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14 Abijah died and was buried in Jerusalem. Then Abijah’s son Asa became king in his place. There was peace in the country for 10 years in Asa’s time.

Asa King of Judah

Asa did what the Lord said was good and right. He removed the foreign altars used for idol worship. He removed the places where false gods were worshiped. He smashed the stone pillars that honored false gods. And he tore down the Asherah idols. Asa commanded the people of Judah to obey the Lord, the God their ancestors followed. Asa commanded them to obey the Lord’s teachings and commandments. He also removed the places where false gods were worshiped and the incense altars from every town in Judah. So the kingdom had peace while Asa was king. Asa built strong, walled cities in Judah during the time of peace. He had no war in these years because the Lord gave him peace.

Asa said to the people of Judah, “Let’s build up these towns and put walls around them. Let’s make towers, gates and bars in the gates. This country is ours because we have obeyed the Lord our God. We have tried to obey him, and he has given us peace all around.” So they built and had success.

Asa had an army of 300,000 men from the people of Judah. And he had 280,000 men from the people of Benjamin. The men from Judah carried large shields and spears. The men from Benjamin carried small shields and bows and arrows. All these men were brave fighting men.

Then Zerah from Cush came out to fight Asa’s army. Zerah had a large army and 300 chariots. They came as far as the town of Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to fight Zerah. Asa’s army prepared for battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.

11 Asa called out to the Lord his God. He said, “Lord, only you can help weak people against the strong. Help us, Lord our God. We depend on you. We fight against this large army in your name. Lord, you are our God. Don’t let anyone win against you.”

12 Then the Lord defeated the Cushites when Asa’s army from Judah attacked them. And the Cushites ran away. 13 Asa’s army chased them as far as the town of Gerar. So many Cushites were killed that the army could not fight again. They were crushed by the Lord and his army. Asa and his army carried many valuable things away from the enemy. 14 They destroyed all the towns near Gerar. The people living in these towns were afraid of the Lord. These towns had many valuable things. So Asa’s army took these things away. 15 Asa’s army also attacked the camps where the shepherds lived. And they took many sheep and camels. Then they went back to Jerusalem.

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