1 Abijah lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. His son Asa succeeded him as king. In Asa’s time the land had peace for ten years.
King Asa of Judah—1
2 Asa did what the Lord his God considered good and right.
3 He got rid of the altars of foreign gods, broke down the sacred stones, and cut down the poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah. 4 He told the people of Judah to dedicate their lives to serving the Lord God of their ancestors and follow his teachings and commands. 5 He got rid of the illegal places of worship and the altars for incense in all the cities of Judah. The kingdom was at peace during his reign.
6 He built fortified cities in Judah because the land had peace. There was no war during those years because the Lord gave him a time of peace. 7 So Asa told Judah, “Let’s build these cities and make walls around them with towers and doors that can be barred. The country is still ours because we have dedicated our lives to serving the Lord our God. We have dedicated our lives to him, and he has surrounded us with peace.” So they built the cities, and everything went well.
8 Asa had an army of 300,000 Judeans who were armed with large shields and spears and 280,000 Benjaminites who were armed with small shields and bows. All of these men were good fighting men.
9 Then Zerah from Sudan came with 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots to attack Asa. Zerah got as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went to confront him, and the two armies set up their battle lines in the Zephathah Valley at Mareshah.
11 Asa called on the Lord his God. He said, “Lord, there is no one except you who can help those who are not strong so that they can fight against a large ⌊army⌋. Help us, Lord our God, because we are depending on you. In your name we go against this large crowd. You are the Lord our God. Don’t let anyone successfully oppose you.”
12 The Lord attacked the Sudanese army in front of Asa and Judah. The Sudanese army fled. 13 Asa and his troops pursued them as far as Gerar. Many of the Sudanese died in battle. As a result, the Sudanese army couldn’t fight again. It was crushed in front of the Lord and his army. The Lord’s army captured a lot of goods. 14 It attacked all the cities around Gerar because the cities were afraid of the Lord. The army looted all the cities because there were many things to take. 15 It also attacked those who were letting their cattle graze and captured many sheep and camels. Then it returned to Jerusalem.