Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign.7. King Ahaz and Assyria
1. King Ahaz and his reign (2Kings 16:1-4; 2 Chron. 28)
2. The invasion by the two kings (2Kings 16:5-6)
3. Ahaz appeals to Assyria (2Kings 16:7-8)
4. Ahaz in Damascus and the idolatrous altar (2Kings 16:9-18)
Righteous Jotham had for his successor a wicked son. Ahaz “walked in the way of the Kings of Israel, yea, and made his son pass through the fire according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel.” (This refers to the horrible rite of child-sacrifice. Ahaz was the first among the kings who did this. As the apostasy increased this awful ceremony became more frequent. 2Kings 17:17; 2Kings 21:6; 2Kings 23:10; See Micah 6:7; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:5.) For additional wickedness he committed see 2Chronicles 28:2; 2Chronicles 28:21-25. He burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom and burnt his children in the fire.
“But this was to revive the old Canaanitish and Phoenician worship, with all its abominations and all its defilements. The valley of Gihon, which bounds Jerusalem on the west, descends at its southern extremity into that of Hinnom, which in turn joins at the ancient royal gardens the valley of Kidron, that runs along the eastern declivity of the Holy City. There, at the junction of the valleys of Hinnom and Kidron, in these gardens, was Topheth--’the spitting out,’ or place of abomination--where an Ahaz, a Manasseh, and an Amon, sacrificed their sons and daughters to Baal-Moloch, and burnt incense to foul idols. Truly was Hinnom, ‘moaning,’ and rightly was its name Gehinnom (valley of Hinnom--Geheena), adopted as that for the place of final suffering. And it is one of those strange coincidences that the hill which rises on the south side of this spot was that ‘potter’s field,’ the ‘field of blood,’ which Judas bought with the wages of his betrayal, and where with his own hands he executed judgment on himself. History is full of such coincidences, as men call them; nor can we forget in this connection that it was on the boundary-line between the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz that Rome was founded (in 752 B.C.), which was destined to execute final judgment on apostate Israel” (A. Edersheim).
Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and Oded then exercised their prophetic offices. When Rezin, King of Syria, and Pekah, the son of Remaliah, King of Israel, came against Jerusalem and besieged Ahaz, he appealed to Tiglath-pileser to save him out of their hands, instead of crying to Jehovah for the deliverance He had promised to His people. The king also took the silver and gold from the LORD’s house and presented it to Tiglath-pileser. Then after Ahaz had declared himself the vassal of Assyria (“I am thy servant”), Tiglath-pileser conquered Damascus. The inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser mention this fact. We refer again to Isaiah 7. The alliance with the Assyrian was opposed by Isaiah. He told Ahaz “at the end of the conduit of the upper pool” to ask a sign of any kind of the LORD God, to allay the fears of the king and give an evidence that the LORD would preserve the house of David. And furthermore Isaiah had taken with him his son Shear-jashub, which means “the remnant shall return,” prophetic also of the preservation of a remnant. When wicked Ahaz refused, the prophet uttered that great sign which was to take place over seven hundred years after, that the virgin should conceive and bring forth a son, even Immanuel. The house of David might be punished and chastised, but there could be no full end of the royal family, for the promised One had to come from David and receive in due time the promised kingdom. And Isaiah also predicted that the Assyrian, in whom Ahaz had put his trust, should come upon them (Isaiah 7:17). What Pekah did to Judah and Oded’s testimony against Pekah we shall learn from the Chronicles.
The erection of a new altar in the Temple by Ahaz according to the pattern of the idol-altar, opened the door wide for the unlawful worship in the Temple of God. He found a willing helper in Urijah (the LORD is light), who conducted the worship “according to all that King Ahaz commanded.” And greater profanation followed. He even shut up the doors of the house of the Lord (2Chronicles 28:24), which probably meant a complete cessation of the services in the Holy Place. The gods of Damascus were worshipped by him in connection with this altar (2Chronicles 28:23). And in Christendom an even greater profanation of worship has come to pass. True Christian worship is in spirit and in truth. Roman Catholicism has erected altars patterned more or less after the ancient Babylonish worship.