2 Kings 16

1 In the seventeenth year of the reign of Pekah son of Remaliah as king of Israel, Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah
2 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 Lord his God
3 and 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. 1
4 At the pagan places of worship, on the hills, and under every shady tree, Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense.
5 King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel attacked Jerusalem and besieged it, but could not defeat Ahaz. 2
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.)
7 Ahaz 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."
8 Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple and the palace treasury, and sent it as a present to the emperor.
9 Tiglath 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.
10 When 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.
11 So Uriah built an altar just like it and finished it before Ahaz returned.
12 On his return from Damascus, Ahaz saw that the altar was finished,
13 so he burned animal sacrifices and grain offerings on it and poured a wine offering and the blood of a fellowship offering on it.
14 The 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. 3
15 Then 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."
16 Uriah did as the king commanded.
17 King 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. 4
18 And 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.
19 Everything else that King Ahaz did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.]
20 Ahaz died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City, and his son Hezekiah succeeded him as king. 5

2 Kings 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

Ahaz, king of Judah, His wicked reign. (1-9) Ahaz takes a pattern from an idol's altar. (10-16) Ahaz spoils the temple. (17-20)

Verses 1-9 Few and evil were the days of Ahaz. Those whose hearts condemn them, will go any where in a day of distress, rather than to God. The sin was its own punishment. It is common for those who bring themselves into straits by one sin, to try to help themselves out by another.

Verses 10-16 God's altar had hitherto been kept in its place, and in use; but Ahaz put another in the room of it. The natural regard of the mind of man to some sort of religion, is not easily extinguished; but except it be regulated by the word, and by the Spirit of God, it produces absurd superstitions, or detestable idolatries. Or, at best, it quiets the sinner's conscience with unmeaning ceremonies. Infidels have often been remarkable for believing ridiculous falsehoods.

Verses 17-20 Ahaz put contempt upon the sabbath, and thus opened a wide inlet to all manner of sin. This he did for the king of Assyria. When those who have had a ready passage to the house of the Lord, turn it another way to please their neighbours, they are going down-hill apace to ruin.

Cross References 5

  • 1. 1.10, 12Luke 9.54.
  • 2. 16.3Deuteronomy 12.31.
  • 3. 16.14Exodus 27.1, 2;2 Chronicles 4.1.
  • 4. 16.17 1 K 7.23-39;2 Chronicles 4.2-6.
  • 5. 16.20Isaiah 14.28.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. [Probable text] the king of Edom; [Hebrew] King Rezin of Syria.
  • [b]. [Verse 18 in Hebrew is unclear.]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 KINGS 16

This chapter contains the reign of Ahaz only, relates his idolatry, 2Ki 16:1-4 his hiring the king of Assyria with the treasure of the temple, and his own, to assist him against the kings of Israel and Syria, who besieged him, 2Ki 16:5-9, his seeing the altar of an idol at Damascus, the fashion of which he took, and ordered one like it to be built at Jerusalem, 2Ki 16:10-16, his defacing and removing some things in the temple, 2Ki 16:17,18, and the chapter is concluded with his death and burial, 2Ki 16:19,20.

2 Kings 16 Commentaries