Who Was Ahaz In The Bible

You may have heard the name Ahaz before. It was in the Bible as a king of Israel, but do you know who he really was? How did he become king and what happened to him? Ahaz was born around 748 BC into a wealthy family. He inherited a successful family business that produced metal works products. But how did he rise to the level of royalty? In this article I will be sharing some information about Ahaz from the Bible.

Ahaz was the son of Jotham and the father of Hezekiah, two kings of Jerusalem. He was also a whole lot more than that. Find out what Ahaz was like when you read on. The author is an anonymous writer who lived long before these events took place.

Ahaz was the king of Judah who ruled from 733-716BC. He was a bad king who followed the ways of his father, king Manasseh and grandfather, king Amon.

Ahaz, king of Judah and son of Jotham, ruled Judah beginning in 735 B.C. He came to the throne after a civil war. Ahaz was active in politics throughout the Middle East but seems to have been dominated by Assyria; Ahaz’s reign was one of those periods when Palestine was politically dominated by foreign powers.

Who Was Ahaz In The Bible

The name Ahaz is a shortened form of names like Ahaziah and Jehoahaz, which mean “The Lord holds.” Ahaz ruled over Judah from 742–727 BCE, and accounts of his reign are preserved in 2Kgs 16, 2Chr 28, Isa 7, and various Assyrian annals. While it is difficult to reconcile all of the events they describe, we can piece together the basics of his story and some of the dilemmas he faced.

At the heart of Ahaz’s dilemma stood the menacing empire of Assyria. Under the brutal emperor Tiglath-pileser III, Assyria’s domination of its neighbors had reached crisis levels. The nation of Aram and the northern kingdom of Israel wanted to stem the tide of Tiglath-pileser’s advances by launching their own war against Assyria. When the southern King Ahaz refused to join their cause, Aram and Israel invaded Judah and threatened to replace Ahaz with a king more to their liking. The king was caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Fighting mighty Assyria was a fool’s errand, but not joining the fight might get him killed all the same.

What Was Ahaz to Do?

The prophet Isaiah’s counsel to the king came in the form of a sign: “The young woman [ʿalmah] is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” (Isa 7:14). Although the Hebrew word ʿalmah can refer to a virgin (as the Septuagint, which Matthew followed, understands it), the term generally refers just to a young woman of marriageable age. It seems likely that the young woman here is Ahaz’s wife and that the son she would bear was the future king, Hezekiah (“Immanuel” in Isa 8:8 certainly refers to Hezekiah). The prophet’s word of comfort was that Ahaz would not be deposed by Aram and Israel; his line would carry on in a soon-to-be-born son. Ahaz just needed to trust in God’s protection.

Unfortunately, Ahaz chose a different path. He appealed to Assyria for help, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me” (2Kgs 16:7). He even sent gold and silver from the temple as tribute. While Assyria did come and defeat Ahaz’s northern enemies, this rescue came at a cost. Judah became essentially an Assyrian vassal, and Ahaz’s son Hezekiah would be saddled with the consequences of this arrangement. Perhaps as a condition of serving Assyria, Ahaz also introduced foreign religious practices into the land (2Kgs 16:18). This, in particular, earned him the ire of later biblical and postbiblical authors. The account of Ahaz’s reign in the Deuteronomistic History (2Kgs 16:1-20) focuses its retelling mainly on condemning Ahaz’s illicit worship (vv. 1-4, 10-20), a pattern followed by the Chronicler as well (see 2Chr 28). Drawing upon the Chronicler’s version of events, the Talmudic sages highlight Ahaz as the very model of sustained wickedness (Meg. 11a) and suggest Ahaz’s troubles were meant to produce repentance but only produced ruinous idolatry instead (Sanh. 103a). Some modern historians offer a more sympathetic picture of Ahaz, suggesting Ahaz’s submission to Assyria may have actually saved the nation whereas Hezekiah’s rebellion nearly destroyed it. Given the great power and destructive bent of the Assyrian empire, it may be that no king of Judah, Ahaz included, could preserve the nation unscathed when Assyria decided to act.

Who Was Ahaz In The Bible

Ahaz was an evil king of Judah who became king at the age of 20 and reigned for 4 years with his father, Jotham, from 735 to 731 BC, and 16 years on his own, from 731 to 715 BC. Second Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28 record King Ahaz’s destructive practices, such as idol worship and sacrilege against the temple of the Lord. The actions of Ahaz contributed to the downfall of the kingdom of Judah, which the Lord brought about in 586 BC. Isaiah 7–10 speaks of the results and consequences of King Ahaz’s wicked ways.

Ahaz’s father, King Jotham, was one of the good kings of Judah (2 Chronicles 27:2), so it is unclear why King Ahaz departed so completely from the teachings of the Lord. His repugnant deeds included sacrificing his own children, which was a great evil the kingdom of Israel had already been practicing (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 28:3). King Ahaz also desecrated the temple as a result of his alliance with the king of Assyria, which came about in response to punishment God sent on Ahaz in the form of attacks on Ahaz’s land.

King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel had besieged King Ahaz’s lands, and, although they were not strong enough to defeat Ahaz, they did “inflict heavy casualties on him” (2 Chronicles 28:5). Not only were Ahaz’s son Maaseiah and his second-in-command, Elkanah, killed, but over 100,000 soldiers were killed, and Judah’s cities were plundered. Many Israelites who were living in Judah were taken captive (verses 6–8). Because of all this, Ahaz appealed to the king of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser, for help in defeating Aram and Israel. Tiglath-Pileser complied and attacked Damascus, capturing the city and killing King Rezin.

When King Ahaz met the victorious king of Assyria in Damascus, he saw a pagan altar there he wanted to copy for his own use in Jerusalem. So he sent plans to his priest Uriah, who finished the altar before Ahaz came back from Damascus (2 Kings 16:11). Upon his return, King Ahaz made sacrifices on the altar to the gods of Damascus. He moved the altar of the Lord, and, although he still planned to use it for “guidance” (verse 15), Ahaz offered all the sacrifices on the new altar.

Ahaz’s sacrilege did not end there. To impress the king of Assyria, he removed the royal entryway of the temple as well as the Sabbath canopy, and cut the temple furnishings into pieces (2 Kings 16:17–18; 2 Chronicles 28:24). After shutting the doors to the temple, he placed altars at all the street corners in Jerusalem and high places for worshiping false gods in every city in Judah (2 Chronicles 28:24–25).

The Bible is not clear on how Ahaz died, but it does say that, although he was buried with his ancestors in Jerusalem, he did not earn a place in the tombs of the kings of Israel (2 Kings 16:20; 2 Chronicles 28:27). His son Hezekiah reigned after him, and, fortunately, King Hezekiah “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 29:2). He reversed what his father had done to the temple, purifying it and again consecrating it for worship of the Lord (verses 3–36).

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