Ahaz, or Achaz, King of Judah

Ahaz, King of Judah, was 20 years old when he became king. He reigned 16 years. His father was King Jotham. Ahaz was one of the most evil kings of Judah. He not only burned incense as offerings to false gods, he even sacrificed his own children in fire. This is why the Lord allowed the king of Syria to defeat Ahaz and to deport large numbers of his people to Damascus (2 Chronicles 28:5). He also lost large numbers of men who were slaughtered by the army of the northern kingdom of Israel. In one battle, Judah lost 120,000 troops to Pekah, king of Israel, and 200,000 women and children were captured.

But Oded, a prophet of God told Israel to return the Judah captives because the anger of God was now upon them (2 Chronicles 28:11). Israel returned the captives to their families. Later, Edom and the Philistines invaded Judah. Ahaz asked the King of Assyria for help, and gave the king all of the Temple gold and the treasures of the palace. But when Tilgath-Pilneser, King of Assyria arrived, he caused more trouble for King Ahaz instead of helping him.

During this difficult time, King Ahaz collapsed spiritually. He sacrificed to the false gods of the people of Damascus, because he had thought that the false gods had helped the Syrians defeat him and that maybe they would now help him if he too offered sacrifices to the false gods. But instead, as is written in 2 Chronicles 28:22-23, the false gods were the ruin of Ahaz and his people.

When King Ahaz died, he was buried in Jerusalem but not in the royal tombs, and Hezekiah became the new king (2 Chronicles 28:27). The story of Ahaz is found in 2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28. The name Ahaz means "he held fast."

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