Reign of King Ahaz of Judah - 2 Kings 16
With the reign of Ahaz a most eventful change took place in the development of the kingdom of Judah. Under the vigorous reigns of Uzziah and Jotham, by whom the earthly prosperity of the kingdom had been studiously advanced, there had been, as we may see from the prophecies of Isaiah, chs. 2-6, which date from this time, a prevalence of luxury and self-security, of unrighteousness and forgetfulness of God, among the upper classes, in consequence of the increase of their wealth. Under Ahaz these sins grew into open apostasy from the Lord; for this weak and unprincipled ruler trod in the steps of the kings of Israel, and introduced image-worship and idolatrous practices of every kind, and at length went so far in his ungodliness as to shut up the doors of the porch of the temple and suspend the temple-worship prescribed by the law altogether. The punishment followed this apostasy without delay. The allied Syrians and Israelites completely defeated the Judaeans, slew more than a hundred thousand men and led away a much larger number of prisoners, and then advanced to Jerusalem to put an end to the kingdom of Judah by the conquest of the capital. In this distress, instead of seeking help from the Lord, who promised him deliverance through the prophet Isaiah, Ahaz sought help from Tiglat-pileser the king of Assyria, who came and delivered him from the oppression of Rezin and Pekah by the conquest of Damascus, Galilee, and the Israelitish land to the east of the Jordan, but who then oppressed him himself, so that Ahaz was obliged to purchase the friendship of this conqueror by sending him all the treasures of the temple and palace. - In the chapter before us we have first of all the general characteristics of the idolatry of Ahaz (2 Kings 16:2-4), then a summary account of his oppression by Rezin and Pekah, and his seeking help from the king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:5-9), and lastly a description of the erection of a heathen altar in the court of the temple on the site of the brazen altar of burnt-offering, and of other acts of demolition performed upon the older sacred objects in the temple-court (2 Kings 16:10-18). The parallel account in 2 Chron 28 supplies many additions to the facts recorded here.
2 Kings 16:1-2
On the time mentioned, “in the seventeenth year of Pekah Ahaz became king” see at 2 Kings 15:32. The datum “twenty years old” is a striking one, even if we compare with it 2 Kings 18:2. As Ahaz reigned only sixteen years, and at his death his son Hezekiah became king at the age of twenty-five years (2 Kings 18:2), Ahaz must have begotten him in the eleventh year of his age. It is true that in southern lands this is neither impossible nor unknown,
(Note: In the East they marry girls of nine or ten years of age to boys of twelve or thirteen (Volney, Reise, ii. p. 360). Among the Indians husbands of ten years of age and wives of eight are mentioned (Thevenot, Reisen, iii. pp. 100 and 165). In Abyssinia boys of twelve and even ten years old marry (Rüppell, Abessynien, ii. p. 59). Among the Jews in Tiberias, mothers of eleven years of age and fathers of thirteen are not uncommon (Burckh. Syrien, p. 570); and Lynch saw a wife there, who to all appearance was a mere child about ten years of age, who had been married two years already. In the epist. ad N. Carbonelli, from Hieronymi epist. ad Vitalem, 132, and in an ancient glossa, Bochart has also cited examples of one boy of ten years and another of nine, qui nutricem suam gravidavit , together with several other cases of a similar kind from later writers. Cf. Bocharti Opp. i. ( Geogr. sacr .) p. 920, ed. Lugd. 1692.)
but in the case of the kings of Judah it would be without analogy. The reading found in the lxx, Syr., and Arab. at 2 Chronicles 28:1, and also in certain codd., viz., five and twenty instead of twenty, may therefore be a preferable one. According to this, Hezekiah, like Ahaz, was born in his father's sixteenth year.
2 Kings 16:3-4
“Ahaz walked in the way of the kings of Israel,” to which there is added by way of explanation in 2 Chronicles 28:2, “and also made molten images to the Baals.” This refers, primarily, simply to the worship of Jehovah under the image of a calf, which they had invented; for this was the way in which all the kings of Israel walked. At the same time, in 2 Kings 8:18 the same formula is so used of Joram king of Judah as to include the worship of Baal by the dynasty of Ahab. Consequently in the verse before us also the way of the kings of Israel includes the worship of Baal, which is especially mentioned in the Chronicles. - “He even made his son pass through the fire,” i.e., offered him in sacrifice to Moloch in the valley of Benhinnom (see at 2 Kings 23:10), after the abominations of the nations, whom Jehovah had cast out before Israel. Instead of בּנו we have the plural בּנין in 2 Chronicles 28:3, and in 2 Chronicles 28:16 אשּׁוּר מלכי, kings of Asshur, instead of אשּׁוּר מלך, although only one, viz., Tiglath-pileser, is spoken of. This repeated use of the plural shows very plainly that it is to be understood rhetorically, as expressing the thought in the most general manner, since the number was of less importance than the fact.
(Note: The Greeks and Romans also use the plural instead of the singular in their rhetorical style of writing, especially when a father, a mother, or a son is spoken of. Cf. Cic. de prov. cons . xiv. 35: si ad jucundissimos liberos, si ad clarissimum generum redire properaret, where Julia, the only daughter of Caesar, and the wife of Pompey the Great, is referred to; and for other examples see Caspari, der Syr. Ephraimit. Krieg, p. 41.)
So far as the fact is concerned, we have here the first instance of an actual Moloch-sacrifice among the Israelites, i.e., of one performed by slaying and burning. For although the phrase בּאשׁ העביר or למּלך does not in itself denote the slaying and burning of the children as Moloch-sacrifices, but primarily affirms nothing more than the simple passing through fire, a kind of februation or baptism of fire (see at Leviticus 18:21); such passages as Ezekiel 16:21 and Jeremiah 7:31, where sacrificing in the valley of Benhinnom is called slaying and burning the children, show most distinctly that in the verse before us בּאשׁ העביר is to be taken as signifying actual sacrificing, i.e., the burning of the children slain in sacrifice to Moloch, and, as the emphatic וגם indicates, that this kind of idolatrous worship, which had never been heard of before in Judah and Israel, was introduced by Ahaz.
(Note: “ If this idolatry had occurred among the Israelites before the time of Ahaz, its abominations would certainly not have been passed over by the biblical writers, who so frequently mention other forms of idolatry. ” These are the correct words of Movers ( Phöniz . i. p. 65), who only errs in the fact that on the one hand he supposes the origin of human sacrifices in the time of Ahaz to have been inwardly connected with the appearance of the Assyrians, and traces them to the acquaintance of the Israelites with the Assyrian fire-deities Adrammelech and Anammelech (2 Kings 17:31), and on the other hand gives this explanation of the phrase, “ cause to pass through the fire for Moloch, ” which is used to denote the sacrificing of children: “ the burning of children was regarded as a passage, whereby, after the separation of the impure and earthly dross of the body, the children attained to union with the deity ” (p. 329). To this J. G. Müller has correctly replied (in Herzog ' s Cyclop .): “ This mystic, pantheistic, moralizing view of human sacrifices is not the ancient and original view of genuine heathenism. It is no more the view of Hither Asia than the Mexican view (i.e., the one which lay at the foundation of the custom of the ancient Mexicans, of passing the new-born boy four times through the fire). The Phoenician myths, which Movers (p. 329) quotes in support of his view, refer to the offering of human sacrifices in worship, and the moral view is a later addition belonging to Hellenism. The sacrifices were rather given to the gods as food, as is evident from innumerable passages (compare the primitive religions of America), and they have no moral aim, but are intended to reward or bribe the gods with costly presents, either because of calamities that have already passed, or because of those that are anticipated with alarm; and, as Movers himself admits (p. 301), to make atonement for ceremonial sins, i.e., to follow smaller sacrifices by those of greater value. ” )
In the Chronicles, therefore העביר is correctly explained by ויּבער, “he burned;” though we cannot infer from this that העביר is always a mere conjecture for הבעיר, as Geiger does ( Urschrift u. Uebers, der Bibel, p. 305). The offering of his son for Moloch took place, in all probability, during the severe oppression of Ahaz by the Syrians, and was intended to appease the wrath of the gods, as was done by the king of the Moabites in similar circumstances (2 Kings 3:27). - In 2 Kings 16:4 the idolatry is described in the standing formulae as sacrificing upon high places and hills, etc., as in 1 Kings 14:23. The temple-worship prescribed by the law could easily be continued along with this idolatry, since polytheism did not exclude the worship of Jehovah. It was not till the closing years of his reign that Ahaz went so far as to close the temple-hall, and thereby suspend the temple-worship (2 Chronicles 28:24); in any case it was not till after the alterations described in 2 Kings 16:11. as having been made in the temple.
Of the war which the allied Syrians and Israelites waged upon Ahaz, only the principal fact is mentioned in 2 Kings 16:5, namely, that the enemy marched to Jerusalem to war, but were not able to make war upon the city, i.e., to conquer it; and in 2 Kings 16:6 we have a brief notice of the capture of the port of Elath by the Syrians. We find 2 Kings 16:5 again, with very trifling alterations, in Isaiah 7:1 at the head of the prophecy, in which the prophet promises the king the help of God and predicts that the plans of his enemies will fail. According to this, the allied kings intended to take Judah, to dethrone Ahaz, and to install a vassal king, viz., the son of Tabeel. We learn still more concerning this war, which had already begun, according to 2 Kings 15:37, in the closing years of Jotham, from 2 Chronicles 28:5-15; namely, that the two kings inflicted great defeats upon Ahaz, and carried off many prisoners and a large amount of booty, but that the Israelites set their prisoners at liberty again, by the direction of the prophet Oded, and after feeding and clothing them, sent them back to their brethren. It is now generally admitted that these statements are not at variance with our account (as Ges., Winer, and others maintain), but can be easily reconciled with it, and simply serve to complete it.
(Note: Compare C. P. Caspari ' s article on the Syro-Ephraimitish war in the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz ( Univers. Progr. von Christiania, 1849), where the different views concerning the relation between the two accounts are fully discussed, and the objections to the credibility of the account given in the Chronicles most conclusively answered.)
The only questions in dispute are, whether the two accounts refer to two different campaigns, or merely to two different events in the same campaign, and whether the battles to which the Chronicles allude are to be placed before or after the siege of Jerusalem mentioned in our text. The first question cannot be absolutely decided, since there are no decisive arguments to be found in favour of either the one supposition or the other; and even “the one strong argument” which Caspari finds in Isaiah 7:6 against the idea of two campaigns is not conclusive. For if the design which the prophet there attributes to the allied kings, “we will make a breach in Judah,” i.e., storm his fortresses and his passes and conquer them, does obviously presuppose, that at the time when the enemy spake or thought in this manner, Judah was still standing uninjured and unconquered, and therefore the battles mentioned in 2 Chronicles 28:5-6 cannot yet have been fought; it by no means follows from the connection between Isaiah 7:6 and Isaiah 7:1 (of the same chapter) that Isaiah 7:6 refers to plans which the enemy had only just formed at the time when Isaiah spoke (2 Kings 7:4.). On the contrary, Isaiah is simply describing the plans which the enemy devised and pursued, and which they had no doubt formed from the very commencement of the war, and now that they were marching against Jerusalem, hoped to attain by the conquest of the capital. All that we can assume as certain is, that the war lasted longer than a year, since the invasion of Judah by these foes had already commenced before the death of Jotham, and that the greater battles (2 Chronicles 28:5-6) were not fought till the time of Ahaz, and it was not till his reign that the enemy advanced to the siege of Jerusalem. - With regard to the second question, it cannot be at all doubtful that the battles mentioned preceded the advance of the enemy to the front of Jerusalem, and therefore our account merely mentions the last and principal event of the war, and that the enemy was compelled to retreat from Jerusalem by the fact that the king of Assyria, Tiglath-pileser, whom Ahaz had called to his help, marched against Syria and compelled Rezin to hurry back to the defence of his kingdom. - It is more difficult to arrange in the account of the capture of Elath by the Syrians (2 Kings 16:6) among the events of this war. The expression ההיא בּעת merely assigns it in a perfectly general manner to the period of the war. The supposition of Thenius, that it did not take place till after the siege of Jerusalem had been relinquished, and that Rezin, after the failure of his attempt to take Jerusalem, that he might not have come altogether in vain, marched away from Jerusalem round the southern point of the Dead Sea and conquered Elath, is impossible, because he would never have left his own kingdom in such a defenceless state to the advancing Assyrians. We must therefore place the taking of Elath by Rezin before his march against Jerusalem, though we still leave it undecided how Rezin conducted the war against Ahaz: whether by advancing along the country to the east of the Jordan, defeating the Judaeans there (2 Chronicles 28:5), and then pressing forward to Elath and conquering that city, while Pekah made a simultaneous incursion into Judah from the north and smote Ahaz, so that it was not till after the conquest of Elath that Rezin entered the land from the south, and there joined Pekah for a common attack upon Jerusalem, as Caspari supposes; or whether by advancing into Judah along with Pekah at the very outset, and after he had defeated the army of Ahaz in a great battle, sending a detachment of his own army to Idumaea, to wrest that land from Judah and conquer Elath, while he marched with the rest of his forces in combination with Pekah against Jerusalem.
“Rezin brought Elath to Aram and drove the Jews out of Elath, and Aramaeans came to Elath and dwelt therein to this day.” השׁיב does not mean “to lead back” here, but literally to turn, to bring to a person; for Elath had never belonged to Aram before this, but was an Edomitish city, so that even if we were to read אדום for ארם, השׁיב could not mean to bring back. But there is no ground whatever for altering לארם into לאדום (Cler., Mich., Ew., Then., and others), whereas the form ארם is at variance with such an alteration through the assumption of an exchange of r and d, because אדום is never written defective אדם except in Ezekiel 25:14. There are also no sufficient reasons for altering וארומים into וארומים ( Keri ); ארומיּם is merely a Syriac form for ארמּים with the dull Syriac u -sound, several examples of which form occur in this very chapter, - e.g., הקּומים for הקּמים 2 Kings 16:7, דּוּמשׂק for דּמּשׂק 2 Kings 16:10, and אילות for אילת 2 Kings 16:6, - whereas אדום, with additions, is only written plene twice in the ancient books, and that in the Chronicles, where the scriptio plena is generally preferred (2 Chronicles 25:14 and 2 Chronicles 28:17), but is always written defective ( אדמים ). Moreover the statement that “ אדומים ( Edomites, not the Edomites) came thither,” etc., would be very inappropriate, since Edomites certainly lived in this Idumaean city in perfect security, even while it was under Judaean government. And there would be no sense in the expression “the Edomites dwelt there to this day,” since the Edomites remained in their own land to the time of the captivity. All this is applicable to Aramaeans alone. As soon as Rezin had conquered this important seaport town, it was a very natural thing to establish an Aramaean colony there, which obtained possession of the trade of the town, and remained there till the time when the annals of the kings were composed (for it is to this that the expression הזּה עד־היּום refers), even after the kingdom of Rezin had long been destroyed by the Assyrians, since Elath and the Aramaeans settled there were not affected by that blow.
(Note: If we only observe that ארומים has not the article, and therefore the words merely indicate the march of an Aramaean colony to Elath, it is evident that אדומים would be unsuitable; for when the יהודים had been driven from the city which the Syrians had conquered, it was certainly not some Edomites but the Edomites who took possession again. Hence Winer, Caspari, and others are quite right in deciding that ארומים is the only correct reading.)
As soon as the Edomites had been released by Rezin from the control of Judah, to which they had been brought back by Amaziah and Uzziah (2 Kings 14:7, 2 Kings 14:22), they began plundering Judah again (2 Chronicles 28:17); and even the Philistines took possession of several cities in the lowland, to avenge themselves for the humiliation they had sustained at the hand of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 28:18).
In this distress Ahaz turned to Tiglath-pileser, without regarding either the word of Isaiah in 2 Kings 7:4., which promised salvation, or the prophet's warning against an alliance with Assyria, and by sending the gold and silver which were found in the treasures of the temple and palace, purchased his assistance against Rezin and Pekah. Whether this occurred immediately after the invasion of the land by the allied kings, or not till after they had defeated the Judaean army and advanced against Jerusalem, it is impossible to discover either from this verse or from 2 Chronicles 28:16; but probably it was after the first great victory gained by the foe, with which Isa 7 and 8 agree. - On קומים for קמים see Ewald, §151, b .
Tiglath-pileser then marched against Damascus, took the city, slew Rezin, and led the inhabitants away to Kir, as Amos had prophesied (Amos 1:3-5). קיר, Kir, from which, according to Amos 9:7, the Aramaeans had emigrated to Syria, is no doubt a district by the river Kur ( Κῦρος, Κύῤῥος ), which taking its rise in Armenia, unites with the Araxes and flows into the Caspian Sea, although from the length of the river Kur it is impossible to define precisely the locality in which they were placed; and the statement of Josephus ( Ant . ix. 13, 3), that the Damascenes were transported εἰς τὴν ἄνω Μηδίαν, is somewhat indefinite, and moreover has hardly been derived from early historical sources (see M. v. Niebuhr, Gesch. Assurs, p. 158). Nothing is said here concerning Tiglath-pileser's invasion of the kingdom of Israel, because this has already been mentioned at 2 Kings 15:29 in the history of Pekah.
Ahaz paid Tiglath-pileser a visit in Damascus, “to present to him his thanks and congratulations, and possibly also to prevent a visit from Tiglath-pileser to himself, which would not have been very welcome” (Thenius). The form דּוּמשׂק is neither to be altered into דּמּשׂק nor regarded as a copyist's error for דּרמשׂק, as we have several words in this chapter that are formed with dull Syriac u-sound. The visit of Ahaz to Damascus is simply mentioned on account of what follows, namely, that Ahaz saw an altar there, which pleased him so much that he sent a picture and model of it “according to all the workmanship thereof,” i.e., its style of architecture, to Urijah the priest (see Isaiah 8:2), and had an altar made like it for the temple, upon which, on his return to Jerusalem, he ordered all the burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and drink-offerings to be presented. The allusion here is to the offerings which he commanded to be presented for his prosperous return to Jerusalem.
Soon after this Ahaz went still further, and had “the copper altar before Jehovah,” i.e., the altar of burnt-offering in the midst of the court before the entrance into the Holy Place, removed “from the front of the (temple-) house, from (the spot) between the altar (the new one built by Urijah) and the house of Jehovah (i.e., the temple-house(, and placed at the north side of the altar.” הקריב does not mean removit, caused to be taken away, but admovit, and is properly to be connected with הם על־ירך, notwithstanding the fact that אתו ויּתּן is inserted between for the sake of greater clearness, as Maurer has already pointed out.
(Note: There is nothing in the text to support the view of Thenius, that Urijah had the brazen altar of burnt-offering erected by Solomon moved farther forwards, nearer to the temple-house, and the new one put in its place, whence it was afterwards shifted by Ahaz and the new one moved a little farther to the south, that is to say, that he placed the two altars close to one another, so that they now occupied the centre of the court.)
On the use of the article with המּזבּח in the construct state, see Ewald, §290, d .
He also commanded that the daily morning and evening sacrifice, and the special offerings of the king and the people, should be presented upon the new altar, and thereby put a stop to the use of the Solomonian altar, “about which he would consider.” The Chethמb ויצוּהוּ is not to be altered; the pron. suff. stands before the noun, as is frequently the case in the more diffuse popular speech. The new altar is called “the great altar,” probably because it was somewhat larger than that of Solomon. הקטר : used for the burning of the sacrifices. הערב מנחת is not merely the meat-offering offered in the evening, but the whole of the evening sacrifice, consisting of a burnt-offering and a meat-offering, as in 1 Kings 18:29, 1 Kings 18:36. לבקּר יהיה־לי, the brazen altar “will be to me for deliberation,” i.e., I will reflect upon it, and then make further arrangements. On בּקּר in this sense see Proverbs 20:25. In the opinion of Ahaz, the altar which had been built after the model of that of Damascus was not to be an idolatrous altar, but an altar of Jehovah. The reason for this arbitrary removal of the altar of Solomon, which had been sanctified by the Lord Himself at the dedication of the temple by fire from heaven, was, in all probability, chiefly that the Damascene altar pleased Ahaz better; and the innovation was a sin against Jehovah, inasmuch as God Himself had prescribed the form for His sanctuary (cf. Exodus 25:40; Exodus 26:30; 1 Chronicles 28:19), so that any altar planned by man and built according to a heathen model was practically the same as an idolatrous altar. - The account of this altar is omitted from the Chronicles; but in v. 23 we have this statement instead: “Ahaz offered sacrifice to the gods of Damascus, who smote him, saying, The gods of the kings of Aram helped them; I will sacrifice to them that they may help me: and they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.” Thenius and Bertheau find in this account an alteration of our account of the copying of the Damascene altar introduced by the chronicler as favouring his design, namely, to give as glaring a description as possible of the ungodliness of Ahaz. But they are mistaken. For even if the notice in the Chronicles had really sprung from this alone, the chronicler would have been able from the standpoint of the Mosaic law to designate the offering of sacrifice upon the altar built after the model of an idolatrous Syrian altar as sacrificing to these gods. But it is a question whether the chronicler had in his mind merely the sacrifices offered upon that altar in the temple-court, and not rather sacrifices which Ahaz offered upon some bamah to the gods of Syria, when he was defeated and oppressed by the Syrians, for the purpose of procuring their assistance. As Ahaz offered his son in sacrifice to Moloch according to 2 Kings 16:3, he might just as well have offered sacrifice to the gods of the Syrians.
Ahaz also laid his hand upon the other costly vessels of the court of the temple. He broke off the panels of the Solomonian stands, which were ornamented with artistic carving, and removed the basins from the stands, and took the brazen sea from the brazen oxen upon which they stood, and placed it upon a stone pavement. The ו before את־הכּיּר can only have crept into the text through a copyist's error, and the singular must be taken distributively: he removed from them (the stands) every single basin. אבנים מרצפת (without the article) is not the stone pavement of the court of the temple, but a pedestal made of stones ( βάσις λιθίνη, lxx) for the brazen sea. The reason why, or the object with which Ahaz mutilated these sacred vessels, is not given. The opinion expressed by Ewald, Thenius, and others, that Ahaz made a present to Tiglath-pileser with the artistically wrought panels of the stands, the basins, and the oxen of the brazen sea, is not only improbable in itself, since you would naturally suppose that if Ahaz had wished to make a “valuable and very welcome present” to the Assyrian king, he would have chosen some perfect stands with their basins for this purpose, and not merely the panels and basins; but it has not the smallest support in the biblical text, - on the contrary, it has the context against it. For, in the first place, if the objects named had been sent to Tiglath-pileser, this would certainly have been mentioned, as well as the sending of the temple and palace treasures. And, again, the mutilation of these vessels is placed between the erection of the new altar which was constructed after the Damascene model, and other measures which Ahaz adopted as a protection against the king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:18). Now if Ahaz, on his return from visiting Tiglath-pileser at Damascus, had thought it necessary to send another valuable present to that king in order to secure his permanent friendship, he would hardly have adopted the measures described in the next verse.
2 Kings 16:18
“The covered Sabbath-stand, which they had built in the house (temple), and the outer entrance of the king he turned (i.e., removed) into the house of Jehovah before the king of Assyria.” השּׁבּת מיסך ( Keri מוּסך, from סכך, to cover) is no doubt a covered place, stand or hall in the court of the temple, to be used by the king whenever he visited the temple with his retinue on the Sabbath or on feast-days; and “the outer entrance of the king” is probably the special ascent into the temple for the king mentioned in 1 Kings 10:5. In what the removal of it consisted it is impossible to determine, from the want of information as to its original character. According to Ewald ( Gesch. iii. p. 621) and Thenius, יהוה בּית הסב means, “he altered (these places), i.e., he robbed them of their ornaments, in the house of Jehovah.” This is quite arbitrary. For even if יהוה בּית could mean “in the house of Jehovah” in this connection, הסב does not mean to disfigure, and still less “to deprive of ornaments.” In 2 Kings 23:34 and 2 Kings 24:17 it signifies to alter the name, not to disfigure it. Again, אשּׁוּר מלך מפּני, “for fear of the king of Assyria,” cannot mean, in this connection, “to make presents to the king of Assyria.” And with this explanation, which is grammatically impossible, the inference drawn from it, namely, that Ahaz sent the ornaments of the king's stand and king's ascent to the king of Assyria along with the vessels mentioned in 2 Kings 16:17, also falls to the ground. If the alterations which Ahaz made in the stands and the brazen sea had any close connection with his relation to Tiglath-pileser, which cannot be proved, Ahaz must have been impelled by fear to make them, not that he might send them as presents to him, but that he might hide them from him if he came to Jerusalem, to which 2 Chronicles 28:20-21 seems to refer. It is also perfectly conceivable, as Züllich ( Die Cherubimwagen, p. 56) conjectures, that Ahaz merely broke off the panels from the stands and removed the oxen from the brazen sea, that he might use these artistic works to decorate some other place, possibly his palace. - Whether these artistic works were restored or not at the time of Hezekiah's reformation or in that of Josiah, we have no accounts to show. All that can be gathered from 2 Kings 25:13-14; Jeremiah 52:17, and Jeremiah 27:19, is, that the stands and the brazen sea were still in existence in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and that on the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldaeans they were broken in pieces and carried away to Babylonia as brass. The brazen oxen are also specially mentioned in Jeremiah 52:20, which is not the case in the parallel passage 2 Kings 25:13; though this does not warrant the conclusion that they were no longer in existence at that time.
Conclusion of the reign of Ahaz. According to 2 Chronicles 28:27, he was buried in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.
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Second Sunday after Epiphany