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PART IV.

THE REIGN OF KING AHAZ, WITH AN ACCOUNT OF His

POLICY AND IDOLATRY (736-722 B.C.).

The Achievements of Ahaz.

Ahaz was twenty years old, when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem : but he did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, like David, his father : for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images of Baal. Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the sons of Hinnom, and caused his children to pass through the fire, after the abominations of the nations, whom the Lord had cast out before the Children of Israel. He sacrificed also, and burnt incense on the High places, and on the heights, and under every green tree. Wherefore the Lord, his God, delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria, and he smote them, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. 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. Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the ruler of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king.

(2 Chron. xxviii. 1-7.) Negotiations with Assyria (732 B.C.).

At that time Rezin, king of Syria, recovered Eloth to Syria, and drave the people of Judah from Eloth: and the Syrians came to Eloth, and dwelt there unto this day. So

Ahaz sent ambassadors to Tilgath-Pileser, king of Assyria saying, "I am thy servant, and thy son! Come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, who rise up against me." Then Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the House of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.

And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him : for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.

Now Ahaz had gone to Damascus to do homage to Tilgath-Pileser, king of Assyria. And he saw an altar that was in Damascus. King Ahaz then sent to Urijah the priest the fashion and the pattern of the altar according to all the workmanship thereof. And Urijah, the priest, built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus. Then when the king was come back from Damascus, the king saw the altar : and the king approached the altar, and offered thereon; yea, he burnt his burntoffering, and his meal-offering, and poured his drink-offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace-offerings upon this altar. And he took the brazen altar, which was before the Lord from the forefront of the House, from between the altar and the House of the Lord, and put it on the north side of the altar. And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying: "Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt-offering, and the evening meal-offering, and the king's burnt sacrifice and his meal-offering, with the burnt-offering of all the people of the land, and their meal-offering, and their drink-offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brazen altar shall be for me to enquire by."

Thus did Urijah, the priest, according to all that king

and put

Ahaz commanded. And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases and removed the laver from off them, and took down the sea from off the brazen oxen that were under it,

it upon a pavement of stone. And the covered way for the Sabbath, that they had built in the House, and the king's entrance without, he turned from the House of the Lord, because of the king of Assyria.

(2 Kings xvi. 10-18.) The Conquest of Samaria (722 B.c.).

In the twelfth year of Ahaz, king of Judah, began the siege of Samaria. Hoshea, the son of Elah, was reigning in Samaria over Israel; and he reigned nine years. But he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, yet not as the kings of Israel had done that were before him. Against him came up Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, and Hoshea became his vassal, and brought him tribute. But the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea : for he had sent ambassadors to So, king of Egypt, and brought not his tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria came up through all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria.

(2 Kings xvii, 1-6.) Ahaz in alliance with Assyria, but in distress.

About that time did king Ahaz send unto the king of Assyria for help. For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives. The Philistines also had invaded the towns of the Lowland, and of the South of Judah, and had taken Beth-Shemesh, and Aijalon, and

Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnath with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof, and they occupied these places. For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz, king of Judah: for he did wantonness in Judah, and transgressed sore against the Lord. And Tilgath-Pileser, king of Assyria, came unto him. He distressed him, but strengthened him not. 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. Yet in the time of his distress did this same king trespass yet more and more against the Lord. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus who smote him; and he said : “Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice unto them, that they may help me." But they were the ruin of him, and of all Judah. For 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. And in every separate town 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 of Jerusalem ; but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Judah. And Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead. (2 Chron. xxviii. 16-27.)

PART V.

PROPHECIES CONDEMNATORY OF THE POLICY OF

AHAZ (734 B.C.).

Isaiah and Ahaz. The Syro-Ephraimitish Alliance.

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahaz, the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah, the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not prevail against it. And it was told the House of David, saying, “Syria is confederate with Ephraim." Then his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.

The first message to Ahaz.

Then the Lord said unto Isaiah: “Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou and Shear-Jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the Upper Pool in the highway of the Fuller's Field : and say unto him—“Take heed and be quiet. Fear not, neither be faint-hearted on account of the two ends of these smoking torches—the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, “Let us go up against Judah, and trouble it. Let us make a breach in it, and set up a new king in the midst of it, even Ben-Tabeal.” Thus saith the Lord God: “It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. The chief town of Syria is Damascus, and the king of Damascus is Rezin ; and the capital of Ephraim is Samaria, and the king of Samaria is the son of Remaliah

")

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