Ahaz Reigns over Judah
1In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham, king of Judah, became king. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his father (ancestor) David had done. 3 Instead he walked in the way of the [idolatrous] kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire [as a human sacrifice], in accordance with the repulsive [and idolatrous] practices of the [pagan] nations whom the Lord drove out before the Israelites. 4 He also sacrificed and burned incense on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.
5 Then Rezin the king of Aram (Syria) and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to wage war. They besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome and conquer him. 6 At that time Rezin king of Aram recovered [a]Elath [in Edom] for Aram, and drove the Jews away from it. The Arameans came to Elath, and live there to this day.
Ahaz Seeks Help of Assyria
7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the kings of Aram and of Israel, who are rising up against me.” 8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and sent a gift to the king of Assyria. 9 So the king of Assyria listened to him; and he went up against Damascus and captured it, and carried its people away into exile to Kir, and put Rezin [king of Aram] to death.
10 Now King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser the king of Assyria, and saw the pagan altar which was at Damascus. Then King Ahaz sent a model of the altar to Urijah the priest along with a [detailed] pattern for all its construction. 11 So Urijah the priest built an altar; in accordance with everything that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, that is how Urijah the priest made it before King Ahaz returned from Damascus. 12 When the king came from Damascus, he saw the altar; then the king approached the altar and offered [sacrifices] on it, 13 and burned his burnt offering and his grain offering, and poured out his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings on the altar. 14 He brought the bronze altar, which was before the Lord, from the front of the house (temple), from between the [new] altar and the house of the Lord, and put it on the north side of the [new] altar. 15 Then King Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, “Upon the great [new] altar, burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, and the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land and their grain offering and their drink offerings; and sprinkle on the new altar all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice. But the [old] bronze altar shall be kept for me to use to [b]examine the sacrifices.” 16 Urijah the priest acted in accordance with everything that King Ahaz commanded.
17 Then King Ahaz cut away the frames of the basin stands [in the temple], and removed the basin from [each of] them; and he took down the [large] Sea from the bronze oxen which were under it, and put it on a plastered stone floor. 18 He removed from the house of the Lord the covered way for the Sabbath which they had built in the house, and the outer entrance of the king, because of the king of Assyria [who might confiscate them].
Hezekiah Reigns over Judah
19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20 So Ahaz slept with his fathers [in death] and was buried with his fathers in the City of David; and his son Hezekiah became king in his place.
- 2 Kings 16:6 Elath was located on the Gulf of Aqaba, the southernmost port city of Judah.
- 2 Kings 16:15 The meaning of the Hebrew here is not certain, but Ahaz was probably referring to the pagan practice of examining the entrails of sacrifices as omens for deciding whether to go to war or for other major decisions.