King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

2 Kings > Old Testament > Home

2 Kings 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)

2 Kings 16 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ahaz, king of Judah, His wicked reign

1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign.

2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.

3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel.

4 And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.

5 Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him.

6 At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.

7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.

8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.

9 And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.

Ahaz takes a pattern from an idol’s altar

10 And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.

11 And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus.

12 And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.

13 And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar.

14 And he brought also the brasen altar, which was before the LORD, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of the altar.

15 And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king’s burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to enquire by.

16 Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.

Ahaz spoils the temple

17 And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon the pavement of stones.

18 And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king’s entry without, turned he from the house of the LORD for the king of Assyria.

19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

20 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. When he, Joatham, “had begun,” cœpisset. H. — Thus Junius evades the following difficulty. D. — Sixteen, consequently he died when he was 36 years old. As Ezechias was 25 when he came to the throne, Achab must have been a father at 11 (C.) or 12 year of age. Bochart, Dissert. xxiii. — S. Jerom asserts the same of Solomon, and observes, that “many things which seem incredible in Scripture, are nevertheless true.” ep. ad Vital. He, with some others, has recourse to a miracle. Others suppose that Ezechias was an adopted son, or kinsman, or that the numbers are incorrect, &c. But we are assured by respectable authors, (H.) that people have children very soon in the hotter climates. Busbeque (Ep. 3.) says, in Colchis many are mothers at ten years of age; and to convince the incredulous, produce their infants “not much bigger than a large frog.” Albert the Great says he knew one who had a child at 10, and Navarre (ap. Sanchez. Mat. vii. 2. 5. disp. 104.) was credibly informed that a similar fact was seen at Naples. Mandesle observes that this is common in India. He says one had lately a child at six year of age, which was there thought remarkable. S. Jerom mentions a boy who became a father at 10, and Sanchez relates that the same happened in Spain. A boy under 12 had a child by a girl of 10, in Provence. Scaliger Elenc. The Romans laws fix upon the age of 14 for males, and 12 for females’ lawfully marrying; (H.) though many examples of people having children before that age are produced by Tiraqueau, 6. conn. 36. Yet physicians require 13 in males, and 14 years complete in females before they are capable of this effect. Genebrard. S. Aug. (de Civ. xv. 11. and xvi. c. ult. and in ps. civ.) maintains that a person of 10 years of age is unfit for generation. C. — Malitia supplet ætatem. Achaz was a monster of wickedness. H. — In the first year of his reign, and in the fifth Olympiad, the Ephori were appointed at Sparta under Theopompus, nephew of Lycurgus. Salien, A.C. 759.

Ver. 3. Fire, to purify him (or them, Paral. filios, all were treated thus. H.) according to the superstitions of the pagans: omnia purgat edax ignis. Ovid, Fast. Theod. q. 16. M. — Others believe that the child was burnt to death in honour of Moloch, and in imitation of the Chanaanites. Ps. cv. 37. Deut. xviii. 10. The Carthaginians were required by Gelon, king of Syracuse, to lay aside this most barbarous custom. Phil. apoph. Yet, “infants were publicly immolated to Saturn, in Africa, till the proconsulate of Tiberius, who ordered the priests to be exposed on those same trees which shaded their crimes, as on votive crosses. This the soldiers, my countrymen, who executed the proconsul’s orders, can testify; and still the sacred crime is perpetrated in secret.” Tert. Apol. viii. — How tenacious are people of old errors! H.

Ver. 5. Then. In punishment of such enormous crimes, God first delivered Achaz into the hands of Rasin, (2 Par. xxviii. S. Jer. in Isai. vii.) and afterwards Phacee destroyed 120,000 in one battle, and took 200,000 prisoners, whom the prophet Oded persuaded him to release. Ibid. v. 8. 11. Salien (A.C. 759.) observes that the two kings then joined their forces , and besieged Jerusalem the following year, but to no purpose. H. — Isaias was sent before the siege to encourage Achaz, and to promise the miraculous birth of the Messias, as a sign that he should be delivered: and to convince him of it the more, he foretold that the two kings should be destroyed before his own son should be able to say father. Isai. vii. 8, &c. Yet as Achaz did not still amend his life, God sent the same kings the following year (M. 3263.) to lay waste the country. C.

Ver. 6. Juda. Lit. “Jews,” Judæos, (H.) which is the first time we find this appellation. D. — Aila, or Elath, which had been taken by Ozias. C. xiv. 22. M. — It seems never to have belonged to Syria, as it was too far from Damascus. Instead of Aram, we should therefore probably read Edom, which words in Heb. are extremely similar, and have been often mistaken, (Judg. xi. 17. C.) particularly as we find that the Edomites took possession of the city. This latter word is indeed Syrians in Heb. &c. H. — Josephus and others maintain that the Syrians seized and kept the place. But they were most likely only invited by the Idumeans to come to their assistance. C.

Ver. 7. Son, vassal, or under thy protection. C. — Save me. Achaz sinned by this placing his confidence in man, after the prophet had given him such assurance from the Lord. M. — He has soon reason to repent of having brought this proud ally into his dominions, as he proved a great scourge; (2 Par. xxviii. 20.) no less than the Saxons did to the ancient Britons.

Ver. 9. Cyrene, not in Egypt, where he had no power, but near the river Cyrus, (C.) in higher Media. Josephus. — Heb. “and took it and carried the inhabitants captives to Kir,” (H.) whence the Syrians had come originally. Amos ix. 7. Arbaces, who had dismembered Media from the Assyrians empire, was now dead, and the king of Nineve had retaken several cities, occupying Rages, &c. (Tob. i. 16. &c.) before Dejoces mounted the throne, and extended the empire of the Medes. Usher. — The people of Sepharvaim lived also on the borders of Media. C. xviii. 11.

Ver. 10. To meet, and congratulate the king on his victory, and perhaps to divert him from proceeding any father. C. — But it was too late, v. 7. H. — The same year Phacee hastened to defend his dominions, but was slain by Osee. Salien, A.C. 757.

Ver. 11. Priest, or pontiff, as no other would have dared to make this innovation. Salien. — He was guilty of a great weakness; as the altar of Solomon had been so solemnly consecrated by God’s presence. All changes in religion are dangerous. The Machabees behaved with far greater respect, with regard to the altar which had been profaned. 1 Mac. iv. 45. C. — Isaias (viii. 2.) calls this priest a faithful, or competent witness, (H.) on account of his dignity, not approving his conduct. Salien. — But he had not erected this altar when the prophet spoke thus to him. D.

Ver. 12. And worshipped. Heb. simply, “and the king approached to the altar, and offered on it (13) his holocaust and his meat (or flour) offering, and poured hid drink-offering, and the blood of his peace-offerings, upon the altar.” H. — He dedicated it with all sorts of sacrifices, forbidding any other to be used in the temple. But shortly after he shut up the temple entirely. 2 Par. xxviii. 24. and xxix. 3. He offered sacrifice to idols upon this altar, (Abul.) while the priests made use of the same altar to sacrifice to the true God, (v. 15. M.) unlawfully.

Ver. 14. And from. Heb. “from between the new altar and the house of,” &c. H. — Achaz had placed his altar before that of Solomon: but he afterwards removed the latter from the right-hand of the sanctuary, to a corner of the court, on the north side. C. — In the midst of his distress, he despised God; sacrificed to the gods of the Syrians, as more powerful and victorious than the Lord; pillaged the temple, which he shut up during the remainder of his reign, (H.) and erected altars for himself in all the corners of Jerusalem. 2 Par. xxviii. 24.

Ver. 15. Morning, as prescribed in the law. Ex. xxix. 38. — King’s ordained for sin: (Lev. iv. 22.) or instituted by Solomon, who left a fund. H. 2 Par. viii. 12. M. — The law says nothing about the king’s daily holocaust and sacrifice of flour. H. — But it probably was offered after the morning and evening sacrifices. This Achaz calls his own, (v. 12. C.) as he had not yet laid aside the practice. — Pleasure. Heb. “to inquire about.” H. — I shall do what I think proper with it. M.

Ver. 17. Stone, all out of avarice, (H.) and contempt of the Lord, who chastized him. M. — He took away the plates of brass, &c. from the doors, (C.) which Ezechias was forced to replace, (H.) afterwards to take down for the Assyrians. C. xviii. 16. C.

Ver. 18. Musach. The covert, or pavilion, or tribune for the king. Ch. — Achaz would not have his ally to be in the court, but placed his throne in the temple. D. — Sept. “and the foundation of the chair he built in the house of the Lord.” H. — Heb. “and the (musac) covert, or tribune of the sabbath, which they had built in the temple, and the king’s entry without, the turned (H.) round (M.) from the temple, for the king of Assur.” He despoiled these rich ornaments, to gratify the Assyrian. H. — Solomon had built a most magnificent tribune. 2 Par. vi. 13. See C. xi. 6. The musach of Juda, was the pulpit; from which the law was read. Isai. xxii. 8. The king’s tribune was near the eastern gate, which was only opened on the sabbath. Ezec. xlvi. 1. Some believe that the musach was a large curtain, suspended over the court, to keep off the sun’s beams. Eupolemus speaks of some very magnificent ones, (Euseb. præp. ix. 34.) as does also Josephus; such as those which covered the Roman theatres. Others think it was a tent for the priests to take a little rest, or for the door-keepers, or a chest designed to receive the contributions for the repairs of the temple, or for the king to distribute his alms, or a covered throne for him to sit down on. C.

Ver. 19. Book. Heb. “in the chronicles;” or, “in the book of the annals.” H.

Ver. 20. With them; but not in the same sepulchre, on account of his impiety. 2 Par. xxviii. 27. C. — In the 5th year of his reign, the Idumeans harassed the country, and in the 6th, the Philistines took several towns; (Salien) so that he fell a prey to enemies on all sides, and was memorable for nothing but impiety and disasters. H. — Rome was built, and Numa born, on the 21st of April, in the 9th year of Achaz, and the first of the 7th Olympiad. Salien, A.C. Christ 751.