1Ahaz 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, in contrast to his ancestor David. 2He followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel; he also made images of the Baals. 3He offered sacrifices in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom and passed his sons through the fire, a horrible sin practiced by the nations whom the Lord drove out before the Israelites. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.
5The Lord his God handed him over to the king of Syria. The Syrians defeated him and deported many captives to Damascus. He was also handed over to the king of Israel, who thoroughly defeated him. 6In one day King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel killed 120,000 warriors in Judah, because they had abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors. 7Zikri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed the king’s son Maaseiah, Azrikam, the supervisor of the palace, and Elkanah, the king’s second-in-command. 8The Israelites seized from their brothers 200,000 wives, sons, and daughters. They also carried off a huge amount of plunder and took it back to Samaria.
9Oded, a prophet of the Lord, was there. He went to meet the army as they arrived in Samaria and said to them: “Look, because the Lord God of your ancestors was angry with Judah he handed them over to you. You have killed them so mercilessly that God has taken notice. 10And now you are planning to enslave the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Yet are you not also guilty before the Lord your God? 11Now listen to me! Send back those you have seized from your brothers, for the Lord is very angry at you!” 12So some of the Ephraimite family leaders, Azariah son of Jehochanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jechizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai confronted those returning from the battle. 13They said to them, “Don’t bring those captives here! Are you planning on making us even more sinful and guilty before the Lord? Our guilt is already great and the Lord is very angry at Israel.” 14So the soldiers released the captives and the plunder before the officials and the entire assembly. 15Men were assigned to take the prisoners and find clothes among the plunder for those who were naked. So they clothed them, supplied them with sandals, gave them food and drink, and provided them with oil to rub on their skin. They put the ones who couldn’t walk on donkeys. They brought them back to their brothers at Jericho, the city of the date palm trees, and then returned to Samaria.
16At that time King Ahaz asked the king of Assyria for help. 17The Edomites had again invaded and defeated Judah and carried off captives. 18The Philistines had raided the cities of Judah in the lowlands and the Negev. They captured and settled in Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco and its surrounding villages, Timnah and its surrounding villages, and Gimzo and its surrounding villages. 19The Lord humiliated Judah because of King Ahaz of Israel, for he encouraged Judah to sin and was very unfaithful to the Lord. 20King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria came, but he gave him more trouble than support. 21Ahaz gathered riches from the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and the officials and gave them to the king of Assyria, but that did not help.
22During his time of trouble King Ahaz was even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus whom he thought had defeated him. He reasoned, “Since the gods of the kings of Damascus helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.” But they caused him and all Israel to stumble. 24Ahaz gathered the items in God’s temple and removed them. He shut the doors of the Lord’s temple and erected altars on every street corner in Jerusalem. 25In every city throughout Judah he set up high places to offer sacrifices to other gods. He angered the Lord God of his ancestors.
26The rest of the events of Ahaz’s reign, including his accomplishments from start to finish, are recorded in the Scroll of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27Ahaz passed away and was buried in the City of David; they did not bring him to the tombs of the kings of Israel. His son Hezekiah replaced him as king.