1. When Rehoboam reached Jerusalem, he mustered a hundred and eighty thousand picked warriors of the House of Judah and Benjamin to fight Israel and win back the kingdom for Rehoboam.
2. But the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah, man of God,
3. 'Say this to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin,
4. "Yahweh says this: Do not go and make war on your brothers; let everyone go home, for this is my doing." ' They obeyed Yahweh's command and went back instead of marching against Jeroboam.
5. Rehoboam, residing in Jerusalem, fortified a number of towns for the defence of Judah.
6. He built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,
7. Beth-Zur, Soco, Adullam,
8. Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,
9. Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
10. Zorah, Aijalon, Hebron, these being the fortified towns in Judah and Benjamin.
11. He equipped these fortresses, stationing commanders in them, with supplies of food, oil and wine,
12. and shields and spears in each of these towns, making them extremely strong and thus retaining control of Judah and Benjamin.
13. The priests and the Levites from all over Israel left their districts to put themselves at his disposal.
14. The Levites, indeed, abandoned their pasture lands and their holdings and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from the priesthood of Yahweh.
15. Jeroboam had appointed his own priests for the high places dedicated to the satyrs and calves which he had made.
16. And those members of all the tribes of Israel who were determined to seek Yahweh, God of Israel, followed those priests and Levites to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Yahweh, God of their ancestors.
17. These added strength to the kingdom of Judah and gave their support to Rehoboam son of Solomon for three years. For three years they remained loyal to David and Solomon.
18. Rehoboam married Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth, son of David, and of Abihail daughter of Eliab son of Jesse,
19. and she bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham.
20. After her, he married Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith.
21. Rehoboam loved Maacah daughter of Absalom, more than all his other wives and concubines. He had in fact a total of eighteen wives and sixty concubines and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.
22. Rehoboam named Abijah son of Maacah as head, hence leader, of his brothers, with a view to making him king,
23. and acted wisely by distributing his sons throughout the territories of Judah and Benjamin, some in each fortified town, where he provided plenty of food for them and found them wives.