Good News Translation (GNB)

Shemaiah's Prophecy

(1 Kgs 12.21–24)

111When 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. 2But the LORD told the prophet Shemaiah 3to give this message to King Rehoboam and to all the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin: 4“Do not attack your fellow-Israelites. 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

5Rehoboam remained in Jerusalem and had fortifications built for the following cities of Judah and Benjamin: 6Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7Bethzur, Soco, Adullam, 8Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. 11He 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, 12and also shields and spears. In this way he kept Judah and Benjamin under his control.

Priests and Levites Come to Judah

13From all the territory of Israel priests and Levites came south to Judah. 14The 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

1 Kgs 12.31
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. 16From 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. 17This 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

18Rehoboam married Mahalath, whose father was Jerimoth son of David, and whose mother was Abihail, the daughter of Eliab and granddaughter of Jesse. 19They had three sons, Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20Later he married Maacah, the daughter of Absalom, and they had four sons: Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21In all, Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and he fathered 28 sons and sixty daughters. Of all his wives and concubines he loved Maacah best, 22and he favoured her son Abijah over all his other children, choosing him as the one to succeed him as king. 23Rehoboam 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

(1 Kgs 14.25–28)

121As soon as Rehoboam had established his authority as king, he and all his people abandoned the Law of the LORD. 2In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign their disloyalty to the LORD was punished. King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem 3with an army of 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horsemen, and more soldiers than could be counted, including Libyan, Sukkite, and Ethiopian12.3 Ethiopian: See Word List. troops. 4He captured the fortified cities of Judah and advanced as far as Jerusalem.

5Shemaiah 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.’ ”

6The king and the leaders admitted that they had sinned, and they said, “What the LORD is doing is just.”

7When 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, 8but Shishak will conquer them, and they will learn the difference between serving me and serving earthly rulers.”


1 Kgs 10.16–17
2 Chr 9.15–16
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. 10To replace them, Rehoboam made bronze shields and entrusted them to the officers responsible for guarding the palace gates. 11Every time the king went to the Temple, the guards carried the shields and then returned them to the guardroom. 12Because 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

13Rehoboam ruled in Jerusalem and increased his power as king. He was 41 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 worshipped. Rehoboam's mother was Naamah, from the land of Ammon. 14He did what was evil, because he did not try to find the LORD's will.

15Rehoboam'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. 16Rehoboam 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

(1 Kgs 15.1–8)

131In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel, Abijah became king of Judah, 2and he ruled for three years in Jerusalem. His mother was Micaiah daughter of Uriel, from the city of Gibeah.

War broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3Abijah raised an army of 400,000 soldiers, and Jeroboam opposed him with an army of 800,000.

4The 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. 5“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 for ever? 6Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against Solomon, his king. 7Later 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. 8Now 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. 9You 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. 11Every morning and every evening they offer him incense and animal sacrifices burnt 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. 12God 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!”

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

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

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