Asa Succeeds Abijah in Judah
1 (a)So Abijah slept with his fathers [in death], and they buried him in the City of David; and Asa his son became king in his place. The land was at peace for ten years during his days.
2 (b)Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God. 3 He removed the foreign altars and high places and tore down the [pagan] pillars (obelisks, memorial stones), and cut to pieces the Asherim [the symbols of the goddess Asherah]. 4 And he commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers [to inquire of and for Him and seek Him as a vital necessity], and to observe the law [given to Moses] and the commandment. 5 Asa also removed the [idolatrous] high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah. The kingdom was at rest and undisturbed under his reign. 6 He built fortified cities in Judah, since the land was at rest, and there was no one at war with him in those years, because the Lord had given him rest. 7 So he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls, towers, gates and bars [to secure the doors]. The land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him [longing for Him with all our heart] and He has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. 8 Now Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, who carried large shields and spears, and 280,000 from Benjamin, who carried shields and drew bows, all courageous men.
9 Now Zerah the Ethiopian (Cushite) came out against Judah with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and he came as far as Mareshah. 10 Then Asa went out against him, and they drew up in battle formation in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11 Asa called out to the Lord his God, saying, “O Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and the weak; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in and rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.” 12 So the Lord struck the Ethiopians [with defeat] before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as (c)Gerar; and so many Ethiopians fell that none of them were found alive; for they were destroyed before the Lord and His army. And they carried away a very large amount of spoil. 14 They attacked and destroyed all the cities around Gerar, for the dread of the Lord had fallen on them. They plundered all the cities, for there was a large amount of spoil in them. 15 They also struck down the people [living] in tents who had livestock, and took captive large numbers of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.