Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem. He brought together 180,000 fighting men from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He had decided to make war against Israel. He wanted his fighting men to get the kingdom of Israel back for him.
But a message came to Shemaiah from the Lord. He was a man of God. The Lord said to him,
“Speak to Solomon's son Rehoboam, the king of Judah. Speak to all of the people of Israel in Judah and Benjamin. Tell them,
‘The Lord says, “Do not go up to fight against your relatives. I want every one of you to go back home. Things have happened exactly the way I planned them.” ’ ” So the fighting men obeyed the Lord's message. They turned back. They didn't march out against Jeroboam.
Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem. He made Judah more secure by building up their towns.
He built up Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,
Beth Zur, Soco and Adullam.
He also built up Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,
Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron. All of them were cities in Judah and Benjamin that had high walls around them.
Rehoboam made those cities even more secure. He put commanders in them. He gave them plenty of food, olive oil and wine.
He put shields and spears in all of those cities. He made them very strong. So he ruled over Judah and Benjamin.
The priests and Levites were on Rehoboam's side. They came from their territories all over Israel.
The Levites even left their grasslands and other property behind. They came to Judah and Jerusalem. That's because Jeroboam and his sons had refused to accept them as priests of the Lord.
Jeroboam appointed his own priests to serve at the high places. He had made statues of gods that looked like goats and calves. His priests served those gods.
Some people from every tribe in Israel followed the Levites to Jerusalem. With all their hearts they wanted to worship the Lord. He is the God of Israel. They came to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to him. He was the God of their people of long ago.
All those who came to Jerusalem made the kingdom of Judah strong. They helped Solomon's son Rehoboam for three years. During that time they lived the way David and Solomon had lived.
Rehoboam got married to Mahalath. She was the daughter of David's son Jerimoth. Her mother was Abihail. Abihail was the daughter of Jesse's son Eliab.
Mahalath had sons by Rehoboam. Their names were Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham.
Then Rehoboam married Maacah. She was the daughter of Absalom. She had sons by Rehoboam. Their names were Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith.
Rehoboam loved Absalom's daughter Maacah. In fact, he loved her more than any of his other wives and concubines. He had a total of 18 wives and 60 concubines. And he had a total of 28 sons and 60 daughters.
Rehoboam appointed Maacah's son Abijah to be the chief prince among his brothers. He did it to make him king.
He acted wisely. He scattered some of his sons through all of the territories of Judah and Benjamin. He put them in all of the cities that had high walls around them. He gave them plenty of food and everything else they needed. He also gave them many wives.
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