2 Chronicles 11-15 Common English Bible (CEB)
11 When Rehoboam arrived at Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, one hundred eighty thousand select warriors, to fight against Israel and to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. 2 But the Lord’s word came to Shemaiah the man of God: 3 Tell Judah’s King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, and all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, 4 This is what the Lord says: Don’t make war against your relatives. Go home, every one of you, because this is my plan. When they heard the Lord’s words, they abandoned their attack against Jeroboam.
5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem, but he built cities for Judah’s defense 6 in Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These were the fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin. 11 He made the fortifications stronger, placed commanders in them, and supplied them with food, oil, and wine. 12 He also stored shields and spears in each of the cities, making them very strong. This is how Judah and Benjamin remained under his control.
13 The priests and the Levites from every region throughout all Israel sided with Rehoboam. 14 The Levites left their pastures and property to come to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had refused to let them serve as the Lord’s priests, 15 having appointed his own priests for the shrines and the goat and calf idols he had made. 16 People from every tribe of Israel who had made up their minds to seek the Lord, Israel’s God, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, for three years by following the way of David and Solomon those three years.
18 Rehoboam married Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth, David’s son, and Abihail daughter of Eliab, Jesse’s son. 19 The sons she bore him were Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 Later he married Maacah, Absalom’s daughter, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Absalom’s daughter Maacah more than all his wives and secondary wives. In all, he had eighteen wives and sixty secondary wives, twenty-eight sons, and sixty daughters. 22 Rehoboam named Abijah, Maacah’s son, as his successor in order to make him king. 23 He wisely placed some of his sons in every region of Judah and Benjamin, in every fortified city, and gave them plenty of food and sought many wives for them.
12 But as soon as Rehoboam had secured his royal power, he, along with all Israel, abandoned the Lord’s Instruction.
2 Egypt’s King Shishak attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam because Israel had been unfaithful to the Lord. 3 Accompanying Shishak from Egypt were twelve hundred chariots, sixty thousand horses, and countless Libyan, Sukkite, and Cushite warriors. 4 He captured the fortified cities of Judah and came toward Jerusalem. 5 Then the prophet Shemaiah went to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and told them, This is what the Lord says: Since you have abandoned me, now I am abandoning you to Shishak’s power.
6 Then the leaders of Israel and the king submitted. “The Lord is right,” they said.
7 When the Lord saw that they had submitted, the Lord’s word came to Shemaiah: Since they have submitted, I won’t destroy them. I will deliver them in a little while, and I won’t use Shishak to pour out my anger against Jerusalem. 8 Nevertheless, they will be subject to him so that they learn the difference between serving me and serving other nations.
9 Egypt’s King Shishak attacked Jerusalem and seized the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the royal palace. He took everything, even the gold shields Solomon had made. 10 King Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields and assigned them to the officers of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace. (11 Whenever the king entered the Lord’s temple, the guards would carry the shields and then return them to the guardroom.) 12 When Rehoboam submitted, the Lord was no longer angry with him, and total destruction was avoided. There were, after all, some good things still in Judah.
13 So King Rehoboam was securely established in Jerusalem. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king, and he ruled seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put his name. His mother’s name was Naamah from Ammon. 14 But Rehoboam did what was evil because he didn’t set his heart on seeking the Lord. 15 The deeds of Rehoboam, from beginning to end, aren’t they written in the records of the prophet Shemaiah and the seer Iddo, including the genealogical records? There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16 Rehoboam lay down with his ancestors and was buried in David’s City. His son Abijah[a] succeeded him as king.
Abijah rules Judah
13 Abijah[b] became king over Judah in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam. 2 He ruled for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah; she was Uriel’s daughter from Gibeah. When war broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam, 3 Abijah went to fight with an army of four hundred thousand select troops against Jeroboam’s select forces numbering eight hundred thousand, who were arrayed in battle formation.
4 Abijah stood on the heights of Mount Zemaraim in Ephraim’s highlands and said:
“Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel! 5 Surely you know that the Lord, Israel’s God, made an unbreakable covenant[c] with David and his descendants that they would rule Israel forever. 6 It was Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, the servant of Solomon, David’s son, who rebelled against his master. 7 When some useless, worthless people joined his cause, they overpowered Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, who was too young and timid to resist them. 8 And now do you intend to challenge the Lord’s royal rule, entrusted to David’s descendants? You may have a numerical advantage, as well as the gold calves Jeroboam made for you as gods. 9 But you’ve banished the Lord’s priests, Aaron’s sons, along with the Levites, so that you could appoint your own priests as other countries do. Now anyone who shows up with a young bull and seven rams can become a priest of these phony gods!
10 “But us? The Lord is our God, and we haven’t abandoned him. Aaron’s descendants serve as the Lord’s priests, assisted in the work by the Levites. 11 Every morning and every evening they offer entirely burned offerings and fragrant incense to the Lord, and set out bread in stacks upon a clean table. At night they light the lamps on the gold lampstand. Yes, while you are abandoning the Lord our God, we are doing what he requires. 12 Listen! God is on our side, at our head, along with his priests, who are ready to sound the battle trumpets against you. So, Israelites, don’t fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you won’t succeed!”
13 Meanwhile, Jeroboam had sent troops around behind them for an ambush so that the main force was in front of Judah while the ambush was behind. 14 When Judah looked around and suddenly realized that they were surrounded, they cried out to the Lord while the priests sounded the trumpets 15 and raised the battle cry. When they raised the battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 So the Israelites fled before Judah, and God gave Judah the victory. 17 Abijah and his people struck them severely: five hundred thousand select warriors were killed. 18 Israel was subdued on that occasion, and Judah succeeded because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took these cities away from him: Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron,[d] along with their villages. 20 Jeroboam failed to regain power during the time of Abijah. The Lord finally struck him down, and he died. 21 Abijah, however, grew strong. He married fourteen wives; he had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 The rest of Abijah’s deeds, what he did and what he said, are written in the account of the prophet Iddo.
14 Abijah lay down with his ancestors and was buried in David’s City. His son Asa succeeded him as king.
Asa rules Judah
[e] In Asa’s time, the land had peace for ten years. 2 [f] Asa did what was right and good in the Lord his God’s eyes. 3 He removed the foreign altars and shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the sacred poles,[g] 4 and urged Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, by doing what the Instruction and the commandments required. 5 He also removed the shrines and incense altars from all the cities of Judah so that the kingdom was at peace under him. 6 When the land was at peace, he built fortified cities in Judah; there was no war in those years because the Lord had given him rest.
7 “Let’s build up these cities,” Asa told Judah. “We’ll surround them with walls, towers, gates, and crossbars while the land is still ours, because we sought the Lord our God and he sought us[h] and surrounded us with rest.” As a result, the people successfully completed their building projects.
Judah defeats Cush
8 Asa had an army of three hundred thousand Judeans armed with body-sized shields and spears and another two hundred eighty thousand from Benjamin armed with small shields and bows. All were brave warriors. 9 Zerah the Cushite marched against him with an army of one million men and three hundred chariots. When he got as far as Mareshah, 10 Asa marched against him, setting up for battle in a valley north[i] of Mareshah.
11 Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, “Lord, only you can help the weak against the powerful.[j] Help us, Lord our God, because we rely on you and we have marched against this multitude in your name. You are the Lord our God. Don’t let a mere human stand against you!”
12 So the Lord struck the Cushites before Asa and Judah, and the Cushites fled. 13 Asa and his troops chased them as far as Gerar. The Cushites fell until there were no survivors. They were completely crushed by the Lord and his army, who carried off a huge amount of loot, 14 and attacked all the cities surrounding Gerar who were terrified of the Lord. They plundered all these cities as well because there was a great amount of loot in them. 15 They also attacked the herdsmen’s camps, taking many sheep and camels before returning to Jerusalem.
15 When God’s spirit came upon Azariah, Oded’s son, 2 he confronted Asa: “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin,” he said. “The Lord is with you as long as you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and without the Instruction. 4 But in their time of trouble they turned to the Lord, Israel’s God. They sought him and found him! 5 At that time, it wasn’t safe to travel because great turmoil affected all the inhabitants of the area. 6 Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, as God troubled them with every kind of problem. 7 But as for you, be brave and don’t lose heart, because your work will be rewarded!”
8 As soon as Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah, Oded’s son,[k] he felt brave and removed the detestable idols from all of Judah and Benjamin, as well as from the cities he had captured in Ephraim’s highlands, and he repaired the Lord’s altar that stood before the Lord’s entrance hall. 9 Then Asa gathered all Judah and Benjamin, along with those who were living among them as immigrants from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, because many people from Israel had joined up with him when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 They gathered in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s rule. 11 On that day they sacrificed to the Lord part of the loot they had taken: seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. 12 They made a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and all their being. 13 They agreed that anyone who refused to seek the Lord, Israel’s God, would be put to death, whether young or old, male or female. 14 They swore this to the Lord with a loud voice, shouts of joy, and blasts from trumpets and horns. 15 All Judah was delighted with the solemn pledge because they had sworn it with all their hearts. When they enthusiastically sought God, he was found by them, and the Lord gave them peace on every side. 16 Asa the king even removed his grandmother Maacah from the position of queen mother because she had made an image of Asherah. Asa cut down her image, pulverized it, and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17 Although the shrines weren’t removed from Israel, Asa nevertheless remained committed with all his heart throughout his life. 18 He brought into God’s temple the various silver and gold objects that he and his father had dedicated. 19 There was no war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s rule.