Asa Succeeds Abijah in Judah
1So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David, and his son Asa became king in his place. The land was undisturbed for ten years during his days.
2Asa did good and right in the sight of the Lord his God, 3for he removed the foreign altars and high places, tore down the sacred pillars, cut down the #I.e. wooden symbols of a female deityAsherim, 4and commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandment. 5He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah. And the kingdom was undisturbed under him. 6He built fortified cities in Judah, since the land was undisturbed, and there was no one at war with him during those years, because the Lord had given him rest. 7For he 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 rest on every side." So they built and prospered. 8Now Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, bearing large shields and spears, and 280,000 from Benjamin, bearing shields and wielding bows; all of them were valiant warriors.
9Now Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and he came to Mareshah. 10So Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up in battle formation in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, "Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You." 12So the Lord routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar; and so many Ethiopians fell that they could not recover, for they were shattered before the Lord and before His army. And they carried away very much plunder. 14They destroyed all the cities around Gerar, for the dread of the Lord had fallen on them; and they despoiled all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. 15They also struck down those who owned livestock, and they carried away large numbers of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.