1 Abijah slept in death with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. His son Asa succeeded him as king. In Asas time the land had peace for ten years.
2 Asa did what Jehovah his God considered good and right.
3 He got rid of the altars of foreign gods. He broke down the sacred stones. He cut down the poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah.
4 He told the people of Judah to dedicate their lives to Jehovah. They were to serve the God of their ancestors and observe obey his teachings and commandments.
5 He got rid of the illegal places of worship and destroyed 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 and the land had peace. There was no war during those years because Jehovah gave him a time of peace.
7 Asa told Judah: »Let us 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 serve Jehovah our God. We have dedicated our lives to him. He has surrounded us with peace.« So they built the cities, and everything went well.
8 Asa had an army of three hundred thousand Judeans who were armed with large shields and spears and two hundred and eighty thousand Benjaminites who were armed with small shields and bows. All of these men were strong fighting men.
9 Zerah from Ethiopia led an army of a million soldiers and three hundred chariots to the town of Mareshah in Judah.
10 Asa met him there. The two armies prepared for battle in Zephathah Valley near Mareshah.
11 Asa prayed: »Jehovah, only you can help a powerless army defeat a stronger one. We depend on you to help us. We will fight against this powerful army to honor your name! We know that you will not be defeated. You are Jehovah our God. Do not let man prevail against you.«
12 Jehovah helped Asa and his army defeat the Ethiopians. The enemy soldiers ran away,
13 Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. It was a total defeat! The Ethiopians could not even fight back! The soldiers from Judah took everything that had belonged to the Ethiopians.
14 Asa and his army attacked all the cities around Gerar because the cities were in dread of Jehovah. The army looted all the cities because there were many things to take.
15 They also attacked those who were letting their cattle graze and captured many sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.