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King Ahaz of Judah(A)

28 Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to rule. He ruled for 26 years in Jerusalem. He didn’t do what Yahweh considered right, as his ancestor David had done. He followed the example of the kings of Israel and even made metal idols for worshiping other gods—the Baals. He burned sacrifices in the valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his son by burning him alive, one of the disgusting things done by the nations that Yahweh had forced out of the Israelites’ way. He offered sacrifices and burned incense as an offering at the illegal worship sites, which were on hills and under every large tree.

So Yahweh his Elohim handed him over to the king of Aram, who defeated him, captured many prisoners, and brought them to Damascus. He also handed him over to the king of Israel, who decisively defeated him. In one day Pekah, son of Remaliah, killed 120,000 soldiers in Judah because they had abandoned Yahweh Elohim of their ancestors. Zichri, a fighting man from Ephraim, killed Maaseiah, who was the king’s son, Azrikam, who was in charge of the palace, and Elkanah, who was the king’s second-in-command. The Israelites captured 200,000 women, boys, and girls from their relatives the Judeans. They also took a lot of goods from Judah and brought them to Samaria.

A prophet of Yahweh named Oded was there. He went to meet the army coming home to Samaria. He said to them, “Yahweh Elohim of your ancestors handed Judah over to you in his anger. You killed them in a rage that reaches up to heaven. 10 Now you intend to enslave the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem. But aren’t you also guilty of sinning against Yahweh your Elohim? 11 Listen to me. Return these prisoners you have captured from your relatives, because Yahweh is very angry with you.”

12 Then Azariah, son of Jehohan, Berechiah, son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah, son of Shallum, and Amasa, son of Hadlai (some leaders of Ephraim) opposed those coming home from the army. 13 They said to the army, “Don’t bring the prisoners here. You’ll make us responsible for this sin against Yahweh. Do you intend to add to all our sins? Yahweh is very angry with Israel because we have already sinned.”

14 So the army left the prisoners and the loot in front of the leaders and the whole assembly. 15 Then the men who were mentioned by name took charge of the prisoners and gave clothes from the loot to all the prisoners who were naked. They provided clothes for them, gave them sandals, gave them something to eat and drink, and let them bathe. They put everyone who was exhausted on donkeys and brought them to Jericho (the City of Palms) near their own people. Then they returned to Samaria.

16 At that time King Ahaz sent for help from the kings of Assyria. 17 The Edomites had again invaded and defeated Judah and captured prisoners. 18 The Philistines had raided the foothills and the Negev in Judah. They captured and began living in Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco and its villages, Timnah and its villages, and Gimzo and its villages. 19 Yahweh humbled Judah because of King Ahaz of Israel. Ahaz had spread sin throughout Judah and was unfaithful to Yahweh.

20 King Tillegath Pilneser of Assyria attacked Ahaz. Instead of strengthening Ahaz, Tillegath Pilneser made trouble for him. 21 Ahaz took some of the things from Yahweh’s temple, the royal palace, and the princes, and he gave them to the king of Assyria. But that didn’t help him. 22 When he had this trouble, King Ahaz became more unfaithful to Yahweh. 23 He sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, the gods who had defeated him. He thought, “The gods of the kings of Aram are helping them. I’ll sacrifice to them so that they will help me.” But they ruined him and all Israel.

24 Ahaz collected the utensils in Elohim’s temple, cut them up, and closed the doors to Yahweh’s temple. He made altars for himself on every corner in Jerusalem. 25 And in each city of Judah, he made places of worship to sacrifice to other gods. So he made Yahweh Elohim of his ancestors angry.

26 Everything else about him—everything from beginning to end—is written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 Ahaz lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried in the city of Jerusalem because they didn’t put him into the tombs of the kings of Israel. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.