28 Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king. And he ruled 16 years in Jerusalem. He was not like his ancestor David. He did not do what the Lord said was right. 2 Ahaz did the same things the kings of Israel had done. He made metal idols to worship Baal. 3 He burned incense in the Valley of Ben Hinnom. He sacrificed his own sons by burning them in the fire. He did the same terrible sins as the other nations had done. And the Lord had forced these nations out of the land ahead of the Israelites. 4 Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense at the places where false gods were worshiped. And he did this on the hills and under every green tree.
5 So the Lord his God let the king of Aram defeat Ahaz. The Arameans defeated Ahaz and took many people of Judah as prisoners. The Arameans took them to Damascus.
The Lord also let Pekah king of Israel defeat Ahaz. Pekah’s army killed many soldiers of Ahaz. 6 Pekah was the son of Remaliah. Pekah’s army killed 120,000 brave soldiers from Judah in one day. Pekah defeated them because they had left the Lord. He is the God their ancestors obeyed. 7 Zicri was a warrior from Ephraim. He killed King Ahaz’s son Maaseiah. He also killed Azrikam, the officer in charge of the palace and Elkanah, second in command to the king. 8 The Israelite army captured 200,000 of their own relatives. They took women, sons and daughters and many valuable things from Judah. Then they carried them back to Samaria. 9 But a prophet of the Lord named Oded was there. He met the Israelite army when it returned to Samaria. He said to them, “The Lord is the God your ancestors obeyed. He let you defeat Judah because he was angry with those people. But God has seen the cruel way you killed them. 10 Now you plan to make the people of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. But you also have sinned against the Lord your God. 11 Now listen to me. Send back your brothers and sisters whom you captured. Do this because the Lord is very angry with you.”
12 Then some of the leaders in Israel met the Israelite soldiers coming home from war. These leaders were Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum and Amasa son of Hadlai. 13 They warned the soldiers, “Don’t bring the prisoners from Judah here. If you do, we will be guilty of sin. That will make our sin and guilt even worse. And our guilt is already so much that the Lord is angry with Israel.”
14 So the soldiers left the prisoners and valuable things in front of the officers and people there. 15 The leaders who were named took the prisoners. These four men got the clothes that the Israelite army had taken. And they gave them to these people who were naked. They gave the prisoners clothes, sandals, food, drink and medicine. They put the weak prisoners on donkeys. Then they took them back to their families in Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned home to Samaria.
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