1 Rehoboam came to Jerusalem and gathered the people of Judah and Benjamin. There were one hundred and eighty thousand of the best soldiers, to fight against Israel and return the kingdom to Rehoboam.
2 God spoke his word to Shemaiah, the man of God. He said:
3 »Speak to Judahs King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, and all Israel in Judah and Benjamin.«
4 Jehovah says: »Do not wage war against your relatives. Everyone, go home. What has happened is my doing.« So they obeyed the word of Jehovah. They turned back from their attack on Jeroboam.
5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem. He built fortified cities in Judah.
6 He rebuilt Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,
7 Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam,
8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,
9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These were fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin.
11 He strengthened the cities and put army officers with reserves of food, olive oil, and wine in them.
12 He stored shields and spears in each city. He made the cities very secure. Rehoboam held on to Judah and Benjamin.
13 The priests and Levites in every region of Israel aligned with Rehoboam.
14 The priests abandoned their land and property and went to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his descendants rejected them as Jehovahs priests.
15 As an alternative, Jeroboam appointed his own priests for the illegal worship sites and the goat and calf statues he had made as idols.
16 People from every tribe of Israel who were determined to seek Jehovah the true God of Israel followed the Levitical priests to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Jehovah God of their ancestors.
17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah by supporting Rehoboam, son of Solomon, for three years. During those three years they lived the way David and Solomon had lived.
18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, daughter of Jerimoth. Jerimoth was the son of David and Abihail. Abihail was the daughter of Eliab, son of Jesse.
19 Mahalath gave birth to the following sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.
20 After marrying Mahalath, he married Maacah, Absaloms granddaughter. She gave birth to Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.
21 Rehoboam loved Maacah, Absaloms granddaughter, more than all his other wives and concubines. He had eighteen wives and sixty concubines. He fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.
22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah, son of Maacah, as family head and prince among his brothers. By doing this, Rehoboam could make him king.
23 He wisely placed his sons in every region of Judah and Benjamin, in every fortified city. He gave them allowances and obtained many wives for them.