Home  |  Old Testament Studies  |  2 Chronicles Table of Contents  |  Previous Section   |  Next Section   |

2 Chronicles 28


(LXX versing)
Ahaz Succeeds Jotham in Judah Ahaz Reigns in Judah The Enormous Iniquity of Ahaz and the Appropriate Punishment King Ahaz of Judah Accession of Ahaz: His Idolatry
28:1-4 28:1-4 28:1-4 28:1-4 28:1-4
Judah Is Invaded Syria and Israel Defeat Judah War With Syria and Israel The Syro-Ephraimite War
28:5-7 28:5-8 28:5-7 28:5-8 28:5-8
28:8-15 Israel Returns the Captives 28:8-15 The Prophet Oded The Israelites Obey the Prophet Oded
28:9-15 28:9-11 28:9-11
28:12-15 28:12-15
Compromise with Assyria Assyria Refuses to Help Judah Ahaz Asks Assyria for Help Ahaz Appeals to Assyria; His Apostasy
28 16-21 28 16-21 28 16-21 28 16-21 28:16
Apostasy and Death of Ahaz The Sins of Ahaz 28:17-21
28:22-27 28:22-25 28:22-27 28:22-25 28:22-23
28:26-27 28:26-27 28:26-27

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do right in the sight of the Lord as David his father had done. 2But he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel; he also made molten images for the Baals. 3Moreover, he burned incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his sons in fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel. 4He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills and under every green tree.

28:1 "Ahaz" Isaiah 7-11 deals with this period of faithlessness but add the Messianic hope! Also see 2 Kings 16.

"he reigned sixteen years" The number of years do not fit well. There are several possibilities.

  1. the two different calendars used to count the reigns
  2. the co-reigns are not always listed (see Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, p. 133

Notice the different dates given by three good authors.

  1. John Bright (also Thiele) ‒ 735-715 b.c.
  2. E. J. Young ‒ 736-728 b.c.
  3. R. K Harrison ‒ 732/731-716/715 b.c.

"he did not do right in the sight of the Lord" Most of the Judean kings in the earlier chapters of 2 Chronicles had an early good period and a later bad period. The last king, Jotham, had a life of consistent faithfulness but Ahaz, his son, had a life of consistent faithlessness.

"as David his father had done" David's life, although a mixture of faith and faithlessness, became the "relational" standard. Even in his sin, he still had a heart for YHWH. David became the "ideal" king, the eschatological model. YHWH had a special covenant with David (cf. 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17; 2 Chr. 6:16; 7:18; 13:5; 21:7; 23:3).

28:2-4 Ahaz made a radical shift from his father Jotham. He turned Israel back to the idolatry of the house of Ahab, king of Israel.

  1. walked in the ways of the kings of Israel
  2. made molten images for the Ba'als
  3. burned incense to Molech
  4. sacrificed his sons to Molech
  5. sacrificed and burned incense
    1. on the high places (manmade)
    2. on the hills (natural)
    3. under every green tree (cf. Deut. 12:2; 1 Kgs. 14:23; 2 Kgs. 16:4; 17:10; Isa. 57:5; Jer. 2:20; 3:6,13; Ezek. 6:13; the female Canaanite fertility goddess' name, Asherah, means "a grove of trees")
  6. from 2 Kgs. 23:16 it seems Ahaz also worshiped the astral deities (2 Kings 23 lists the reforms of Josiah. Many of the things he destroyed were from Ahaz).

28:3 "the valley of Ben-hinnom" See SPECIAL TOPIC: WHERE ARE THE DEAD?

"burned his sons in fire" This refers to Molech worship (cf. Lev. 18:21; 2 Chr. 33:2).


5Wherefore, the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Aram; and they defeated him and carried away from him a great number of captives and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who inflicted him with heavy casualties. 6For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah 120,000 in one day, all valiant men, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. 7And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son and Azrikam the ruler of the house and Elkanah the second to the king.

28:5-7 YHWH reacts to Ahaz's idolatry and sends enemies (i.e., 2 Chr. 28:19).

  1. Syria, 2 Chr. 28:5 (this is called the Syro-Ephraimitic War, see NIDOTTE, vol. 4, pp. 1244-1245)
  2. Israel, 2 Chr. 28:5 (#1,2 besieged Jerusalem but it did not fall, cf. 2 Kgs. 16:5; Isa. 7:1)
  3. Edomites, 2 Chr. 28:17
  4. Philistines, 2 Chr. 28:18
  5. Assyria, 2 Chr. 28:29-21

Ahaz reacts by sacrificing to the gods of these nations (2 Chr. 28:23,25)!

28:5 Notice how "Israel" is used in two senses.

  1. the northern tribes, 2 Chr. 28:5,13,26
  2. Judah, the true Israel of God, 2 Chr. 28:29,23,27

28:6 "because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers" Again, the Chronicler states the theological reason behind historical events.

28:7 Ahaz loses people close to him.

  1. his son (possibly a title or another son of Jotham because Ahaz was not old enough to have a son of fighting age, i.e., 20 years old), Maaseiah
  2. the ruler of his house, Azrikam
  3. his second in command, Elkanah

Josephus has a different account, cf. Antiq. 9.12.1.

Number 2 above (BDB 108) is used in several senses in Chronicles (NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 20).

  1. tribal leader ‒ 1 Chr. 12:27; 2 Chr. 19:11
  2. military leader ‒ 1 Chr. 13:1; 27:4
  3. palace official ‒ 2 Chr. 28:7
  4. temple officials ‒ 1 Chr. 9:20; 26:24; 2 Chr. 31:12
  5. High Priest ‒ 1 Chr. 9:11 (possibly Dan. 11:22, if it refers to Onias III; the use in Dan. 9:25 could be priestly or royal)

8The sons of Israel carried away captive of their brethren 200,000 women, sons and daughters; and they took also a great deal of 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 to meet the army which came to Samaria and said to them, "Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, He has delivered them into your hand, and you have slain them in a rage which has even reached heaven. 10Now you are proposing to subjugate for yourselves the people of Judah and Jerusalem for male and female slaves. Surely, do you not have transgressions of your own against the Lord your God? 11Now therefore, listen to me and return the captives whom you captured from your brothers, for the burning anger of the Lord is against you." 12Then some of the heads of the sons of Ephraim—Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai—arose against those who were coming from the battle, 13and said to them, "You must not bring the captives in here, for you are proposing to bring upon us guilt against the Lord adding to our sins and our guilt; for our guilt is great so that His burning anger is against Israel." 14So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the officers and all the assembly. 15Then the men who were designated by name arose, took the captives, and they clothed all their naked ones from the spoil; and they gave them clothes and sandals, fed them and gave them drink, anointed them with oil, led all their feeble ones on donkeys, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brothers; then they returned to Samaria.

28:8-15 Again, God uses a prophet. This time a northern prophet to support Judah and her future.

The paragraph shows that there was still true faith in YHWH in the north.

  1. they listened to the prophet and obeyed
  2. they cared for the captives
    1. clothed them
    2. gave them shoes
    3. gave them food
    4. gave them drink
    5. anointed their wounds
    6. helped the weak to ride home on donkeys


28:12 This list of godly people surely supports the historicity of the account. It is true that the writers of Kings and Chronicles used both the same and yet sometimes different sources. They are, therefore, sometimes hard to reconcile. This seems to be an Ephramitic source.



"the sons of Ephraim" The northern tribes went by three names.

  1. Israel (their collective name)
  2. Samaria (their capital)
  3. Ephraim (their largest tribe)

16At that time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria for help. 17For again the Edomites had come and attacked Judah and carried away captives. 18The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the lowland and of the Negev of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, and Soco with its villages, Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages, and they settled there. 19For the Lord humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had brought about a lack of restraint in Judah and was very unfaithful to the Lord. 20So Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came against him and afflicted him instead of strengthening him. 21Although Ahaz took a portion out of the house of the Lord and out of the palace of the king and of the princes, and gave it to the king of Assyria, it did not help him.

28:16-21 This paragraph is also discussed in Isaiah 7-11. King Ahaz was under divinely sent attacks from all sides (see note at 2 Chr. 28:5). Instead of repentance and faith, he chose political alliance with Assyria (i.e., Tilgath-pilneser III, cf. 2 Kgs. 15:29; 16:5-9, where he is called "Tiglath-pileser"; he is also known as "Pul," cf. 2 Kgs. 15:19; 1 Chr. 5:26).


28:16 "the kings of Assyria" Note the plural. The LXX, Peshitta, and Vulgate have the singular, referring to Tilgath-pilneser III of 2 Chr. 28:20). The plural may reflect

  1. the PLURAL OF MAJESTY, the great king
  2. all the kings as a unit of royal Assyrian power

28:19 This is another reminder (cf. 2 Chr. 28:6) that historical events are a direct result of faith or faithlessness in YHWH (cf. 2 Chr. 28:23).

Notice the threefold emphasis from the MT.

YHWH had brought Judah low because (BDB 488, KB 484, Hiphil PERFECT)

  1. Ahaz had dealt wantonly (BDB 828, KB 970, Hiphil PERFECT)
  2. Ahaz had been very faithless (i.e., INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE, BDB 591, KB 612)

28:20-21 Note the irony! This is not mentioned in the parallel of 2 Kings 16:9.

22Now in the time of his distress this same King Ahaz became yet more unfaithful to the Lord. 23For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him, and said, "Because the gods of the kings of Aram helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me." But they became the downfall of him and all Israel. 24Moreover, when Ahaz gathered together the utensils of the house of God, he cut the utensils of the house of God in pieces; and he closed the doors of the house of the Lord and made altars for himself in every corner of Jerusalem. 25In every city of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods, and provoked the Lord, the God of his fathers, to anger. 26Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, from first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27So Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem, for they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel; and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

28:22-27 The idolatry of Ahaz continues as he sacrifices to the gods of Damascus (2 Chr. 28:23). This assumes a knowledge of 2 Kgs. 16:10-16. He took the treasure of the temple and closed its doors to priests, Levites, and worshipers. He built altars to foreign gods on every street corner in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 28:24).

28:23 In the ANE a military defeat showed which national god was more powerful. Ahaz was a religious pragmatist. He was willing to try any god (cf. 2 Chr. 28:3,4,25) but YHWH! Joesphus, Antiq. 9.12.3., says he also sacrificed to the gods of Assyria because it was victorious over Syria.

"he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus" From 2 Kgs. 16:10-16, we learn that Ahaz replaced the bronze sacrificial altar of Solomon with a copy of one he had seen in Damascus. Probably this was the altar to Rimmon, whose temple is mentioned in 2 Kgs. 5:18. This deity would be analogous to Ba'al the storm god of the Canaanite pantheon. This god was also called Hadad.

28:26 "written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel" Thiele has an interesting note, p. 204.

"When the chronicler did his work toward the end of the fifth century, the combined volume of the Kings of Israel and Judah was in existence. This is known from the fact that the sources there cited are no longer the separate journals of days of the kings of Israel or those of Judah as cited in Kings, but a combined 'book of kings of Judah and Israel' (2 Chron. 16:11; 25:26; 27:7; 28:26; 32:32; 35:27; 36:8)."

28:17 His evil is seen by the fact that he was not buried in the royal tombs.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. List the ways Ahaz was disobedient to the laws of Moses.
  2. List the foreign gods that Ahaz worshiped.
  3. List the enemies YHWH sent against Judah. Why did He do this?
  4. How does 2 Chr. 28:8-15 depict faith in Israel?
  5. What is the Syro-Ephraimitic War? How was it affected by Assyria?

Home  |  Old Testament Studies  |  2 Chronicles Table of Contents  |  Previous Section   |  Next Section  |