1In the seventeenth year of the reign of Pekah son of Remaliah as king of Israel, Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah 2at the age of twenty, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. He did not follow the good example of his ancestor King David; instead, he did what was not pleasing to the LORD his God 3and followed the example of the kings of Israel. He even sacrificed his own son as a burnt offering to idols, imitating the disgusting practice of the people whom the LORD had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced. 4At the pagan places of worship, on the hills, and under every shady tree, Ahaz offered sacrifices and burnt incense.
5King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel attacked Jerusalem and besieged it, but could not defeat Ahaz. 6(At the same time, the king of Edom regained control of the city of Elath, and drove out the Judeans who lived there. The Edomites settled in Elath, and still live there.) 7Ahaz sent men to Tiglath Pileser, the emperor of Assyria, with this message: “I am your devoted servant. Come and rescue me from the kings of Syria and of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple and the palace treasury and sent it as a present to the emperor. 9Tiglath Pileser, in answer to Ahaz' plea, marched out with his army against Damascus, captured it, killed King Rezin, and took the people to Kir as prisoners.
10When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Emperor Tiglath Pileser, he saw the altar there and sent back to Uriah the priest an exact model of it, down to the smallest details. 11So Uriah built an altar just like it, and finished it before Ahaz returned. 12On his return from Damascus, Ahaz saw that the altar was finished, 13so he burnt animal sacrifices and grain offerings on it, and poured a wine offering and the blood of a fellowship offering on it. 14The bronze altar dedicated to the LORD was between the new altar and the Temple, so Ahaz moved it to the north side of his new altar. 15Then he ordered Uriah: “Use this large altar of mine for the morning burnt offerings and the evening grain offerings, for the burnt offerings and grain offerings of the king and the people, and for the people's wine offerings. Pour on it the blood of all the animals that are sacrificed. But keep the bronze altar for me to use for divination.” 16Uriah did as the king commanded.
17King Ahaz took apart the bronze carts used in the Temple and removed the basins that were on them; he also took the bronze tank from the backs of the twelve bronze bulls, and placed it on a stone foundation. 18And in order to please the Assyrian emperor, Ahaz also removed from the Temple the platform for the royal throne and closed up the king's private entrance to the Temple.
19Everything else that King Ahaz did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 20Ahaz died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City, and his son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
King Hoshea of Israel
1In the twelfth year of the reign of King Ahaz of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel, and he ruled in Samaria for nine years. 2He sinned against the LORD, but not as much as the kings who had ruled Israel before him. 3Emperor Shalmaneser of Assyria made war against him; Hoshea surrendered to Shalmaneser and paid him tribute every year. 4But one year Hoshea sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, asking for his help, and stopped paying the annual tribute to Assyria. When Shalmaneser learnt of this, he had Hoshea arrested and put in prison.
The Fall of Samaria
5Then Shalmaneser invaded Israel and besieged Samaria. In the third year of the siege, 6which was the ninth year of the reign of Hoshea, the Assyrian emperor captured Samaria, took the Israelites to Assyria as prisoners, and settled some of them in the city of Halah, some near the River Habor in the district of Gozan, and some in the cities of Media.
7Samaria fell because the Israelites sinned against the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the king of Egypt and had led them out of Egypt. They worshipped other gods, 8followed the customs of the people whom the LORD had driven out as his people advanced, and adopted customs introduced by the kings of Israel.9The Israelites did things that the LORD their God disapproved of. They built pagan places of worship in all their towns, from the smallest village to the largest city. 10On all the hills and under every shady tree they put up stone pillars and images of the goddess Asherah, 11and they burnt incense on all the pagan altars, following the practice of the people whom the LORD had driven out of the land. They aroused the LORD's anger with all their wicked deeds 12and disobeyed the LORD's command not to worship idols.
13The LORD had sent his messengers and prophets to warn Israel and Judah: “Abandon your evil ways and obey my commands, which are contained in the Law I gave to your ancestors and which I handed on to you through my servants the prophets.” 14But they would not obey; they were stubborn like their ancestors, who had not trusted in the LORD their God. 15They refused to obey his instructions, they did not keep the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they disregarded his warnings. They worshipped worthless idols and became worthless themselves, and they followed the customs of the surrounding nations, disobeying the LORD's command not to imitate them. 16They broke all the laws of the LORD their God and made two metal bull calves to worship; they also made an image of the goddess Asherah, worshipped the stars, and served the god Baal. 17They sacrificed their sons and daughters as burnt offerings to pagan gods; they consulted mediums and fortune tellers, and they devoted themselves completely to doing what is wrong in the LORD's sight, and so aroused his anger. 18The LORD was angry with the Israelites and banished them from his sight, leaving only the kingdom of Judah.
19But even the people of Judah did not obey the laws of the LORD their God; they imitated the customs adopted by the people of Israel. 20The LORD rejected all the Israelites, punishing them and handing them over to cruel enemies until at last he had banished them from his sight.
21After the LORD had separated Israel from Judah, the Israelites made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam made them abandon the LORD and led them into terrible sins. 22They followed Jeroboam and continued to practise all the sins he had committed, 23until at last the LORD banished them from his sight, as he had warned through his servants the prophets that he would do. So the people of Israel were taken into exile to Assyria, where they still live.
The Assyrians Settle in Israel
24The emperor of Assyria took people from the cities of Babylon, Cuth, Ivvah, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria, in place of the exiled Israelites. They took possession of these cities and lived there. 25When they first settled there, they did not worship the LORD, and so he sent lions, which killed some of them. 26The emperor of Assyria was told that the people he had settled in the cities of Samaria did not know the law of the god of that land, and so the god had sent lions, which were killing them. 27So the emperor commanded: “Send back one of the priests we brought as prisoners; make him go back and live there, in order to teach the people the law of the god of that land.” 28So an Israelite priest who had been deported from Samaria went and lived in Bethel, where he taught the people how to worship the LORD.
29But the people who settled in Samaria continued to make their own idols, and they placed them in the shrines that the Israelites had built. Each different group made idols in the cities they were living in: 30The people of Babylon made idols of the god Succoth Benoth; the people of Cuth, idols of Nergal; the people of Hamath, idols of Ashima; 31the people of Ivvah, idols of Nibhaz and Tartak; and the people of Sepharvaim sacrificed their children as burnt offerings to their gods Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32These people also worshipped the LORD and chose from among their own number all sorts of people to serve as priests at the pagan places of worship and to offer sacrifices for them there. 33So they worshipped the LORD, but they also worshipped their own gods according to the customs of the countries from which they had come.
34They still carry on their old customs to this day. They do not worship the LORD nor do they obey the laws and commands which he gave to the descendants of Jacob, whom he named Israel. 35The LORD had made a covenant with them and had ordered them: “Do not worship other gods; do not bow down to them or serve them or offer sacrifices to them. 36You shall obey me, the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt with great power and strength; you are to bow down to me and offer sacrifices to me. 37You shall always obey the laws and commands that I wrote for you. You shall not obey other gods, 38and you shall not forget the covenant I made with you. 39You shall obey me, the LORD your God, and I will rescue you from your enemies.” 40But those people would not listen, and they continued to follow their old customs.
41So those people worshipped the LORD, but they also worshipped their idols; and to this day their descendants continue to do the same.
1Ahaz became king at the age of twenty, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. He did not follow the good example of his ancestor King David; instead, he did what was not pleasing to the LORD2and followed the example of the kings of Israel. He had metal images of Baal made, 3burnt incense in the Valley of Hinnom, and even sacrificed his own sons as burnt offerings to idols, imitating the disgusting practice of the people whom the LORD had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced. 4At the pagan places of worship, on the hills, and under every shady tree Ahaz offered sacrifices and burnt incense.
7An Israelite soldier named Zichri killed King Ahaz' son Maaseiah, the palace administrator Azrikam, and Elkanah, who was second in command to the king. 8Even though the Judeans were their own relatives, the Israelite army captured 200,000 women and children as prisoners and took them back to Samaria, along with large amounts of loot.
The Prophet Oded
9A man named Oded, a prophet of the LORD, lived in the city of Samaria. He met the returning Israelite army with its Judean prisoners as it was about to enter the city, and he said, “The LORD God of your ancestors was angry with Judah and let you defeat them, but now he has heard of the vicious way you slaughtered them. 10And now you intend to make the men and women of Jerusalem and Judah your slaves. Don't you know that you also have committed sins against the LORD your God? 11Listen to me! These prisoners are your brothers and sisters. Let them go, or the LORD will punish you in his anger.”
12Four of the leading men of the Northern Kingdom, Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai also opposed the actions of the army. 13They said, “Don't bring those prisoners here! We have already sinned against the LORD and made him angry enough to punish us. Now you want to do something that will increase our guilt.” 14So then the army handed the prisoners and the loot over to the people and their leaders, 15and the four men were appointed to provide the prisoners with clothing from the captured loot. They gave them clothes and sandals to wear, gave them enough to eat and drink, and put olive oil on their wounds. Those who were too weak to walk were put on donkeys, and all the prisoners were taken back to Judean territory at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then the Israelites returned home to Samaria.
18At this same time the Philistines were raiding the towns in the western foothills and in southern Judah. They captured the cities of Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, and Gederoth, and the cities of Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo with their villages, and settled there permanently. 19Because King Ahaz of Judah had violated the rights of his people and had defied the LORD, the LORD brought troubles on Judah. 20The Assyrian emperor, instead of helping Ahaz, opposed him and caused him trouble. 21So Ahaz took the gold from the Temple, the palace, and the homes of the leaders of the people, and gave it to the emperor, but even this did not help.
The Sins of Ahaz
22When his troubles were at their worst, that man Ahaz sinned against the LORD more than ever. 23He offered sacrifices to the gods of the Syrians, who had defeated him. He said, “The Syrian gods helped the kings of Syria, so if I sacrifice to them, they may help me too.” This brought disaster on him and on his nation. 24In addition, he took all the temple equipment and broke it in pieces. He closed the Temple and set up altars in every part of Jerusalem. 25In every city and town in Judah, he built pagan places of worship, where incense was to be burnt to foreign gods. In this way he brought on himself the anger of the LORD, the God of his ancestors.
26All the other events of his reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27King Ahaz died and was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.