Dave Burnette's Commentary

2 Kings Chapter 16

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-25)
Theme: A Divided Kingdom (c 1-17)
Message: Ahaz Rules Judah (v 1-20)

2 Kings 16 Commentary 

(16:3) Ahaz Sacrificed His Son - "Made his son to pass through the fire" is a reference to human sacrifice. Ahaz was so depraved that he sacrificed his own son on an altar to the pagan gods. This was a practice of the Canaanites, whom the Israelites were supposed to have driven from the land.

(16:5-9) Ahaz Plan Backfires - Israel and Syria were both under Assyria's control. They joined forces against Judah, hoping to force the southern kingdom to join their revolt against Assyria and strengthen their western alliance. But the plan backfired when King Ahaz of Judah unexpectedly asked Assyria to come to his aid.

(16:10-16) King Ahaz Fails to Worship God - Evil King Ahaz copied pagan religious customs, changed the temple services, and used the temple altar for his personal benefit. In so doing, he demonstrated a callous disregard for God's commands. We condemn Ahaz for his action, but we act the same way if we try to mold God's message to fit our personal preferences. We must worship God for who he is, not what we would selfishly like him to be.

(16:10) Ahaz Causes Much Trouble - Ahaz went to Damascus to express gratitude and loyalty to Tiglath-pileser. Ahaz was afraid of a southern sweep because the Assyrians had captured Damaseus, the capital of Syria (in 732 BC. But he was relying more on money than on God to keep the powerful king out of his land, and his plan failed. Although Tiglath-pileser did not conquer Judah, he caused much trouble, and Ahaz regretted asking for his help (2 Chronicles 28:20-21).

(16:14-18) Ahaz Builds a Pagan Altar - Ahaz replaced the altar of burnt offering (the brazen altar) with a replica of the pagan altar he had seen in Damascus. (The altar of burnt offering was not thrown out but was kept for use in divination. The sacrifices were washed in the lavers [or basins]. The sea was a huge reservoir of water for temple use.) This was extremely serious because God had given specific directions on how the altar should look and be used (Exodus 27;1-8). Building this new altar was like installing an idol. But because Judah was Assyria's vassal state, Ahaz was eager to please the Assyrian king. Sadly, Ahaz allowed the king of Assyria to replace God as Judah's leader. No one, no matter how attractive or powerful, should replace God's leadership in our lives.

(16:18) A Weak High Priest - Ahaz had become a weak king with a weak and compromising high priest. Judah's religious system was in shambles. It now included pagan customs, and its chief aim was only to please those in power. If our primary focus is to avoid offending others by agreeing with everything they say and do, we risk making them more important than God in our lives and adopting a worldview that conflicts with God's Word.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Sin Dwelling in Our Homes


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue the book of 2 Kings with Chapter 16.  In our text, we see Ahaz ruling Judah. What catches my eye is verse 3, where Ahaz was so depraved that he sacrificed his own son to heathen gods. The Canaanite practice of offering a child should have been abolished from the land. In making an application, we see that as head of the household, we are to drive out the sin in our homes, or it too can cause a sacrifice of our children. As parents, we have sin that we allow to come into our homes today. We need to drive out this sin unless our kids suffer its consequences of destruction, just as Ahaz did in his time. How about you? Do you see the need to drive out the sin in your life and from your home? Let us learn from Ahaz and the death of his son to remember that if we allow sin to dwell in our homes, it might take what is most valuable to us, our kids.


2 Kings 16

2 Kings 16

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

 2Twenty 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.

 3But 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.

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

 5Then 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.

 6At 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.

 7So 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.

 8And 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.

 9And 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.

 10And 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.

 11And 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.

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

 13And 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.

 14And 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.

 15And 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.

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

 17And 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.

 18And 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.

 19Now 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?

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