Ahaz Succeeds Jotham in Judah
1Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do right in the sight of the Lord, as his father (forefather) David had done. 2Instead he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and even made cast images for the Baals. 3And he burned incense in the Valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his sons [as an offering], in accordance with the repulsive acts of the [pagan] nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons (descendants) of Israel. 4He also sacrificed and burned incense on the high places [of pagan worship], on the hills and under every green tree.
Judah Is Invaded
5Therefore the Lord his God handed over Ahaz to the king of Aram (Syria), who defeated him and led away a great number [of the people] as captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also handed over to the king of Israel, who struck Judah with a great slaughter. 6For Pekah son of Remaliah killed 120,000 in Judah in one day, all courageous men, because they had abandoned (turned away from) the Lord God of their fathers. 7And Zichri, a warrior of Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah, who was second [in power] to the king.
8And the sons of Israel led away captive 200,000 of their kinsmen [of Judah]—women, sons, and daughters—and they also took a great quantity of spoil from them and brought it to Samaria. 9But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded; and he went out to meet the army that was returning to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, He handed them over to you; but you have killed them in a rage that has reached as far as heaven. 10And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem as male and female slaves for yourselves. But are you yourselves not guilty of transgressions against the Lord your God? 11Now therefore, hear me and return the captives whom you have captured from your brothers (fellow descendants of Israel, i.e. Jacob), for the burning anger of the Lord is against you.” 12Then some of the heads of the Ephraimites (Israel)—Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai—took a stand against those who were returning from the battle, 13and said to them, “You must not bring the captives in here; for we are guilty before the Lord already, and what you intend to do will add more to our sins and our guilt. For our guilt is so great that His burning anger is against Israel.” 14So the armed men [of Israel] left the captives and the spoil [of Judah] before the officers and all the assembly. 15Then the men who were designated by name rose up and took the captives, and from the spoil they clothed all those who were naked; they clothed them and gave them sandals, and fed them and gave them [something to] drink, anointed them [with oil, as was a host’s duty], and led all the feeble ones on donkeys, and they brought them to Jericho, the City of Palm Trees, to their brothers (fellow descendants of Israel, i.e. Jacob). Then they returned to Samaria.
Compromise with Assyria
16At that time King Ahaz sent word to the king of Assyria [to ask him] for help. 17For the Edomites had come again and attacked Judah and led away captives. 18The Philistines had also invaded the cities of the low country and of the Negev (the South country) of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, and Soco with their villages, and also Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages, and they settled there. 19For the Lord humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for Ahaz had allowed unrestrained and undisciplined behavior in Judah and had been very unfaithful to the Lord. 20So Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came against him and harassed him instead of strengthening and supporting him. 21Although Ahaz took a portion [of treasure] from the house of the Lord and from the house (palace) of the king and from the leaders, and gave it [as tribute] to the king of Assyria, it did not help Ahaz.
22In the time of his distress, this same King Ahaz became yet more unfaithful to the Lord. 23For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, which had defeated him, and he said, “Since the gods of the kings of Aram (Syria) helped them, I will sacrifice to them so that they may help me.” But they became the ruin and downfall of him and all of Israel. 24Then Ahaz collected the utensils of the house of God and he cut them in pieces; and he shut the doors of the house of the Lord and made altars for himself in every corner of Jerusalem. 25In every city of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods, provoking to anger the Lord, the God of his fathers. 26Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, from the first to the last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27And Ahaz slept with his fathers [in death], and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem, but they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel. And his son Hezekiah reigned in his place.