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(1 Kings 12:21-24)

11 When Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, one hundred eighty thousand specially chosen[a] soldiers, to wage war against Israel in order to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam.

But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, the man of God: “Say the following to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin: This is what the Lord says. Do not attack and do not fight against your brother Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this turn of events is from me.”

They listened to the words of the Lord and refrained from going against Jeroboam.

Rehoboam Builds Cities for Defense

Rehoboam resided in Jerusalem. He built cities for defense in Judah. He built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth Zur, Soko, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These are fortified cities in Judah and in Benjamin. 11 He built up their fortifications. He placed commanders in them and stores of food, oil, and wine. 12 In each and every city he placed shields and spears and made the cities very strong. Judah and Benjamin belonged to him.

Faithful Priests and People Come to Rehoboam

13 The priests and Levites who were living in Israel left the land allotted to them and took their stand with Rehoboam. 14 The Levites left their pasturelands and their holdings. They came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had removed them from their ministry as priests of the Lord.

15 Jeroboam had appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goats and calves he had made.

16 From all the tribes of Israel, those people who set their hearts on seeking the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the priests and Levites and came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their fathers. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and made Rehoboam son of Solomon secure for three years, because for those three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.

The Family of Rehoboam

18 Rehoboam took as his wife Mahalath, who was the daughter[b] of David’s son Jerimoth and of Abihail, the daughter of Jesse’s son Eliab. 19 She gave birth to these sons for him: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.

20 In addition to her, he took Ma’akah, the granddaughter[c] of Absalom. She gave birth for him to Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.

21 Rehoboam loved Ma’akah, the granddaughter of Absalom, more than any of his other wives and concubines. He took eighteen wives and sixty concubines and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah, the son of Ma’akah, as crown prince among his brothers, because he was going to make him king. 23 Rehoboam acted wisely and dispersed his sons throughout all the areas of Judah and Benjamin, in all the fortified cities. He provided them with abundant provisions and obtained many wives for them.


  1. 2 Chronicles 11:1 Or top-notch
  2. 2 Chronicles 11:18 The translation follows the Hebrew reading in the margin (qere). Many Hebrew manuscripts read son.
  3. 2 Chronicles 11:20 Literally daughter of Absalom. Data in 2 Chronicles 13:2 suggests that Ma’akah was Absalom’s granddaughter rather than his daughter.