13 Abijah[a] became king of Judah in Jeroboam’s eighteenth year as king of Israel, 2 and he ruled from Jerusalem for three years. His mother was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel from Gibeah.
Some time later, Abijah and King Jeroboam of Israel went to war against each other. 3 Abijah’s army had four hundred thousand troops, and Jeroboam met him in battle with eight hundred thousand troops.
4 Abijah went to the top of Mount Zemaraim[b] in the hills of Ephraim and shouted:
Listen, Jeroboam and all you Israelites! 5 The Lord God of Israel has made a solemn promise that every king of Israel will be from David’s family. 6 But Jeroboam, you were King Solomon’s official, and you rebelled. 7 Then right after Rehoboam became king, you and your bunch of worthless followers challenged Rehoboam, who was too young to know how to stop you.
8 Now you and your powerful army think you can stand up to the kingdom that the Lord has given to David’s descendants. The only gods you have are those gold statues of calves that Jeroboam made for you. 9 You don’t even have descendants of Aaron on your side, because you forced out the Lord’s priests and Levites. In their place, you appoint ordinary people to be priests, just as the foreign nations do. In fact, anyone who brings a bull and seven rams to the altar can become a priest of your so-called gods.
10 But we have not turned our backs on the Lord God! Aaron’s own descendants serve as our priests, and the Levites are their assistants. 11 Two times every day they offer sacrifices and burn incense to the Lord. They set out the sacred loaves of bread on a table that has been purified, and they light the lamps in the gold lampstand every day at sunset. We follow the commands of the Lord our God—you have rejected him! 12 That’s why God is on our side and will lead us into battle when the priests sound the signal on the trumpets. It’s no use, Israelites. You might as well give up. There’s no way you can defeat the Lord, the God your ancestors worshiped.
13 But while Abijah was talking, Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to attack Judah’s army from behind, while the rest attacked from the front. 14 Judah’s army realized they were trapped, and so they prayed to the Lord. The priests blew the signal on the trumpet, 15 and the troops let out a battle cry. Then with Abijah leading them into battle, God defeated Jeroboam and Israel’s army. 16 The Israelites ran away, and God helped Judah’s soldiers slaughter 17 five hundred thousand enemy troops. 18 Judah’s army won because they had trusted the Lord God of their ancestors.
19 Abijah kept up his attack on Jeroboam’s army and captured the Israelite towns of Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, as well as the villages around them.
20 Jeroboam never regained his power during the rest of Abijah’s rule. The Lord punished Jeroboam, and he died, but Abijah became more powerful.
21 Abijah had a total of fourteen wives, twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters. 22 Everything Abijah said and did while he was king is written in the records of Iddo the prophet.
13.1Abijah: In 1 Kings 15.1-8 his name is spelled “Abijam.”
13.4Mount Zemaraim: Probably located on the northern border of the territory of Benjamin.
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