1 Kings 15:1-24 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Abijam of Judah
15 Abijam became king of Judah in Jeroboam’s eighteenth year as king of Israel, 2 and he ruled from Jerusalem for three years. His mother was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.
3 Abijam did not truly obey the Lord his God as his ancestor David had done. Instead, he was sinful just like his father Rehoboam. 4-5 David had always obeyed the Lord’s commands by doing right, except in the case of Uriah.[a] And since Abijam was David’s great-grandson, the Lord kept Jerusalem safe and let Abijam have a son who would be the next king.
6-7 The war that had broken out between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continued during the time that Abijam was king.
Everything else Abijam did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 8 Abijam died and was buried in Jerusalem,[b] and his son Asa became king.
King Asa of Judah
9 Asa became king of Judah in the twentieth year of Jeroboam’s rule in Israel, 10 and he ruled forty-one years from Jerusalem. His grandmother was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.
11 Asa obeyed the Lord, as David had done. 12 He forced the prostitutes[c] at the shrines to leave the country, and he got rid of the idols his ancestors had made. 13 His own grandmother Maacah had made an idol of Asherah, and Asa took it and burned it in Kidron Valley. Then he removed Maacah from her position as queen mother.[d]
14 As long as Asa lived, he was completely faithful to the Lord, even though he did not destroy the local shrines. 15 He placed in the temple all the silver and gold objects that he and his father had dedicated to the Lord.
16 Asa was always at war with King Baasha of Israel. 17 One time, Baasha invaded Judah and captured the town of Ramah. He started making the town stronger, so he could put troops there to stop people from going in and out of Judah.
18 When Asa heard about this, he took the silver and gold from his palace and from the Lord’s temple. He gave it to some of his officials and sent them to Damascus with this message for King Benhadad[e] of Syria: 19 “Our fathers signed a peace treaty. Why don’t we do the same thing? This silver and gold is a present for you. So, would you please break your treaty with Baasha and force him to leave my country?”
20 Benhadad did what Asa asked and sent the Syrian army into Israel. They captured the towns of Ijon, Dan, and Abel-Bethmaacah, and the territories of Chinneroth and Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard about it, he left Ramah and went back to Tirzah.
22 Asa ordered everyone in Judah to carry away the stones and wood Baasha had used to strengthen the town of Ramah. Then he used these same stones and wood to fortify the town of Geba in the territory of Benjamin and the town of Mizpah.
23 Everything else Asa did while he was king, including his victories and the towns he rebuilt, is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. When he got older, he had a foot disease. 24 Asa died and was buried in the tomb of his ancestors in Jerusalem.[f] His son Jehoshaphat then became king.
2 Chronicles 13-16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Abijah of Judah
13 Abijah[a] became king of Judah in Jeroboam’s eighteenth year as king of Israel, 2 and he ruled from Jerusalem for three years. His mother was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel from Gibeah.
Some time later, Abijah and King Jeroboam of Israel went to war against each other. 3 Abijah’s army had four hundred thousand troops, and Jeroboam met him in battle with eight hundred thousand troops.
4 Abijah went to the top of Mount Zemaraim[b] in the hills of Ephraim and shouted:
Listen, Jeroboam and all you Israelites! 5 The Lord God of Israel has made a solemn promise that every king of Israel will be from David’s family. 6 But Jeroboam, you were King Solomon’s official, and you rebelled. 7 Then right after Rehoboam became king, you and your bunch of worthless followers challenged Rehoboam, who was too young to know how to stop you.
8 Now you and your powerful army think you can stand up to the kingdom that the Lord has given to David’s descendants. The only gods you have are those gold statues of calves that Jeroboam made for you. 9 You don’t even have descendants of Aaron on your side, because you forced out the Lord’s priests and Levites. In their place, you appoint ordinary people to be priests, just as the foreign nations do. In fact, anyone who brings a bull and seven rams to the altar can become a priest of your so-called gods.
10 But we have not turned our backs on the Lord God! Aaron’s own descendants serve as our priests, and the Levites are their assistants. 11 Two times every day they offer sacrifices and burn incense to the Lord. They set out the sacred loaves of bread on a table that has been purified, and they light the lamps in the gold lampstand every day at sunset. We follow the commands of the Lord our God—you have rejected him! 12 That’s why God is on our side and will lead us into battle when the priests sound the signal on the trumpets. It’s no use, Israelites. You might as well give up. There’s no way you can defeat the Lord, the God your ancestors worshiped.
13 But while Abijah was talking, Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to attack Judah’s army from behind, while the rest attacked from the front. 14 Judah’s army realized they were trapped, and so they prayed to the Lord. The priests blew the signal on the trumpet, 15 and the troops let out a battle cry. Then with Abijah leading them into battle, God defeated Jeroboam and Israel’s army. 16 The Israelites ran away, and God helped Judah’s soldiers slaughter 17 five hundred thousand enemy troops. 18 Judah’s army won because they had trusted the Lord God of their ancestors.
19 Abijah kept up his attack on Jeroboam’s army and captured the Israelite towns of Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, as well as the villages around them.
20 Jeroboam never regained his power during the rest of Abijah’s rule. The Lord punished Jeroboam, and he died, but Abijah became more powerful.
21 Abijah had a total of fourteen wives, twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters. 22 Everything Abijah said and did while he was king is written in the records of Iddo the prophet.
King Asa of Judah
14 Abijah died and was buried in Jerusalem. Then his son Asa became king, and Judah had ten years of peace.
2 Asa obeyed the Lord his God and did right. 3 He destroyed the local shrines[c] and the altars to foreign gods. He smashed the stone images of gods and cut down the sacred poles[d] used in worshiping the goddess Asherah. 4 Then he told everyone in Judah to worship the Lord God, just as their ancestors had done, and to obey his laws and teachings. 5 He destroyed every local shrine and incense altar in Judah.
6 The Lord blessed Judah with peace while Asa was king, and so during that time, Asa fortified many of the towns. 7 He said to the people, “Let’s build walls and defense towers for these towns, and put in gates that can be locked with bars. This land still belongs to us, because we have obeyed the Lord our God. He has given us peace from all our enemies.” The people did everything Asa had suggested.
8 Asa had a large army of brave soldiers: Three hundred thousand of them were from the tribe of Judah and were armed with shields and spears; two hundred eighty thousand were from Benjamin and were armed with bows and arrows.
Judah Defeats Ethiopia’s Army
9 Zerah from Ethiopia[e] led an army of a million soldiers and three hundred chariots to the town of Mareshah[f] in Judah. 10 Asa met him there, and the two armies prepared for battle in Zephathah Valley.
11 Asa prayed:
Lord God, only you can help a powerless army defeat a stronger one. So we depend on you to help us. We will fight against this powerful army to honor your name, and we know that you won’t be defeated. You are the Lord our God.
12 The Lord helped Asa and his army defeat the Ethiopians. The enemy soldiers ran away, 13 but Asa and his troops chased them as far as Gerar. It was a total defeat—the Ethiopians could not even fight back![g]
The soldiers from Judah took everything that had belonged to the Ethiopians. 14 The people who lived in the villages around Gerar learned what had happened and were afraid of the Lord. So Judah’s army easily defeated them and carried off everything of value that they wanted from these towns. 15 They also attacked the camps where the shepherds lived and took a lot of sheep, goats, and camels. Then they went back to Jerusalem.
Asa Destroys the Idols in Judah
15 Some time later, God spoke to Azariah son of Oded. 2 At once, Azariah went to Asa and said:
Listen to me, King Asa and you people of Judah and Benjamin. The Lord will be with you and help you, as long as you obey and worship him. But if you disobey him, he will desert you.
3 For a long time, the people of Israel did not worship the true God or listen to priests who could teach them about God. They refused to obey God’s Law. 4 But whenever trouble came, Israel turned back to the Lord their God and worshiped him.
5 There was so much confusion in those days that it wasn’t safe to go anywhere in Israel. 6 Nations were destroying each other, and cities were wiping out other cities, because God was causing trouble and unrest everywhere.
7 So you must be brave. Don’t give up! God will honor you for obeying him.
8 As soon as Asa heard what Azariah the prophet said, he gave orders for all the idols in Judah and Benjamin to be destroyed, including those in the towns he had captured in the territory of Ephraim. He also repaired the Lord’s altar that was in front of the temple porch.
9 Asa called together the people from Judah and Benjamin, as well as the people from the territories of Ephraim, West Manasseh, and Simeon who were living in Judah. Many of these people were now loyal to Asa, because they had seen that the Lord was with him.
10 In the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s rule, they all met in Jerusalem. 11 That same day, they took seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep and goats from what they had brought back from Gerar and sacrificed them as offerings to the Lord. 12 They made a solemn promise to faithfully worship the Lord God their ancestors had worshiped, 13 and to put to death anyone who refused to obey him. 14 The crowd solemnly agreed to keep their promise to the Lord, then they celebrated by shouting and blowing trumpets and horns. 15 Everyone was happy because they had made this solemn promise, and in return, the Lord blessed them with peace from all their enemies.
16 Asa’s grandmother Maacah had made a disgusting idol of the goddess Asherah, so he cut it down, crushed it, and burned it in Kidron Valley. Then he removed Maacah from her position as queen mother.[h] 17 As long as Asa lived, he was faithful to the Lord, even though he did not destroy the local shrines[i] in Israel. 18 He placed in the temple all the silver and gold objects that he and his father had dedicated to God.
19 There was peace in Judah until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s rule.
King Baasha of Israel Invades Judah
16 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s rule, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and captured the town of Ramah. He started making the town stronger, and he put troops there to stop people from going in and out of Judah.
2 When Asa heard about this, he took the silver and gold from his palace and from the Lord’s temple. Then he sent it to Damascus with this message for King Benhadad of Syria: 3 “I think we should sign a peace treaty, just as our fathers did. This silver and gold is a present for you. Would you please break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel and force him to leave my country?”
4 Benhadad did what Asa asked and sent the Syrian army into Israel. They captured the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-Maim,[j] and all the towns in Naphtali where supplies were kept. 5 When Baasha heard about it, he stopped his work on the town of Ramah.
6 Asa ordered everyone in Judah to carry away the stones and wood Baasha had used to fortify Ramah. Then he fortified the towns of Geba and Mizpah with these same stones and wood.
Hanani the Prophet Condemns Asa
7 Soon after that happened, Hanani the prophet went to Asa and said:
You depended on the king of Syria instead of depending on the Lord your God. And so, you will never defeat the Syrian army. 8 Remember how powerful the Ethiopian[k] and Libyan army was, with all their chariots and cavalry troops! You trusted the Lord to help you then, and you defeated them. 9 The Lord is constantly watching everyone, and he gives strength to those who faithfully obey him. But you have done a foolish thing, and your kingdom will never be at peace again.
10 When Asa heard this, he was so angry that he put Hanani in prison. Asa was also cruel to some of his people.[l]
11 Everything Asa did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his rule, he got a very bad foot disease, but he relied on doctors and refused to ask the Lord for help. 13 He died two years later.
14 Earlier, Asa had his own tomb cut out of a rock hill in Jerusalem. So he was buried there, and the tomb was filled with spices and sweet-smelling oils. Then the people built a bonfire in his honor.
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