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Ahaz’s Misdeeds. 1a Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD as David his father had done. 2He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even made molten idols for the Baals. 3Moreover, he offered sacrifice in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, and immolated his children by fire in accordance with the abominable practices of the nations whom the LORD had dispossessed before the Israelites.b 4He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on hills, and under every green tree.
Ahaz Punished. 5* Therefore the LORD, his God, delivered him into the power of the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and carried away captive a large number of his people, whom they brought to Damascus. He was also delivered into the power of the king of Israel, who defeated him with great slaughter.c 6For Pekah, son of Remaliah, killed one hundred and twenty thousand of Judah in a single day, all of them valiant men, because they had abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors. 7Zichri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed Maaseiah, the king’s son, and Azrikam, the master of the palace, and also Elkanah, who was second to the king. 8The Israelites took away as captives two hundred thousand of their kinfolk’s wives, sons, and daughters; they also took from them much plunder, which they brought to Samaria.
Oded’s Prophecy. 9In Samaria there was a prophet of the LORD by the name of Oded. He went out to meet the army returning to Samaria and said to them: “It was because the LORD, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah that he delivered them into your power. You, however, have killed them with a fury that has reached up to heaven. 10And now you are planning to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem as your slaves and bondwomen. Are not you yourselves, therefore, guilty of a crime against the LORD, your God? 11Now listen to me: send back the captives you have carried off from among your kin, for the burning anger of the LORD is upon you.”
12At this, some of the Ephraimite leaders, Azariah, son of Johanan, Berechiah, son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah, son of Shallum, and Amasa, son of Hadlai, themselves stood up in opposition to those who had returned from the war. 13They said to them: “Do not bring the captives here, for what you are planning will make us guilty before the LORD and increase our sins and our guilt. Great is our guilt, and there is burning anger upon Israel.” 14Therefore the soldiers left their captives and the plunder before the princes and the whole assembly. 15Then the men just named proceeded to help the captives. All of them who were naked they clothed from the spoils; they clothed them, put sandals on their feet, gave them food and drink, anointed them, and all who were weak they set on donkeys. They brought them to Jericho, the City of Palms, to their kinfolk. Then they returned to Samaria.d
Further Sins of Ahaz. 16At that time King Ahaz sent an appeal for help to the kings of Assyria.e 17The Edomites had returned, attacked Judah, and carried off captives.f 18The Philistines too had raided the cities of the Shephelah and the Negeb of Judah; they captured Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco and its dependencies, Timnah and its dependencies, and Gimzo and its dependencies, and settled there. 19For the LORD had brought Judah low because of Ahaz, king of Israel,* who let Judah go its own way and committed treachery against the LORD. 20Tilgath-pilneser, king of Assyria, did indeed come to him, but to oppress him rather than to lend strength.g 21Though Ahaz plundered the LORD’s house and the houses of the king and the princes to pay off the king of Assyria, it was no help to him.h
22While he was already in distress, the same King Ahaz increased his treachery to the LORD. 23He sacrificed to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him, saying, “Since it was the gods of the kings of Aram who helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me also.” However, they only furthered his downfall and that of all Israel.i 24Ahaz gathered up the utensils of God’s house and broke them in pieces. He closed the doors of the LORD’s house and made altars for himself in every corner of Jerusalem.j 25In every city throughout Judah he set up high places to offer sacrifice to other gods. Thus he provoked the LORD, the God of his ancestors, to anger.
26k The rest of his words and his deeds, first and last, are recorded in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27Ahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in Jerusalem—in the city, for they did not bring him to the tombs of the kings of Israel. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
* [28:5–8, 16–23] The account of Ahaz’s reign in 2 Kings refers to hostilities of Syria (Aram) and Israel against Judah, the revolt of the Edomites, submission to Tilgath-pilneser, king of Assyria, the stripping of Temple treasures to pay him tribute, and, in deference to him, shaping the cult of the Jerusalem Temple according to patterns seen in Damascus (2 Kgs 16:5–18; cf. Is 7:1–2). The account in Kings relates all this to an attack of Syria and Israel on Judah (735 B.C.), as they attempted to force Judah into an anti-Assyrian coalition; but the Chronicler, who does not mention the attack, depicts these troubles as the result of, or examples of, Ahaz’s infidelity.
* [28:19] Ahaz, king of Israel: in his account of the period of the divided monarchy, the Chronicler regularly uses the term “Israel” as here to designate, not the Northern Kingdom, but the entire people. See note on 10:1.
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