2 Chronicles 11-13
Shemaiah the Prophet Warns Rehoboam
11 After Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem, he decided to attack Israel and regain control of the whole country. So he called together 180,000 soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
2 Meanwhile, the Lord had told Shemaiah the prophet 3 to tell Rehoboam and everyone from Judah and Benjamin, 4 “The Lord warns you not to go to war against the people from the northern tribes—they are your relatives. Go home! The Lord is the one who made these things happen.”
Rehoboam and his army obeyed the Lord's message and did not attack Jeroboam and his troops.
Rehoboam Fortifies Cities in Judah
5 Rehoboam ruled from Jerusalem, and he had several cities in Judah turned into fortresses so he could use them to defend his country. These cities included 6 Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth-Zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. After he had fortified these cities in the territories of Judah and Benjamin, 11 he assigned an army commander to each of them and stocked them with supplies of food, olive oil, and wine, 12 as well as with shields and spears. He used these fortified cities to keep control of Judah and Benjamin.
The Priests and the Levites Support Rehoboam
13 The priests and Levites from the northern tribes of Israel gave their support to King Rehoboam. 14 And since Jeroboam and the kings of Israel that followed him would not allow any Levites to serve as priests, most Levites left their towns and pasturelands in Israel and moved to Jerusalem and other towns in Judah. 15 (A) Jeroboam chose his own priests to serve at the local shrines[a] in Israel and at the places of worship where he had set up statues of goat-demons and of calves.
16 But some of the people from Israel wanted to worship the Lord God, just as their ancestors had done. So they followed the priests and Levites to Jerusalem, where they could offer sacrifices to the Lord. 17 For the next three years, they lived in Judah and were loyal to Rehoboam and his kingdom, just as they had been loyal to David and Solomon.
18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, whose father was Jerimoth son of David, and whose mother was Abihail the daughter of Eliab and granddaughter of Jesse. 19 Rehoboam and Mahalath had three sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 Then Rehoboam married Maacah the daughter of Absalom. Their sons were Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.
21 Rehoboam had 18 wives, but he also married 60 other women,[b] and he was the father of 28 sons and 60 daughters. Rehoboam loved his wife Maacah the most, 22 so he chose their oldest son Abijah to be the next king. 23 Rehoboam was wise enough to put one of his sons in charge of each fortified city in his kingdom. He gave them all the supplies they needed and found wives for every one of them.
King Shishak of Egypt Invades Judah
12 Soon after Rehoboam had control of his kingdom, he and everyone in Judah stopped obeying the Lord. 2 So in the fifth year of Rehoboam's rule, the Lord punished them for their unfaithfulness and allowed King Shishak of Egypt to invade Judah. 3 Shishak attacked with his army of 1,200 chariots and 60,000 cavalry troops, as well as countless Egyptian soldiers from Libya, Sukkoth, and Ethiopia.[c] 4 He captured every one of the fortified cities in Judah and then marched to Jerusalem.
5 Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah had gone to Jerusalem to escape Shishak's invasion. And while they were there, Shemaiah the prophet told them, “The Lord says that because you have disobeyed him, he has now abandoned you. The Lord will not help you against Shishak!”
6 Rehoboam and the leaders were sorry for what they had done and admitted, “The Lord is right. We have deserted him.”
7 When the Lord heard this, he told Shemaiah:
The people of Judah are truly sorry for their sins, and so I won't let Shishak completely destroy them. But because I am still angry, 8 he will conquer and rule them.
Then my people will know what it's like to serve a foreign king instead of serving me.
9 (B) Shishak attacked Jerusalem and took all the valuable things from the temple and from the palace, including Solomon's gold shields.
10 Rehoboam had bronze shields made to replace the gold ones, and he ordered the guards at the city gates to keep them safe. 11 Whenever Rehoboam went to the Lord's temple, the guards carried the shields. But they always took them back to the guardroom as soon as he had finished worshiping.
12 Rehoboam turned back to the Lord, and so the Lord did not let Judah be completely destroyed, and Judah was prosperous again.
Rehoboam's Rule in Judah
13 Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king, and he ruled 17 years from Jerusalem, the city where the Lord had chosen to be worshiped. His mother Naamah was from Ammon. Rehoboam was a powerful king, 14 but he still did wrong and refused to obey the Lord.
15 Everything else Rehoboam did while he was king, including a history of his family, is written in the records of the two prophets, Shemaiah and Iddo. During Rehoboam's rule, he and King Jeroboam of Israel were constantly at war. 16 When Rehoboam died, he was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Abijah became king.
King Abijah of Judah
13 Abijah[d] 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 400,000 troops, and Jeroboam met him in battle with 800,000 troops.
4 Abijah went to the top of Mount Zemaraim[e] 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 17 500,000 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 14 wives, 22 sons, and 16 daughters. 22 Everything Abijah said and did while he was king is written in the records of Iddo the prophet.
- 11.15 local shrines: The Hebrew text has “high places,” which were local places to worship foreign gods.
- 11.21 other women: This translates a Hebrew word for women who were legally bound to a man, but without the full privileges of a wife.
- 12.3 Ethiopia: The Hebrew text has “Cush,” which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
- 13.1 Abijah: In 1 Kings 15.1-8 his name is spelled “Abijam.”
- 13.4 Mount Zemaraim: Probably located on the northern border of the territory of Benjamin.
26 In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don't know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. 27 (A) All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God's people. 28 We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.[a] They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, 29 and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so his Son would be the first of many children. 30 God then accepted the people he had already decided to choose, and he has shared his glory with them.
31 What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? 32 God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won't he freely give us everything else? 33 If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? 34 Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God's right side,[b] speaking to him for us. 35 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death? 36 (B) It is exactly as the Scriptures say,
“For you we face death
all day long.
We are like sheep
on their way
to be butchered.”
37 In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. 38 I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, 39 and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!
37 I kept chasing my enemies,
until I caught them
and destroyed them.
38 I stuck my sword
through my enemies,
and they were crushed
under my feet.
39 You helped me win victories,
and you forced my attackers
to fall victim to me.
40 You made my enemies run,
and I killed them.
41 They cried out for help,
but no one saved them;
they called out to you,
but there was no answer.
42 I ground them to dust
blown by the wind,
and I poured them out
like mud in the streets.
43 You rescued me
from stubborn people,
and you made me the leader
of foreign nations,
who are now my slaves.
44 They obey and come crawling.
45 They have lost all courage,
and from their fortresses,
they come trembling.
46 You are the living Lord!
I will praise you.
You are a mighty rock.[a]
I will honor you
for keeping me safe.
47 You took revenge for me,
and you put nations
in my power.
48 You protected me
from violent enemies
and made me much greater
than all of them.
49 (A) I will praise you, Lord,
and I will honor you
among the nations.
50 You give glorious victories
to your chosen king.
Your faithful love for David
and for his descendants
will never end.
- 18.46 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
27 If you stop learning,
you will forget
what you already know.
28 A lying witness makes fun
of the court system,
and criminals think crime
is really delicious.
29 A stupid fool should expect
to be punished.