King Ahaz - Biography

Chart of the Kings King Ahaz - Biography God's Judgment Regarding King Ahaz
Previous King: Jotham   Next King: Hezekiah

King Ahaz devoted himself to pagan worship and its associated evil, touring the nation building shrines, and seeking the aid of every powerless religion he knew of. He even sacrificed his own sons, burning them alive in a ritual to the idol Molech. As a result of his infidelity, the LORD opposed Ahaz' administration, and during his 16-year reign Judah lost the empire built by his grandfather King Uzziah and his father King Jotham, suffered constant military raids by neighbors, and even lost national sovereignty, becoming a vassal to Assyria.

On one occasion, Israel invaded Judah and took 200,000 wives and children of Judah's warriors to be slaves. The LORD, unwilling to abandon Judah in spite of Ahaz' commitment to evil, sent a prophet to meet the conquering army, threatening them with the LORD's anger for kidnapping their brothers' families. Alarmed, the Israelites escorted the captives back to Jericho, where their husbands and fathers could recover them, even giving supplies and medical care to all who needed them. Yet in spite of this act of compassion prompted by the LORD, Ahaz refused to trust the LORD.

Later, when Judah was invaded by the combined armies of Israel and Syria, the LORD spoke through the prophet Isaiah, promising that the attack would not be successful — and within a couple years, both enemies' lands would be laid waste. But in spite of the LORD's offer of a miracle to verify the prophecy and aid Ahaz' faith, Ahaz wouldn't trust the LORD. He plundered the LORD's temple and his own palace to send a payment to the king of Assyria to rescue him. In response, Assyria captured Damascus, Syria's capital, and killed Syria's king. So Ahaz was rescued, but at a great cost: Judah became a vassal to Assyria.

After this incident, Ahaz visited defeated Damascus. Still refusing to turn to the LORD, he imported the idols of Damascus into Judah, building an imposing altar near the LORD's temple, after the pattern of the altar in Damascus. He even closed the LORD's temple, which was not opened again until Ahaz died.

In recognition of Ahaz' terrible leadership and its great cost to the nation, Ahaz was buried in a commoner's grave rather than the royal cemetery.

Where to read Ahaz's story: 2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 28; Isaiah 7:1 - 8:4
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