Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king, and he ruled for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He didn't do what was right in the LORD's eyes, unlike his ancestor David.
Instead, he walked in the ways of Israel's kings, making images of the Baals
and burning incense in the Ben-hinnom Valley. He even burned his own sons alive, imitating the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.
He also sacrificed and burned incense at the shrines on every hill and beneath every shady tree.
So the LORD his God handed him over to Aram's king, who defeated him and carried off many prisoners, bringing them to Damascus. Ahaz was also handed over to Israel's king, who defeated him with a severe beating.
In Judah, Pekah, Remaliah's son, killed one hundred twenty thousand warriors in the course of a single day because they had abandoned the LORD, God of their ancestors.
An Ephraimite warrior named Zichri killed the king's son Maaseiah, the palace administrator Azrikam, and Elkanah, the king's second in command.
The Israelites took captive two hundred thousand women, boys, and girls from their Judean relatives and seized enormous amounts of plunder, which they took back to Samaria.
One of the LORD's prophets named Oded lived in Samaria. When the army arrived there, he went to meet them and said, "Don't you see that the LORD God of your ancestors was angry with Judah and let you defeat them? But look what you've done! Your merciless slaughter of them stinks to high heaven!
And now you think you can enslave the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem? What about your own guilt before the LORD your God?
Listen to me! Send back the captives you took from your relatives, because the LORD is furious with you."
At this, some of the Ephraimite leaders—Johanan's son Azariah, Meshillemoth's son Berechiah, Shallum's son Jehizkiah, and Hadlai's son Amasa—confronted those returning from battle.
"Don't bring the captives here," they told them. "Your plan will only add to our sin and guilt before the LORD. We're already guilty enough, and great anger is already directed at Israel."
So the warriors released the captives and brought the loot before the officers and the whole assembly.
Then people named for this task took charge of the captives and dressed everyone who was naked with items taken from the loot. They gave them clothing, sandals, food and drink, and bandaged their wounds. Everyone who couldn't walk they placed on donkeys, and they brought them to Jericho, Palm City, near their Judean relatives. Then they returned to Samaria.
At that time King Ahaz sent for help from the king of Assyria.
Once again, the Edomites had invaded Judah, defeating Judah and carrying off captives.
The Philistines had raided the towns in the lowlands and the arid southern plain of Judah, capturing Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, and Gederoth, along with Soco and its surrounding villages, Timnah and its surrounding villages, and Gimzo and its surrounding villages, and occupying all of these cities.
The LORD was humiliating Judah on account of Israel's King Ahaz, because he had exercised no restraint in Judah and had been utterly unfaithful to the LORD.
Assyria's King Tiglath-pileser came to Ahaz, but he brought trouble, not support.
Even though Ahaz took items from the LORD's temple, the royal palace, and the officials to buy off the king of Assyria, it was of no help.
It was during this troubled time that King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the LORD
by sacrificing to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him. "Since the gods of Aram's kings are helping them," he said, "I'll sacrifice to them too, so that they will help me." But they became the ruin of both him and all Israel.
Ahaz gathered the objects from God's temple, cut them up, shut the doors of the LORD's temple, and made himself altars on every corner in Jerusalem.
He made shrines in all the towns of Judah for burning incense to other gods. This made the LORD, the God of his ancestors, very angry.
The rest of Ahaz's deeds, from beginning to end, are written in the official records of Israel's and Judah's kings.
Ahaz lay down with his ancestors and was buried in the city, in Jerusalem, but not in the royal cemetery of Israel's kings. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.