Rehoboam makes Judah strong
5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem. He built cities in Judah to keep it safe. 6 He put more buildings in Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth-Zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah and Ziph. 9 And he built in Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron. He made all those cities in Judah and Benjamin very strong. 11 He made their strong buildings even stronger and he put important officers in them to rule over them. He stored food and olive oil and wine in them. 12 He supplied every city with shields and spears. And he made them very strong. So Judah and Benjamin were his.
13 The priests and Levites from everywhere in Israel joined his group. 14 The Levites even left their lands and their houses to come to him in Judah and Jerusalem. They came because Jeroboam and his sons had not let them be the Lord's priests. 15 Jeroboam chose his own priests for the high places for worship. They were priests for the models of the goats and the young bulls that he had made. 16 But some people from every tribe in Israel followed the Levites to Jerusalem. Those people wanted to be servants of the Lord God of Israel. They came to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 They helped to make the kingdom of Judah stronger. They had helped Rehoboam, Solomon's son to be strong for three years. During those three years, they lived in the way that David and Solomon had lived.