Shemaiah the Prophet Warns Rehoboam
(1 Kings 12.21-24)
1After Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem, he decided to attack Israel and regain control of the whole country. So he called together 180,000 soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
2Meanwhile, the Lord had told Shemaiah the prophet 3to tell Rehoboam and everyone from Judah and Benjamin, 4“The Lord warns you not to go to war against the people from the northern tribes—they are your relatives. Go home! The Lord is the one who made these things happen.”
Rehoboam and his army obeyed the Lord's message and did not attack Jeroboam and his troops.
Rehoboam Fortifies Cities in Judah
5Rehoboam ruled from Jerusalem, and he had several cities in Judah turned into fortresses so he could use them to defend his country. These cities included 6Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7Beth-Zur, Soco, Adullam, 8Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. After he had fortified these cities in the territories of Judah and Benjamin, 11he assigned an army commander to each of them and stocked them with supplies of food, olive oil, and wine, 12as well as with shields and spears. He used these fortified cities to keep control of Judah and Benjamin.
The Priests and the Levites Support Rehoboam
13The priests and Levites from the northern tribes of Israel gave their support to King Rehoboam. 14And since Jeroboam and the kings of Israel that followed him would not allow any Levites to serve as priests, most Levites left their towns and pasturelands in Israel and moved to Jerusalem and other towns in Judah. 15 Jeroboam chose his own priests to serve at the local shrines in Israel and at the places of worship where he had set up statues of goat-demons and of calves.
16But some of the people from Israel wanted to worship the Lord God, just as their ancestors had done. So they followed the priests and Levites to Jerusalem, where they could offer sacrifices to the Lord. 17For the next three years, they lived in Judah and were loyal to Rehoboam and his kingdom, just as they had been loyal to David and Solomon.
18Rehoboam married Mahalath, whose father was Jerimoth son of David, and whose mother was Abihail the daughter of Eliab and granddaughter of Jesse. 19Rehoboam and Mahalath had three sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20Then Rehoboam married Maacah the daughter of Absalom. Their sons were Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.
21Rehoboam had 18 wives, but he also married 60 other women, and he was the father of 28 sons and 60 daughters. Rehoboam loved his wife Maacah the most, 22so he chose their oldest son Abijah to be the next king. 23Rehoboam was wise enough to put one of his sons in charge of each fortified city in his kingdom. He gave them all the supplies they needed and found wives for every one of them.