11 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he gathered one hundred eighty thousand of the best soldiers from Judah and Benjamin. He wanted to fight Israel to take back his kingdom. 2 But the Lord spoke his word to Shemaiah, a man of God, saying, 3 “Speak to Solomon’s son Rehoboam, the king of Judah, and to all the Israelites living in Judah and Benjamin. Say to them, 4 ‘The Lord says you must not go to war against your brothers. Every one of you should go home, because I made all these things happen.’” So they obeyed the Lord’s command and turned back and did not attack Jeroboam.
Rehoboam Makes Judah Strong
5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built strong cities in Judah to defend it. 6 He built up the cities of Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These were strong, walled cities in Judah and Benjamin. 11 When Rehoboam made those cities strong, he put commanders and supplies of food, oil, and wine in them. 12 Also, Rehoboam put shields and spears in all the cities and made them very strong. Rehoboam kept the people of Judah and Benjamin under his control.
13 The priests and the Levites from all over Israel joined Rehoboam. 14 The Levites even left their pasturelands and property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons refused to let them serve as priests to the Lord. 15 Jeroboam chose his own priests for the places of worship and for the goat and calf idols he had made. 16 There were people from all the tribes of Israel who wanted to obey the Lord, the God of Israel. So they went to Jerusalem with the Levites to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 These people made the kingdom of Judah strong, and they supported Solomon’s son Rehoboam for three years. During this time they lived the way David and Solomon had lived.
18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, the daughter of Jerimoth and Abihail. Jerimoth was David’s son, and Abihail was the daughter of Eliab, Jesse’s son. 19 Mahalath gave Rehoboam these sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 Then Rehoboam married Absalom’s daughter Maacah, and she gave Rehoboam these children: Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah more than his other wives and slave women. Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty slave women and was the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.
22 Rehoboam chose Abijah son of Maacah to be the leader of his own brothers, because he planned to make Abijah king. 23 Rehoboam acted wisely. He spread his sons through all the areas of Judah and Benjamin, sending them to every strong, walled city. He gave plenty of supplies to his sons, and he also found wives for them.