- Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah in the seventeenth year of Pekah's rule in Israel.
- He was twenty years old at the time, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years. Ahaz wasn't like his ancestor David. Instead, he disobeyed the LORD
- and was even more sinful than the kings of Israel. He sacrificed his own son, which was a disgusting custom of the nations that the LORD had forced out of Israel.
- Ahaz offered sacrifices at the local shrines, as well as on every hill and in the shade of large trees.
- While Ahaz was ruling Judah, the king of Edom recaptured the town of Elath from Judah and forced out the people of Judah. Edomites then moved into Elath, and they still live there. About the same time, King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel marched to Jerusalem and attacked, but they could not capture it.
- (SEE 16:5)
- Ahaz sent a message to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria that said, "Your Majesty, King Rezin and King Pekah are attacking me, your loyal servant. Please come and rescue me."
- Along with the message, Ahaz sent silver and gold from the LORD's temple and from the palace treasury as a gift for the Assyrian king.
- As soon as Tiglath Pileser received the message, he and his troops marched to Syria. He captured the capital city of Damascus, then he took the people living there to the town of Kir as prisoners and killed King Rezin.
- Later, Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath Pileser. And while Ahaz was there, he saw an altar and sent a model of it back to Uriah the priest, along with the plans for building one.
- Uriah followed the plans and built an altar exactly like the one in Damascus, finishing it just before Ahaz came back.
- When Ahaz returned, he went to see the altar and to offer sacrifices on it. He walked up to the altar
- and poured wine over it. Then he offered sacrifices to please the LORD, to give him thanks, and to ask for his blessings.
- After that, he had the bronze altar moved aside, so his new altar would be right in front of the LORD's temple.
- He told Uriah the priest: From now on, the morning and evening sacrifices as well as all gifts of grain and wine are to be offered on this altar. The sacrifices for the people and for the king must also be offered here. Sprinkle the blood from all the sacrifices on it, but leave the bronze altar for me to use for prayer and finding out what God wants me to do.
- Uriah did everything Ahaz told him.
- Ahaz also had the side panels and the small bowls taken off the movable stands in the LORD's temple. He had the large bronze bowl, called the Sea, removed from the bronze bulls on which it rested and had it placed on a stand made of stone.
- He took down the special tent that was used for worship on the Sabbath and closed up the private entrance that the kings of Judah used for going into the temple. He did all these things to please Tiglath Pileser.
- Everything else Ahaz did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah.
- Ahaz died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Hezekiah became king.
Ahaz was probably already predisposed toward pulling away from the Lord, but the big leap came when he aligned himself with Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria. Aram (Syria) and Israel had tried to get Ahaz to join them in an alliance against Assyria. When he refused, the two countries "waged war against Jerusalem" to force his hand. But they were unsuccessful in this effort. To protect himself against further assaults from the two nations, Ahaz voluntarily submitted to become a vassal to Assyrian control and also offered silver and gold to Tiglath-pileser from the Lord's temple to buy his favor. Tiglath-pileser complied and attacked Damascus, capturing it, deporting many of its people, and killing Rezin the king.
Ahaz then sought to become like Tiglath-pileser in his religious practices. He made a visit to meet the king of Assyria and when he saw the altar the king had he sent a drawing of it back to Uriah, the high priest. It seems Uriah had also apostacized and willingly built a replica of the altar and had it ready when Ahaz returned home. Ahaz made this his primary altar and then removed the bronze altar of the Lord from in front of the Lord's temple and placed it adjacent to this new altar. He used the bronze altar only "to seek guidance," evidently from the Lord. What a strange concept. He also resorted to the practice of sacrificing children and "made his son pass through the fire, imitating the abominations of the nations the LORD had dispossessed before the Israelites." (16:3)
Nothing further is said about Ahaz' reign other than when he died he was buried with his fathers, but not with the other kings of Judah. This provides a hint that there were influential people in Judah who did not approve of his practices.