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Ahaz Of Judah

Ahaz, from the Hebrew name pronounced awk-hawz, was the son and successor of Jotham as king of Judah (see Jotham Of Judah).

"15:38 And Jotham slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in The City of David his father: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead." (2 Kings 15:38 KJV)

As with other kings of Israel and Judah, the account of Ahaz is found in both Kings and Chronicles. The accounts are not merely a copy of each other however. Each provides useful detail in its own right, without contradictions. An example of the record of the beginning of the reign of Ahaz, from 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles:

"16:1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 16:2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father. 16:3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen [see What Makes A 'Heathen'?], whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel. 16:4 And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree." (2 Kings 16:1-4 KJV)

"28:1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father: 28:2 For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. 28:3 Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom [see Valley Of Hinnom], and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. 28:4 He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree." (2 Chronicles 28:1-4 KJV)

"He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz"

When Ahaz "did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD," he faced the wrath of the LORD (see 'The God Of The Old Testament' and 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'), in the manner that the LORD delivered it upon the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (see the Fact Finder question below) when they became corrupt - the LORD permitted other kingdoms to invade and humiliate them. The LORD even sometimes did so by having Israel invade Judah, or Judah invade Israel (see Kings of Israel and Judah and Israelite Dynasties), depending on which kingdom was being rebuked. In the case of Ahaz, it was Israel inflicting "a great slaughter" upon Judah, at the same time that Syria was being allowed to invade and plunder Judah.

The Middle East

"28:5 Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter. 28:6 For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers." (2 Chronicles 28:5-6 KJV)

"16:5 Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. 16:6 At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day." (2 Kings 16:5-6 KJV)

Amazingly, Israel at that time carried many of the people of Judah into exile, from Judah to Israel, and made slaves of them. When the LORD saw that Israel had gone too far, He warned them to relent and free their fellow Israelites, although they were then "foreigners" from the other kingdom.

"28:7 And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king. 28:8 And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.

28:9 But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven. 28:10 And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God? 28:11 Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.

28:12 Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war, 28:13 And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.

28:14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation. 28:15 And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria." (2 Chronicles 28:7-15 KJV)

Ahaz handled the situation with Syria differently - by making a deal with Assyria against Syria (Assyria was centered in what is today Iraq, while Syria was centered in nearly the same boundaries as today - see the map). Ahaz did so by stripping his kingdom of all of the gold and silver that he could surrender - even that from the Temple.

"16:7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me. 16:8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria. 16:9 And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin." (2 Kings 16:7-9 KJV)

"28:16 At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him. 28:17 For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives. 28:18 The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there. 28:19 For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD. 28:20 And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not. 28:21 For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not." (2 Chronicles 28:16-21 KJV)

Ahaz seemed oblivious to the reason for his troubles - his unfaithfulness to the LORD. Rather than repenting, Ahaz sought solutions in ways that were even more unfaithful to the LORD.

"28:22 And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. 28:23 For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel." (2 Chronicles 28:22-23 KJV)

The Levites (see also Are Levites 'Jews'? and No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?) co-operated with the king's foolishness, "Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus."

"16:10 And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof. 16:11 And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus. 16:12 And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon. 16:13 And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar. 16:14 And he brought also the brazen altar, which was before the LORD, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of the altar.

16:15 And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king's burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brazen altar shall be for me to inquire by. 16:16 Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.

16:17 And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brazen oxen that were under it, and put it upon a pavement of stones. 16:18 And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king's entry without, turned he from the house of the LORD for the king of Assyria." (2 King 16:10-18 KJV)

The unruly rule (see The Rules Of Rulers) of Ahaz ended after he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, but his death was a failure too, "Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel." Ahaz was succeeded by his son Hezekiah.

"28:26 Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 28:27 And Ahaz slept with his fathers [see The Sleep Of Death], and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead." (2 Chronicles 28:26-27 KJV)

A number of prophets were active during and through the reign of Ahaz, including Isaiah (see The Prophets: Isaiah), Hosea (see The Prophets: Hosea) and Micah (see The Prophets: Micah).

"1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah." (Isaiah 1:1 KJV)

"1:1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel." (Hosea 1:1 KJV)

"1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem." (Micah 1:1 KJV)

It was during the reign of Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, that the miraculous reversing of the shadow was done on "the dial of Ahaz" that was still in use (an ironic miracle, considering how the LORD "turned back" Ahaz himself, when Ahaz had turned back from obeying the LORD).

"20:8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?

20:9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?

20:10 And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.

20:11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz." (2 Kings 20:8-11 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the history of the Israelite monarchy? Will it be restored under Christ? What future role will King David have in it?
Israelite Monarchy - The Origin
Israelite Monarchy - The Civil War
Israelite Monarchy - The United Kingdom
Israelite Monarchy - The Division Of Israel
Israelite Monarchy - The Northern Kingdom
Israelite Monarchy - The Southern Kingdom
Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah
David, Future King Of Israel


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