Reading 121/341, 2 Chronicles 13-17

...2 Chronicles...

In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. Three years reigned he in Jerusalem, and his mother's name was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah joined battle with an army of valiant men of war, four hundred thousand chosen men, and Jeroboam set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, who were mighty men of valor. Abijah stood up on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, Hear me, Jeroboam and all Israel, Ought you not to know that the Lord, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up, and rebelled against his lord. There were gathered to him worthless men, base fellows, who strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tender-hearted, and could not withstand them. Now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, and you are a great multitude, and there are with you the golden calves which Jeroboam made you for gods. Have not you driven out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made you priests after the manner of the peoples of other lands? so that whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams, the same may be a priest of those who are no gods. But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him, and we have priests ministering to the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites in their work, and they burn to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and sweet incense, the bread of the Presence also set they in order on the pure table, and the lampstand of gold with the lamps of it, to burn every evening, for we keep the charge of the Lord our God; but you have forsaken him. Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with the trumpets of alarm to sound an alarm against you. Children of Israel, do not you fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers; for you shall not prosper. But Jeroboam caused an ambush to come about behind them, so they were before Judah, and the ambush was behind them. When Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind them, and they cried to the Lord, and the priests sounded with the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout, and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened, that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. The children of Israel fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hand. Abijah and his people killed them with a great slaughter, so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men. Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers. Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with the towns of it, and Jeshanah with the towns of it, and Ephron with the towns of it. Nor did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah, and the Lord struck him, and he died. But Abijah grew mighty, and took to himself fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters. The rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the commentary of the prophet Iddo. So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David, and Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land was quiet ten years. Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, for he took away the foreign altars, and the high places, and broke down the pillars, and hewed down the Asherim, and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the sun images, and the kingdom was quiet before him. He built fortified cities in Judah; for the land was quiet, and he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest. For he said to Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars; the land is yet before us, 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. Asa had an army that bore bucklers and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand, and out of Benjamin, that bore shields and drew bows, two hundred eighty thousand, all these were mighty men of valor. There came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an army of a million troops, and three hundred chariots, and he came to Mareshah. Then Asa went out to meet him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. Asa cried to the Lord his God, and said, the Lord, there is none besides you to help, between the mighty and him who has no strength, help us, the Lord our God; for we rely on you, and in your name are we come against this multitude. The Lord, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you. So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar, and there fell of the Ethiopians so many that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the Lord, and before his army, and they carried away very much booty. They struck all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the Lord came on them, and they despoiled all the cities; for there was much spoil in them. They struck also the tents of livestock, and carried away sheep in abundance, and camels, and returned to Jerusalem. The Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa, and said to him, Hear you me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin, the Lord is with you, while you are with him, and if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law, But when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. In those times there was no peace to him who went out, nor to him who came in; but great vexations were on all the inhabitants of the lands. They were broken in pieces, nation against nation, and city against city; for God did vex them with all adversity. But be you strong, and do not let your hands be slack; for your work shall be rewarded. When Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominations out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from the hill country of Ephraim, and he renewed the altar of the Lord, that was before the porch of the Lord. He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who sojourned with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon, for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. They sacrificed to the Lord in that day, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. They entered into the covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, and that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. They swore to the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets. All Judah rejoiced at the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire, and he was found of them, and the Lord gave them rest round about. Also Maacah, the mother of Asa the king, he removed from being queen, because she had made an abominable image for an Asherah, and Asa cut down her image, and made dust of it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron. But the high places were not taken away out of Israel, nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days. He brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels. There was no more war to the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa. In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not allow anyone to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord and of the king's house, and sent to Ben Hadad king of Syria, who lived at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and you, as there was between my father and your father, behold, I have sent you silver and gold; go, break your league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. Ben Hadad listened to king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they struck Ijon, and Dan, and Abel Maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali. It happened, when Baasha heard of it, that he left off building Ramah, and let his work cease. Then Asa the king took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber of it, with which Baasha had built, and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah. At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him, Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore is the army of the king of Syria escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim a huge army, with chariots and horsemen exceeding many? yet, because you did rely on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run back and forth throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein you have done foolishly; for from henceforth you shall have wars. Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in the prison; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time. Behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet; his disease was exceeding great, yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but to the physicians. Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. They buried him in his own tombs, which he had hewn out for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odors and various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumers' art, and they made a very great burning for him. Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place, and strengthened himself against Israel. He placed forces in all the fortified cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and did not seek the Baals, but sought to the God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand, and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat tribute, and he had riches and honor in abundance. His heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord, and furthermore he took away the high places and the Asherim out of Judah. Also in the third year of his reign he sent his princes, Ben Hail, and Obadiah, and Zechariah, and Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah, and with them the Levites, Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tobadonijah, the Levites, and with them Elishama and Jehoram, the priests. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of the Lord with them, and they went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught among the people. The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat. Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and silver for tribute; the Arabians also brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred male goats. Jehoshaphat grew great exceedingly, and he built in Judah castles and cities of store. He had many works in the cities of Judah, and men of war, mighty men of valor, in Jerusalem. This was the numbering of them according to their fathers' houses, Of Judah, the captains of thousands, Adnah the captain, and with him mighty men of valor three hundred thousand, and next to him Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred eighty thousand, and next to him Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself to the Lord, and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valor. Of Benjamin, Eliada a mighty man of valor, and with him two hundred thousand armed with bow and shield, and next to him Jehozabad and with him one hundred eighty thousand ready prepared for war. These were those who waited on the king, besides those whom the king put in the fortified cities throughout all Judah.

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