1 Rehoboam went back to Jerusalem and gathered together an army of 180,000 men from the families of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin. Rehoboam wanted to go fight against the Israelites and take back his kingdom. 2 But the LORD spoke to a man of God named Shemaiah. He said, 3 “Talk to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to men of Judah and Benjamin. 4 Say to them, ‘The LORD says that you must not go to war against your brothers. Everyone, go home! I made all this happen.’ ” So all the men in Rehoboam’s army obeyed the LORD and went home. They did not attack Jeroboam.
Rehoboam Strengthens Judah
5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built strong cities in Judah to defend against attacks. 6 He repaired the cities of Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These cities in Judah and Benjamin were made strong. 11 When Rehoboam made these cities strong, he put commanders in them. He also put supplies of food, oil, and wine in them. 12 Also, he put shields and spears in every city and made the cities very strong. He kept the peoples and cities of Judah and Benjamin under his control.
13 The priests and the Levites from all over Israel agreed with Rehoboam and joined him. 14 The Levites left their grasslands and their own fields and came to Judah and Jerusalem. The Levites did this because Jeroboam and his sons refused to let them serve as priests to the LORD.
15 Jeroboam chose his own priests to serve in the high places, where he set up the goat and calf idols he had made. 16 When the Levites left Israel, the people in all the tribes of Israel who were faithful to the LORD, the God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD, the God of their fathers. 17 These people made the kingdom of Judah strong, and they supported Solomon’s son Rehoboam for three years. They did this because during that time they lived the way David and Solomon had lived.
18 Rehoboam married Mahalath. Her father was Jerimoth. Her mother was Abihail. Jerimoth was David’s son. Abihail was Eliab’s daughter, and Eliab was Jesse’s son. 19 Mahalath gave Rehoboam these sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 Then Rehoboam married Maacah. Maacah was Absalom’s granddaughter.* granddaughter Literally, “daughter.” And Maacah gave Rehoboam these children: Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah more that he loved all his other wives and slave women. Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 slave women. He was the father of 28 sons and 60 daughters.
22 Rehoboam chose Abijah to be the leader among his own brothers. He did this because he planned to make Abijah king. 23 Rehoboam acted wisely and spread all his sons through all the areas of Judah and Benjamin to every strong city. And Rehoboam gave plenty of supplies to his sons. He also looked for wives for them.
*11:20 granddaughter Literally, “daughter.”