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Shishak King of Egypt Attacks Jerusalem

12 Rehoboam became a strong king. He also made his kingdom strong. Then Rehoboam and the family group of Judah* refused to obey the law of the Lord. 2Shishak attacked the city of Jerusalem in the fifth year that Rehoboam was king. Shishak was the king of Egypt. This happened because Rehoboam and the people of Judah were not faithful to the Lord. 3Shishak had 12,000 chariots, 60,000 horse riders, and an army that no person could count. In Shishak’s large army there were Libyan soldiers, Sukkite soldiers, and Ethiopian soldiers. 4Shishak defeated the strong cities of Judah. Then Shishak brought his army to Jerusalem. 5Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah. Those leaders of Judah had gathered together in Jerusalem because they all were afraid of Shishak. Shemaiah said to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Rehoboam, you and the people of Judah have left me and refused to obey my law. So now I will leave you to face Shishak without my help.’” 6Then the leaders of Judah and King Rehoboam were sorry and humbled themselves. They said, “The Lord is right.” 7The Lord saw that the king and the leaders of Judah had humbled themselves. Then the message from the Lord came to Shemaiah. The Lord said to Shemaiah, “The king and the leaders humbled themselves. So I will not destroy them, but I will save them soon. I will not use Shishak to pour out my anger on Jerusalem. 8But the people of Jerusalem will become Shishak’s servants. This will happen so that they may learn that serving me is different from serving the kings of other nations.” 9Shishak attacked Jerusalem and took the treasures that were in the Lord’s temple.* Shishak was the king of Egypt. And he also took the treasures that were in the king’s house. Shishak took everything and carried those treasures away. He also took the gold shields that Solomon had made. 10King Rehoboam made bronze shields to take the place of the gold shields. Rehoboam gave the bronze shields to the commanders who were responsible for guarding the entrance to the king’s house. 11When the king entered the Lord’s temple, the guards would bring the bronze shields out. Later they would put the bronze shields back into the guard room. 12When Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord turned his anger away from Rehoboam. So the Lord did not fully destroy Rehoboam. There was some good in Judah. 13King Rehoboam made himself a strong king in Jerusalem. He was 41 years old when he became king. Rehoboam was king in Jerusalem for 17 years. Jerusalem is the city that the Lord chose from all the family groups of Israel. The Lord chose to put his name there in Jerusalem. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah. Naamah was from the country of Ammon. 14Rehoboam did evil things because he didn’t decide in his heart to obey the Lord. 15The things Rehoboam did when he was king, from the beginning to the end of his rule, are written in the writings of Shemaiah the prophet and in the writings of Iddo the seer.* Those men wrote family histories. And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the time both kings ruled. 16Rehoboam rested with his ancestors.* Rehoboam was buried in David’s city. Then Rehoboam’s son Abijah became the new king.

Judah Literally, “Israel.” temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. seer This is another name for a prophet. See 1 Sam. 9:9–11. ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. 

Abijah King of Judah

13 When King Jeroboam was in his 18th year as king of Israel,* Abijah became the new king of Judah. 2Abijah was king in Jerusalem for three years. Abijah’s mother was Maacah. Maacah was Uriel’s daughter. Uriel was from the town of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3Abijah’s army had 400,000 brave soldiers. Abijah led that army into battle. Jeroboam’s army had 800,000 brave soldiers. Jeroboam got ready to have a war with Abijah. 4Then Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim in the hill country of Ephraim. Abijah said, “Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me! 5You should know that the Lord God of Israel gave David and his sons the right to be king over Israel forever. God gave this right to David with an agreement of salt.* 6But Jeroboam turned against his Master! Jeroboam son of Nebat was one of the servants of David’s son Solomon. 7Then worthless, evil men became friends with Jeroboam. Then Jeroboam and those bad men turned against Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. Rehoboam was young and did not have experience. So Rehoboam could not stop Jeroboam and his bad friends. 8“Now, you people have decided to defeat the Lord’s kingdom—the kingdom that is ruled by David’s sons. You have very many people with you and you have those golden calves—those ‘gods’ that Jeroboam made for you! 9You threw out the Lord’s priests, the descendants of Aaron. And you threw out the Levites. Then you chose your own priests, just like every other nation on earth. And now, any person that will bring a young bull and seven rams can become a priest! A priest to serve those ‘No-gods’. 10“But as for us, the Lord is our God. We people of Judah have not refused to obey God! We have not left him! The priests who serve the Lord are Aaron’s sons. And the Levites help the priests serve the Lord. 11They offer burnt offerings* and burn incense* of spices to the Lord every morning and every evening. They put the bread in rows on the special table in the temple.* And they take care of the lamps on the golden lampstand so it shines bright each and every evening. We very carefully serve the Lord our God. But you people have abandoned him! 12God himself is with us. He is our ruler, and his priests are with us. God’s priests blow his trumpets to wake you up and make you excited about coming to him! Men of Israel, don’t fight against the Lord God of your ancestors!* You will not succeed!” 13But Jeroboam sent a group of soldiers to sneak behind Abijah’s army. Jeroboam’s army was in front of Abijah’s army. The hidden soldiers from Jeroboam’s army were behind Abijah’s army. 14When the soldiers in Abijah’s army from Judah looked around, they saw Jeroboam’s army attacking both in front and in back.* The men of Judah shouted out to the Lord and the priests blew the trumpets. 15Then the men in Abijah’s army shouted. When the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam’s army. All of Jeroboam’s army from Israel were defeated by Abijah’s army from Judah. 16The men of Israel ran away from the men of Judah. God let the army from Judah defeat the army from Israel. 17Abijah’s army greatly defeated the army of Israel, and 500,000 of the best men of Israel were killed. 18So at that time the people of Israel were defeated, and the people of Judah won. The army from Judah won because they depended on the Lord the God of their ancestors.* 19Abijah’s army chased Jeroboam’s army. Abijah’s army captured the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron from Jeroboam. They captured those towns and the small villages near those towns. 20Jeroboam never became strong again while Abijah lived. The Lord killed Jeroboam. 21But Abijah became strong. He married 14 women and was the father of 22 sons and 16 daughters. 22All the other things that Abijah did are written in the books of the prophet Iddo.

King Jeroboam … Israel This was about the year 923 B.C. King Jeroboam was the man who turned against King Rehoboam and began his own kingdom with ten of the family groups of Israel. See 1 Kings 12:20. agreement of salt When people ate salt together, it meant that their agreement of friendship would never be broken. Abijah was saying here that God had made an agreement with David that would never be broken. burnt offering(s) Gifts to God. Usually these were animals that were killed and completely burned on the altar. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweet-smelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. temple The special building in Jerusalem for Jewish worship. ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. When the soldiers … in back The Hebrew reads, “The battle was in front and in the back.”

14 Abijah rested with his ancestors.* The people buried him in David’s City. Then Abijah’s son, Asa, was the new king in Abijah’s place. There was peace in the country for ten years in Asa’s time.

Asa King of Judah

2Asa did good and right things before the Lord his God. 3Asa took away the strange altars that were used to worship idols. Asa took away the high places,* and smashed the memorial stones.* And Asa broke down the Asherah poles.* 4Asa commanded the people of Judah to follow the Lord God. He is the God their ancestors* followed. And Asa commanded them to obey the Lord’s laws and commandments. 5Asa also took away the high places and the incense* altars from all the towns in Judah. So the kingdom had peace when Asa was king. 6Asa built strong cities in Judah during the time when there was peace in Judah. Asa had no war in these years because the Lord gave him peace. 7Asa said to the people of Judah, “Let’s build these towns and make walls around them. Let’s make towers, gates, and bars in the gates. Let’s do this while we still live in this country. This country is ours because we have followed the Lord our God. He has given us peace all around us.” So they built and had success. 8Asa had an army of 300,000 men from the family group of Judah and 280,000 men from the family group of Benjamin. The men from Judah carried large shields and spears. The men from Benjamin carried small shields and shot arrows from bows. All those men were strong and brave soldiers. 9Then Zerah came out against Asa’s army. Zerah was from Ethiopia. Zerah had 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots* in his army. Zerah’s army went as far as the town of Mareshah. 10Asa went out to fight against Zerah. Asa’s army got ready for battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11Asa called out to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, only you can help weak people against strong people! Help us, Lord our God! We depend on you. We fight against this large army in your name. Lord, you are our God! Don’t let anyone win against you!” 12Then the Lord used Asa’s army from Judah to defeat the Ethiopian army. And the Ethiopian army ran away. 13Asa’s army chased the Ethiopian army all the way to the town of Gerar. So many Ethiopians were killed that they could not get together as an army to fight again. They were crushed by the Lord and his army. Asa and his army carried many valuable things away from the enemy. 14Asa and his army defeated all the towns near Gerar. The people living in those towns were afraid of the Lord. Those towns had very many valuable things. Asa’s army took those valuable things away from those towns. 15Asa’s army also attacked the camps where the shepherds lived. They took many sheep and camels. Then Asa’s army went back to Jerusalem.

ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. high places Places for worshiping God or false gods. These places were often on the hills and mountains. memorial stones Stones that were set up to help people remember something special. In ancient Israel, people often set up these stones as special places to worship false gods. Asherah poles Poles used to honor the goddess Asherah. People thought she could help them have many children. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweetsmelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. chariot(s) A small wagon used in war.

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