Scriptures

2 Chronicles 28

Introduction

‘Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and also made idols for worshiping the Baals. He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his children in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.’ 2 Chronicles 28:1-4

Ahaz King Of Judah

Ahaz becomes king of Judah at the age of twenty and he reigned in Judah from 732 B.C. to 716 B.C. 2 Kings 16:1-9. The writer informs us that he did three things wrong as leader and king of Judah.

1. He didn’t walk in the way of David, that is, a man after God’s own heart, who was obedient to God, Acts 13:22.

2. He offered his son as a burnt offering to Molech, 1 Kings 11:7 / 2 Kings 3:27, which was condemned by the prophets, 2 Kings 23:10 / Psalm 106:38 / Jeremiah 7:31 / Ezekiel 16:21.

3. He participated in the immoral worship in the high places, although just before he died, he did close the temple hall and suspended the temple worship, 2 Chronicles 28:24.

The kings before him accepted Canaanite worship in the high places, but Ahaz is the first king to actually get involved in it. When we compare the words, ‘under every spreading tree’ used here, with the way Jeremiah uses the phrase over in Jeremiah 3:6, we quickly learn that this phrase is used metaphorically for prostitution, which gives us an insight to the kind of worship Ahaz was involved with.

‘Therefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hands of the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and took many of his people as prisoners and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hands of the king of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties on him. In one day Pekah son of Remaliah killed a hundred and twenty thousand soldiers in Judah—because Judah had forsaken the LORD, the God of their ancestors. Zikri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the officer in charge of the palace, and Elkanah, second to the king. The men of Israel took captive from their fellow Israelites who were from Judah two hundred thousand wives, sons and daughters. They also took a great deal of plunder, which they carried back to Samaria. But a prophet of the LORD named Oded was there, and he went out to meet the army when it returned to Samaria. He said to them, “Because the LORD, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand. But you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. And now you intend to make the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. But aren’t you also guilty of sins against the LORD your God? Now listen to me! Send back your fellow Israelites you have taken as prisoners, for the LORD’s fierce anger rests on you.” Then some of the leaders in Ephraim—Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berekiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—confronted those who were arriving from the war. “You must not bring those prisoners here,” they said, “or we will be guilty before the LORD. Do you intend to add to our sin and guilt? For our guilt is already great, and his fierce anger rests on Israel.” So the soldiers gave up the prisoners and plunder in the presence of the officials and all the assembly. The men designated by name took the prisoners, and from the plunder they clothed all who were naked. They provided them with clothes and sandals, food and drink, and healing balm. All those who were weak they put on donkeys. So they took them back to their fellow Israelites at Jericho, the City of Palms, and returned to Samaria.’ 2 Chronicles 28:5-15

God had warned both the northern and southern kingdoms that they would eventually be carried away into captivity if they didn’t obey His law.

This whole disaster, came upon Judah because of their alliance with Rezin, the king of Aram, and Pekah, the king of Israel, 2 Kings 16:5-6.

Isaiah makes it clear that the goal of this attack was to dethrone Ahaz and set up a Syrian king over Judah, a certain son of Tabeel, Isaiah 7:6.

They almost succeeded in capturing Ahaz, but they couldn’t actually overcome him. However, they did carry away two hundred thousand captives and much spoil.

When Israel defeated Judah, Israel wanted to take into captivity and make slaves of 120,000 Judean soldiers and 200,000 civilian hostages, but this wasn’t to be.

Notice God sent the prophet, Oded, straight away to inform Israel that they were able to defeat their brethren because God was punishing Judah for her sin.

They were to return the captives they took out of Judah and they listened to what Oded had said, and afterwards fed, clothed and allowed the captives to return to their homes in Judah.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the prophet, Obed.

‘God never stopped his pleading with the northern tribes through his holy prophets, despite the fact that within a decade, or a little less time, the Northern Israel would be destroyed and many of them transported as captives by Assyria in 722 B.C. The reign of Ahaz, 735-715 B.C. would not close until after the fall of Samaria. Thus this change of heart by some of the men of Ephraim came at a time when it was already too late. This act of mercy on their part must therefore be viewed, not as any fundamental change in the apostate Israel, but as an act of God’s mercy upon Judah, even in his judgment against them. Significantly, Nothing is known of this prophet Obed, except what is written here. There may have been many such prophets whom God sent in his futile efforts to win back from their rebellion the northern kingdom.’

‘At that time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria for help. The Edomites had again come and attacked Judah and carried away prisoners, while the Philistines had raided towns in the foothills and in the Negev of Judah. They captured and occupied Beth Shemesh, Aijalon and Gederoth, as well as Soko, Timnah and Gimzo, with their surrounding villages. The LORD had humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the LORD. Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but he gave him trouble instead of help. Ahaz took some of the things from the temple of the LORD and from the royal palace and from the officials and presented them to the king of Assyria, but that did not help him. In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the LORD. He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for he thought, “Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.” But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel. Ahaz gathered together the furnishings from the temple of God and cut them in pieces. He shut the doors of the LORD’s temple and set up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem. In every town in Judah he built high places to burn sacrifices to other gods and aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of his ancestors. The other events of his reign and all his ways, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. Ahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of Jerusalem, but he was not placed in the tombs of the kings of Israel. And Hezekiah his son succeeded him as king.’ 2 Chronicles 28:16-27

Ahaz now seeks help from the kings of Syria, which is ironic, since they would eventually take them into captivity. 2 Kings 16:5-9 tells us that Rezin and Pekah weren’t successful in their attack against Jerusalem because of the strong fortifications of the city.

Although most translations have the word Edomites, some translations use the word Syrians, but it really doesn’t make any difference as to how they are described. They took captive those of Judah and the Philistines attacked and became successful in defeating the Judean army.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The long-time sins and apostasies of the Chosen People had all but completely erased from their hearts those basic truths and the final result of that shameful development would be rapidly revealed in the defeat and deportation, first, of Northern Israel to Assyria, 722 B.C., and later, in the defeat and captivity of Judah in Babylon, 586 B.C.’

Ahaz took the gold and silver he found in the temple, throughout Israel’s history, the stores of wealth in Jerusalem were often plundered by foreign kings or used by the kings of Judah to buy the allegiance of foreign powers, 1 Kings 14:26 / 1 Kings 15:18 / 2 Kings 12:18.

Ahaz, refused to seek help from God, despite being given a sign of assurance from Isaiah that God would help him, Isaiah 7:1-12. The sad thing concerning Ahaz, is that he could have easily avoided all of this, if he had listened to and took Isaiah’s advice, Isaiah 7:4-25.

Notice that God, Himself humbled Judah because of Ahaz, 2 Kings 16:7 / Isaiah 7:10-16, and it appears that that Ahaz couldn’t get the message of doom that was sent to him from God, and so chaos ruled.

Sadly, because of his arrogance, he wouldn’t lead the people into repentance, and so, the results was punishment from God upon the whole nation.

Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but he gave him trouble instead of help, 2 Kings 15:29. 2 Kings 16:10-20 tells us that Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria and he saw a pagan god altar.

However, he didn’t just like the altar, he went as far as having a copy of it made and placed in the courtyard of the temple in Jerusalem. It’s possible that he is now introducing these foreign gods to Israel as a way of showing his allegiance to the Assyrians and the Syrians.

Uriah the priest built the altar, he is mentioned as a witness in Isaiah 8:2, but make no mistake about it, by building this altar, he was demonstrating how evil as priest he really was. He should have refused to build it, just as Azariah did when he refused to obey the king, 1 Chronicles 26:17.

The bronze altar was the original bronze altar found within the temple, Exodus 25:40 / Exodus 26:30 / 1 Chronicles 28:19. It wasn’t destroyed as some commentators suggest, Jeremiah 52:17-20, but it appears that all of its purposes were transferred to the new altar designed after Ahaz’s orders.

It appears that the original bronze altar now has second place, in the eyes of Ahaz, he moves it to a place where he can inquire of the Lord, Ezekiel 21:36.

After Tiglath-Pileser defeated both Syria and the northern kingdom, Judah was subject to pay tribute. However, despite God sending a warning though the prophets, continued to be arrogant.

He blatantly carries on building altars to false gods and he blatantly encourages the people to be apostates. He brings Judah into such a spiritual state, that even the people wouldn’t bury him in the tombs of the kings when he died.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘His adoption of the Syrian gods, Hadad, Rimmon, and others, as objects of worship, no doubt preceded the destruction of Damascus by the Assyrians, 2 Kings 16:9.’

Ahaz was arguably the worst of Judah and after his death, his son, Hezekiah, now becomes king.

Go To 2 Chronicles 29

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Psalm 37:4

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