Rehoboam Reigns over Judah and Builds Cities
1Now when Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, 180,000 chosen warriors to fight against [the ten tribes of] Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. 2 But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 3 “Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, 4 ‘Thus says the Lord: “You shall not go up nor fight against your brothers (countrymen); return, every man to his house, for this thing is from Me.”’” And they listened to and obeyed the words of the Lord and turned back from going against Jeroboam.
5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built [fortified] cities for defense in Judah. 6 He [a]built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, which are fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin. 11 He strengthened the fortresses and put officers in them, with supplies of food, [olive] oil, and wine. 12 And in each city he put [large] shields and spears, and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.
13 Further, the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel took their stand with Rehoboam from all their districts.
Jeroboam Appoints False Priests
14 For the Levites left their pasture lands and their property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from serving as priests to the Lord. 15 Jeroboam appointed his own priests for the high places, for the satyrs (goat demons) and calves (idols) which he had made. 16 Those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the Lord God of Israel followed [b]them to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers. 17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam the son of Solomon for three years; for they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years.
18 Rehoboam took as his wife Mahalath, the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David, and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse. 19 She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 After her he took Maacah the daughter (granddaughter) of Absalom, and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter (granddaughter) of Absalom more than all his wives and [c]concubines—for he had taken eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and he fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. 22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah the chief leader among his brothers, because he intended to make him king. 23 He acted wisely and distributed some of his sons throughout the territories of Judah and Benjamin to all the fortified cities. He gave them abundant provisions, and he sought many wives for them.