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28 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. But he was an evil king, unlike his ancestor King David. For he followed the example of the kings over in Israel and worshiped the idols of Baal. He even went out to the valley of Hinnom, and it was not just to burn incense to the idols, for he even sacrificed his own children in the fire, just like the heathen nations that were thrown out of the land by the Lord to make room for Israel. Yes, he sacrificed and burned incense at the idol shrines on the hills and under every green tree.

That is why the Lord God allowed the king of Syria to defeat him and deport large numbers of his people to Damascus. The armies from Israel also slaughtered great numbers of his troops. On a single day Pekah, the son of Remaliah, killed 120,000 of his bravest soldiers because they had turned away from the Lord God of their fathers. Then Zichri, a great warrior from Ephraim, killed the king’s son Maaseiah, the king’s administrator Azrikam, and the king’s second-in-command Elkanah. The armies from Israel also captured 200,000 Judean women and children and tremendous amounts of booty, which they took to Samaria.

But Oded, a prophet of the Lord, was there in Samaria, and he went out to meet the returning army.

“Look!” he exclaimed. “The Lord God of your fathers was angry with Judah and let you capture them, but you have butchered them without mercy, and all heaven is disturbed. 10 And now are you going to make slaves of these people from Judah and Jerusalem? What about your own sins against the Lord your God? 11 Listen to me and return these relatives of yours to their homes, for now the fierce anger of the Lord is upon you.”

12 Some of the top leaders of Ephraim also added their opposition. These men were Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai.

13 “You must not bring the captives here!” they declared. “If you do, the Lord will be angry, and this sin will be added to our many others. We are in enough trouble with God as it is.”

14 So the army officers turned over the captives and booty to the political leaders to decide what to do. 15 Then the four men already mentioned distributed captured stores of clothing to the women and children who needed it and gave them shoes, food, and wine, and put those who were sick and old on donkeys, and took them back to their families in Jericho, the City of Palm Trees. Then their escorts returned to Samaria.

16 About that time King Ahaz of Judah asked the king of Assyria to be his ally in his war against the armies of Edom. For Edom was invading Judah and capturing many people as slaves. 17-18 Meanwhile, the Philistines had invaded the lowland cities and the Negeb and had already captured Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo with their surrounding villages, and were living there. 19 For the Lord brought Judah very low on account of the evil deeds of King Ahaz of Israel,[a] for he had destroyed the spiritual fiber of Judah and had been faithless to the Lord. 20 But when Tilgath-pilneser, king of Assyria, arrived, he caused trouble for King Ahaz instead of helping him. 21 So even though Ahaz had given him the Temple gold and the palace treasures, it did no good.

22 In this time of deep trial, King Ahaz collapsed spiritually. 23 He sacrificed to the gods of the people of Damascus who had defeated him, for he felt that since these gods had helped the kings of Syria, they would help him too if he sacrificed to them. But instead, they were his ruin, and that of all his people. 24 The king took the gold bowls from the Temple and slashed them to pieces, and nailed the door of the Temple shut so that no one could worship there, and made altars to the heathen gods in every corner of Jerusalem. 25 And he did the same in every city of Judah, thus angering the Lord God of his fathers.

26 The other details of his life and activities are recorded in The Annals of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 When King Ahaz died, he was buried in Jerusalem but not in the royal tombs, and his son Hezekiah became the new king.


  1. 2 Chronicles 28:19 King Ahaz of Israel. King Ahaz ruled two tribes of Israel—Judah and Benjamin—and so is referred to here in this unusual way as a king of Israel.

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