Reign of Ahaz of Judah.* 1In the seventeenth year of Pekah, son of Remaliah, Ahaz, son of Jotham, king of Judah, became king. 2Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.
He did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God, as David his father had done. 3He walked in the way of the kings of Israel; he even immolated his child by fire, in accordance with the abominable practices of the nations whom the LORD had dispossessed before the Israelites.a 4Further, he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on hills, and under every green tree.b
5Then Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to attack it. Although they besieged Ahaz, they were unable to do battle. 6(In those days Rezin, king of Aram, recovered Elath for Aram, and drove the Judahites out of it. The Edomites then entered Elath, which they have occupied until the present.)
7Meanwhile, Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, with the plea: “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the power of the king of Aram and the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8Ahaz took the silver and gold that were in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house and sent them as a present to the king of Assyria. 9The king of Assyria listened to him and moved against Damascus, captured it, deported its inhabitants to Kir, and put Rezin to death.
10King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria. When he saw the altar in Damascus, King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a model of the altar and a detailed design of its construction. 11Uriah the priest built an altar according to the plans which King Ahaz sent him from Damascus, and had it completed by the time King Ahaz returned from Damascus. 12On his arrival from Damascus, the king inspected the altar; the king approached the altar, went up 13and sacrificed his burnt offering and grain offering, pouring out his libation, and sprinkling the blood of his communion offerings on the altar. 14The bronze altar that stood before the LORD he brought from the front of the temple—that is, from the space between the new altar and the house of the LORD—and set it on the north side of his altar. 15c King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, “Upon the large altar sacrifice the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offering and grain offering of the people of the land.* Their libations you must sprinkle on it along with all the blood of burnt offerings and sacrifices. But the old bronze altar shall be mine for consultation.” 16Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz had commanded. 17King Ahaz detached the panels from the stands and removed the basins from them; he also took down the bronze sea from the bronze oxen that supported it, and set it on a stone pavement. 18In deference to the king of Assyria he removed the sabbath canopy that had been set up in the house of the LORD and the king’s outside entrance* to the temple.
19The rest of the acts of Ahaz, with what he did, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah. 20Ahaz rested with his ancestors; he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David, and his son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
* [16:1–20] Firmly dated events bearing on chaps. 16–20 are: the fall of Damascus (16:9) in 732 B.C., the fall of Samaria (18:9–11) in 722/721 B.C., and Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah (18:13) in 701 B.C., which both in Kings and in Is 36:1 occurs in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah. These data make it possible to connect the chronology of Israel and Judah to the larger chronology of ancient Near Eastern history, but they also complicate further the already vexed problem of inconsistencies in the biblical data about accession years and lengths of reign.
* [16:15] People of the land: see note on 11:14. For consultation: perhaps the introduction into Judah of the Babylonian practice of reading omens from animal sacrifices; cf. Ez 21:26.
* [16:18] Sabbath canopyâ€¦outside entrance: the Hebrew is obscure, but as a vassal Ahaz must have had to divest himself of signs of sovereignty.