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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father:
This chapter is supplemental in character, The writer seems to assume that the narrative of Kings (marginal reference) is known, and is mainly anxious to add points which the author of that narrative has omitted.
2For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim.
Images for Baalim - Or, to serve as Baalim, i. e as representatives of the different forms or characters of the chief Phoenician deity.
3Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
Compare the 2 Kings 16:3 note.
4He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
He sacrificed also etc - Compare 2 Kings 16:4.
5Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.
The two battles here mentioned, one with Rezin (king of Syria), and the other with Pekah (king of Israel) are additions to the narrative of the writer of Kings (marginal reference "g"). The events of the Syro-Israelite war were probably spread over several years.
6For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers.
The fearful loss here described may have been due to a complete defeat followed by panic.
7And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king.
Maaseiah was either an officer called "the king's son" (compare 1 Kings 22:26), or perhaps a son of Jotham, since Ahaz could hardly have had a son old enough to take part in the battle (compare 2 Chronicles 28:1).
Elkanah, as "second to the king," was probably the chief of the royal counselors.
8And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.
9But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven.
Nothing more is known of this Oded. Compare 2 Chronicles 15:1.
He went out before the host - Rather, "He went out to meet the host," as the same phrase is translated in 2 Chronicles 15:2.
A rage that reacheth up to heaven - i. e. not merely an exceedingly great and violent rage, but one that has displeased God.
10And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God?
Are there not with you ... sins against the Lord? - The ten tribes had fallen away from the true faith far more completely and more hopelessly than the two. It was not for them to press hard against their erring brothers, and aggravate their punishment.
11Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.
12Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war,
"Ephraim" is used herein the generic sense so common in the prophets, as synonymous with the ten tribes.
13And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.
14So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation.
15And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria.
Jericho, which lies much farther from Samaria than many points of the territory of Judah, was perhaps selected because the captives had been carried off principally from this point; or because there may have been less danger of falling in with portions of Pekah's army on this than on the direct route.
16At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him.
17For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives.
The Edomites took advantage of the reverses of Ahaz, and were perhaps in league with Rezin (see 2 Kings 16:6 note). The pitilessness of Edom, and her readiness to turn against Judah in any severe distress, is noticed and sternly rebuked by the prophets (Amos 1:11; Ezekiel 35:5; Obadiah 1:10-14, etc.).
18The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there.
Philistia also, eager to retaliate the blows she had received from Uzziah 2 Chronicles 26:6, seized her opportunity. Ajalon and Shocho were among the cities fortified by Rehoboam 2 Chronicles 11:7, 2 Chronicles 11:10; Beth-shemesh Joshua 15:10 was famous as the scene of Amaziah's defeat 2 Chronicles 25:21. Gimzo, which is not elsewhere mentioned in Scripture has been probably identified with the modern Jimzu, a large village about 2 12 miles from Ludd (the ancient Lydda).
19For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD.
Ahaz king of Israel - An instance of the lax use of the word "Israel" 2 Chronicles 12:6; 2 Chronicles 21:2. It is simply equivalent to "king of Judah."
He made Judah naked - literally, "he had caused licentiousness in Judah" - i. e. he had allowed Judah to break loose from all restraints of true religion, and to turn to any idolatry that they preferred 2 Chronicles 28:2-4. In this and in the following expression there is implied an apostasy resembling the unfaithfulness of a wife.
20And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not.
Tilgath-pilneser - This form of the name is doubly corrupt. See the properly Hebraized form in 2 Kings 15:29.
Distressed him, but strengthened him not - This statement, and that at the end of 2 Chronicles 28:21, is supplemental to, and not contradictory of, 2 Kings 16:9. Here it is the writer's object to note that the material assistance rendered by Tiglath-pileser to Ahab, was no real "help" or "strength," but rather a cause of "distress."
21For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.
22And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz.
23For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.
His adoption of the Syrian gods, Hadad, Rimmon, and others, as objects of worship, no doubt preceded the destruction of Damascus by the Assyrians 2 Kings 16:9.
Israel - i. e. "Judah;" so in 2 Chronicles 28:27. Compare 2 Chronicles 28:19.
24And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
Compare 2 Kings 16:17 note. The temple-worship was suspended, the lamps put out, and the doors shut, to prevent the priests from entering. The Jews still celebrate a yearly fast in commemoration of this time of affliction.
Altars - As the one altar for sacrifice, which alone the Law allowed, symbolized the doctrine of one God, so these many altars spoke unmistakeably of the all-embracing polytheism affected by Ahaz.
25And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.
26Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
27And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.