2 Chronicles 13-17 Revised Standard Version

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The Reign of Abijah

13 1  In the eighteenth year of King Jerobo'am Abi'jah began to reign over Judah. 2  He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Micai'ah the daughter of U'riel of Gib'e-ah. Now there was war between Abi'jah and Jerobo'am. 3  Abi'jah went out to battle having an army of valiant men of war, four hundred thousand picked men; and Jerobo'am drew up his line of battle against him with eight hundred thousand picked mighty warriors. 4  Then Abi'jah stood up on Mount Zemara'im which is in the hill country of E'phraim, and said, "Hear me, O Jerobo'am and all Israel! 5  Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel for ever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? 6  Yet Jerobo'am the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord; 7  and certain worthless scoundrels gathered about him and defied Rehobo'am the son of Solomon, when Rehobo'am was young and irresolute and could not withstand them. 8  "And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves which Jerobo'am made you for gods. 9  Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are no gods. 10  But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are sons of Aaron, and Levites for their service. 11  They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices, set out the showbread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand that its lamps may burn every evening; for we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken him. 12  Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers; for you cannot succeed."

13  Jerobo'am had sent an ambush around to come on them from behind; thus his troops were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14  And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was before and behind them; and they cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15  Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, God defeated Jerobo'am and all Israel before Abi'jah and Judah. 16  The men of Israel fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hand. 17  Abi'jah and his people slew them with a great slaughter; so there fell slain of Israel five hundred thousand picked men. 18  Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the Lord, the God of their fathers. 19  And Abi'jah pursued Jerobo'am, and took cities from him, Bethel with its villages and Jesha'nah with its villages and Ephron with its villages. 20  Jerobo'am did not recover his power in the days of Abi'jah; and the Lord smote him, and he died. 21  But Abi'jah grew mighty. And he took fourteen wives, and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22  The rest of the acts of Abi'jah, his ways and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.

The Reign of Asa

14 1  So Abi'jah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David; and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land had rest for ten years. 2  And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3  He took away the foreign altars and the high places, and broke down the pillars and hewed down the Ashe'rim, 4  and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. 5  He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. 6  He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace. 7  And he said to Judah, "Let us build these cities, and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars; the land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side." So they built and prospered. 8  And Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah, armed with bucklers and spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand men from Benjamin, that carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty men of valor.

9  Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mare'shah. 10  And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the valley of Zeph'athah at Mare'shah. 11  And Asa cried to the Lord his God, "O Lord, there is none like thee to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on thee, and in thy name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee." 12  So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13  Asa and the people that were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive; for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah carried away very much booty. 14  And they smote all the cities round about Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. 15  And they smote the tents of those who had cattle, and carried away sheep in abundance and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

Asa's Reforms

15 1  The Spirit of God came upon Azari'ah the son of Oded, 2  and he went out to meet Asa, and said to him, "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3  For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law; 4  but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 5  In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6  They were broken in pieces, nation against nation and city against city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 7  But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded."

8  When Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azari'ah the son of Oded, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the hill country of E'phraim, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord. 9  And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from E'phraim, Manas'seh, and Simeon who were sojourning with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10  They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11  They sacrificed to the Lord on that day, from the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. 12  And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul; 13  and that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14  They took oath to the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with horns. 15  And all Judah rejoiced over the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest round about. 16  Even Ma'acah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Ashe'rah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron. 17  But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was blameless all his days. 18  And he brought into the house of God the votive gifts of his father and his own votive gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels. 19  And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.

Asa's League with Ben-hadad

16 1  In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Ba'asha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might permit no one to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 2  Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king's house, and sent them to Ben-ha'dad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying, 3  "Let there be a league between me and you, as between my father and your father; behold, I am sending to you silver and gold; go, break your league with Ba'asha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me." 4  And Ben-ha'dad hearkened to King Asa, and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they conquered I'jon, Dan, A'bel-ma'im, and all the store-cities of Naph'tali. 5  And when Ba'asha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and let his work cease. 6  Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Ba'asha had been building, and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.

7  At that time Hana'ni the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him, "Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. 8  Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with exceedingly many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. 9  For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this; for from now on you will have wars." 10  Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in the stocks, in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time. 11  The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12  In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe; yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians. 13  And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14  They buried him in the tomb which he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier which had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer's art; and they made a very great fire in his honor.

Jehoshaphat's Kingdom Established

17 1  Jehosh'aphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel. 2  He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of E'phraim which Asa his father had taken. 3  The Lord was with Jehosh'aphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father; he did not seek the Ba'als, 4  but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the ways of Israel. 5  Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought tribute to Jehosh'aphat; and he had great riches and honor. 6  His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord; and furthermore he took the high places and the Ashe'rim out of Judah. 7  In the third year of his reign he sent his princes, Ben-hail, Obadi'ah, Zechari'ah, Nethan'el, and Micai'ah, to teach in the cities of Judah; 8  and with them the Levites, Shemai'ah, Nethani'ah, Zebadi'ah, As'ahel, Shemi'ramoth, Jehon'athan, Adoni'jah, Tobi'jah, and Tobadoni'jah; and with these Levites, the priests Eli'shama and Jeho'ram. 9  And they taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them; they went about through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.

10  And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, and they made no war against Jehosh'aphat. 11  Some of the Philistines brought Jehosh'aphat presents, and silver for tribute; and the Arabs also brought him seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred he-goats. 12  And Jehosh'aphat grew steadily greater. He built in Judah fortresses and store-cities, 13  and he had great stores in the cities of Judah. He had soldiers, mighty men of valor, in Jerusalem. 14  This was the muster of them by fathers' houses: Of Judah, the commanders of thousands: Adnah the commander, with three hundred thousand mighty men of valor, 15  and next to him Jehoha'nan the commander, with two hundred and eighty thousand, 16  and next to him Amasi'ah the son of Zichri, a volunteer for the service of the Lord, with two hundred thousand mighty men of valor. 17  Of Benjamin: Eli'ada, a mighty man of valor, with two hundred thousand men armed with bow and shield, 18  and next to him Jeho'zabad with a hundred and eighty thousand armed for war. 19  These were in the service of the king, besides those whom the king had placed in the fortified cities throughout all Judah.

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