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William Shepard

The Successors of Rehoboam

When Abijah succeeded his father Rehoboam, Jeroboam gathered together a great army to make war upon him. But though the army of Abijah was a much smaller one, God gave him a wonderful victory. The army of Jeroboam was put to flight, and five hundred thousand were slain. This was a larger number than had ever before been slain in any battle recorded in history. Abijah marched against the cities of the ten tribes and took many of them, and brought away great quantities of treasures.

Abijah ruled only three years, and he died, and was succeeded by his son Asa. Jeroboam also died after he had been king for twenty-two years, and was succeeded by his son Nadab, in the second year of the reign of Asa.

Nadab resembled his father in wickedness. After he had governed for two years, a man named Baasha rebelled against him and slew him, and made himself king in his place. Baasha put all the family of Jeroboam to death, and the words of the prophet came true, for their bodies were not buried, but were devoured by the dogs and the fowls of the air. Baasha ruled for twenty-two years, and he died, and Elah, his son, succeeded him.

Elah reigned for only two years, and he was then slain, as he was feasting in the house of one of his friends, by Zimri, a captain in the army. Zimri proclaimed himself king in his place. Now the men of Israel were at that time besieging a city of the Philistines named Gibbethon. They did not want Zimri for their king, but they chose instead Omri, their general. Omri led them against Tirzah, where Zimri was, and besieged it. When Zimri saw that the city had no one to defend it, he fled into the inmost part of the palace and set it on fire and burnt himself with it. Omri reigned over the ten tribes for twelve years. He built a city called Samaria for his royal residence, and lived there. And the kings of the ten tribes of Israel continued to live there as long as their kingdom lasted,—for nearly two hundred years.