December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not please the LORD as his forefather David had done,
- but conducted himself like the kings of Israel and even made molten idols of the Baals.
- Moreover, he offered sacrifice in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, and immolated his sons by fire according to the abominable practice of the nations which the LORD had cleared out before the Israelites.
- He offered sacrifice and incense on the high places, on hills, and under every leafy tree.
- Therefore the LORD, his God, delivered him into the power of the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and carried away captive a large number of his people, whom they brought to Damascus. He was also delivered into the power of the king of Israel, who defeated him with great slaughter.
- For Pekah, son of Remaliah, slew one hundred and twenty thousand of Judah in a single day, all of them valiant men, because they had abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers.
- Zichri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed Maaseiah, the king's son, and Azrikam, the master of the palace, and also Elkanah, who was second to the king.
- The Israelites took away as captives two hundred thousand of their brethren's wives, sons and daughters; they also took from them much plunder, which they brought to Samaria.
- In Samaria there was a prophet of the LORD by the name of Oded. He went out to meet the army returning to Samaria and said to them: "It was because the LORD, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah that he delivered them into your hands. You, however, have slaughtered them with a fury that has reached up to heaven.
- And now you are planning to make the children of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves and bondwomen. Are not you yourselves, therefore, guilty of a crime against the LORD, your God?
- Now listen to me: send back the captives you have carried off from among your brethren, for the burning anger of the LORD is upon you."
- At this, some of the Ephraimite leaders, Azariah, son of Johanan, Berechiah, son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah, son of Shallum, and Amasa, son of Hadlai, themselves stood up in opposition to those who had returned from the war.
- They said to them: "Do not bring the captives here, for what you propose will make us guilty before the LORD and increase our sins and our guilt. Our guilt is already great, and there is a burning anger upon Israel."
- Therefore the soldiers left their captives and the plunder before the princes and the whole assembly.
- Then the men just named proceeded to help the captives. All of them who were naked they clothed from the booty; they clothed them, put sandals on their feet, gave them food and drink, anointed them, and all who were weak they set on asses. They brought them to Jericho, the city of palms, to their brethren. Then they returned to Samaria.
- At that time King Ahaz sent an appeal for help to the kings of Assyria.
- The Edomites had returned, attacked Judah, and carried off captives.
- The Philistines too had raided the cities of the foothills and the Negeb of Judah; they captured Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco and its dependencies, Timnah and its dependencies, and Gimzo and its dependencies, and occupied them.
- 1 For the LORD had brought Judah low because of Ahaz, king of Israel, who let Judah go its own way and proved utterly faithless to the LORD.
- Tilgath-pilneser, king of Assyria, did indeed come to him, but to oppress him rather than to help him.
- Though Ahaz plundered the LORD'S house and the houses of the king and the princes to make payment to the king of Assyria, it availed him nothing.
- While he was already in distress, the same King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the LORD.
- He sacrificed to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him, saying, "Since it was the gods of the kings of Aram who helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me also." However, they only caused further disaster to him and to all Israel.
- Ahaz gathered up the utensils of God's house and broke them in pieces. He closed the doors of the LORD'S house and had altars made for himself in every corner of Jerusalem.
- In every city throughout Judah he set up high places to offer sacrifice to other gods. Thus he angered the LORD, the God of his fathers.
- The rest of his deeds and his activities, first and last, can be found written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
- Ahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in Jerusalem--in the city, for they did not bring him to the tombs of the kings of Israel. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
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1  Ahaz, king of Israel: in the period of the divided kingdom the term king of Israel would elsewhere mean "king of the northern kingdom of Israel."
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