151The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, 2and he went to meet King Asa. He called out, “Listen to me, King Asa, and all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The LORD is with you as long as you are with him. If you look for him, he will let you find him, but if you turn away, he will abandon you. 3For a long time Israel lived without the true God, without priests to teach them, and without a law. 4But when trouble came, they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel. They searched for him and found him. 5In those days no one could come and go in safety, because there was trouble and disorder in every land. 6One nation oppressed another nation, and one city oppressed another city, because God was bringing trouble and distress on them. 7But you must be strong and not be discouraged. The work that you do will be rewarded.”
8When Asa heard the prophecy that Azariah son of15.8 Some ancient translations Azariah son of; Hebrew does not have these words. Oded had spoken, he was encouraged. He did away with all the idols in the land of Judah and Benjamin and all the idols in the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He also repaired the altar of the LORD that stood in the temple courtyard.
9Many people had come over to Asa's side from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, and were living in his kingdom, because they had seen that the LORD was with him. Asa summoned all of them and the people of Judah and Benjamin. 10They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year that Asa was king. 11On that day they offered sacrifices to the LORD from the loot they had brought back: 700 head of cattle and 7,000 sheep. 12They made a covenant in which they agreed to worship the LORD, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13Anyone, young or old, male or female, who did not worship him was to be put to death. 14In a loud voice they took an oath in the LORD's name that they would keep the covenant, and then they shouted and blew trumpets. 15All the people of Judah were happy because they had made this covenant with all their heart. They took delight in worshipping the LORD, and he accepted them and gave them peace on every side.
16King Asa removed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made an obscene idol of the fertility goddess Asherah. Asa cut down the idol, chopped it up, and burnt the pieces in the valley of the Kidron. 17Even though Asa did not destroy all the pagan places of worship in the land, he remained faithful to the LORD all his life. 18He placed in the Temple all the objects his father Abijah had dedicated to God, as well as the gold and silver objects that he himself dedicated. 19There was no more war until the 35th year of his reign.
161In the 36th year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and started to fortify Ramah in order to cut off all traffic in and out of Judah. 2So Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple and the palace and sent it to Damascus, to King Benhadad of Syria, with this message: 3“Let us be allies, as our fathers were. This silver and gold is a present for you. Now break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel so that he will have to pull his troops out of my territory.”
4Benhadad agreed to Asa's proposal and sent his commanding officers and their armies to attack the cities of Israel. They captured Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and all the cities of Naphtali where supplies were stored. 5When King Baasha heard what was happening, he stopped fortifying Ramah and abandoned the work. 6Then King Asa gathered men from throughout Judah and ordered them to carry off the stones and timber that Baasha had been using at Ramah, and they used them to fortify the cities of Geba and Mizpah.
7At that time the prophet Hanani went to King Asa and said, “Because you relied on the king of Syria instead of relying on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Israel16.7 One ancient translation Israel; Hebrew Syria. has escaped from you. 8Didn't the Ethiopians16.8 Ethiopians: See Word List. and the Libyans have large armies with many chariots and horsemen? But because you relied on the LORD, he gave you victory over them. 9The LORD keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to him. You have acted foolishly, and so from now on you will always be at war.” 10This made Asa so angry with the prophet that he had him put in chains. It was at this same time that Asa began treating some of the people cruelly.
11All the events of Asa's reign from beginning to end are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12In the 39th year that Asa was king, he was crippled by a severe foot disease; but even then he did not turn to the LORD for help, but to doctors. 13Two years later he died 14and was buried in the rock tomb which he had carved out for himself in David's City. They used spices and perfumed oils to prepare his body for burial, and they built a huge bonfire to mourn his death.
171Jehoshaphat succeeded his father Asa as king and strengthened his position against Israel. 2He stationed troops in the fortified cities of Judah, in the Judean countryside, and in the cities which Asa had captured in the territory of Ephraim. 3The LORD blessed Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father's early life and did not worship Baal. 4He served his father's God, obeyed God's commands, and did not act in the way the kings of Israel did. 5The LORD gave Jehoshaphat firm control over the kingdom of Judah, and all the people brought him gifts, so that he became wealthy and highly honoured. 6He took pride in serving the LORD and destroyed all the pagan places of worship and the symbols of the goddess Asherah in Judah.
7In the third year of his reign he sent out the following officials to teach in the cities of Judah: Benhail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah. 8They were accompanied by nine Levites and two priests. The Levites were Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tobadonijah; and the priests were Elishama and Jehoram. 9They took the book of the Law of the LORD and went through all the towns of Judah, teaching it to the people.
10The LORD made all the surrounding kingdoms afraid to go to war against King Jehoshaphat. 11Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat a large amount of silver and other gifts, and some Arabs brought him 7,700 sheep and 7,700 goats. 12So Jehoshaphat continued to grow more and more powerful. Throughout Judah he built fortifications and cities, 13where supplies were stored in huge amounts.
In Jerusalem he stationed outstanding officers, 14according to their clans. Adnah was the commander of the troops from the clans of Judah, and he had 300,000 soldiers under him. 15Second in rank was Jehohanan, with 280,000 soldiers, 16and third was Amasiah son of Zichri, with 200,000. (Amasiah had volunteered to serve the LORD.) 17The commander of the troops from the clans of Benjamin was Eliada, an outstanding soldier, in command of 200,000 men armed with shields and bows. 18His second in command was Jehozabad with 180,000 men, well equipped for battle. 19These men served the king in Jerusalem, and in addition he stationed other soldiers in the other fortified cities of Judah.