Rehoboam Reigns over Judah and Builds Cities
1Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who were warriors, to fight against Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. 2But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 3“Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, 4‘Thus says the Lord, “You shall not go up or fight against your relatives; return every man to his house, for this thing is from Me.” ’ ” So they listened to the words of the Lord and returned from going against Jeroboam.
5Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built cities for defense in Judah. 6Thus he built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, 8Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron, which are fortified cities in Judah and in Benjamin. 11He also strengthened the fortresses and put officers in them and stores of food, oil and wine. 12He put shields and spears in every city and strengthened them greatly. So he held Judah and Benjamin.
13Moreover, the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel stood with him from all their districts.
Jeroboam Appoints False Priests
14For the Levites left their pasture lands and their property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from serving as priests to the Lord. 15He set up priests of his own for the high places, for the satyrs and for the calves which he had made. 16Those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the Lord God of Israel followed them to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers. 17They 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.
18Then Rehoboam took as a wife Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse, 19and she bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham. 20After her he took Maacah the daughter of Absalom, and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith. 21Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines. For he had taken eighteen wives and sixty concubines and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. 22Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah as head and leader among his brothers, for he intended to make him king. 23He acted wisely and distributed some of his sons through all the territories of Judah and Benjamin to all the fortified cities, and he gave them food in abundance. And he sought many wives for them.