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16 During the 17th year of the reign of Pekah (Remaliah’s son) as king of Israel, Ahaz (Jotham’s son) inherited the throne in Judah. Ahaz was 20 years old when he inherited the throne, and his reign in Jerusalem lasted 16 years. He did not do what was good in the eyes of the Eternal, his True God, unlike his ancestor, David. He walked the wicked path of Israel’s kings, and he even made his own son go through the fire as a child sacrifice. He did this, modeling the abhorrent practices of nations whom the Eternal had exiled to make way for the Israelites. He also offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on hills, and beneath every green tree.

Then Rezin, Aram’s king, and Pekah (Remaliah’s son and king of Israel) approached Jerusalem with one thing in mind—war.

Their goal is to get Judah to join them in an alliance against Assyria. This is known as the Syro-Ephraimite War.

They laid siege to Ahaz but were unsuccessful in defeating him. Rezin, Aram’s king, brought Elath back into Aram’s possession. He drove out the Judeans who lived there. Arameans moved back to Elath and still live there today.

Ahaz dispatched messengers to Tiglath-pileser, Assyria’s king.

Ahaz: I am your servant and your son. I need your help now. Please rescue me from the grip of Aram’s king and Israel’s king. They are swarming against me at this very moment.

Ahaz then gathered up all the silver and gold in the Eternal’s temple and in the palace treasuries, and he gave it to Assyria’s king as a gift. Assyria’s king received the gift and listened to the message. He responded by attacking and capturing Damascus, the capital of Aram. He exiled the inhabitants of Damascus to Kir, and he killed Rezin.

10 King Ahaz traveled to Damascus to meet with Assyria’s king, Tiglath-pileser. There he laid eyes upon the altar in Damascus so he sent renderings of the altar—its patterns and design—to the priest Urijah.

Ahaz is enamored with the Syrian altar and its design. He wants to build something just like it for the temple, possibly because the bronze altar at the Jerusalem temple is too small (1 Kings 8:64).

11 Urijah the priest then constructed an altar from the plans King Ahaz had sent from Damascus. Urijah made it an exact likeness, and he completed it before Ahaz returned from Damascus.

12 After his return from Damascus, Ahaz saw the new altar Urijah had constructed, walked up to it, and offered 13 burnt offerings, meal offerings, and drink offerings and anointed the altar with blood from the peace offerings as Solomon had done when he dedicated the first bronze altar. 14 He carried the bronze altar from the entryway of the temple to the north side of the new altar, so that it remained before the Eternal One.

Ahaz (to Urijah the priest): 15 Use the new and magnificent altar for both my offerings and the people’s offerings. The morning burnt offering and evening meal offering and the king’s burnt offering and meal offering, as well as the people’s burnt offering and meal offering and drink offerings, can go on the new altar, anointed with the blood of the burnt offering and sacrifice; but the bronze altar is only for me to pray. The people cannot use it ever.

16 Urijah the priest followed all of King Ahaz’s instructions.

17 Then King Ahaz severed the edges of the stands and took out the basins. He removed the basin from the bronze oxen beneath it and set it on a stone platform. 18 He also took out the Sabbath canopy that was constructed in the Eternal One’s temple and the outer entryway for the king because of Assyria’s king. 19 Is not the rest of Ahaz’s story—his actions and lasting legacy—documented in the book of the chronicles of Judah’s kings? 20 Ahaz left this world to sleep with his fathers and was buried with them in the city of David, as was tradition. His son, Hezekiah, then inherited the throne.

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