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13 1-2 Abijah became the new king of Judah in Jerusalem in the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel. He lasted three years. His mother’s name was Micaiah (daughter of Uriel of Gibeah).

Early in his reign war broke out between Judah and Israel. Judah, led by King Abijah, fielded 400,000 seasoned warriors against twice as many Israeli troops—strong, courageous men led by King Jeroboam. When the army of Judah arrived at Mount Zemaraim, in the hill country of Ephraim, King Abijah shouted to King Jeroboam and the Israeli army:

“Listen! Don’t you realize that the Lord God of Israel swore that David’s descendants would always be the kings of Israel? Your King Jeroboam is a mere servant of David’s son and was a traitor to his master. Then a whole gang of worthless rebels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam, for he was young and frightened and couldn’t stand up to them. Do you really think you can defeat the kingdom of the Lord that is led by a descendant of David? Your army is twice as large as mine, but you are cursed with those gold calves you have with you that Jeroboam made for you—he calls them your gods! And you have driven away the priests of the Lord and the Levites and have appointed heathen priests instead. Just like the people of other lands, you accept as priests anybody who comes along with a young bullock and seven rams for consecration. Anyone at all can be a priest of these no-gods of yours!

10 “But as for us, the Lord is our God and we have not forsaken him. Only the descendants of Aaron are our priests, and the Levites alone may help them in their work. 11 They burn sacrifices to the Lord every morning and evening—burnt offerings and sweet incense; and they place the Bread of the Presence upon the holy table. The gold lampstand is lighted every night, for we are careful to follow the instructions of the Lord our God; but you have forsaken him. 12 So you see, God is with us; he is our leader. His priests, trumpeting as they go, will lead us into battle against you. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you will not succeed!”

13-14 Meanwhile, Jeroboam had secretly sent part of his army around behind the men of Judah to ambush them; so Judah was surrounded, with the enemy before and behind them. Then they cried out to the Lord for mercy, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15-16 The men of Judah began to shout. And as they shouted, God used King Abijah and the men of Judah to turn the tide of battle against King Jeroboam and the army of Israel, 17 and they slaughtered 500,000 elite troops of Israel that day.

18-19 So Judah, depending upon the Lord God of their fathers, defeated Israel, and chased King Jeroboam’s troops, and captured some of his cities—Bethel, Jeshanah, Ephron, and their suburbs. 20 King Jeroboam of Israel never regained his power during Abijah’s lifetime, and eventually the Lord struck him and he died.

21 Meanwhile, King Abijah of Judah became very strong. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 His complete biography and speeches are recorded in the prophet Iddo’s History of Judah.

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