Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father:
A. M. 3262-3278. B.C. 742-726. Ahaz
like David his father
For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim.
For he walked
Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
or, offered sacrifice. the valley.
after the abominations
He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.
For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers.
Heb. sons of valour. because.
And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king.
next to the king
Heb. the second to the king.
And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.
But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven.
he went out
To this beautiful speech nothing can be added by the best comment: it is simple, humane, pious, and overwhelmingly convincing; and it is no wonder that it produced the effect here described. That there was much humanity, as well as firmness, in the heads of the children of Ephraim, who joined with the prophet of Jehovah on this occasion, their subsequent conduct, as detailed in the fifteenth verse, sufficiently proves. They did not barely dismiss these most unfortunate captives, but they took that very spoil which their victorious army had taken, and with clothed, shod, fed, and anointed these distressed people, set the feeblest of them upon asses, and escorted them safely to Jericho! We can scarcely find a parallel to this in the universal history of the wars which savage man has carried on against his fellows from the foundation of the world. The compliance also of the whole army, in leaving both the captives and spoil to the disposal of the princes, was really wonderful, and perhaps unparalleled in history. Both the princes and army are worthy to be held up to the admiration and imitation of mankind.
because the Lord God
And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God?
Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.
Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war,
And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.
And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria.
expressed by name
At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him.
Instead of malchey, "kings," the Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate, one MS., and the parallel place, have mailech, "king."
For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives.
Heb. a captivity.
The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there.
For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD.
because of Ahaz
And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not.
A. M. 3264. B.C. 740. Tilgath-pilneser
For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.
And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz.
For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.
For he sacrificed
This passage, says Mr. Hallet, greatly surprised me; for the sacred historian is here represented as saying, "The gods of Damascus had smitten Ahaz." But it is impossible to suppose that an inspired author should say this; for the Scripture every where represents the heathen idols as nothing and vanity, and as incapable of doing either good or hurt. All difficulty is avoided if we follow the old Hebrew copies, from which the Greek translation was made: "And king Ahaz said, I will seek to the gods of Damascus which have smitten me."
Heb. Darmesek. Because the gods.
sacrifice to them
But they were
And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
cut in pieces
And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.
Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.
A. M. 3278. B.C. 726. they brought
the kings of Israel
Or, "the kings of Judah;" the name Israel being sometimes applied by the writer of this book, in a general way, to Judah. The Hebrews were accustomed to honour the memory of those kings who had reigned well, by depositing their remains in the royal cemetery. On the contrary, those who died under the disapprobation of the people, as a mark of posthumous disgrace, were denied interment with their predecessors, and were buried in some other place in Jerusalem. So it was with Ahaz, who, though brought into the city, was not buried in the sepulchres of the kings of Judah. It was doubtless with a design to make a suitable impression on the minds of their kings while living, that such distinctions were observed. They might thus restrain them from evil, or excite them to good, according as they were fearful of being execrated, or desirous of being honoured, when dead.