Israel’s Priests Come to Judah—1
1 When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he gathered the people of Judah and Benjamin, 180,000 of the best soldiers, to fight against Israel and return the kingdom to Rehoboam.
2 But God spoke his word to Shemaiah, the man of God. He said, 3 “Speak to Judah’s King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, and all Israel in Judah and Benjamin. 4 This is what the Lord says: Don’t wage war against your relatives. Everyone, go home. What has happened is my doing.” So they obeyed the word of the Lord. They turned back from their attack on Jer o boam.
5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built fortified cities in Judah. 6 He rebuilt Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These were fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin. 11 He strengthened them and put army officers with reserves of food, olive oil, and wine in them. 12 In each city he stored shields and spears. He made the cities very secure. So Rehoboam held on to Judah and Benjamin.
13 The priests and Levites in every region of Israel sided with Rehoboam. 14 The priests abandoned their land and property and went to Judah and Jerusalem because Jer o boam and his descendants rejected them as the Lord’s priests. 15 Instead, Jer o boam appointed ⌊his own⌋ priests for the illegal worship sites and the goat and calf statues he had made as idols. 16 People from every tribe of Israel who were determined to seek the Lord God of Israel followed the Levitical priests to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their ancestors.
17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah by supporting Rehoboam, son of Solomon, for three years. During ⌊those⌋ three years they lived the way David and Solomon had lived.
18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, daughter of Jerimoth. (Jerimoth was the son of David and Abihail. Abihail was the daughter of Eliab, son of Jesse.) 19 Mahalath gave birth to the following sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.
20 After marrying Mahalath, he married Maacah, Absalom’s granddaughter. She gave birth to Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah, Absalom’s granddaughter, more than all his other wives and concubines.#A concubine is considered a wife except she has fewer rights under the law. (He had 18 wives and 60 concubines. He fathered 28 sons and 60 daughters.)
22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah, son of Maacah, as family head and prince among his brothers. By doing this, Rehoboam could make him king. 23 He wisely placed his sons in every region of Judah and Benjamin, in every fortified city. He gave them allowances and obtained many wives for them.