Thursday, May 3, 2012




The sixteen-year reign of Jotham is given in abbreviated form, in nine Scripture verses. It may be summarized as follows: (1) He followed his father in doing right, except he did not try to act as a priest in the temple; (2) he built cities, castles, towers, and the high gate of the temple (2 Chr. 27:3-4); (3) he successfully fought the Ammonites (2 Chr. 27: 5); and (4) he became mighty, having prepared his ways before the Lord (2 Chr. 27:6). He died at the age of forty-one with the distinction of having been a good king (2 Chr. 27:8).

Jotham's life and reign show the possibility of doing what is right even though one's forebears did evil and the people did corruptly. The Old Testament has the names of many who held to a high standard of morality and duty under very difficult circumstances. The names of Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Daniel, and of course Jotham, readily come to mind. The Lord blessed this young king for pursuing a lofty and commendable course. His reign was a delightful time in Judah.[1]


Ahaz became king of Judah about 736 B.C. He was in office during the lifetime of Isaiah, the prophet. The great “Immanuel” prophecy which was so important in Isaiah’s ministry (Isaiah, chapter 7) was announced first of all to Ahaz. This king may also have known Hosea and Micah, although no direct reference is made to them.[2]

2 Chr. 28:1-5 – Ahaz came to the throne at the age of twenty and reigned sixteen years. He is introduced as one who "did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord." He followed in the footsteps of corrupt Israel and worshiped Baal, the god of Phoenicia. Further, he burnt incense and even his own children in sacrifice to Moloch, another heathen deity (cf. 2 Kings 16:2-4). He made of every high place, hill and green tree an altar to some pagan  idol. “Certain features of the worship of Baa1 and the Asherah (female Baal) could most appropriately be shared ‘under green trees.’ Sexual intercourse and the employment of priestesses were characteristics of Canaanite worship from earliest times.”[3] Because of his abominations, "The Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria" and "into the hand of the king of Israel" (2 Chr. 28:5).[4]

2 Chr. 28:6-10 – God allowed Pekah, king of Israel, to punish the people of Judah for their idolatrous acts by slaying 120,000 of them  in one day. This shows a panic and complete rout. Those slain included Maaseiah, son of Ahaz and the highest ranking officers of Ahaz. Besides those killed, 200,000 others were taken to Samaria as captives, along with vast amounts of spoils. Oded, a prophet of God, came out to meet the army of Israel with the Judean captives. He informed them that God had delivered Judah into their hands to punish Judah for her sins, but he rebuked Israel for taking her sister nation into captivity. He reminded Israel that she was certainly not sinless before God. Had they known God's law, they would have known that enslavement of their brethren was forbidden (Lev. 25:45-46).[5]

2 Chr. 28:11-15 – "Deliver the captives again." Israel was to permit the citizens of Judah to return to their homes. Sufficient had been Judah's punishment; enough was enough! The strong voice of Obed inspired courage in some of the leaders in Israel, who forbade the military officers to bring the captives there. These leaders understood that Israel had enough sins without taking the children of Judah as captives. At this, the soldiers left the captives and the spoils with the princes of Israel. The princes benevolently clothed those who were naked, gave them food and drink, and accompanied them to Judean city of Jericho, where they left them with brethren. Here is an example of human pity.[6]

2 Chr. 28:16-21 – "At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him" (2 Chr. 28:16). The Assyrian monarch at this time was Tilgath-pilnesar ("Tiglath-pilezer," 2 Kings 16:7, et al.). He left an account of his transactions with Ahaz on the stone tablets at Nineveh. This confederacy was unfortunate for Judah, for it permitted a pagan people to obtain a hold on her that threatened her life. Isaiah wanted Ahaz to put his trust in God (2 Kings 16:7-16; Isa. 7:1-17). It was in the context of Isaiah's sermon from God to Ahaz that the sign of a virgin who would conceive Immanuel was given (Isa. 7:14; cf. Matt. 1:21-23). Ahaz did not accept the challenge of Isaiah. He already had made up his mind to plead for assistance from Tilgath-pilneser.[7]

The Edomites who previously were restrained by Amaziah and Uzziah now raided the country of Israel. Further, the Philistines took many of the children of Judah as prisoners and inhabited their towns. God dealt harshly with Judah. The people suffered greatly at the hands of other nations because of the sins of their king. Instead of helping Ahaz, Tilgath-pilneser merely made a tributary of Ahaz. Ahaz wanted help but the king of Assyria was only interested in heavy tribute. Ahaz even stripped the temple to pay the tribute, but still he got no help from Assyria.[8]

2 Chr. 28:22-27 – In the Bible record and history not one good thing is attributed to Ahaz. He went from bad to worse: "In the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the Lord" (2 Chr. 28:22). He did not look upward to the God of Heaven for help in the time of need. Ahaz was a god-monger. Not content to pay homage to the numerous idols he already worshiped, he saw an altar to the Syrian gods in Damascus (likely Hadad and Rimmon), which he had duplicated for his own use in Jerusalem. He had it put in the place of the altar of the Lord in the temple (2 Kings 16:10-16). He added to his crimes by demolishing the vessels of the temple and shutting up the sacred building. In his zeal for idols "he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem" (2 Chr. 28:24). He was not content to do this in Jerusalem alone, but "in every several city of Judah he made high places" (2 Chr. 28:25).[9]

"Ahaz slept with his fathers ... they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel" (2 Chr. 28:27). This shows that Ahaz was not even deemed worthy of a royal burial. His life indicates the appalling power of sin. So disgraceful was his life that the people of Judah refused to bury him in the royal sepulchres. There is not any good thing said about this man.[10]

[1] J. K. Gossett. “The Reigns of Various Kings, Evil and Good, in Judah” in Studies in 1, 2 Kings and 1, 2 Chronicles. Ed. By Dub McClish, Denton, TX: Valid Publications, Inc., 1993.
[2] Robert E. Black. The Books of Chronicles in Bible Study Textbook Series. Joplin, MO: College Press, 1991.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Joe Gilmore. “The Reigns of Wicked Ahaz and Righteous Hezekiah” in Studies in 1, 2 Kings and 1, 2 Chronicles. Ed. By Dub McClish, Denton, TX: Valid Publications, Inc., 1993.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.

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