2 Kings 16

Ahaz’s Reign over Judah

1In the seventeenth year of the reign of Pekah son of Remaliah, Jotham’s son Ahaz became king over Judah. 2Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what pleased the Lord his God, in contrast to his ancestor David.
Heb “and he did not do what was proper in the eyes of the Lord his God, like David his father.”
3He followed in the footsteps of
Heb “he walked in the way of.”
the kings of Israel. He passed his son through the fire,
This may refer to child sacrifice, though some interpret it as a less drastic cultic practice. For discussion see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 266-67.
a horrible sin practiced by the nations
Heb “like the abominable practices of the nations.”
whom the Lord drove out from before the Israelites.
4He offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.

5 At that time King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel attacked Jerusalem.
Heb “went up to Jerusalem for battle.”
They besieged Ahaz,
That is, Jerusalem, Ahaz’s capital city.
but were unable to conquer him.
Heb “they were unable to fight.” The object must be supplied from the preceding sentence. Elsewhere when the Niphal infinitive of לָחָם (lakham) follows the verb יָכֹל (yakhol), the infinitive appears to have the force of “prevail against.” See Num 22:11; 1 Sam 17:9; and the parallel passage in Isa 7:1.
6(At that time King Rezin of Syria
Some prefer to read “the king of Edom” and “for Edom” here. The names Syria (Heb “Aram,” אֲרָם, ’aram) and Edom (אֱדֹם, ’edom) are easily confused in the Hebrew consonantal script.
recovered Elat for Syria; he drove the Judahites from there.
Heb “from Elat.”
The consonantal text (Kethib), supported by many medieval Hebrew mss, the Syriac version, and some mss of the Targum and Vulgate, read “Syrians” (Heb “Arameans”). The marginal reading (Qere), supported by the LXX, Targums, and Vulgate, reads “Edomites.”
arrived in Elat and live there to this very day.)
7Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your dependent.
Heb “son.” Both terms (“servant” and “son”) reflect Ahaz’s subordinate position as Tiglath-pileser’s subject.
March up and rescue me from the power
Heb “hand, palm.”
of the king of Syria and the king of Israel, who have attacked
Heb “who have arisen against.”
8Then Ahaz took the silver and gold that were
Heb “that was found.”
in the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as tribute
Or “bribe money.”
to the king of Assyria.
9The king of Assyria responded favorably to his request;
Heb “listened to him.”
Heb “the king of Assyria.”
attacked Damascus and captured it. He deported the people
Heb “it.”
to Kir and executed Rezin.

10 When King Ahaz went to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria in Damascus, he saw the altar there.
Heb “in Damascus.”
King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a drawing of the altar and a blueprint for its design.
Heb “the likeness of the altar and its pattern for all its work.”
11Uriah the priest built an altar in conformity to the plans King Ahaz had sent from Damascus.
Heb “according to all that King Ahaz sent from Damascus.”
Uriah the priest finished it before King Ahaz arrived back from Damascus.
Heb “so Uriah the priest did, until the arrival of King Ahaz from Damascus.”
12When the king arrived back from Damascus and
Heb “and the king.”
saw the altar, he approached it
Heb “the altar.”
and offered a sacrifice on it.
Or “ascended it.”
13He offered his burnt sacrifice and his grain offering. He poured out his libation and sprinkled the blood from his peace offerings on the altar. 14He moved the bronze altar that stood in the Lord’s presence from the front of the temple (between the altar and the Lord’s temple) and put it on the north side of the new
The word “new” is added in the translation for clarification.
15King Ahaz ordered Uriah the priest, “On the large altar
That is, the newly constructed altar.
offer the morning burnt sacrifice, the evening grain offering, the royal burnt sacrifices and grain offering, the burnt sacrifice for all the people of Israel, their grain offering, and their libations. Sprinkle all the blood of the burnt sacrifice and other sacrifices on it. The bronze altar will be for my personal use.”
Heb “for me to seek.” The precise meaning of בָּקַר (baqar), “seek,” is uncertain in this context. For discussion see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 189.
16So Uriah the priest did exactly as
Heb “according to all which.”
King Ahaz ordered.

17 King Ahaz took off the frames of the movable stands, and removed the basins from them. He took “The Sea”
See the note at 1 Kgs 7:23.
down from the bronze bulls that supported it
Heb “that [were] under it.”
and put it on the pavement.
18He also removed the Sabbath awning
The precise meaning of the Hebrew term מוּסַךְ (musakh; Qere) / מִיסַךְ (misakh; Kethib) is uncertain. For discussion see HALOT 557 s.v. מוּסַךְ and M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 189-90.
that had been built
Heb “that they built.”
in the temple and the king’s outer entranceway, on account of the king of Assyria.
It is doubtful that Tiglath-pileser ordered these architectural changes. Ahaz probably made these changes so he could send some of the items and materials to the Assyrian king as tribute. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 190, 193.

19 The rest of the events of Ahaz’s reign, including his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah.
Heb “As for the rest of the events of Ahaz, and that which he did, are they not written on the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Judah?”
20Ahaz passed away
Heb “lay down with his fathers.”
and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David. His son Hezekiah replaced him as king.

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