2 Chronicles 28
Ahaz rules Judah
1 Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to rule his country. He ruled in Jerusalem for 16 years. But he was not like his ancestor David. He did not do the things that gave pleasure to the Lord.
28:1Ahaz ruled from about 731 BC.
Ahaz worships idols
2 He did all the things that the kings of Israel did. And he made metal idols of the gods called Baal to worship. 3 He burnt oils with sweet smells in the Ben-Hinnom Valley for them. And he sacrificed his sons in the fire. The people that had lived in the country before the Israelites had done many very bad things. So the Lord had pushed out those people in front of Israel's people. But Ahaz copied those things. 4 He offered sacrifices by fire on high places, on the tops of hills and under every green tree. And he burnt oils with sweet smells in those places.
28:3The Ben-Hinnom Valley was to the south of Jerusalem. It was the place of the most evil deeds in Judah. King Josiah made it the place to burn rubbish so that people could not sacrifice their children to Molech. In Jesus' time, they always burned the rubbish there. It was a place where the fire never went out. They called it Gehenna and used it as a word picture of Hell.
God punishes Ahaz
5 So, the Lord his God sent the king of Syria against him. He caused the king of Syria to win the fight. Then the king of Syria took many people from Judah to Damascus and he kept them there. The Lord also let the king of Israel win a fight with Ahaz. And he killed many people. 6 Remaliah's son Pekah from Israel killed 120,000 of Judah's best soldiers in one day. God let that happen because the people in Judah had stopped worshipping the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 7 Zikri, a good fighter from Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king's son. He also killed Azrikam, the officer over the king's house and Elkanah who was the king's most important officer. 8 The Israelites took away 200,000 wives, sons and daughters from Judah. It did not matter to them that those people were also descendants of Jacob. They also took away to Samaria many good and valuable things.
Oded tells Israel's people that God is angry with them
9 But a prophet of the Lord called Oded lived there. He met Israel's soldiers while they were returning to Samaria. He said to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors was angry with Judah's people. So he let you win the fight against them. But you have angrily killed very many people among them. And the news about that has reached heaven. 10 And now you want to use people from Judah and Jerusalem as your male and female slaves. But remember that you too have sinned against the Lord your God. 11 Now listen to me. The Lord is very angry with you. So you should let the people that you have taken away from Judah return to their own country. They have the same ancestors that you have.’
Israel's people obey God's prophet
12 Then some leaders in Ephraim met the soldiers while the soldiers were returning from the war. Those leaders were Johanan's son Azariah, Meshillemoth's son Berekiah, Shallum's son Jehizkiah and Hadlai's son Amasa. 13 ‘You must not bring these people that you have caught here,’ they said. ‘If you do, it will be a sin against the Lord. The Lord is already angry with Israel because we have sinned. And he may punish us for that. It seems that you want to make it worse.’
14 So the soldiers gave the people and the things that they had taken from Judah to the leaders. All the people were watching them while they did that. 15 Then those 4 leaders gave clothes and shoes to those who had none. They took those things from the things that the soldiers had taken away from Judah. And they gave food, drink and medicines to them. They put on donkeys those people who were too weak to walk. Then they took them to Jericho, the city with many Palms. There they were near where their own people lived. Then those leaders returned to Samaria.
Ahaz asks the king of Assyria for help
16 At that time, King Ahaz asked the king of Assyria for help. 17 The people from Edom had come again. They had attacked Judah and they had taken people away. 18 At the same time, the Philistines had attacked towns in the low hills in the west and the Negev in the south of Judah. They won the towns called Beth-Shemesh, Aijalon and Gederoth. They also won Soco, Timnah and Gimzo with the villages near to them. Then they went and they lived in them. 19 The Lord had caused trouble for Judah because of all the wicked things that Ahaz, their king had done. Ahaz let the people in Judah do what was wrong. He sinned badly and he had stopped worshipping the Lord. 20 Tiglath-Pileser, the king of Assyria came to Ahaz. But he caused trouble and he did not help Ahaz. 21 Ahaz had taken many valuable things from the Lord's house and from the king's house and from the rulers. He gave them to the king of Assyria but that did not help Ahaz.
Ahaz continues to sin against God
22 In this time of trouble, this same King Ahaz did more and more bad things against the Lord. 23 He gave sacrifices to the gods of the people in Damascus because those people had beaten him. So, he thought, ‘The gods of the kings of Syria are helping them. So perhaps they will help me if I give sacrifices to them.’ But that caused very bad trouble for him and for all Israel.
24 Ahaz took away all the things that were in God's house. And he cut them into pieces. He shut the doors of the house of the Lord. And he built altars for himself at the corner of every street in Jerusalem. 25 He built high places in every town in Judah to burn oils with sweet smells to other gods. So he made the Lord, the God of his ancestors, very angry.
26 Everything about him is in the Book about the Kings of Judah and Israel. And all the things that he did from the first thing to the last thing are in that book. 27 Ahaz died and the people buried him in the city, in Jerusalem. But they did not bury him near the kings of Israel. Then his son Hezekiah ruled the country instead.