Ahaz King of Judah
1Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he ruled sixteen years in Jerusalem. Unlike his ancestor David, he did not do what the Lord said was right. 2Ahaz did the same things the kings of Israel had done. He made metal idols to worship Baal. 3He burned incense in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and made his children pass through the fire. He did the same hateful sins as the nations had done whom the Lord had forced out of the land ahead of the Israelites. 4Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense at the places where gods were worshiped, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
5So the Lord his God handed over Ahaz to the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated Ahaz and took many people of Judah as prisoners to Damascus.
He also handed over Ahaz to Pekah king of Israel, and Pekah’s army killed many soldiers of Ahaz. 6The army of Pekah son of Remaliah killed one hundred twenty thousand brave soldiers from Judah in one day. Pekah defeated them because they had left the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 7Zicri, a warrior from Ephraim, killed King Ahaz’s son Maaseiah. He also killed Azrikam, the officer in charge of the palace, and Elkanah, who was second in command to the king. 8The Israelite army captured two hundred thousand of their own relatives. They took women, sons and daughters, and many valuable things from Judah and carried them back to Samaria. 9But a prophet of the Lord named Oded was there. He met the Israelite army when it returned to Samaria and said to them, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, handed Judah over to you, because he was angry with those people. But God has seen the cruel way you killed them. 10Now you plan to make the people of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves, but you also have sinned against the Lord your God. 11Now listen to me. Send back your brothers and sisters whom you captured, because the Lord is very angry with you.”
12Then some of the leaders in Ephraim—Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—met the Israelite soldiers coming home from war. 13They warned the soldiers, “Don’t bring the prisoners from Judah here. If you do, we will be guilty of sin against the Lord, and that will make our sin and guilt even worse. Our guilt is already so great that he is angry with Israel.”
14So the soldiers left the prisoners and valuable things in front of the officers and people there. 15The leaders who were named took the prisoners and gave those who were naked the clothes that the Israelite army had taken. They gave the prisoners clothes, sandals, food, drink, and medicine. They put the weak prisoners on donkeys and took them back to their families in Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned home to Samaria.
16-17At that time the Edomites came again and attacked Judah and carried away prisoners. So King Ahaz sent to the king of Assyria for help. 18The Philistines also robbed the towns in the western hills and in southern Judah. They captured the towns of Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo, and the villages around them. Then the Philistines lived in those towns. 19The Lord brought trouble on Judah because Ahaz their king led the people of Judah to sin, and he was unfaithful to the Lord. 20Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to Ahaz, but he gave Ahaz trouble instead of help. 21Ahaz took some valuable things from the Temple of the Lord, from the palace, and from the princes, and he gave them to the king of Assyria, but it did not help.
22During Ahaz’s troubles he was even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23He offered sacrifices to the gods of the people of Damascus, who had defeated him. He thought, “The gods of the kings of Aram helped them. If I offer sacrifices to them, they will help me also.” But this brought ruin to Ahaz and all Israel.
24Ahaz gathered the things from the Temple of God and broke them into pieces. Then he closed the doors of the Temple of the Lord. He made altars and put them on every street corner in Jerusalem. 25In every town in Judah, Ahaz made places for burning sacrifices to worship other gods. So he made the Lord, the God of his ancestors, very angry.
26The other things Ahaz did as king, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27Ahaz died and was buried in the city of Jerusalem, but not in the graves of the kings of Israel. Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became king in his place.