1When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he gathered 180,000 of the best soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He wanted them to fight against the northern tribes of Israel and defeat them, in order that he could rule all the tribes of the kingdom again.
2But Yahweh spoke to the prophet Shemaiah and said this to him:
3“Go and tell this to Solomon's son Rehoboam, the king of Judah, and to all the Israeli people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin:
4‘Yahweh says that you must not go to fight against the people of Israel; they are your distant relatives. All of you must go home. What has happened is what Yahweh wanted to happen.’” So Shemaiah went and told that to them, and they all heeded what Yahweh had commanded them to do, and they did not attack Jeroboam and his soldiers.
5Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem, and his workers built walls around several of the cities and towns in Judah to protect them against enemy attacks.
6In the area that belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin they built walls around Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,
7Beth-Zur, Soco, Adullam,
9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
10Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron.
11He also appointed an army commander in each of those cities and towns, and gave them supplies of food, olive oil, and wine to keep in storage.
12He put shields and spears in all the cities and made them well-protected. So he continued to rule the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
13The priests and other descendants of Levi throughout Israel supported Rehoboam.
14The descendants of Levi who lived outside the territory of Judah and Benjamin abandoned their property and their pastureland, and they came to Jerusalem and to other places in Judah, because Jeroboam and his sons would not allow them to do the work of priests of Yahweh.
15Instead, Jeroboam appointed the priests that he wanted to work at the altars he commanded to be built on the hilltops, to offer sacrifices to the idols that he commanded to be made that resembled goats and calves.
16And people from every tribe in Israel who wanted to worship Yahweh, the God to whom the Israelis belonged, went with the descendants of Levi to Jerusalem to live there and to offer sacrifices to Yahweh, the God whom their ancestors worshiped.
17They caused the kingdom of Judah to be strong, and for three years they were happy that Solomon's son Rehoboam was the king. During that time they conducted their lives righteously as David and Solomon had done previously.
18Rehoboam married Mahalath. She was the daughter of David's son Jerimoth, and her mother was Abihail, the daughter of Eliab and granddaughter of Jesse.
19Rehoboam and Mahalath had three sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.
20Later Rehoboam married Maacah, the daughter of Absalom, and they had four sons: Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.
21Rehoboam loved Maacah more than he loved any other of his wives and slave wives. Altogether he had 18 wives and 60 slave wives, and 28 sons and 60 daughters.
22Rehoboam appointed his son Abijah to be the leader of his older and younger brothers, because he wanted to appoint Abijah to be the next king.
23He very wisely sent some of his other sons to other cities in the areas of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and to all the other cities that had walls around them. He gave them plenty of supplies and many wives.