1Abijah joined the members of his family who had already died. His body was buried in the City of David. His son Asa became the next king after him. While Asa was king, the country had peace and rest for ten years.
Asa Becomes King of Judah
2Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3He removed the altars where strange gods were worshiped. He took away the high places. He smashed the sacred stones. He cut down the poles that were used to worship the goddess Asherah. 4He commanded Judah to worship the Lord, the God of their people. He commanded them to obey the Lord's laws and commands.
5He removed the high places and incense altars from every town in Judah. The kingdom had peace and rest under him. 6He built up the cities of Judah that had high walls around them. The land was at peace. No one was at war with Asa during those years. That's because the Lord gave him peace and rest.
7"Let's build up our towns," Asa said to the people of Judah. "Let's put walls around them. Let's provide them with towers. Let's make them secure with gates that have heavy metal bars. The land still belongs to us. That's because we've trusted in the Lord our God. We trusted in him, and he has given us peace and rest on every side." So they built. And things went well for them.
8Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah. They carried spears and large shields. There were 280,000 men from Benjamin. They were armed with bows and small shields. All of those men were brave soldiers.
9Zerah marched out against them. He was from Cush. He had a huge army. He also had 300 chariots. They came all the way to Mareshah.
10Asa went out to meet Zerah in battle. They took up their positions in the Valley of Zephathah. It's near Mareshah.
11Then Asa called out to the Lord his God. He said, "Lord, there isn't anyone like you. You help the weak against the strong. Lord our God, help us. We trust in you. In your name we have come out to fight against this huge army. Lord, you are our God. Don't let mere men win the battle over you."
12The Lord struck down the men of Cush for Asa and Judah. The Cushites ran away. 13Asa and his army chased them all the way to Gerar. A large number of Cushites fell down wounded or dead. So they couldn't fight back. The Lord and his army crushed them. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of goods.
14They attacked all of the villages around Gerar. The Lord had made the people in those villages afraid of him. The men of Judah took everything from all of the villages. 15They also attacked the camps of those who took care of the herds. They carried off large numbers of sheep, goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.