December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Asa did what was good and pleasing to the LORD, his God,
- removing the heathen altars and the high places, breaking to pieces the sacred pillars, and cutting down the sacred poles.
- He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to observe the law and its commands.
- He removed the high places and incense stands from all the cities of Judah, and under him the kingdom had peace.
- He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had peace and no war was waged against him during these years, because the LORD had given him peace.
- He said to Judah: "Let us build these cities and surround them with walls, towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, for we have sought the LORD, our God; we sought him, and he has given us rest on every side." So they built and prospered.
- 1 Asa had an army of three hundred thousand shield-and lance-bearers from Judah, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin who carried bucklers and were archers, all of them valiant warriors.
- Zerah the Ethiopian moved against them with a force of one million men and three hundred chariots, and he came as far as Mareshah.
- Asa went out to meet him and set himself in battle array in the valley of Zephathah, near Mareshah.
- Asa called upon the LORD, his God, praying: "O LORD, there is none like you to help the powerless against the strong. Help us, O LORD, our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. You are the LORD, our God; let no man prevail against you."
- And so the LORD defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and they fled.
- Asa and those with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until there were no survivors, for they were crushed before the LORD and his army, which carried away enormous spoils.
- Then the Judahites conquered all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the LORD was upon them; they despoiled all the cities, for there was much booty in them.
- They attacked also the tents of the cattle-herders and carried off a great number of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
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1 [7-14] An Ethiopian invasion of Judah is mentioned only in 1 Chronicles. This account may be a legend contrived to show how the pious King Asa was rewarded through divine assistance. There may, however, have been an incursion of nomads from the Negeb at this time; cf 2 Chron 14:13-14.
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