2 Chronicles 13 The Message (MSG)
13 1-2 In the eighteenth year of the rule of King Jeroboam, Abijah took over the throne of Judah. He ruled in Jerusalem three years. His mother was Maacah daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.
2-3 War broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah started out with 400,000 of his best soldiers; Jeroboam countered with 800,000 of his best.
4-7 Abijah took a prominent position on Mount Zemaraim in the hill country of Ephraim and gave this speech: “Listen, Jeroboam and all Israel! Don’t you realize that God, the one and only God of Israel, established David and his sons as the permanent rulers of Israel, ratified by a ‘covenant of salt’—God’s kingdom ruled by God’s king? And what happened? Jeroboam, the son of Solomon’s slave Nebat, rebelled against his master. All the riffraff joined his cause and were too much for Rehoboam, Solomon’s true heir. Rehoboam didn’t know his way around—besides he was a real wimp; he couldn’t stand up against them.
8-9 “Taking advantage of that weakness, you are asserting yourself against the very rule of God that is delegated to David’s descendants—you think you are so big with your huge army backed up by the golden-calf idols that Jeroboam made for you as gods! But just look at what you’ve done—you threw out the priests of God, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests to suit yourselves, priests just like the pagans have. Anyone who shows up with enough money to pay for it can be a priest! A priest of No-God!
10-11 “But for the rest of us in Judah, we’re sticking with God. We have not traded him in for the latest model—we’re keeping the tried-and-true priests of Aaron to lead us to God and the Levites to lead us in worship by sacrificing Whole-Burnt-Offerings and aromatic incense to God at the daily morning and evening prayers, setting out fresh holy bread on a clean table, and lighting the lamps on the golden Lampstand every night. We continue doing what God told us to in the way he told us to do it; but you have rid yourselves of him.
12 “Can’t you see the obvious? God is on our side; he’s our leader. And his priests with trumpets are all ready to blow the signal to battle. O Israel—don’t fight against God, the God of your ancestors. You will not win this battle.”
13-18 While Abijah was speaking, Jeroboam had sent men around to take them by surprise from the rear: Jeroboam in front of Judah and the ambush behind. When Judah looked back, they saw they were attacked front and back. They prayed desperately to God, the priests blew their trumpets, and the soldiers of Judah shouted their battle cry. At the battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. The army of Israel scattered before Judah; God gave them the victory. Abijah and his troops slaughtered them—500,000 of Israel’s best fighters were killed that day. The army of Israel fell flat on its face—a humiliating defeat. The army of Judah won hands down because they trusted God, the God of their ancestors.
19-21 Abijah followed up his victory by pursuing Jeroboam, taking the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron with their surrounding villages. Jeroboam never did recover from his defeat while Abijah lived. Later on God struck him down and he died. Meanwhile Abijah flourished; he married fourteen wives and ended up with a family of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.
22 The rest of the history of Abijah, what he did and said, is written in the study written by Iddo the prophet.
2 Chronicles 13 New International Version (NIV)
Abijah King of Judah
There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Abijah went into battle with an army of four hundred thousand able fighting men, and Jeroboam drew up a battle line against him with eight hundred thousand able troops.
4 Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, “Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me! 5 Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt? 6 Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, an official of Solomon son of David, rebelled against his master. 7 Some worthless scoundrels gathered around him and opposed Rehoboam son of Solomon when he was young and indecisive and not strong enough to resist them.
8 “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. 9 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.
10 “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. 11 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. 12 God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed.”
13 Now Jeroboam had sent troops around to the rear, so that while he was in front of Judah the ambush was behind them. 14 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 15 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. 16 The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands. 17 Abijah and his troops inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand casualties among Israel’s able men. 18 The Israelites were subdued on that occasion, and the people of Judah were victorious because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages. 20 Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down and he died.
21 But Abijah grew in strength. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.
22 The other events of Abijah’s reign, what he did and what he said, are written in the annotations of the prophet Iddo.