2 Chronicles 28
Ahaz rules Judah as king
1 Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king. He ruled Judah as king in Jerusalem for 16 years. He did not do the things that the Lord said were good. So he was not like his ancestor, King David.
28:1Ahaz ruled from about 731 BC.
2 He lived in the same bad way that the kings of Israel did. He also used metal to make images of the god Baal. 3 He offered sacrifices in Ben-Hinnom Valley. He even caused his sons to walk through fire. In this way he copied the terrible sins of the other nations in Canaan. Those were the nations that the Lord had chased out so that the Israelites could live there. 4 Ahaz offered sacrifices and he burned incense on altars on the hills, as well as under all the big trees.
28:3The Ben-Hinnom Valley was to the south of Jerusalem. It was a place where Judah's people did disgusting things. ‘Walk through fire’ may mean that Ahaz burned his sons as a sacrifice to false gods.
God punishes King Ahaz
5 Because of this, the Lord his God put Ahaz under the power of the king of Syria. Syria's army won a battle against Ahaz's men. The king of Syria took many of Ahaz's people to Damascus as his prisoners.
28:5Damascus was the capital city of Syria.
The Lord also allowed the king of Israel to attack Ahaz. Israel's soldiers completely won the battle against Ahaz. 6 In one day, King Pekah of Israel, Remaliah's son, killed 120,000 of Judah's best soldiers. God punished the people of Judah because they had turned away from the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
7 Zikri, a brave soldier from Ephraim's tribe, killed Maaseiah, King Ahaz's son. He also killed Azrikam, the officer with authority over the king's palace, and Elkanah, the king's most important officer. 8 The Israelites took hold of 200,000 wives, sons and daughters of Judah's soldiers. They took them as their prisoners, even though they were their relatives. They also carried away to Samaria a lot of valuable things.
9 Oded, a prophet of the Lord, lived there. He went to meet Israel's soldiers when they arrived back in Samaria. He said to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah's people. So he let you have power over them to punish them. But you have killed them in a very cruel way. God in heaven has seen what you have done. 10 Now you want to use the men and women from Judah and Jerusalem as your slaves. So you yourselves are guilty of sins against the Lord your God. 11 Now listen to me! The Lord is very angry with you. So you must send back the prisoners that you have brought here from Judah. Remember that they are your relatives.’
12 Then some family leaders of Ephraim warned the soldiers who were returning from the battle against Judah. The leaders' names were: Jehohanan's son Azariah, Meshillemoth's son Berekiah, Shallum's son Jehizkiah and Hadlai's son Amasa. 13 They said to the soldiers, ‘You must not bring your prisoners here! If you do, we will be guilty of even more sins against the Lord. The Lord is already angry with us people of Israel because we are guilty. Do not make it worse.’
14 So the soldiers let their prisoners go free. They gave the people and the things that they had brought from Judah to the leaders and the other people. 15 The leaders found clothes for each of the prisoners who had no clothes. They gave the prisoners clothes, shoes, food and drink, as well as oil to put on their skin. They took all these things from the things that the soldiers had brought from Judah. They put the prisoners who were too weak to walk on donkeys. Then they took them back to their relatives in Jericho, the city with many palm trees. After that, the Israelite 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 Soldiers from Edom had attacked Judah again. They had taken people away as their prisoners. 18 Philistine soldiers had also attacked towns in the low hills in the west of Judah and in the Negev in the south. They took these towns for themselves and they lived in them:Beth-Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth;Soco, Timnah and Gimzo with the villages around them.
19 The Lord caused a lot of trouble for Judah's people because of their king, Ahaz. He turned away from the Lord and he allowed his people to do wicked things.
20 King Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria came to Ahaz. But he did not help Ahaz. Instead, he caused trouble. 21 Ahaz took valuable things from the Lord's temple, from the king's palace and from his officers. He gave those things to the king of Assyria. But the king of Assyria still did not help him.
King Ahaz's sins
22 During this time of trouble, King Ahaz did even more bad things against the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus. He thought that those gods had helped the kings of Syria to win the wars against him. He thought, ‘If I offer sacrifices to them, perhaps they will help me too.’ But that sin caused a lot of trouble for King Ahaz and for his nation.
24 Ahaz took away all the things that were in God's temple. He broke them into pieces. He shut the doors of the temple so that nobody could go in. He built altars for himself at the corner of every street in Jerusalem. 25 He built altars in every town in Judah to offer sacrifices to other gods. In that way he made the Lord, the God of his ancestors, very angry.
26 All the other things that happened while Ahaz was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The history of the kings of Judah and Israel’. It tells about all the things that Ahaz did. 27 Ahaz died and his people buried him in the City of David. But they did not bury him near the graves of Israel's kings.
His son Hezekiah became king after him.