Abijah King of Judah
1Abijah became king of Judah. It was in the 18th year of Jeroboam’s rule over Israel. 2 Abijah ruled in Jerusalem for three years. His mother’s name was Maakah. She was a daughter of Uriel. Uriel was from Gibeah.
There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Abijah went into battle with an army of 400,000 capable fighting men. Jeroboam lined up his soldiers against them. He had 800,000 able troops.
4 Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim. It’s in the hill country of Ephraim. Abijah said, “Jeroboam and all you Israelites, listen to me! 5 The Lord is the God of Israel. Don’t you know that he has placed David and his sons after him on Israel’s throne forever? The Lord made a covenant of salt with David. The salt means the covenant will last for all time to come. 6 Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was an official of David’s son Solomon. But he refused to obey his master. 7 Some worthless and evil men gathered around him. They opposed Solomon’s son Rehoboam. At that time Rehoboam was young. He couldn’t make up his mind. He wasn’t strong enough to stand up against those men.
8 “Now you plan to stand up against the kingdom of the Lord. His kingdom is in the hands of men in David’s family line. It’s true that you have a huge army. You have the statues of the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. 9 But you drove out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron. You also drove out the Levites. You appointed your own priests. That’s what the people of other nations do. Anyone can come and set himself apart. All he has to do is sacrifice a young bull and seven rams. Then he becomes a priest of gods that aren’t really gods at all!
10 “But the Lord is our God. We haven’t deserted him. The priests who serve the Lord belong to the family line of Aaron. The Levites help them. 11 Every morning and evening the priests bring burnt offerings and sweet-smelling incense to the Lord. They set out the holy bread on the table. That table is ‘clean.’ They light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We always do what the Lord our God requires in his law. But you have deserted him. 12 God is with us. He’s our leader. His priests will blow their trumpets. They will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, don’t fight against the Lord. He’s the God of your people who lived long ago. You can’t possibly succeed.”
13 Jeroboam had sent some troops behind Judah’s battle lines. He told them to hide and wait there. He and his men stayed in front of Judah’s lines. 14 Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked from the front and from the back. Then they cried out to the Lord. The priests blew their trumpets. 15 The men of Judah shouted the battle cry. When they did, God drove Jeroboam and all the Israelites away from Abijah and Judah. 16 The Israelites ran away from them. God handed Israel over to Judah. 17 Abijah and his troops wounded and killed large numbers of them. In fact, 500,000 of Israel’s capable men lay dead or wounded. 18 So at that time the Israelites were brought under Judah’s control. The people of Judah won the battle over them. That’s because they trusted in the Lord, the God of their people.
19 Abijah chased Jeroboam. He captured from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron. He also captured the villages around them. 20 Jeroboam didn’t get his power back during the time of Abijah. In fact, the Lord struck Jeroboam down, and he died.
21 But Abijah grew stronger. He married 14 wives. He had 22 sons and 16 daughters.
22 The other events of Abijah’s rule are written down. The things he did and said are written in the notes of Iddo the prophet.