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2 Chronicles 13 - 18

Abijah Reigns over Judah

13In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah began to reign over Judah. 2He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.

Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3Abijah engaged in battle, having an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand picked men; and Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with eight hundred thousand picked mighty warriors. 4Then Abijah stood on the slope of Mount Zemaraim that is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, ‘Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel! 5Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel for ever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt? 6Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord; 7and certain worthless scoundrels gathered round him and defied Rehoboam son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them.

8 ‘And now you think that you can 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 that Jeroboam made as gods for you. 9Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the descendants of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to be consecrated with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are no gods. 10But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are descendants of Aaron, and Levites for their service. 11They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt-offerings and fragrant incense, set out the rows of bread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand so that its lamps may burn every evening; for we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him. 12See, God is with us at our head, and his priests have their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O Israelites, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors; for you cannot succeed.’

13 Jeroboam 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. 14When Judah turned, the battle was in front of them and behind them. They cried out to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15Then the people of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the people of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16The Israelites fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hands. 17Abijah and his army defeated them with great slaughter; five hundred thousand picked men of Israel fell slain. 18Thus the Israelites were subdued at that time, and the people of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 19Abijah pursued Jeroboam, and took cities from him: Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and Ephron* with its villages. 20Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah; the Lord struck him down, and he died. 21But Abijah grew strong. He took fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22The rest of the acts of Abijah, his behaviour and his deeds, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.

Asa Reigns

14*So Abijah slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the city of David. His son Asa succeeded him. In his days the land had rest for ten years. 2*Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God. 3He took away the foreign altars and the high places, broke down the pillars, hewed down the sacred poles,* 4and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to keep the law and the commandment. 5He also removed from all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. 6He built fortified cities in Judah while the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace. 7He 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. 8Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand troops from Benjamin who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty warriors.

Ethiopian Invasion Repulsed

9 Zerah the Ethiopian* came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11Asa cried to the Lord his God, ‘O Lord, there is no difference for you between helping the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let no mortal prevail against you.’ 12So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians* before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians* fled. 13Asa and the army with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians* fell until no one remained alive; for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The people of Judah* carried away a great quantity of booty. 14They defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was on them. They plundered all the cities; for there was much plunder in them. 15They also attacked the tents of those who had livestock,* and carried away sheep and goats in abundance, and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

15The spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. 2He 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 abandon him, he will abandon you. 3For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law; 4but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 5In those times it was not safe for anyone to go or come, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6They were broken in pieces, nation against nation and city against city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 7But 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 Azariah son of Oded,* he took courage, and put away the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord.* 9He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing as aliens with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11They sacrificed to the Lord on that day, from the booty that they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. 12They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and with all their soul. 13Whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14They took an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with horns. 15All 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 all around.

16 King Asa even removed his mother Maacah from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the Wadi Kidron. 17But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was true all his days. 18He brought into the house of God the votive gifts of his father and his own votive gifts—silver, gold, and utensils. 19And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.

Alliance with Aram Condemned

16In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, King Baasha of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, to prevent anyone from going out or coming into the territory of* King Asa of Judah. 2Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and sent them to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who resided in Damascus, saying, 3‘Let there be an alliance between me and you, like that between my father and your father; I am sending to you silver and gold; go, break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel, so that he may withdraw from me.’ 4Ben-hadad listened to King Asa, and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the store-cities of Naphtali. 5When Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and let his work cease. 6Then King Asa brought all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them he built up Geba and Mizpah.

7 At that time the seer Hanani came to King Asa of Judah, and said to him, ‘Because you relied on the king of Aram, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped you. 8Were not the Ethiopians* and the Libyans a huge army with exceedingly many chariots and cavalry? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. 9For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the entire earth, to strengthen those whose heart is true to him. You have done foolishly in this; for from now on you will have wars.’ 10Then 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 on some of the people at the same time.

Asa’s Disease and Death

11 The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12In 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. 13Then Asa slept with his ancestors, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14They buried him in the tomb that he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier that had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer’s art; and they made a very great fire in his honour.

Jehoshaphat’s Reign

17His son Jehoshaphat succeeded him, and strengthened himself against Israel. 2He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim that his father Asa had taken. 3The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father;* he did not seek the Baals, 4but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the ways of Israel. 5Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. All Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honour. 6His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord; and furthermore he removed the high places and the sacred poles* from Judah.

7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. 8With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah; and with these Levites, the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them; they went around through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.

10 The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands around Judah, and they did not make war against Jehoshaphat. 11Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and silver for tribute; and the Arabs also brought him seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred male goats. 12Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater. He built fortresses and storage cities in Judah. 13He carried out great works in the cities of Judah. He had soldiers, mighty warriors, in Jerusalem. 14This was the muster of them by ancestral houses: Of Judah, the commanders of the thousands: Adnah the commander, with three hundred thousand mighty warriors, 15and next to him Jehohanan the commander, with two hundred and eighty thousand, 16and next to him Amasiah son of Zichri, a volunteer for the service of the Lord, with two hundred thousand mighty warriors. 17Of Benjamin: Eliada, a mighty warrior, with two hundred thousand armed with bow and shield, 18and next to him Jehozabad with one hundred and eighty thousand armed for war. 19These were in the service of the king, besides those whom the king had placed in the fortified cities throughout all Judah.

Micaiah Predicts Failure

18Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honour; and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab. 2After some years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered an abundance of sheep and oxen for him and for the people who were with him, and induced him to go up against Ramoth-gilead. 3King Ahab of Israel said to King Jehoshaphat of Judah, ‘Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?’ He answered him, ‘I am with you, my people are your people. We will be with you in the war.’

4 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘Inquire first for the word of the Lord.’ 5Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred of them, and said to them, ‘Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?’ They said, ‘Go up; for God will give it into the hand of the king.’ 6But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there no other prophet of the Lord here of whom we may inquire?’ 7The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one other by whom we may inquire of the Lord, Micaiah son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies anything favourable about me, but only disaster.’ Jehoshaphat said, ‘Let the king not say such a thing.’ 8Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, ‘Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.’ 9Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes; and they were sitting at the threshing-floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets were prophesying before them. 10Zedekiah son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron, and he said, ‘Thus says the Lord: With these you shall gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’ 11All the prophets were prophesying the same and saying, ‘Go up to Ramoth-gilead and triumph; the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.’

12 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, ‘Look, the words of the prophets with one accord are favourable to the king; let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favourably.’ 13But Micaiah said, ‘As the Lord lives, whatever my God says, that I will speak.’

14 When he had come to the king, the king said to him, ‘Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I refrain?’ He answered, ‘Go up and triumph; they will be given into your hand.’ 15But the king said to him, ‘How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?’ 16Then Micaiah* said, ‘I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd; and the Lord said, “These have no master; let each one go home in peace.” 17The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy anything favourable about me, but only disaster?’

18 Then Micaiah* said, ‘Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing to the right and to the left of him. 19And the Lord said, “Who will entice King Ahab of Israel, so that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” Then one said one thing, and another said another, 20until a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, “I will entice him.” The Lord asked him, “How?” 21He replied, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” Then the Lord * said, “You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do it.” 22So you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets; the Lord has decreed disaster for you.’

23 Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up to Micaiah, slapped him on the cheek, and said, ‘Which way did the spirit of the Lord pass from me to speak to you?’ 24Micaiah replied, ‘You will find out on that day when you go in to hide in an inner chamber.’ 25The king of Israel then ordered, ‘Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king’s son; 26and say, “Thus says the king: Put this fellow in prison, and feed him on reduced rations of bread and water until I return in peace.” 27Micaiah said, ‘If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me.’ And he said, ‘Hear, you peoples, all of you!’

Defeat and Death of Ahab

28 So the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 29The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.’ So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. 30Now the king of Aram had commanded the captains of his chariots, ‘Fight with no one small or great, but only with the king of Israel.’ 31When the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, ‘It is the king of Israel.’ So they turned to fight against him; and Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him, 32for when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 33But a certain man drew his bow and unknowingly struck the king of Israel between the scale armour and the breastplate; so he said to the driver of his chariot, ‘Turn around, and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.’ 34The battle grew hot that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening; then at sunset he died.

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v 2.2.8
14 July 2018

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.8 14 July 2018.