Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 16 years. He didn't do what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He didn't do what King David had done.
He followed the ways of the kings of Israel. He also made metal statues of gods that were named after Baal.
He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom. He sacrificed his children in the fire to other gods. He followed the practices of the nations. The LORD hated those practices. He had driven out those nations to make room for the people of Israel.
Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places. He also did it on the tops of hills and under every green tree.
So the LORD his God handed him over to the king of Aram. The men of Aram won the battle over him. They took many of his people as prisoners. They brought them to Damascus. God also handed Ahaz over to Pekah. His army wounded or killed many of the troops of Ahaz. Pekah was king of Israel.
In one day Pekah killed 120,000 soldiers in Judah. That's because Judah had deserted the Lord, the God of their people. Pekah was the son of Remaliah.
Zicri was a fighting man from Ephraim. He killed Maaseiah, Azrikam and Elkanah. Maaseiah was the king's son. Azrikam was the officer who was in charge of the palace. And Elkanah was next in command after the king.
The men of Israel captured 200,000 wives, sons and daughters from their relatives in Judah. They also took a large amount of goods. They carried all of it back to Samaria.
But a prophet of the LORD was there. His name was Oded. When the army returned to Samaria, he went out to meet them. He said to them, "The LORD is the God of your people. He burned with anger against Judah. So he handed them over to you. But you have killed them. Your anger reached all the way to heaven.
"Now you are planning to make the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem your slaves. But aren't you also guilty of sins against the LORD your God?
Listen to me! You have taken your relatives from Judah as prisoners. The LORD's anger is burning against you. So send your relatives back."
Then some of the leaders in Ephraim stood up to those who were returning from the war. The leaders were Azariah, Berekiah, Jehizkiah and Amasa. Azariah was the son of Jehohanan. Berekiah was the son of Meshillemoth. Jehizkiah was the son of Shallum. And Amasa was the son of Hadlai.
"Don't bring those prisoners here," they said. "If you do, we'll be guilty in the sight of the Lord. Do you really want to add to our sin and guilt? We're already very guilty. The LORD's anger is burning against Israel."
So the soldiers gave up the prisoners and the goods they had taken. They did it in front of the officials and the whole community.
Azariah, Berekiah, Jehizkiah and Amasa received the prisoners. From the goods that had been taken they gave clothes to all those who were naked. They gave them clothes, sandals, food, drink and healing lotion. They put all of the weak people on donkeys. They took them back to their relatives at Jericho. Then they returned to Samaria. Jericho was also known as the City of Palm Trees.
At that time King Ahaz sent men to the king of Assyria to get help.
The men of Edom had come again and attacked Judah. They had carried prisoners away.
At the same time the Philistines had attacked towns in the western hills and in the Negev Desert of Judah. They had captured Beth Shemesh, Aijalon and Gederoth. They had also captured Soco, Timnah and Gimzo and the villages that were around them. They had settled down in all of them.
The LORD had brought Judah down because of Ahaz, their king. Ahaz had stirred up the people of Judah to do evil things. He hadn't been faithful to the LORD at all.
Tiglath-Pileser came to Ahaz. But he gave Ahaz trouble instead of help. Tiglath-Pileser was king of Assyria.
Ahaz took some things from the LORD's temple. He also took some from the royal palace and from the princes. He gave all of them to the king of Assyria. But that didn't help him.
When King Ahaz was in trouble, he became even more unfaithful to the Lord.
He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus. They had won the battle over him. He thought, "The gods of the kings of Aram have helped them. So I'll sacrifice to them. Then they'll help me." But they brought him down. In fact, they brought the whole nation of Israel down.
Ahaz gathered together everything that belonged to God's temple. He took all of it away. He shut the doors of the LORD's temple. He set up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem.
In every town in Judah he built high places. Sacrifices were burned there to other gods. That made the Lord, the God of his people, very angry.
The other events of the rule of Ahaz and all of his evil practices from beginning to end are written down. They are written in the records of the kings of Judah and Israel.
Ahaz joined the members of his family who had already died. His body was buried in the city of Jerusalem. But it wasn't placed in the tombs of the kings of Israel. His son Hezekiah became the next king after him.
Hezekiah was 25 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 29 years. His mother's name was Abijah. She was the daughter of Zechariah.
Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as King David had done.
In the first month of Hezekiah's first year as king, he opened the doors of the LORD's temple. He repaired them.
He brought the priests and Levites in. He gathered them together in the open area on the east side of the temple.
He said, "Levites, listen to me! Set yourselves apart to the Lord. Set apart the temple of the Lord. He's the God of your people. Remove anything that is 'unclean' from the temple.
Our people weren't faithful. They did what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They deserted him. They turned their faces away from the place where he lives. They turned their backs on him.
They also shut the doors of the temple porch. They put the lamps out. They didn't burn incense at the temple. They didn't sacrifice burnt offerings to the God of Israel there.
"So the LORD has become angry with Judah and Jerusalem. He has made them look so bad that everyone is shocked when they see them. They laugh at them. You can see it with your own eyes.
That's why our people have been killed with swords. That's why our sons and daughters and wives have become prisoners.
"So I'm planning to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel. Then he'll turn his burning anger away from us.
"My sons, don't fail to obey the Lord. He has chosen you to stand in front of him and work for him. He wants you to serve him and burn incense to him."
Here are the Levites who went to work. Mahath and Joel were from the family line of Kohath. Mahath was the son of Amasai. Joel was the son of Azariah. Kish and Azariah were from the family line of Merari. Kish was the son of Abdi. Azariah was the son of Jehallelel. Joah and Eden were from the family line of Gershon. Joah was the son of Zimmah. Eden was the son of Joah.
Shimri and Jeiel were from the family line of Elizaphan. Zechariah and Mattaniah were from the family line of Asaph.
Jehiel and Shimei were from the family line of Heman. Shemaiah and Uzziel were from the family line of Jeduthun.
All of those Levites gathered the other Levites together. They set themselves apart to the Lord. Then they went in to purify the LORD's temple. That's what the king had ordered them to do. They did what the LORD told them to.
The priests went into the LORD's temple to make it pure. They brought out to the temple courtyard everything that was "unclean." They had found "unclean" things in the LORD's temple. The Levites took them and carried them out to the Kidron Valley.
On the first day of the first month they began to set everything in the temple apart to the Lord. By the eighth day of the month they reached the LORD's porch. For eight more days they set the LORD's temple itself apart to him. They finished on the 16th day of the first month.
Then they went to King Hezekiah. They reported, "We've purified the whole temple of the Lord. That includes the altar for burnt offerings and all of its tools. It also includes the table for the holy bread and all of its articles.
We've prepared all of the articles King Ahaz had removed. We've set them apart to the Lord. Ahaz had removed them while he was king. He wasn't faithful to the Lord. The articles are now in front of the LORD's altar."
Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together. They went up to the LORD's temple.
They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs and seven male goats with them. They sacrificed the animals as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the temple and for Judah. The king commanded the priests to offer them on the LORD's altar. The priests were from the family line of Aaron.
They killed the bulls. Then they sprinkled the blood on the altar. Next they killed the rams and sprinkled the blood on the altar. Then they killed the lambs and sprinkled the blood on the altar.
The goats for the sin offering were brought to the king and the whole community. They placed their hands on them.
Then the priests killed the goats. They put the blood on the altar as a sin offering. It paid for the sin of the whole nation of Israel. The king had ordered the burnt offering and the sin offering for the whole nation.
He stationed the Levites in the LORD's temple. They had cymbals, harps and lyres. They did everything in the way King David, his prophet Gad, and the prophet Nathan had required. The LORD had given commands about all of those things through his prophets.
So the Levites stood ready with David's musical instruments. And the priests had their trumpets ready.
Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. The offering began. Singing to the LORD also began. The singing was accompanied by the trumpets and by the instruments of David. He had been king of Israel.
The whole community bowed down. They worshiped the Lord. At the same time the singers sang. The priests blew their trumpets. All of that continued until the burnt offering had been sacrificed.
So the offerings were finished. King Hezekiah got down on his knees. He worshiped the Lord. So did everyone who was with him.
The king and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord. They used the words of David and the prophet Asaph. They sang praises with joy. They bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord.
Then Hezekiah said, "You have set yourselves apart to the Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to his temple." So the whole community brought sacrifices and thank offerings. Everyone who wanted to brought burnt offerings.
The whole community brought 70 bulls, 100 rams and 200 male lambs. They brought all of them as burnt offerings to the Lord.
The total number of animals that were set apart as sacrifices to the LORD was 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep and goats.
But there weren't enough priests to skin all of the burnt offerings. So their brother Levites helped them. They worked until the task was finished. By that time other priests had been set apart to the Lord. The Levites had been more careful than the priests when they set themselves apart.
There were large numbers of burnt offerings, along with the drink offerings and the fat from the friendship offerings. They were offered along with the burnt offerings. So the service of the LORD's temple was started up again.
Hezekiah and all of the people were filled with joy. That's because everything had been done so quickly. God had provided for his people in a wonderful way.
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed. He said, "Father, the time has come. Bring glory to your Son. Then your Son will bring glory to you.
You gave him authority over all people. He gives eternal life to all those you have given him.
"And what is eternal life? It is knowing you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
I have brought you glory on earth. I have finished the work you gave me to do.
So now, Father, give glory to me in heaven where your throne is. Give me the glory I had with you before the world began.
"I have shown you to the disciples you gave me out of the world. They were yours. You gave them to me. And they have obeyed your word.
Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.
I gave them the words you gave me. And they accepted them. They knew for certain that I came from you. They believed that you sent me.
"I pray for them. I am not praying for the world. I am praying for those you have given me, because they are yours.
All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. Glory has come to me because of my disciples.
"I will not remain in the world any longer. But they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name. It is the name you gave me. Keep them safe so they can be one, just as you and I are one.
"While I was with them, I guarded them. I kept them safe through the name you gave me. None of them has been lost, except the one who was sentenced to be destroyed. It happened so that Scripture would come true.
"I am coming to you now. But I say these things while I am still in the world. I say them so that those you gave me can have all my joy inside them.
I have given them your word. The world has hated them. This is because they are not part of the world any more than I am.
I do not pray that you will take them out of the world. I pray that you will keep them safe from the evil one.
"They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to it.
Use the truth to make them holy. Your word is truth.
You sent me into the world. In the same way, I have sent them into the world.
I make myself holy for them so that they too can be made holy in a true sense.
"I do not pray only for them. I pray also for those who will believe in me because of their message.
Father, I pray that all of them will be one, just as you are in me and I am in you. I want them also to be in us. Then the world will believe that you have sent me.
"I have given them the glory you gave me. I did this so they would be one, just as we are one.
I will be in them, just as you are in me. I want them to be brought together perfectly as one. This will let the world know that you sent me. It will also show the world that you have loved those you gave me, just as you have loved me.
"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am. I want them to see my glory, the glory you have given me. You gave it to me because you loved me before the world was created.
"Father, you are holy. The world does not know you, but I know you. Those you have given me know you have sent me.
I have shown you to them. And I will continue to show you to them. Then the love you have for me will be in them. I myself will be in them."