Today's audio is from the CEV. Switch to the CEV to read along with the audio.
11 When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he gathered the people of Judah and Benjamin, 180,000 of the best soldiers, to fight against Israel and return the kingdom to Rehoboam.
2 But God spoke his word to Shemaiah, the man of God. He said, 3 “Speak to Judah’s King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, and all Israel in Judah and Benjamin. 4 This is what the Lord says: Don’t wage war against your relatives. Everyone, go home. What has happened is my doing.” So they obeyed the Lord’s word. They turned back from their attack on Jeroboam.
5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built fortified cities in Judah. 6 He rebuilt Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These were fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin. 11 He strengthened them and put army officers with reserves of food, olive oil, and wine in them. 12 In each city he stored shields and spears. He made the cities very secure. So Rehoboam held on to Judah and Benjamin.
13 The priests and Levites in every region of Israel sided with Rehoboam. 14 The priests abandoned their land and property and went to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his descendants rejected them as the Lord’s priests. 15 Instead, Jeroboam appointed his own priests for the illegal worship sites and the goat and calf statues he had made as idols. 16 People from every tribe of Israel who were determined to seek the Lord God of Israel followed the Levitical priests to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their ancestors.
17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah by supporting Rehoboam, son of Solomon, for three years. During those three years they lived the way David and Solomon had lived.
18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, daughter of Jerimoth. (Jerimoth was the son of David and Abihail. Abihail was the daughter of Eliab, son of Jesse.) 19 Mahalath gave birth to the following sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.
20 After marrying Mahalath, he married Maacah, Absalom’s granddaughter. She gave birth to Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah, Absalom’s granddaughter, more than all his other wives and concubines.[a] (He had 18 wives and 60 concubines. He fathered 28 sons and 60 daughters.)
22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah, son of Maacah, as family head and prince among his brothers. By doing this, Rehoboam could make him king. 23 He wisely placed his sons in every region of Judah and Benjamin, in every fortified city. He gave them allowances and obtained many wives for them.
12 When Rehoboam had established his kingdom and made himself strong, he and all Israel abandoned the Lord’s teachings. 2 In the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. This happened because all Israel was not loyal to the Lord. 3 Shishak had 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horses, and an army of countless Libyans, Sukkites, and Sudanese from Egypt.
4 He captured the fortified cities in Judah and then came to Jerusalem.
5 The prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah who had gathered in Jerusalem because of Shishak. Shemaiah said to them, “This is what the Lord says: You have abandoned me, so I will abandon you. I will hand you over to Shishak.” 6 Then the commanders of Israel and the king humbled themselves. “The Lord is right!” they said.
7 When the Lord saw that they had humbled themselves, he spoke his word to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them. In a little while I will give them an escape. I will not use Shishak to pour my anger on Jerusalem. 8 But they will become his servants so that they can learn the difference between serving me and serving foreign kings.”
9 King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem and took the treasures from the Lord’s temple and the royal palace. He took them all. He took the gold shields Solomon had made. 10 So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and put them by the entrance to the royal palace, where the captains of the guards were stationed. 11 Whenever the king went into the Lord’s temple, guards carried the shields and then returned them to the guardroom.
12 After Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord was no longer angry with him and didn’t completely destroy him. So things went well in Judah.
13 King Rehoboam strengthened his position in Jerusalem and ruled. He was 41 years old when he began to rule. He ruled for 17 years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord chose from all the tribes of Israel, the city where the Lord put his name. (Rehoboam’s mother was an Ammonite woman named Naamah.) 14 He did evil things because he was not serious about dedicating himself to serving the Lord.
15 Aren’t the events concerning Rehoboam from first to last written in the records of the prophet Shemaiah and the records of the seer[b] Iddo in the genealogies? There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam as long as they lived. 16 Rehoboam lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. His son Abijah succeeded him as king.
13 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam, Abijah began to rule Judah. 2 He ruled for three years in Jerusalem. His mother was named Micaiah, daughter of Uriel from Gibeah.
There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.
3 Abijah prepared for battle with an army of 400,000 of the best soldiers, while Jeroboam arranged to oppose him with 800,000 of the best professional soldiers.
4 Then Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim in the mountains of Ephraim. He called out, “Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me! 5 Don’t you know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom of Israel to David and his descendants forever in a permanent promise? [c] 6 But Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) rebelled against his master. He had been the servant of David’s son Solomon. 7 Worthless, good-for-nothing men gathered around him. They opposed Rehoboam, son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was too young and inexperienced to challenge them. 8 Do you now intend to challenge the Lord’s kingdom, which has been placed in the hands of David’s descendants? You are a large crowd, and you have the gold calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. 9 You forced out the Lord’s priests who were Aaron’s descendants, and you forced out the Levites so that you could appoint your own priests, as the people in foreign countries do. Anyone who has a young bull and seven rams can be ordained as a priest of nonexistent gods.
10 “However, the Lord is our God. We haven’t abandoned him. The priests who serve the Lord are Aaron’s descendants, and the Levites assist them. 11 They sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord every morning and every evening. They offer sweet-smelling incense and rows of bread on the clean[d] table. The lamps on the gold lamp stand burn every evening. We’re following the instructions the Lord our God gave us, but you have abandoned him. 12 God is with us as our leader. His priests will sound their trumpets to call the army to fight you. Men of Israel, don’t wage war against the Lord God of your ancestors. You won’t succeed.”
13 But Jeroboam had set an ambush to attack them from behind. So Jeroboam’s army was in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14 When Judah’s soldiers looked around, the battle was in front of them and behind them. They cried out to the Lord, the priests blew the trumpets, 15 and the men of Judah shouted. When they shouted, God attacked Jeroboam and all Israel in front of Abijah and Judah. 16 The Israelites fled from Judah’s army, and God handed them over to Judah. 17 So Abijah and his men defeated them decisively, and 500,000 of the best men of Israel were killed. 18 So the Israelites were humbled at that time, and the men of Judah won because they trusted the Lord God of their ancestors. 19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam and captured some of his cities: Bethel and its villages, Jeshanah and its villages, and Ephron and its villages.
20 Jeroboam never regained power during Abijah’s time. The Lord caused Jeroboam to become sick, and Jeroboam died.
21 But Abijah became strong. He married 14 wives and fathered 22 sons and 16 daughters.
22 Everything else about Abijah—how he lived and what he said—is written in the history by the prophet Iddo.
26 At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words. 27 The one who searches our hearts knows what the Spirit has in mind. The Spirit intercedes for God’s people the way God wants him to.
28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan. 29 This is true because he already knew his people and had already appointed them to have the same form as the image of his Son. Therefore, his Son is the firstborn among many children. 30 He also called those whom he had already appointed. He approved of those whom he had called, and he gave glory to those whom he had approved of.
31 What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 God didn’t spare his own Son but handed him over to death for all of us. So he will also give us everything along with him. 33 Who will accuse those whom God has chosen? God has approved of them. 34 Who will condemn them? Christ has died, and more importantly, he was brought back to life. Christ is in the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne. Christ also intercedes for us. 35 What will separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love? 36 As Scripture says:
“We are being killed all day long because of you.
We are thought of as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties. 38 I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us.[a] We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces 39 or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation.
37 I chased my enemies and caught up with them.
I did not return until I had ended their lives.
38 I wounded them so badly that they were unable to get up.
They fell under my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle.
You made my opponents bow at my feet.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
and I destroyed those who hated me.
41 They cried out for help, but there was no one to save them.
They cried out to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42 I beat them into a powder as fine as the dust blown by the wind.
I threw them out as though they were dirt on the streets.
43 You rescued me from my conflicts with the people.
You made me the leader of nations.
A people I did not know will serve me:
44 As soon as they hear of me, they will obey me.
Foreigners will cringe in front of me.
45 Foreigners will lose heart,
and they will tremble when they come out of their fortifications.
46 The Lord lives!
Thanks be to my rock!
May God my Savior be honored.
47 God gives me vengeance!
He brings people under my authority.
48 He saves me from my enemies.
You lift me up above my opponents.
You rescue me from violent people.
49 That is why I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the nations
and make music to praise your name.
50 He gives great victories to his king.
He shows mercy to his anointed,
to David, and to his descendant[a] forever.
For the choir director; a psalm by David.
27 If you stop listening to instruction, my son,
you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A worthless witness mocks justice,
and the mouths of wicked people swallow up trouble.
29 Punishments are set for mockers
and beatings for the backs of fools.