struck down the men of Cush for Asa and Judah. The Cushites ran away.13Asa and his army chased them all the way to Gerar. A large number of Cushites fell down wounded or dead. So they couldn't fight back. The LORD and his army crushed them. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of goods.14They attacked all of the villages around Gerar. The LORD had made the people in those villages afraid of him. The men of Judah took everything from all of the villages.15They also attacked the camps of those who took care of the herds. They carried off large numbers of sheep, goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.