Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 16:10

Now King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw the altar which was at Damascus; and King Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the pattern of the altar and its model, according to all its workmanship.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ahaz;   Altar;   Church and State;   Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Temple;   Tiglath-Pileser;   Uriah;   Urijah;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Altars;   Altar of Burnt-Offering, the;   Kings;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Dial;   Rezin;   Temple;   Tiglath-Pileser;   Urijah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ahaz;   Damascus;   Nahum;   Temple;   Treaty;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Gods and Goddesses, Pagan;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Tiglath-Pileser Iii.;   Urijah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ahaz;   Dial;   High Priest;   Tiglath Pileser;   Uriah;   Zechariah;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Altar;   Assyria, History and Religion of;   Damascus;   Hezekiah;   High Priest;   Image of God;   King, Kingship;   Uriah;   Urijah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ahaz;   Alliance;   Altar;   Damascus;   Dial;   Temple;   Uriah;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ahaz ;   Assyria ;   Tiglathpileser, Tilgathpilneser ;   Uriah ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Dial;   Tiglath-pileser;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Tig'lath-Pile'ser;   Uri'ah;   Uri'jah;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ahaz;   Alliance;   Altar;   Fashion;   Isaiah;   Judah, Kingdom of;   Palestine (Recent Exploration, I.e. as of 1915);   Pekah;   Priest, High;   Rezin;   Syria;   Temple;   Trade;   Uriah;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Assyria;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Art among the Ancient Hebrews;   Damascus;   Dial;   Monuments in Their Bearing on Biblical Exegesis;   Uriah, Urijah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Ahaz went to Damascus - He had received so much help on the defeat of Rezin, that he went to Damascus to meet the king of Assyria, and render him thanks.

Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar - This was some idolatrous altar, the shape and workmanship of which pleased Ahaz so well that he determined to have one like it at Jerusalem. For this he had no Divine authority, and the compliance of Urijah was both mean and sinful. That Ahaz did this for an idolatrous purpose, is evident from 2 Chronicles 28:21-25; : "For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus; - and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, I will sacrifice to them, that they may help me. And he made high places to burn incense to other gods in every city of Judah."

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-16.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And saw an altar - Rather, “The altar,” i. e. an Assyrian altar, and connected with that formal recognition of the Assyrian deities which the Ninevite monarchs appear to have required of all the nations whom they received into their empire.

The fashion of the altar - Assyrian altars were not very elaborate, but they were very different from the Jewish. They were comparatively small, and scarcely suited for “whole burnt-offerings.” One type was square, about half the height of a man, and ornamented round the top with a sort of battlement. Another had a triangular base and a circular top consisting of a single flat stone. A third was a sort of portable stand, narrow, and about the height of a man. This last was of the kind which the kings took with them in their expeditions.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-16.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

RELIGIOUS INNOVATIONS WHICH WERE PROBABLY REQUIRED BY ASSYRIA

"And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw the 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. And Urijah the priest built an altar: according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus, so did Urijah the priest make it against the coming of king Ahaz from Damascus. And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar, and offered thereon."

From the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser, we learn that his custom was to hold court in various conquered cities, demanding the appearance (with their tribute) of all the vassal kings throughout the area.[15] It was to such a court in Damascus that king Ahaz was summoned by the king of Assyria. There were three types of altars used in Nineveh, and one was the portable altar which Tiglath-pileser carried with him in his campaigns. It was probably that portable altar from Assyria that Ahaz copied, very likely upon the insistence of Tiglath-pileser. Montgomery noted that, "Ahaz's attendance upon Tiglath-pileser at Damascus and the resulting ritual innovations in the temple, and certain reconstructions, were after the usual Assyrian manner."[16] "The altar Ahaz copied was Assyrian, and Ahaz was doing honor unto the Assyrian gods."[17]

It was a terrible price that Ahaz had paid for Assyrian assistance. When he wrote, "I am thy servant and thy son," it was understood from that time forward that, "Ahaz and his advisers had surrendered themselves body and soul into the hands of the great world-power of that period. It meant complete submission and enrollment among Assyria's tribute-paying vassal states."[18]; "Urijah the priest made it" (2 Kings 16:11). This reprobate priest was named by Isaiah as a witness (Isaiah 8:2), but what the man did here was evil. "A bold priest like Azariah (1 Chronicles 26:17) would have refused to do what the king requested, which was a desecration of the temple and at least an evil compromise with idolatry."[19]

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-16.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria,.... When he heard he was come thither, and had taken it, to congratulate him on the victory, and to give him thanks for his assistance; which place from Jerusalem was one hundred and sixty miles, according to BuntingF17Travels, &c. p. 185. .

and saw an altar that was at Damascus; where, in all probability, he attended at the sacrifice on it along with the king of Assyria:

and King Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof; not only the size and form of it, but all the decorations and figures on it, with which it was wrought. This Urijah was very probably the high priest, for it can scarcely be thought that Ahaz would write to any other, or that any other priest would or could have complied with his request; and he seems to be the same Isaiah took to be a witness in a certain affair, though he now degenerated from the character he gives of him, Isaiah 8:2.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-16.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 16:10 And 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.

Ver. 10. To meet Tiglathpileser.] As well to congratulate his victory, as further to ingratiate; but God crossed his expectation, [2 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 28:20-21; 2 Chronicles 28:23] because he trusted in the arm of flesh, and hoped for help from the Syrian gods, who yet could not help their own proper servant, whom he worshipped to curry favour, likely, with Tiglathpileser.

And king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest.] Who was a fit handle for such a hatchet. He had been a maintainer of God’s true worship in the temple, and by the prophet Isaiah counted and called a faithful witness; [Isaiah 8:1-2] but now he becometh an apostate, as Damascen turned Mohammedan, after that he had written against that execrable impiety, and Ahaz knew him, belike, to be but a temporiser.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-16.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

To meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria; to congratulate his victory, and acknowledge his favour and help, and to beg the continuance of it.

Saw an altar of an excellent structure, upon which the Syrians used to offer to their idols: see 2 Chronicles 28:23.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-16.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.Went to Damascus — After its capture.

To meet Tiglath-pileser — To pay him a visit of homage and submission.

Saw an altar — Before going to Damascus, and before the fall of the Syrian kingdom, and while he was hard pressed by the forces of Rezin, “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.” 2 Chronicles 28:23. Now, however, he proposes to worship the more triumphant gods of Assyria, whose altar, after the victory of Tiglath, had been set up at Damascus, “It has been generally supposed,” says Rawlinson, (Historical Evidences, p. 117,) “that this altar was Syrian; and its establishment has been connected with the passage in Chronicles, where Ahaz is said to have ‘sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, which smote him;’ but few things can be more improbable than the adoption of the gods of a foreign nation at the moment when they had been proved to be powerless. The strange altar of Ahaz was in all probability not Syrian, but Assyrian; and its erection was in accordance with an Assyrian custom, of which the inscriptions afford abundant evidence — the custom of requiring from the subject nations some formal acknowledgment of the gods and worship of the sovereign country.” It would seem that about this time the astral worship of Assyria was introduced into the kingdoms both of Judah and Israel. See on 2 Kings 17:16.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-16.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 16:10. And King Ahaz went to meet Tiglath-pileser — To congratulate his victory, acknowledge his favour and help, and to beg the continuance of it. And saw an altar that was at Damascus — Of an excellent structure, as he supposed, upon which the Syrians used to offer to their idols, 2 Chronicles 28:23. Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar — That a pattern of it might be taken immediately. He could not stay till he should return to Jerusalem himself, but sent it before him, in all haste, with orders to Urijah, to get one made exactly according to this model, and have it ready against he came home. The pattern God showed to Moses in the mount, or to David by the Spirit, was not comparable to this pattern sent from Damascus!

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-16.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

To meet, and congratulate the king on his victory, and perhaps to divert him from proceeding any father. (Calmet) --- But it was too late, ver. 7. (Haydock) --- The same year Phacee hastened to defend his dominions, but was slain by Osee. (Salien, the year before Christ 757.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-16.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Ahaz. Called Jehoahaz in Tiglath-pileser"s great triumphal inscriptions. The first syllable of his name dropped in Scripture, as he was unworthy of it.

to meet: and do him honour. Hence the solemn warnings of Isaiah 8:13, Isaiah 8:14, Isaiah 8:19.

fashion = likeness, or sketch.

pattern, or model.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-16.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser 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.

Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tigiath-pileser. This was a visit of respect, and perhaps of gratitude. It was the first time, in all probability, that Ahaz and his courtiers had come into contact with the mighty lord-paramount, and yet, although many scenes must have been witnessed in the Assyrian camp, betokening the pomp and circumstance of the great conqueror, one incident only has been put on record, evidently from its being regarded by the sacred historian as being of an idolatrous character. This is expressly stated in the parallel passage (2 Chronicles 28:3). Besides, the Assyrian conquerors required all their tributaries to set up in their capitals altars to the great gods, as a token of gratitude, on the part of the victor, to the deities by whose favour he had triumphed, and a badge of subjection to their suzerain on the part of the dependents. During his stay that pagan city, Ahaz saw an altar with which he was greatly captivated. Forthwith a sketch of it was transmitted to Jerusalem, with orders to Urijah the priest to get one constructed according to the Damascus model, and to let this new altar supersede the old one in the temple.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-16.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) Ahaz went to Damascus, to meet Tiglath-pileser.—The great king appears to have held his court there after the capture of the city, and to have summoned the vassal princes of Palestine thither to do him homage in person before his departure. (See the Note on 2 Kings 16:8.)

And saw an altar.—Rather, and he saw the altar, namely, that of the principal Temple. Upon the account which follows Prof. Robertson Smith well remarks that the frivolous character of Ahaz “was so-little capable of appreciating the dangers involved in his new obligations, that he returned to Jerusalem with his head full of the artistic and religious curiosities he had seen on his journey. In a national crisis of the first magnitude he found no more pressing concern than the erection of a new altar in the Temple on a pattern brought from Damascus. The sundial of Ahaz (2 Kings 20:11), and an erection on the roof of the Temple, with altars apparently designed for the worship of the host of heaven (2 Kings 23:12), were works equally characteristic of the trifling and superstitious virtuoso, who imagined that the introduction of a few foreign novelties gave lustre to a reign which had fooled away the independence of Judah, and sought a momentary deliverance by accepting a service the burden of which was fast becoming intolerable” (Proph. of Israel, p. 251).

Urijah the priest—i.e., the high priest, who appears to be identical with the “credible witness” of Isaiah 8:2. His high official position would secure Urijah’s credit as a witness.

Fashion . . . pattern . . . workmanship.—These terms indicate that the king’s interest in the matter was artistic rather than religious.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And 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.
saw an altar
Deuteronomy 12:30; 2 Chronicles 28:23-25; Jeremiah 10:2; Ezekiel 23:16,17; Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:18
the pattern
Exodus 24:4; 39:43; 1 Chronicles 28:11,12,19; Psalms 106:39; Ezekiel 43:8,11; Matthew 15:6,9
Reciprocal: Joshua 22:28 - Behold;  2 Kings 16:14 - the altar;  2 Kings 17:8 - walked;  2 Kings 21:4 - he built;  2 Chronicles 36:14 - all the chief;  Isaiah 8:2 - Uriah;  Ezekiel 6:9 - their eyes;  Ezekiel 11:12 - but;  Ezekiel 16:28 - GeneralEzekiel 44:12 - they ministered;  Micah 1:5 - they;  Mark 7:9 - Full

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-16.html.