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2 Chronicles 10-18 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Northern Tribes Revolt

10 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all the people of northern Israel had gathered to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had gone to Egypt to escape from King Solomon, heard this news, he returned home. The people of the northern tribes sent for him, and they all went together to Rehoboam and said to him, “Your father placed heavy burdens on us. If you make these burdens lighter and make life easier for us, we will be your loyal subjects.”

Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to consider the matter. Then come back.” So the people left.

King Rehoboam consulted the older men who had served as his father Solomon's advisers. “What answer do you advise me to give these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If you are kind to these people and try to please them by giving a considerate answer, they will always serve you loyally.”

But he ignored the advice of the older men and went instead to the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers. “What do you advise me to do?” he asked. “What shall I say to the people who are asking me to make their burdens lighter?”

10 They replied, “This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's waist.’ 11 Tell them, ‘My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with whips; I'll flog you with bullwhips!’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to King Rehoboam, as he had instructed them. 13 The king ignored the advice of the older men and spoke harshly to the people, 14 as the younger men had advised. He said, “My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with whips; I'll flog you with bullwhips!” 15 It was the will of the Lord God to bring about what he had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh. This is why the king did not pay any attention to the people.

16 When the people saw that the king would not listen to them, they shouted, “Down with David and his family! What have they ever done for us? People of Israel, let's go home! Let Rehoboam look out for himself!”

So the people of Israel rebelled, 17 leaving Rehoboam as king only of the people who lived in the territory of Judah.

18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of the forced labor, to go to the Israelites, but they stoned him to death. At this, Rehoboam hurriedly got in his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem. 19 Ever since that time the people of the northern kingdom of Israel have been in rebellion against the dynasty of David.

Shemaiah's Prophecy

11 When King Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he called together 180,000 of the best soldiers from the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. He intended to go to war and restore his control over the northern tribes of Israel. But the Lord told the prophet Shemaiah to give this message to King Rehoboam and to all the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin: “Do not attack your own relatives. Go home, all of you. What has happened is my will.” They obeyed the Lord's command and did not go to fight Jeroboam.

Rehoboam Fortifies the Cities

Rehoboam remained in Jerusalem and had fortifications built for the following cities of Judah and Benjamin: Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Bethzur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. 11 He had them strongly fortified and appointed a commander for each of them, and in each one he placed supplies of food, olive oil, and wine, 12 and also shields and spears. In this way he kept Judah and Benjamin under his control.

Priests and Levites Come to Judah

13 From all the territory of Israel priests and Levites came south to Judah. 14 The Levites abandoned their pastures and other land and moved to Judah and Jerusalem, because King Jeroboam of Israel and his successors would not let them serve as priests of the Lord. 15 Jeroboam appointed priests of his own to serve at the pagan places of worship and to worship demons and the idols he made in the form of bull-calves. 16 From all the tribes of Israel people who sincerely wanted to worship the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem, so that they could offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 This strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they supported Rehoboam son of Solomon and lived as they had under the rule of King David and King Solomon.

Rehoboam's Family

18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, whose father was Jerimoth son of David and whose mother was Abihail, the daughter of Eliab and granddaughter of Jesse. 19 They had three sons, Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 Later he married Maacah, the daughter of Absalom, and they had four sons: Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 In all, Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and he fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. Of all his wives and concubines he loved Maacah best, 22 and he favored her son Abijah over all his other children, choosing him as the one to succeed him as king. 23 Rehoboam wisely assigned responsibilities to his sons and stationed them throughout Judah and Benjamin in the fortified cities. He provided generously for them and also secured many wives for them.

An Egyptian Invasion of Judah

12 As soon as Rehoboam had established his authority as king, he and all his people abandoned the Law of the Lord. In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign their disloyalty to the Lord was punished. King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem with an army of twelve hundred chariots, sixty thousand cavalry, and more soldiers than could be counted, including Libyan, Sukkite, and Ethiopian[a] troops. He captured the fortified cities of Judah and advanced as far as Jerusalem.

Shemaiah the prophet went to King Rehoboam and the Judean leaders who had gathered in Jerusalem to escape Shishak. He said to them, “This is the Lord's message to you: ‘You have abandoned me, so now I have abandoned you to Shishak.’”

The king and the leaders admitted that they had sinned, and they said, “What the Lord is doing is just.”

When the Lord saw this, he spoke again to Shemaiah and said to him, “Because they admit their sin, I will not destroy them. But when Shishak attacks, they will barely survive. Jerusalem will not feel the full force of my anger, but Shishak will conquer them, and they will learn the difference between serving me and serving earthly rulers.”

King Shishak came to Jerusalem and took the treasures from the Temple and from the palace. He took everything, including the gold shields that King Solomon had made. 10 To replace them, Rehoboam made bronze shields and entrusted them to the officers responsible for guarding the palace gates. 11 Every time the king went to the Temple, the guards carried the shields and then returned them to the guardroom. 12 Because he submitted to the Lord, the Lord's anger did not completely destroy him, and things went well for Judah.

Summary of Rehoboam's Reign

13 Rehoboam ruled in Jerusalem and increased his power as king. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he ruled for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the territory of Israel as the place where he was to be worshiped. Rehoboam's mother was Naamah, from the land of Ammon. 14 He did what was evil, because he did not try to find the Lord's will.

15 Rehoboam's acts from beginning to end and his family records are found in The History of Shemaiah the Prophet and The History of Iddo the Prophet. Rehoboam and Jeroboam were constantly at war with each other. 16 Rehoboam died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City and his son Abijah succeeded him as king.

Abijah's War with Jeroboam

13 In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel, Abijah became king of Judah, and he ruled three years in Jerusalem. His mother was Micaiah daughter of Uriel, from the city of Gibeah.

War broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah raised an army of 400,000 soldiers, and Jeroboam opposed him with an army of 800,000.

The armies met in the hill country of Ephraim. King Abijah went up Mount Zemaraim and called out to Jeroboam and the Israelites: “Listen to me!” he said. “Don't you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, made an unbreakable covenant with David, giving him and his descendants kingship over Israel forever? Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against Solomon, his king. Later he gathered together a group of worthless scoundrels, and they forced their will on Rehoboam son of Solomon, who was too young and inexperienced to resist them. Now you propose to fight against the royal authority that the Lord gave to David's descendants. You have a huge army and have with you the gold bull-calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. You drove out the Lord's priests, the descendants of Aaron, and you drove out the Levites. In their place you appointed priests in the same way that other nations do. Anybody who comes along with a bull or seven sheep can get himself consecrated as a priest of those so-called gods of yours.

10 “But we still serve the Lord our God and have not abandoned him. Priests descended from Aaron perform their duties, and Levites assist them. 11 Every morning and every evening they offer him incense and animal sacrifices burned whole. They present the offerings of bread on a table that is ritually clean, and every evening they light the lamps on the gold lampstand. We do what the Lord has commanded, but you have abandoned him. 12 God himself is our leader and his priests are here with trumpets, ready to blow them and call us to battle against you. People of Israel, don't fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors! You can't win!”

13 Meanwhile Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to ambush the Judean army from the rear, while the rest faced them from the front. 14 The Judeans looked around and saw that they were surrounded. They cried to the Lord for help, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15 The Judeans gave a loud shout, and led by Abijah, they attacked; God defeated Jeroboam and the Israelite army. 16 The Israelites fled from the Judeans, and God let the Judeans overpower them. 17 Abijah and his army dealt the Israelites a crushing defeat—half a million of Israel's best soldiers were killed. 18 And so the people of Judah were victorious over Israel, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam's army and occupied some of his cities: Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, and the villages near each of these cities. 20 Jeroboam never regained his power during Abijah's reign. Finally the Lord struck him down, and he died.

21 Abijah, however, grew more powerful. He had fourteen wives and fathered twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 The rest of the history of Abijah, what he said and what he did, is written in The History of Iddo the Prophet.

King Asa Defeats the Ethiopians

14 King Abijah died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City. His son Asa succeeded him as king, and under Asa the land enjoyed peace for ten years. Asa pleased the Lord, his God, by doing what was right and good. He removed the foreign altars and the pagan places of worship, broke down the sacred stone columns, and cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah. He commanded the people of Judah to do the will of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his teachings and commands. Because he abolished the pagan places of worship and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, the kingdom was at peace under his rule. He built fortifications for the cities of Judah during this time, and for several years there was no war, because the Lord gave him peace. He told the people of Judah, “Let us fortify the cities by building walls and towers, and gates that can be shut and barred. We have control of the land because we have done the will of the Lord our God. He has protected us and given us security on every side.” And so they built and prospered. King Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, armed with shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin, armed with shields and bows. All of them were brave, well-trained men.

An Ethiopian[b] named Zerah invaded Judah with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots and advanced as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to fight him, and both sides took up their positions at Zephathah Valley near Mareshah. 11 Asa prayed to the Lord his God, “O Lord, you can help a weak army as easily as a powerful one. Help us now, O Lord our God, because we are relying on you, and in your name we have come out to fight against this huge army. Lord, you are our God; no one can hope to defeat you.”

12 The Lord defeated the Ethiopian[c] army when Asa and the Judean army attacked them. They fled, 13 and Asa and his troops pursued them as far as Gerar. So many of the Ethiopians[d] were killed that the army was unable to rally and fight.[e] They were overpowered by the Lord and his army, and the army took large amounts of loot. 14 Then they were able to destroy the cities in the area around Gerar, because the people there were terrified of the Lord. The army plundered all those cities and captured large amounts of loot. 15 They also attacked the camps of some shepherds, capturing large numbers of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

Asa's Reforms

15 The spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, and he went to meet King Asa. He called out, “Listen to me, King Asa, and all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord is with you as long as you are with him. If you look for him, he will let you find him, but if you turn away, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel lived without the true God, without priests to teach them, and without a law. But when trouble came, they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel. They searched for him and found him. In those days no one could come and go in safety, because there was trouble and disorder in every land. One nation oppressed another nation, and one city oppressed another city, because God was bringing trouble and distress on them. But you must be strong and not be discouraged. The work that you do will be rewarded.”

When Asa heard the prophecy that Azariah son of[f] Oded had spoken, he was encouraged. He did away with all the idols in the land of Judah and Benjamin and all the idols in the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He also repaired the altar of the Lord that stood in the Temple courtyard.

Many people had come over to Asa's side from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, and were living in his kingdom, because they had seen that the Lord was with him. Asa summoned all of them and the people of Judah and Benjamin. 10 They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year that Asa was king. 11 On that day they offered sacrifices to the Lord from the loot they had brought back: seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep. 12 They made a covenant in which they agreed to worship the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13 Anyone, young or old, male or female, who did not worship him was to be put to death. 14 In a loud voice they took an oath in the Lord's name that they would keep the covenant, and then they shouted and blew trumpets. 15 All the people of Judah were happy because they had made this covenant with all their heart. They took delight in worshiping the Lord, and he accepted them and gave them peace on every side.

16 King Asa removed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made an obscene idol of the fertility goddess Asherah. Asa cut down the idol, chopped it up, and burned the pieces in Kidron Valley. 17 Even though Asa did not destroy all the pagan places of worship in the land, he remained faithful to the Lord all his life. 18 He placed in the Temple all the objects his father Abijah had dedicated to God, as well as the gold and silver objects that he himself dedicated. 19 There was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of his reign.

Troubles with Israel

16 In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and started to fortify Ramah in order to cut off all traffic in and out of Judah. So Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple and the palace and sent it to Damascus, to King Benhadad of Syria, with this message: “Let us be allies, as our fathers were. This silver and gold is a present for you. Now break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel so that he will have to pull his troops out of my territory.”

Benhadad agreed to Asa's proposal and sent his commanding officers and their armies to attack the cities of Israel. They captured Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and all the cities of Naphtali where supplies were stored. When King Baasha heard what was happening, he stopped fortifying Ramah and abandoned the work. Then King Asa gathered men from throughout Judah and had them carry off the stones and timbers that Baasha had been using at Ramah, and they used them to fortify the cities of Geba and Mizpah.

The Prophet Hanani

At that time the prophet Hanani went to King Asa and said, “Because you relied on the king of Syria instead of relying on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Israel[g] has escaped from you. Didn't the Ethiopians[h] and the Libyans have large armies with many chariots and cavalry troops? But because you relied on the Lord, he gave you victory over them. The Lord keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to him. You have acted foolishly, and so from now on you will always be at war.” 10 This made Asa so angry with the prophet that he had him put in chains. It was at this same time that Asa began treating some of the people cruelly.

The End of Asa's Reign

11 All the events of Asa's reign from beginning to end are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year that Asa was king, he was crippled by a severe foot disease; but even then he did not turn to the Lord for help, but to doctors. 13 Two years later he died 14 and was buried in the rock tomb which he had carved out for himself in David's City. They used spices and perfumed oils to prepare his body for burial, and they built a huge bonfire to mourn his death.

Jehoshaphat Becomes King

17 Jehoshaphat succeeded his father Asa as king and strengthened his position against Israel. He stationed troops in the fortified cities of Judah, in the Judean countryside, and in the cities which Asa had captured in the territory of Ephraim. The Lord blessed Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father's early life and did not worship Baal. He served his father's God, obeyed God's commands, and did not act the way the kings of Israel did. The Lord gave Jehoshaphat firm control over the kingdom of Judah, and all the people brought him gifts, so that he became wealthy and highly honored. He took pride in serving the Lord and destroyed all the pagan places of worship and the symbols of the goddess Asherah in Judah.

In the third year of his reign he sent out the following officials to teach in the cities of Judah: Benhail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah. They were accompanied by nine Levites and two priests. The Levites were Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tobadonijah; and the priests were Elishama and Jehoram. They took the book of the Law of the Lord and went through all the towns of Judah, teaching it to the people.

Jehoshaphat's Greatness

10 The Lord made all the surrounding kingdoms afraid to go to war against King Jehoshaphat. 11 Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat a large amount of silver and other gifts, and some Arabs brought him 7,700 sheep and 7,700 goats. 12 So Jehoshaphat continued to grow more and more powerful. Throughout Judah he built fortifications and cities, 13 where supplies were stored in huge amounts.

In Jerusalem he stationed outstanding officers, 14 according to their clans. Adnah was the commander of the troops from the clans of Judah, and he had 300,000 soldiers under him. 15 Second in rank was Jehohanan, with 280,000 soldiers, 16 and third was Amasiah son of Zichri, with 200,000. (Amasiah had volunteered to serve the Lord.) 17 The commander of the troops from the clans of Benjamin was Eliada, an outstanding soldier, in command of 200,000 men armed with shields and bows. 18 His second in command was Jehozabad with 180,000 men, well-equipped for battle. 19 These soldiers served the king in Jerusalem, and in addition he stationed others in the other fortified cities of Judah.

The Prophet Micaiah Warns Ahab

18 When King Jehoshaphat of Judah became rich and famous, he arranged a marriage between a member of his family and the family of King Ahab of Israel. A number of years later Jehoshaphat went to the city of Samaria to visit Ahab. To honor Jehoshaphat and those with him, Ahab had a large number of sheep and cattle slaughtered for a feast. He tried to persuade Jehoshaphat to join him in attacking the city of Ramoth in Gilead. He asked, “Will you go with me to attack Ramoth?”

Jehoshaphat replied, “I am ready when you are, and so is my army. We will join you.” Then he added, “But first let's consult the Lord.”

So Ahab called in the prophets, about four hundred of them, and asked them, “Should I go and attack Ramoth, or not?”

“Attack it,” they answered. “God will give you victory.”

But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn't there another prophet through whom we can consult the Lord?”

Ahab answered, “There is one more, Micaiah son of Imlah. But I hate him because he never prophesies anything good for me; it's always something bad.”

“You shouldn't say that!” Jehoshaphat replied.

So King Ahab called in a court official and told him to go and get Micaiah at once.

The two kings, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on their thrones at the threshing place just outside the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying in front of them. 10 One of them, Zedekiah son of Chenaanah, made iron horns and said to Ahab, “This is what the Lord says, ‘With these you will fight the Syrians and totally defeat them.’” 11 All the other prophets said the same thing. “March against Ramoth and you will win,” they said. “The Lord will give you victory.”

12 Meanwhile, the official who had gone to get Micaiah said to him, “All the other prophets have prophesied success for the king, and you had better do the same.”

13 But Micaiah answered, “By the living Lord I will say what my God tells me to!”

14 When he appeared before King Ahab, the king asked him, “Micaiah, should King Jehoshaphat and I go and attack Ramoth, or not?”

“Attack!” Micaiah answered. “Of course you'll win. The Lord will give you victory.”

15 But Ahab replied, “When you speak to me in the name of the Lord, tell the truth! How many times do I have to tell you that?”

16 Micaiah answered, “I can see the army of Israel scattered over the hills like sheep without a shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘These men have no leader; let them go home in peace.’”

17 Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “I told you that he never prophesies anything good for me; it's always something bad!”

18 Micaiah went on: “Now listen to what the Lord says! I saw the Lord sitting on his throne in heaven, with all his angels standing beside him. 19 The Lord asked, ‘Who will deceive Ahab so that he will go and get killed at Ramoth?’ Some of the angels said one thing, and others said something else, 20 until a spirit stepped forward, approached the Lord, and said, ‘I will deceive him.’ ‘How?’ the Lord asked. 21 The spirit replied, ‘I will go and make all of Ahab's prophets tell lies.’ The Lord said, ‘Go and deceive him. You will succeed.’”

22 And Micaiah concluded: “This is what has happened. The Lord has made these prophets of yours lie to you. But he himself has decreed that you will meet with disaster!”

23 Then the prophet Zedekiah went up to Micaiah, slapped his face, and asked, “Since when did the Lord's spirit leave me and speak to you?”

24 “You will find out when you go into some back room to hide,” Micaiah replied.

25 Then King Ahab ordered one of his officers, “Arrest Micaiah and take him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Prince Joash. 26 Tell them to throw him in prison and to put him on bread and water until I return safely.”

27 “If you return safely,” Micaiah exclaimed, “then the Lord has not spoken through me!” And he added, “Listen, everyone, to what I have said!”

The Death of Ahab

28 Then King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to attack the city of Ramoth in Gilead. 29 Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “As we go into battle, I will disguise myself, but you wear your royal garments.” So the king of Israel went into battle in disguise.

30 The king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders to attack no one else except the king of Israel. 31 So when they saw King Jehoshaphat, they all thought that he was the king of Israel, and they turned to attack him. But Jehoshaphat gave a shout, and the Lord God rescued him and turned the attack away from him. 32 The chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, so they stopped pursuing him. 33 By chance, however, a Syrian soldier shot an arrow which struck King Ahab between the joints of his armor. “I'm wounded!” he cried out to his chariot driver. “Turn around and pull out of the battle!” 34 While the battle raged on, King Ahab remained propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians. At sunset he died.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Chronicles 12:3 Hebrew Cushite(s): Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  2. 2 Chronicles 14:9 Hebrew Cushite(s): Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  3. 2 Chronicles 14:12 Hebrew Cushite(s): Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  4. 2 Chronicles 14:13 Hebrew Cushite(s): Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  5. 2 Chronicles 14:13 So many of the Ethiopians … fight; or The Ethiopians were completely defeated; not one of them was left alive.
  6. 2 Chronicles 15:8 Some ancient translations Azariah son of; Hebrew does not have these words.
  7. 2 Chronicles 16:7 One ancient translation Israel; Hebrew Syria.
  8. 2 Chronicles 16:8 Hebrew Cushites: Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

2 Chronicles 10-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Revolt against Rehoboam

10 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. They sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all Israel came and said to Rehoboam, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.” He said to them, “Come to me again in three days.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” They answered him, “If you will be kind to this people and please them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he rejected the advice that the older men gave him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him. He said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” 10 The young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus should you speak to the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us’; tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. 11 Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had said, “Come to me again the third day.” 13 The king answered them harshly. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men; 14 he spoke to them in accordance with the advice of the young men, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, because it was a turn of affairs brought about by God so that the Lord might fulfill his word, which he had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

16 When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king,

“What share do we have in David?
    We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
Each of you to your tents, O Israel!
    Look now to your own house, O David.”

So all Israel departed to their tents. 17 But Rehoboam reigned over the people of Israel who were living in the cities of Judah. 18 When King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, the people of Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam hurriedly mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

Judah and Benjamin Fortified

11 When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled one hundred eighty thousand chosen troops of the house of Judah and Benjamin to fight against Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God: Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, “Thus says the Lord: You shall not go up or fight against your kindred. Let everyone return home, for this thing is from me.” So they heeded the word of the Lord and turned back from the expedition against Jeroboam.

Rehoboam resided in Jerusalem, and he built cities for defense in Judah. He built up Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, fortified cities that are in Judah and in Benjamin. 11 He made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. 12 He also put large shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.

Priests and Levites Support Rehoboam

13 The priests and the Levites who were in all Israel presented themselves to him from all their territories. 14 The Levites had left their common lands and their holdings and had come to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had prevented them from serving as priests of the Lord, 15 and had appointed his own priests for the high places, and for the goat-demons, and for the calves that he had made. 16 Those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.

Rehoboam’s Marriages

18 Rehoboam took as his wife Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth son of David, and of Abihail daughter of Eliab son of Jesse. 19 She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 After her he took Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters). 22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maacah as chief prince among his brothers, for he intended to make him king. 23 He dealt wisely, and distributed some of his sons through all the districts of Judah and Benjamin, in all the fortified cities; he gave them abundant provisions, and found many wives for them.

Egypt Attacks Judah

12 When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he grew strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, he and all Israel with him. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem with twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry. A countless army came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians.[a] He took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the officers of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord: You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.” Then the officers of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is in the right.” When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying: “They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless they shall be his servants, so that they may know the difference between serving me and serving the kingdoms of other lands.”

So King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house; he took everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made; 10 but King Rehoboam made in place of them shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. 11 Whenever the king went into the house of the Lord, the guard would come along bearing them, and would then bring them back to the guardroom. 12 Because he humbled himself the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to destroy them completely; moreover, conditions were good in Judah.

Death of Rehoboam

13 So King Rehoboam established himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign; he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. 14 He did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.

15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the records of the prophet Shemaiah and of the seer Iddo, recorded by genealogy? There were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16 Rehoboam slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David; and his son Abijah succeeded him.

Abijah Reigns over Judah

13 In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.

Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah engaged in battle, having an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand picked men; and Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with eight hundred thousand picked mighty warriors. Then Abijah stood on the slope of Mount Zemaraim that is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, “Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel! Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord; and certain worthless scoundrels gathered around him and defied Rehoboam son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them.

“And now you think that you can withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made as gods for you. Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the descendants of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to be consecrated with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are no gods. 10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are descendants of Aaron, and Levites for their service. 11 They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and fragrant incense, set out the rows of bread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand so that its lamps may burn every evening; for we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him. 12 See, God is with us at our head, and his priests have their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O Israelites, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors; for you cannot succeed.”

13 Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to come on them from behind; thus his troops[b] were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14 When Judah turned, the battle was in front of them and behind them. They cried out to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15 Then the people of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the people of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The Israelites fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hands. 17 Abijah and his army defeated them with great slaughter; five hundred thousand picked men of Israel fell slain. 18 Thus the Israelites were subdued at that time, and the people of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam, and took cities from him: Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and Ephron[c] with its villages. 20 Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah; the Lord struck him down, and he died. 21 But Abijah grew strong. He took fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 The rest of the acts of Abijah, his behavior and his deeds, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.

Asa Reigns

14 [d] So Abijah slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the city of David. His son Asa succeeded him. In his days the land had rest for ten years. [e] Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God. He took away the foreign altars and the high places, broke down the pillars, hewed down the sacred poles,[f] and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also removed from all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. He built fortified cities in Judah while the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace. He said to Judah, “Let us build these cities, and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars; the land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and two hundred eighty thousand troops from Benjamin who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty warriors.

Ethiopian Invasion Repulsed

Zerah the Ethiopian[g] came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is no difference for you between helping the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let no mortal prevail against you.” 12 So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians[h] before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians[i] fled. 13 Asa and the army with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians[j] fell until no one remained alive; for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The people of Judah[k] carried away a great quantity of booty. 14 They defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was on them. They plundered all the cities; for there was much plunder in them. 15 They also attacked the tents of those who had livestock,[l] and carried away sheep and goats in abundance, and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

15 The spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. In those times it was not safe for anyone to go or come, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. They were broken in pieces, nation against nation and city against city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

When Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded,[m] he took courage, and put away the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord.[n] He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing as aliens with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11 They sacrificed to the Lord on that day, from the booty that they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. 12 They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and with all their soul. 13 Whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14 They took an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with horns. 15 All Judah rejoiced over the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.

16 King Asa even removed his mother Maacah from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the Wadi Kidron. 17 But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was true all his days. 18 He brought into the house of God the votive gifts of his father and his own votive gifts—silver, gold, and utensils. 19 And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.

Alliance with Aram Condemned

16 In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, King Baasha of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, to prevent anyone from going out or coming into the territory of[o] King Asa of Judah. Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and sent them to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who resided in Damascus, saying, “Let there be an alliance between me and you, like that between my father and your father; I am sending to you silver and gold; go, break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel, so that he may withdraw from me.” Ben-hadad listened to King Asa, and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the store-cities of Naphtali. When Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and let his work cease. Then King Asa brought all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them he built up Geba and Mizpah.

At that time the seer Hanani came to King Asa of Judah, and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Aram, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped you. Were not the Ethiopians[p] and the Libyans a huge army with exceedingly many chariots and cavalry? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the entire earth, to strengthen those whose heart is true to him. You have done foolishly in this; for from now on you will have wars.” 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in the stocks, in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties on some of the people at the same time.

Asa’s Disease and Death

11 The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe; yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians. 13 Then Asa slept with his ancestors, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 They buried him in the tomb that he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier that had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer’s art; and they made a very great fire in his honor.

Jehoshaphat’s Reign

17 His son Jehoshaphat succeeded him, and strengthened himself against Israel. He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim that his father Asa had taken. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father;[q] he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the ways of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. All Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord; and furthermore he removed the high places and the sacred poles[r] from Judah.

In the third year of his reign he sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah; and with these Levites, the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them; they went around through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.

10 The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands around Judah, and they did not make war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and silver for tribute; and the Arabs also brought him seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred male goats. 12 Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater. He built fortresses and storage cities in Judah. 13 He carried out great works in the cities of Judah. He had soldiers, mighty warriors, in Jerusalem. 14 This was the muster of them by ancestral houses: Of Judah, the commanders of the thousands: Adnah the commander, with three hundred thousand mighty warriors, 15 and next to him Jehohanan the commander, with two hundred eighty thousand, 16 and next to him Amasiah son of Zichri, a volunteer for the service of the Lord, with two hundred thousand mighty warriors. 17 Of Benjamin: Eliada, a mighty warrior, with two hundred thousand armed with bow and shield, 18 and next to him Jehozabad with one hundred eighty thousand armed for war. 19 These were in the service of the king, besides those whom the king had placed in the fortified cities throughout all Judah.

Micaiah Predicts Failure

18 Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor; and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab. After some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered an abundance of sheep and oxen for him and for the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead. King Ahab of Israel said to King Jehoshaphat of Judah, “Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?” He answered him, “I am with you, my people are your people. We will be with you in the war.”

But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred of them, and said to them, “Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” They said, “Go up; for God will give it into the hand of the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no other prophet of the Lord here of whom we may inquire?” The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one other by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything favorable about me, but only disaster.” Jehoshaphat said, “Let the king not say such a thing.” Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.” Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes; and they were sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 10 Zedekiah son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron, and he said, “Thus says the Lord: With these you shall gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.” 11 All the prophets were prophesying the same and saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”

12 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king; let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.” 13 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, whatever my God says, that I will speak.”

14 When he had come to the king, the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?” He answered, “Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.” 15 But the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?” 16 Then Micaiah[s] said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd; and the Lord said, ‘These have no master; let each one go home in peace.’” 17 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything favorable about me, but only disaster?”

18 Then Micaiah[t] said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing to the right and to the left of him. 19 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice King Ahab of Israel, so that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ Then one said one thing, and another said another, 20 until a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ The Lord asked him, ‘How?’ 21 He replied, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then the Lord[u] said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do it.’ 22 So you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets; the Lord has decreed disaster for you.”

23 Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up to Micaiah, slapped him on the cheek, and said, “Which way did the spirit of the Lord pass from me to speak to you?” 24 Micaiah replied, “You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.” 25 The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son; 26 and say, ‘Thus says the king: Put this fellow in prison, and feed him on reduced rations of bread and water until I return in peace.’” 27 Micaiah said, “If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Hear, you peoples, all of you!”

Defeat and Death of Ahab

28 So the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. 30 Now the king of Aram had commanded the captains of his chariots, “Fight with no one small or great, but only with the king of Israel.” 31 When the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him; and Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him, 32 for when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 33 But a certain man drew his bow and unknowingly struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate; so he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around, and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” 34 The battle grew hot that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening; then at sunset he died.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Chronicles 12:3 Or Nubians; Heb Cushites
  2. 2 Chronicles 13:13 Heb they
  3. 2 Chronicles 13:19 Another reading is Ephrain
  4. 2 Chronicles 14:1 Ch 13.23 in Heb
  5. 2 Chronicles 14:2 Ch 14.1 in Heb
  6. 2 Chronicles 14:3 Heb Asherim
  7. 2 Chronicles 14:9 Or Nubian; Heb Cushite
  8. 2 Chronicles 14:12 Or Nubians; Heb Cushites
  9. 2 Chronicles 14:12 Or Nubians; Heb Cushites
  10. 2 Chronicles 14:13 Or Nubians; Heb Cushites
  11. 2 Chronicles 14:13 Heb They
  12. 2 Chronicles 14:15 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  13. 2 Chronicles 15:8 Compare Syr Vg: Heb the prophecy, the prophet Obed
  14. 2 Chronicles 15:8 Heb the vestibule of the Lord
  15. 2 Chronicles 16:1 Heb lacks the territory of
  16. 2 Chronicles 16:8 Or Nubians; Heb Cushites
  17. 2 Chronicles 17:3 Another reading is his father David
  18. 2 Chronicles 17:6 Heb Asherim
  19. 2 Chronicles 18:16 Heb he
  20. 2 Chronicles 18:18 Heb he
  21. 2 Chronicles 18:21 Heb he
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Chronicles 10-18 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

10 And Roboam went to Sichem: for thither all Israel were assembled, to make him king.

And when Jeroboam the son of Nabat, who was in Egypt, (for he was fled thither from Solomon,) heard it, forthwith he returned.

And they sent for him, and he came with all Israel, and they spoke to Roboam, saying:

Thy father oppressed us with a most grievous yoke, do thou govern us with a lighter hand than thy father, who laid upon us a heavy servitude, and ease some thing of the burden, that we may serve thee.

And he said to them: Come to me again after three days. And when the people were gone,

He took counsel with the ancients, who had stood before his father Solomon, while he yet lived, saying: What counsel give you to me, that I may answer the people?

And they said to him: If thou please this people, and soothe them with kind words, they will be thy servants for ever.

But he forsook the counsel of the ancients, and began to treat with the young men, that had been brought up with him, and were in his train.

And he said to them: What seemeth good to you? or what shall I answer this people, who have said to me: Ease the yoke which thy father laid upon us?

10 But they answered as young men, and brought up with him in pleasures, and said: Thus shalt thou speak to the people, that said to thee: Thy father made our yoke heavy, do thou ease it: thus shalt thou answer them: My little finger is thicker than the loins of my father.

11 My father laid upon you a heavy yoke, and I will add more weight to it: my father beat you with scourges, but I will beat you with scorpions.

12 So Jeroboam, and all the people came to Roboam the third day, as he commanded them.

13 And the king answered roughly, leaving the counsel of the ancients.

14 And he spoke according to the advice of the young men: My father laid upon you a heavy yoke, which I will make heavier: my father beat you with scourges, but I will beat you with scorpions.

15 And he condescended not to the people's requests: for it was the will of God, that his word might be fulfilled which he had spoken by the hand of Ahias the Silonite to Jeroboam the son of Nabat.

16 And all the people upon the king's speaking roughly, said thus unto him: We have no part in David, nor inheritance in the son of Isai. Return to thy dwellings, O Israel, and do thou, O David, feed thy own house. And Israel went away to their dwellings.

17 But Roboam reigned over the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Juda.

18 And king Roboam sent Aduram, who was over the tributes, and the children of Israel stoned him, and he died: and king Roboam made haste to gee up into his chariot, and fled into Jerusalem.

19 And Israel revolted from the house of David unto this day.

11 And Roboam came to Jerusalem, and called together all the house of Juda and of Benjamin, a hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men and warriors, to fight against Israel, and to bring back his kingdom to him.

And the word of the Lord came to Semeias the man of God, saying:

Speak to Roboam the son of Solomon the king of Juda, and to all Israel, in Juda and Benjamin:

Thus saith the Lord: You shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: let every man return to his own house, for by my will this thing has been done. And when they heard the word of the Lord, they returned, and did not go against Jeroboam,

And Roboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built walled cities in Juda.

And he built Bethlehem, and Etam, and Thecue,

And Bethsur, and Socho, and Odollam,

And Geth, and Maresa, and Ziph,

And Aduram, and Lachis, and Azecha,

10 Saraa also, and Aialon, and Hebron, which are in Juda and Benjamin, well fenced cities.

11 And when he had enclosed them with walls, he put in them governors and storehouses of provisions, that is, of oil and of wine.

12 Moreover in every city he made an armoury of shields and spears, and he fortified them with great diligence, and he reigned over Juda, and Benjamin,

13 And the priests and Levites, that were in all Israel, came to him out of all their seats,

14 Leaving their suburbs, and their possessions, and passing over to Juda, and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off, from executing the priestly office to the Lord.

15 And he made to himself priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.

16 Moreover out of all the tribes of Israel, whosoever gave their heart to seek the Lord the God of Israel, came into Jerusalem to sacrifice their victims before the Lord the God of their fathers.

17 And they strengthened the kingdom of Juda, and established Roboam the son of Solomon for three years: for they walked in the ways of David and of Solomon, only three years.

18 And Roboam took to wife Mahalath, the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David: and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Isai.

19 And they bore him sons Jehus, and Somorias, and Zoom.

20 And after her he married Maacha the daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abia and Ethai, and Ziza, and Salomith.

21 And Roboam loved Maacha the daughter of Absalom above all his wives, and concubines: for he had married eighteen wives, and threescore concubines: and he beget eight and twenty sons, and threescore daughters.

22 But he put at the head of them Abia the son of Maacha to be the chief ruler over all his brethren: for he meant to make him king,

23 Because he was wiser and mightier than all his sons, and in all the countries of Juda, and of Benjamin, and in all the walled cities: and he gave them provisions in abundance, and he sought many wives.

12 And when the kingdom of Roboam was strengthened and fortified, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.

And in the fifth year of the reign of Roboam, Sesac king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem (because they had sinned against the Lord)

With twelve hundred chariots and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt, to wit, Libyans, and Troglodites, and Ethiopians.

And he took the strongest cities in Juda, and came to Jerusalem.

And Semeias the prophet came to Roboam, and to the princes of Juda, that were gathered together in Jerusalem, fleeing from Sesac, and he said to them: Thus saith the Lord: You have left me, and I have left you in the hand of Sesac.

And the princes of Israel, and the king, being in a consternation, said: The Lord is just.

And when the Lord saw that they were humbled, the word of the Lord came to Semeias, saying: Because they are humbled, I will not destroy them, and I will give them a little help, and my wrath shall not fall upon Jerusalem by the hand of Sesac.

But yet they shall serve him, that they may know the difference between my service, and the service of a kingdom of the earth.

So Sesac king of Egypt departed from Jerusalem, taking away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and of the king's house, and he took all with him, and the golden shields that Solomon had made,

10 Instead of which the king made brazen ones, and delivered them to the captains of the shieldbearers, who guarded the entrance of the palace.

11 And when the king entered into the house of the Lord, the shieldbearers came and took them, and brought them back again to their armoury.

12 But yet because they were humbled, the wrath of the Lord turned away from them, and they were not utterly destroyed: for even in Juda there were found good works.

13 King Roboam therefore was strengthened in Jerusalem, and reigned: he was one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord chose out of all the tribes of Israel, to establish his name there: and the name of his mother was Naama an Ammonitess.

14 But he did evil, and did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord.

15 Now the acts of Roboam first and last are written in the books of Semeias the prophet, and of Addo the seer, and diligently recorded: and there was war between Roboam and Jeroboam all their days.

16 And Roboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And Abia his son reigned in his stead.

13 In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam, Abia reigned over Juda.

Three years he reigned in Jerusalem, and his mother's name was Michaia, the daughter of Uriel of Gabaa: and there was war between Abia and Jeroboam.

And when Abia had begun battle, and had with him four hundred thousand most valiant and chosen men, Jeroboam put his army in array against him, eight hundred thousand men, who were also chosen and most valiant for war.

And Abia stood upon mount Semeron, which was in Ephraim, and said: Hear me, O Jeroboam, and all Israel:

Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave to David the kingdom over Israel for ever, to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?

And Jeroboam the son of Nabat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up: and rebelled against his lord.

And there were gathered to him vain men, and children of Belial: and they prevailed against Roboam the son of Solomon: for Roboam was unexperienced, and of a fearful heart, and could not resist them.

And now you say that you are able to withstand the kingdom of the Lord, which he possesseth by the sons of David, and you have a great multitude of people, and golden calves, which Jeroboam hath made you for gods.

And you have cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites: and you have made you priests, like all the nations of the earth: whosoever cometh and consecrateth his hand with a bullock of the herd, and with seven rams, is made a priest of those who are no gods.

10 But the Lord is our God, whom we forsake not, and the priests who minister to the Lord are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites are in their order.

11 And they offer holocausts to the Lord, every day, morning and evening, and incense made according to the ordinance of the law, and the leaves are set forth on a most clean table, and there is with us the golden candlestick, and the lamps thereof, to be lighted always in the evening: for we keep the precepts of the Lord our God, whom you have forsaken.

12 Therefore God is the leader in our army, and his priests who sound with trumpets, and resound against you: O children of Israel, fight not against the Lord the God of your fathers, for it is not good for you.

13 While he spoke these things, Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind him. And while he stood facing the enemies, he encompassed Juda. who perceived it not, with his army.

14 And when Juda looked back, they saw the battle coming upon them both before and behind, and they cried to the Lord: and the priests began to sound with the trumpets.

15 And all the men of Juda shouted: and behold when they shouted, God terrified Jeroboam, and all Israel that stood against Abia and Juda.

16 And the children of Israel fled before Juda, and the Lord delivered them into their hand.

17 And Abia and his people slew them with a great slaughter, and there fell wounded of Israel five hundred thousand valiant men.

18 And the children of Israel were brought down, at that time, and the children of Juda were exceedingly strengthened, because they had trusted in the Lord the God of their fathers.

19 And Abia pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel and her daughters, and Jesana with her daughters, Ephron also and her daughters.

20 And Jeroboam was not able to resist any more, in the days of Abia: and the Lord struck him, and he died.

21 But Abia, being strengthened in his kingdom, took fourteen wives: and begot two and twenty sons, and sixteen daughters.

22 And the rest of the acts of Abia, and of his ways and works, are written diligently in the book of Addo the prophet.

14 And Abia slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead: in his days the land was quiet ten years.

And Asa did that which was good and pleasing in the sight of his God, and he destroyed the altars of foreign worship, and the high places.

And broke the statues, and cut down the groves.

And he commanded Juda to seek the Lord the God of their fathers, and to do the law, and all the commandments.

And he took away out of all the cities of Juda the altars, and temples, and reigned in peace.

He built also strong cities in Juda, for he was quiet, and there had no wars risen in his time, the Lord giving peace.

And he said to Juda: Let us build these cities, and compass them with walls, and fortify them with towers, and gates, and bars, while all is quiet from wars, because we have sought the Lord the God of our fathers, and he hath given us peace round about. So they built, and there was no hinderance in building.

And Asa had in his army of men that bore shields and spears of Juda three hundred thousand, and of Benjamin that bore shields and drew bows, two hundred and eighty thousand, all these were most valiant men.

And Zara the Ethiopian came out against them with his army of ten hundred thousand men, and with three hundred chariots: and he came as far as Maresa.

10 And Asa went out to meet him, and set his army in array for battle in the vale of Sephata, which is near Maresa:

11 And he called upon the Lord God, and said: O Lord, there is no difference with thee, whether thou help with few, or with many: help us, O Lord our God: for with confidence in thee, and in thy name, we are come against this multitude. O Lord thou art our God, let not man prevail against thee.

12 And the Lord terrified the Ethiopians before Asa and Juda: and the Ethiopians fled.

13 And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them to Gerara: and the Ethiopians fell even to utter destruction, for the Lord slew them, and his army fought against them, and they were destroyed. And they took abundance of spoils,

14 And they took all the cities round about Gerara: for a great fear was come upon all men: and they pillaged the cities, and carried off much booty.

15 And they destroyed the sheepcotes, and took an infinite number of cattle, and of camels: and returned to Jerusalem.

15 And the spirit of God came upon Azarias the son of Oded,

And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: Hear ye me, Asa, and all Juda and Benjamin: The Lord is with you, because you have been with him. If you seek him, you shall find: but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

And many days shall pass in Israel without the true God, and without a priest a teacher, and without the law.

And when in their distress they shall return to the Lord the God of Israel, and shall seek him, they shall find him.

At that time there shall be no peace to him that goeth out and cometh in, but terrors on every side among all the inhabitants of the earth.

For nation shall fight against nation, and city against city, for the Lord will trouble them with all distress.

Do you therefore take courage, and let not your hands he weakened: for there shall be a reward for your work.

And when Asa had heard the words, and the prophecy of Azarias the son of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and took away the idols out of all the land of Juda, and out of Benjamin, and out of the cities of mount Ephraim, which he had taken, and he dedicated the altar of the Lord, which was before the porch of the Lord.

And he gathered together all Juda and Benjamin, and the strangers with them of Ephraim, and Manasses, and Simeon: for many were come over to him out of Israel, seeing that the Lord his God was with him.

10 And when they were come to Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa,

11 They sacrificed to the Lord in that day of the spoils, and of the prey, that they had brought, seven hundred oxen, and seven thousand rams.

12 And he went in to confirm as usual the covenant, that they should seek the Lord the God of their fathers with all their heart, and with all their soul.

13 And if any one, said he, seek not the Lord the God of Israel, let him die, whether little or great, man or woman.

14 And they swore to the Lord with a loud voice with joyful shouting, and with sound of trumpet, and sound of comets,

15 All that mere in Juda with a curse: for with all their heart they swore, and with all their will they sought him, and they found him, and the Lord gave them rest round about.

16 Moreover Maacha the mother of king Asa he deposed from the royal authority, because she had made in a grove an idol of Priapus: and he entirely destroyed it, and breaking it into pieces, burnt it at the torrent Cedron.

17 But high places were left in Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.

18 And the things which his father had vowed, and he himself had vowed, he brought into the house of the Lord, gold and silver, and vessels of divers uses.

19 And there was no war unto the five and thirtieth year of the kingdom of Asa.

16 And in the six and thirtieth year of his kingdom, Baasa the king of Israel came up against Juda, and built a wall about Rama, that no one might safely go out or come in of the kingdom of Asa.

Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord, and of the king's treasures, and sent to Benadad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying:

There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father, wherefore I have sent thee silver and gold, that thou mayst break thy league with Baasa king of Israel, and make him depart from me.

And then Benadad heard this, he sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel: and they took Ahion, and Dan, and Abelmaim, and all the walled cities of Nephtali.

And when Baasa heard of it, he left off the building of Rama, and interrupted his work.

Then king Asa took all Juda, and they carried away from Rama the stones, and the timber that Baasa had prepared for the building: and he built with them Gabaa, and Maspha.

At that time Hanani the prophet came to Asa king of Juda, and said to him: Because thou hast had confidence in the king of Syria, and not in the Lord thy God, therefore hath the army of the king of Syria escaped out of thy hand.

Were not the Ethiopians, and the Libyans much more numerous in chariots, and horsemen, and an exceeding great multitude: yet because thou trustedst in the Lord, he delivered them into thy hand?

For the eyes of the Lord behold all the earth, and give strength to those who with a perfect heart trust in him. Wherefore thou hast done foolishly, and for this cause from this time wars shall arise against thee.

10 And Asa was angry with the seer, and commanded him to be put in prison: for he was greatly enraged because of this thing: and he put to death many of the people at that time.

11 But the works of Asa the first and last are written in the book of the kings of Juda and Israel.

12 And Asa fell sick in the nine and thirtieth year of his reign, of a most violent pain in his feet, and yet in his illness he did not seek the Lord, but rather trusted in the skill of physicians.

13 And he slept with his fathers: and he died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.

14 And they buried him in his own sepulchre, which he had made for himself in the city of David: and they laid him on his bed full of spices and odoriferous ointments, which were made by the art of the perfumers, and they burnt them over him with very great pomp.

17 And Josaphat his son reigned in his stead, and grew strong against Israel.

And he placed numbers of soldiers in all the fortified cities of Juda. And he put garrisons in the land of Juda, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.

And the Lord was with Josaphat, because he walked in the first ways of David his father: and trusted not in Baalim,

But in the God of his father, and walk in his commandments, and not according to the sins of Israel.

And the Lord established the kingdom in his hand, and all Juda brought presents to Josaphat: and he acquired immense riches, and much glory.

And when his heart had taken courage for the ways of the Lord, he took away also the high places and the groves out of Juda.

And in the third year of his reign, he sent of his princes Benhail, and Abdias, and Zacharias, and Nathanael, and Micheas, to teach in the cities of Juda:

And with them the Levites, Semeias, and Nathanias, and Zabadias, and Asael, and Semiramoth, and Jonathan, and Adonias, and Tobias, and Thobadonias Levites, and with them Elisama, and Joram priests.

And they taught the people in Juda, having with them the book of the law of the Lord: and they went about all the cities of Juda, and instructed the people.

10 And the fear of the Lord came upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Juda, and they durst not make war against Josaphat.

11 The Philistines also brought presents to Josaphat, and tribute in silver, and the Arabians brought him cattle, seven thousand seven hundred rams, and as many he goats.

12 And Josaphat grew, and became exceeding great: and he built in Juda houses like towers, and walled cities.

13 And he prepared many works in the cities of Juda: and he had warriors, and valiant men in Jerusalem.

14 Of whom this is the number of the houses and families of every one: in Juda captains of the army, Ednas the chief, and with him three hundred thousand most valiant men.

15 After him Johanan the captain, and with him two hundred and eighty thousand.

16 And after him was Amasias the son of Zechri, consecrated to the Lord, and with him were two hundred thousand valiant men.

17 After him was Eliada valiant in battle, and with him two hundred thousand armed with bow and shield.

18 After him also was Jozabad, and with him a hundred and eighty thousand ready for war.

19 All these were at the hand of the king, beside others, whom he had put in the walled cities, in all Juda.

18 Now Josaphat was rich and very glorious, and was joined by affinity to Achab.

And he went down to him after some years to Samaria: and Achab at his coming killed sheep and oxen in abundance for him and the people that came with him: and he persuaded him to go up to Ramoth Galaad.

And Achab king of Israel said to Josaphat king of Juda: Come with me to Ramoth Galaad. And he answered him: Thou art as I am, and my people as thy people, and we will be with thee in the war.

And Josaphat said to the king of Israel: Inquire, I beseech thee, at present the word of the Lord.

So the king of Israel gathered together of the prophets four hundred men, and he said to them: Shall we go to Ramoth Galaad to fight, or shall we forbear? But they said: Go up, and God will deliver it into the king's hand.

And Josaphat said: Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may inquire also of him?

And the king of Israel said to Josaphat: There is one man, of whom we may ask the will of the Lord: but I hate him, for he never prophesieth good to me, but always evil: and it is Micheas the son of Jemla. And Josaphat said: Speak not thus, O king.

And the king of Israel called one of the eunuchs, and said to him: Call quickly Micheas the son of Jemla.

Now the king of Israel, and Josaphat king of Juda, both sat on their thrones, clothed in royal robes, and they sat in the open court by the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets prophesied before them.

10 And Sedecias the son of Chanaana made him horns of iron, and said: Thus saith the Lord: With these shalt thou push Syria, till thou destroy it.

11 And all the prophets prophesied in like manner, and said: Go up to Ramoth Galaad, and thou shalt prosper, and the Lord will deliver them into the king's hand.

12 And the messenger that went to call Micheas, said to him: Behold the words of all the prophets with one mouth declare good to the king: I beseech thee therefore let not thy word disagree with them, and speak thou also good success.

13 And Micheas answered him: As the Lord liveth, whatsoever my God shall say to me, that will I speak.

14 So he came to the king: and the king said to him: Micheas, shall we go to Ramoth Galaad to fight, or forbear? And he answered him: Go up, for all shall succeed prosperously, and the enemies shall be delivered into your hands.

15 And the king said: I adjure thee again and again to say nothing but the truth to me, in the name of the Lord.

16 Then he said: I saw all Israel scattered in the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd: and the Lord said: These have no masters: let every man return to his own house in peace.

17 And the king of Israel said to Josaphat: Did I not tell thee that this man would not prophesy me any good, but evil?

18 Then he said: Hear ye therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the army of heaven standing by him on the right hand and on the left.

19 And the Lord said: Who shall deceive Achab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall in Ramoth Galaad? And when one spoke in this manner, and another otherwise:

20 There came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said: I will deceive him. And the Lord said to him: By what means wilt thou deceive him?

21 And he answered: I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said: Thou shalt deceive, and shalt prevail: go out, and do so.

22 Now therefore behold the Lord hath put a spirit of lying in the mouth of all thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.

23 And Sedecias the son of Chanaana came, and struck Micheas on the cheek and said: Which way went the spirit of the Lord from me, to speak to thee?

24 And Micheas said: Thou thyself shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go in from chamber to chamber, to hide thyself.

25 And the king of Israel commanded, saying: Take Micheas, and carry him to Amen the governor of the city, and to Joas the son of Amelech,

26 And say: Thus saith the king: Put this fellow in prison, and give him bread and water in a small quantity till I return in peace.

27 And Micheas said: If thou return in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said: Hear, all ye people.

28 So the king of Israel and Josaphat king of Juda went up to Ramoth Galaad.

29 And the king of Israel said to Josaphat: I will change my dress, and so I will go to the battle, but put thou on thy own garments. And the king of Israel having changed his dress, went to the battle.

30 Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of his cavalry, saying: Fight ye not with small, or great, but with the king of Israel only.

31 So when the captains of the cavalry saw Josaphat, they said: This is the king of Israel. And they surrounded him to attack him: but he cried to the Lord, and he helped him, and turned them away from him.

32 For when the captains of the cavalry saw, that he was not the king of Israel, they left him.

33 And it happened that one of the people shot an arrow at a venture, and struck the king of Israel between the neck and the shoulders, and he said to his chariot man: Turn thy hand, and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.

34 And the fight was ended that day: but the king of Israel stood in his chariot against the Syrians until the evening, and died at the sunset.

2 Chronicles 10-18 The Message (MSG)

King Rehoboam

10 1-2 Rehoboam traveled to Shechem where all Israel had gathered to inaugurate him as king. Jeroboam was then in Egypt, where he had taken asylum from King Solomon; when he got the report of Solomon’s death, he came back.

3-4 Summoned by Israel, Jeroboam and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said, “Your father made life hard for us—worked our fingers to the bone. Give us a break; lighten up on us and we’ll willingly serve you.”

“Give me,” said Rehoboam, “three days to think it over; then come back.” So the people left.

King Rehoboam talked it over with the elders who had advised his father when he was alive: “What’s your counsel? How do you suggest that I answer the people?”

They said, “If you will be a servant to this people, be considerate of their needs and respond with compassion, work things out with them, they’ll end up doing anything for you.”

8-9 But he rejected the counsel of the elders and asked the young men he’d grown up with who were now currying his favor, “What do you think? What should I say to these people who are saying, ‘Give us a break from your father’s harsh ways—lighten up on us’?”

10-11 The young turks he’d grown up with said, “These people who complain, ‘Your father was too hard on us; lighten up’—well, tell them this: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. If you think life under my father was hard, you haven’t seen the half of it. My father thrashed you with whips; I’ll beat you bloody with chains!’”

12-14 Three days later Jeroboam and the people showed up, just as Rehoboam had directed when he said, “Give me three days to think it over; then come back.” The king’s answer was harsh and rude. He spurned the counsel of the elders and went with the advice of the younger set: “If you think life under my father was hard, you haven’t seen the half of it: my father thrashed you with whips; I’ll beat you bloody with chains!”

15 Rehoboam turned a deaf ear to the people. God was behind all this, confirming the message that he had given to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah of Shiloh.

16-17 When all Israel realized that the king hadn’t listened to a word they’d said, they stood up to him and said,

Get lost, David!
We’ve had it with you, son of Jesse!
Let’s get out of here, Israel, and fast!
From now on, David, mind your own business.

And with that they left. Rehoboam continued to rule only those who lived in the towns of Judah.

18-19 When King Rehoboam next sent out Adoniram, head of the workforce, the Israelites ganged up on him, pelted him with stones, and killed him. King Rehoboam jumped in his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem as fast as he could. Israel has been in rebellion against the Davidic dynasty ever since.

11 When Rehoboam got back to Jerusalem he called up the men of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, 180,000 of their best soldiers, to go to war against Israel and recover the kingdom.

2-4 At the same time the word of God came to Shemaiah, a holy man, “Tell this to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, along with all the Israelites in Judah and Benjamin, This is God’s word: Don’t march out; don’t fight against your brothers the Israelites. Go back home, every last one of you; I’m in charge here.” And they did it; they did what God said and went home.

5-12 Rehoboam continued to live in Jerusalem but built up a defense system for Judah all around: in Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron—a line of defense protecting Judah and Benjamin. He beefed up the fortifications, appointed commanders, and put in supplies of food, olive oil, and wine. He installed arms—large shields and spears—in all the forts, making them very strong. So Judah and Benjamin were secure for the time.

13-17 The priests and Levites from all over Israel came and made themselves available to Rehoboam. The Levites left their pastures and properties and moved to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had dismissed them from the priesthood of God and replaced them with his own priests to preside over the worship centers at which he had installed goat and calf demon-idols. Everyone from all the tribes of Israel who determined to seek the God of Israel migrated with the priests and Levites to Jerusalem to worship there, sacrificing to the God of their ancestors. That gave a tremendous boost to the kingdom of Judah. They stuck with Rehoboam son of Solomon for three years, loyal to the ways of David and Solomon for this period.

18-21 Rehoboam married Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth, David’s son, and Abihail daughter of Eliab, Jesse’s son. Mahalath bore him Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. Then he married Maacah, Absalom’s daughter, and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. Maacah was Rehoboam’s favorite wife; he loved her more than all his other wives and concubines put together (and he had a lot—eighteen wives and sixty concubines who produced twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters!).

22-23 Rehoboam designated Abijah son of Maacah as the “first son” and leader of the brothers—he intended to make him the next king. He was shrewd in deploying his sons in all the fortress cities that made up his defense system in Judah and Benjamin; he kept them happy with much food and many wives.

12 By the time Rehoboam had secured his kingdom and was strong again, he, and all Israel with him, had virtually abandoned God and his ways.

2-4 In Rehoboam’s fifth year, because he and the people were unfaithful to God, Shishak king of Egypt invaded as far as Jerusalem. He came with twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry, and soldiers from all over—the Egyptian army included Libyans, Sukkites, and Ethiopians. They took the fortress cities of Judah and advanced as far as Jerusalem itself.

Then the prophet Shemaiah, accompanied by the leaders of Judah who had retreated to Jerusalem before Shishak, came to Rehoboam and said, “God’s word: You abandoned me; now I abandon you to Shishak.”

The leaders of Israel and the king were repentant and said, “God is right.”

7-8 When God saw that they were humbly repentant, the word of God came to Shemaiah: “Because they are humble, I’ll not destroy them—I’ll give them a break; I won’t use Shishak to express my wrath against Jerusalem. What I will do, though, is make them Shishak’s subjects—they’ll learn the difference between serving me and serving human kings.”

Then Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He plundered the treasury of The Temple of God and the treasury of the royal palace—he took everything he could lay his hands on. He even took the gold shields that Solomon had made.

10-11 King Rehoboam replaced the gold shields with bronze shields and gave them to the guards who were posted at the entrance to the royal palace. Whenever the king went to God’s Temple, the guards went with him carrying the shields, but they always returned them to the guardroom.

12 Because Rehoboam was repentant, God’s anger was blunted, so he wasn’t totally destroyed. The picture wasn’t entirely bleak—there were some good things going on in Judah.

13-14 King Rehoboam regrouped and reestablished his rule in Jerusalem. He was forty-one years old when he became king and continued as king for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city God chose out of all the tribes of Israel as the special presence of his Name. His mother was Naamah from Ammon. But the final verdict on Rehoboam was that he was a bad king—God was not important to him; his heart neither cared for nor sought after God.

15-16 The history of Rehoboam, from start to finish, is written in the memoirs of Shemaiah the prophet and Iddo the seer that contain the family trees. There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam the whole time. Rehoboam died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Abijah ruled after him.

King Abijah

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.

King Asa

14 Abijah died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Asa became the next king.

For ten years into Asa’s reign the country was at peace.

2-6 Asa was a good king. He did things right in God’s eyes. He cleaned house: got rid of the pagan altars and shrines, smashed the sacred stone pillars, and chopped down the sex-and-religion groves (Asherim). He told Judah to center their lives in God, the God of their fathers, to do what the law said, and to follow the commandments. Because he got rid of all the pagan shrines and altars in the cities of Judah, his kingdom was at peace. Because the land was quiet and there was no war, he was able to build up a good defense system in Judah. God kept the peace.

Asa said to his people, “While we have the chance and the land is quiet, let’s build a solid defense system, fortifying our cities with walls, towers, gates, and bars. We have this peaceful land because we sought God; he has given us rest from all troubles.” So they built and enjoyed prosperity.

Asa had an army of 300,000 Judeans, equipped with shields and spears, and another 280,000 Benjaminites who were shield bearers and archers. They were all courageous warriors.

9-11 Zerah the Ethiopian went to war against Asa with an army of a million plus three hundred chariots and got as far as Mareshah. Asa met him there and prepared to fight from the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah. Then Asa prayed to God, “O God, you aren’t impressed by numbers or intimidated by a show of force once you decide to help: Help us, O God; we have come out to meet this huge army because we trust in you and who you are. Don’t let mere mortals stand against you!”

12-15 God defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah; the Ethiopians ran for their lives. Asa and his men chased them as far as Gerar; so many of the Ethiopians were killed that there was no fight left in them—a massacre before God and his troops; Judah carted off loads of plunder. They devastated all the towns around Gerar whose people were helpless, paralyzed by the fear of God, and looted the country. They also attacked herdsmen and brought back a lot of sheep and camels to Jerusalem.

15 1-6 Then Azariah son of Obed, moved by the Spirit of God, went out to meet Asa. He said, “Listen carefully, Asa, and listen Judah and Benjamin: God will stick with you as long as you stick with him. If you look for him he will let himself be found; but if you leave him he’ll leave you. For a long time Israel didn’t have the real God, nor did they have the help of priest or teacher or book. But when they were in trouble and got serious, and decided to seek God, the God of Israel, God let himself be found. At that time it was a dog-eat-dog world; life was constantly up for grabs—no one, regardless of country, knew what the next day might bring. Nation battered nation, city pummeled city. God let loose every kind of trouble among them.

“But it’s different with you: Be strong. Take heart. Payday is coming!”

8-9 Asa heard the prophecy of Azariah son of Obed, took a deep breath, then rolled up his sleeves, and went to work: He cleaned out the obscene and polluting sacred shrines from the whole country of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim. He spruced up the Altar of God that was in front of The Temple porch. Then he called an assembly for all Judah and Benjamin, including those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were living there at the time (for many from Israel had left their homes and joined forces with Asa when they saw that God was on his side).

10-15 They all arrived in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign for a great assembly of worship. From their earlier plunder they offered sacrifices of seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep for the worship. Then they bound themselves in a covenant to seek God, the God of their fathers, wholeheartedly, holding nothing back. And they agreed that anyone who refused to seek God, the God of Israel, should be killed, no matter who it was, young or old, man or woman. They shouted out their promise to God, a joyful sound accompanied with blasts from trumpets and rams’ horns. The whole country felt good about the covenant promise—they had given their promise joyfully from the heart. Anticipating the best, they had sought God—and he showed up, ready to be found. God gave them peace within and without—a most peaceable kingdom!

16-19 In his cleanup of the country, Asa went so far as to remove his mother, Queen Maacah, from her throne because she had built a shockingly obscene image of the sex goddess Asherah. Asa tore it down, smashed it, and burned it up in the Kidron Valley. Unfortunately he didn’t get rid of the local sex-and-religion shrines. But he was well-intentioned—his heart was in the right place, loyal to God. All the gold and silver vessels and artifacts that he and his father had consecrated for holy use he installed in The Temple of God. There wasn’t a trace of war up to the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.

16 But in the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, Baasha king of Israel attacked. He started it by building a fort at Ramah and closing the border between Israel and Judah to keep Asa king of Judah from leaving or entering.

2-3 Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of The Temple of God and the royal palace and sent it to Ben-Hadad, king of Aram who lived in Damascus, with this message: “Let’s make a treaty like the one between our fathers. I’m showing my good faith with this gift of silver and gold. Break your deal with Baasha king of Israel so he’ll quit fighting against me.”

4-5 Ben-Hadad went along with King Asa and sent his troops against the towns of Israel. They sacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, and all the store-cities of Naphtali. When Baasha got the report, he quit fortifying Ramah.

Then King Asa issued orders to his people in Judah to haul away the logs and stones Baasha had used in the fortification of Ramah and used them himself to fortify Geba and Mizpah.

7-9 Just after that, Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said, “Because you went for help to the king of Aram and didn’t ask God for help, you’ve lost a victory over the army of the king of Aram. Didn’t the Ethiopians and Libyans come against you with superior forces, completely outclassing you with their chariots and cavalry? But you asked God for help and he gave you the victory. God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him. You were foolish to go for human help when you could have had God’s help. Now you’re in trouble—one round of war after another.”

10 At that, Asa lost his temper. Angry, he put Hanani in the stocks. At the same time Asa started abusing some of the people.

11-14 A full account of Asa is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa came down with a severe case of foot infection. He didn’t ask God for help, but went instead to the doctors. Then Asa died; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. They buried him in a mausoleum that he had built for himself in the City of David. They laid him in a crypt full of aromatic oils and spices. Then they had a huge bonfire in his memory.

Jehoshaphat of Judah

17 1-6 Asa’s son Jehoshaphat was the next king; he started out by working on his defense system against Israel. He put troops in all the fortress cities of Judah and deployed garrisons throughout Judah and in the towns of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured. God was on Jehoshaphat’s side because he stuck to the ways of his father Asa’s early years. He didn’t fool around with the popular Baal religion—he was a seeker and follower of the God of his father and was obedient to him; he wasn’t like Israel. And God secured the kingdom under his rule, gave him a firm grip on it. And everyone in Judah showed their appreciation by bringing gifts. Jehoshaphat ended up very rich and much honored. He was single-minded in following God; and he got rid of the local sex-and-religion shrines.

7-9 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials—excellent men, every one of them—Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah on a teaching mission to the cities of Judah. They were accompanied by Levites—Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-Adonijah; the priests Elishama and Jehoram were also in the company. They made a circuit of the towns of Judah, teaching the people and using the Book of The Revelation of God as their text.

10-12 There was a strong sense of the fear of God in all the kingdoms around Judah—they didn’t dare go to war against Jehoshaphat. Some Philistines even brought gifts and a load of silver to Jehoshaphat, and the desert bedouin brought flocks—7,700 rams and 7,700 goats. So Jehoshaphat became stronger by the day, and constructed more and more forts and store-cities—an age of prosperity for Judah!

13-19 He also had excellent fighting men stationed in Jerusalem. The captains of the military units of Judah, classified according to families, were: Captain Adnah with 300,000 soldiers; his associate Captain Jehohanan with 280,000; his associate Amasiah son of Zicri, a volunteer for God, with 200,000. Officer Eliada represented Benjamin with 200,000 fully equipped with bow and shield; and his associate was Jehozabad with 180,000 armed and ready for battle. These were under the direct command of the king; in addition there were the troops assigned to the fortress cities spread all over Judah.

18 1-3 But even though Jehoshaphat was very rich and much honored, he made a marriage alliance with Ahab of Israel. Some time later he paid a visit to Ahab at Samaria. Ahab celebrated his visit with a feast—a huge barbecue with all the lamb and beef you could eat. But Ahab had a hidden agenda; he wanted Jehoshaphat’s support in attacking Ramoth Gilead. Then Ahab brought it into the open: “Will you join me in attacking Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat said, “You bet. I’m with you all the way; you can count on me and my troops.”

Then Jehoshaphat said, “But before you do anything, ask God for guidance.”

The king of Israel got the prophets together—all four hundred of them—and put the question to them: “Should I attack Ramoth Gilead or should I hold back?”

“Go for it,” they said. “God will hand it over to the king.”

But Jehoshaphat dragged his feet, “Is there another prophet of God around here we can consult? Let’s get a second opinion.”

The king of Israel told Jehoshaphat, “As a matter of fact, there is another. But I hate him. He never preaches anything good to me, only doom, doom, doom—Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king shouldn’t talk about a prophet like that!” said Jehoshaphat.

So the king of Israel ordered one of his men, “Quickly, get Micaiah son of Imlah.”

9-11 Meanwhile, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat were seated on their thrones, dressed in their royal robes, resplendent in front of the Samaria city gates. All the prophets were staging a prophecy-performance for their benefit. Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had even made a set of iron horns, and brandishing them, called out, “God’s word! With these horns you’ll gore Aram until there’s nothing left of them!” All the prophets chimed in, “Yes! Go for Ramoth Gilead! An easy victory! God’s gift to the king!”

12 The messenger who went to get Micaiah told him, “The prophets have all said Yes to the king. Make it unanimous—vote Yes!”

13 But Micaiah said, “As sure as God lives, what God says, I’ll say.”

14 With Micaiah before him, the king asked him, “So, Micaiah—do we attack Ramoth Gilead? Or do we hold back?”

“Go ahead,” he said, “an easy victory! God’s gift to the king.”

15 “Not so fast,” said the king. “How many times have I made you promise under oath to tell me the truth and nothing but the truth?”

16 “All right,” said Micaiah, “since you insist . . .

I saw all of Israel scattered over the hills,
    sheep with no shepherd.
Then God spoke, ‘These poor people
    have no one to tell them what to do.
Let them go home and do
    the best they can for themselves.’”

17 The king of Israel turned to Jehoshaphat, “See! What did I tell you? He never has a good word for me from God, only doom.”

18-21 Micaiah kept on, “I’m not done yet; listen to God’s word:

I saw God enthroned,
    and all the Angel Armies of heaven
standing at attention,
    ranged on his right and his left.
And God said, “How can we seduce Ahab
    into attacking Ramoth Gilead?”
Some said this,
    and some said that.
Then a bold angel stepped out,
    stood before God, and said,
“I’ll seduce him.”
    “And how will you do it?” said God.
“Easy,” said the angel,
    “I’ll get all the prophets to lie.”
“That should do it,” said God;
    “On your way—seduce him!”

22 “And that’s what has happened. God filled the mouths of your puppet prophets with seductive lies. God has pronounced your doom.”

23 Just then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah came up and slapped Micaiah in the face, saying, “Since when did the Spirit of God leave me and take up with you?”

24 Micaiah said, “You’ll know soon enough; you’ll know it when you’re frantically and futilely looking for a place to hide.”

25-26 The king of Israel had heard enough: “Get Micaiah out of here! Turn him over to Amon the city magistrate and to Joash the king’s son with this message: ‘King’s orders! Lock him up in jail; keep him on bread and water until I’m back in one piece.’”

27 Micaiah said,

If you ever get back in one piece,
    I’m no prophet of God.

He added,

When it happens, O people,
    remember where you heard it!

28-29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went ahead and attacked Ramoth Gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Wear my kingly robe; I’m going into battle disguised.” So the king of Israel entered the battle in disguise.

30 Meanwhile, the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders (there were thirty-two of them), “Don’t bother with anyone whether small or great; go after the king of Israel and him only.”

31-32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “There he is! The king of Israel!” and took after him. Jehoshaphat yelled out, and the chariot commanders realized they had the wrong man—it wasn’t the king of Israel after all. God intervened and they let him go.

33 Just then someone, without aiming, shot an arrow into the crowd and hit the king of Israel in the chink of his armor. The king told his charioteer, “Turn back! Get me out of here—I’m wounded.”

34 All day the fighting continued, hot and heavy. Propped up in his chariot, the king watched from the sidelines. He died that evening.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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