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.”
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.
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.
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.
141King 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. 2Asa pleased the LORD, his God, by doing what was right and good. 3He 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. 4He commanded the people of Judah to do the will of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his teachings and commands. 5Because 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. 6He built fortifications for the cities of Judah during this time, and for several years there was no war, because the LORD gave him peace. 7He said to 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. 8King 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.
9An Ethiopian14.9; 14.12; 14.13 Ethiopian(s): See Word List. named Zerah invaded Judah with an army of a million men and 300 chariots and advanced as far as Mareshah. 10Asa went out to fight him, and both sides took up their positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah. 11Asa 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.”
12The LORD defeated the Ethiopian14.12; 14.13; 14.9 Ethiopian(s): See Word List. army when Asa and the Judean army attacked them. They fled, 13and Asa and his troops pursued them as far as Gerar. So many of the Ethiopians14.13; 14.9; 14.12 Ethiopian(s): See Word List. were killed that the army was unable to rally and fight.14.13 So many of the Ethiopians… fight; or The Ethiopians were completely defeated; not one of them was left alive. They were overpowered by the LORD and his army, and the army took large amounts of loot. 14Then 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. 15They also attacked the camps of some shepherds, capturing large numbers of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.