The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Paralipomena
This Achaz was twenty years old when he came to the throne, and his reign at Jerusalem lasted sixteen years. He did not obey the Lord’s will like his father David before him;
he followed the example of the Israelite kings, casting images of the countryside gods.
He it was that burnt incense in the ravine of Benennom,✻ and consecrated his sons by passage through the fire, after the wont of those nations which the Lord overthrew to make room for Israel.
Never a high hill or a mountain slope or a leafy wood but Achaz must do sacrifice and offer incense there.
So the Lord his God left him at the mercy of the king of Syria, who defeated him, and robbed his kingdom of rich spoils, which he carried off to Damascus. The king of Israel, too, had the mastery of him, and inflicted grievous loss;
a hundred and twenty thousand men of Juda, all tried warriors, did Phacee son of Romelia slay in one day’s space, and all because they had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers.
At the same time Maasias, a royal prince, and Ezrica, the controller of the household, and Elcana, that was the king’s chief minister, were put to death by Zechri, one of the great warriors of Ephraim.
Two hundred thousand captives the men of Israel took, women, and boys, and girls, their own flesh and blood, with much booty besides, and conveyed them to Samaria.
But there was a prophet of the Lord dwelling there at this time, Oded by name, who went out to meet the army on their way into the city, and expostulated with them. Here are the men of Juda, said he, left at your mercy, only because the Lord, the God of your fathers, is angry with them; and you have made murderous use of your victory; the tale of your cruelties mounts up to heaven.
That is not enough for you; against all right, you would seize bondmen and bondwomen from Juda and Jerusalem. What, have you no sins of your own to account for?
Be guided by me; take the captives home, that are your own flesh and blood; if not, a bitter punishment from the Lord awaits you.
And now four of Ephraim’s chieftains barred the way against the returning army; Azarias son of Johanan, Barachias son of Mosollamoth, Ezechias son of Sellum, and Amasa son of Adali.
Never offend the Lord, they cried, by bringing in these captives with you! Would you add sin to sin, crown the guilt that long stands at our door? Here is grievous wrong; here is a bitter punishment from the Lord threatening Israel!
So, before their chieftains and before all the multitude assembled, the warriors gave up their booty and their prey.
And the four men we have named stood there befriending the captives; those that went naked must be clothed out of the spoils; then, clothed and shod, they must be refreshed with food and drink, must be anointed after their journey. No care was wanting; some, that could not walk, or were of feeble age, must ride on asses. And so they escorted them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, and restored them to their kindred, and themselves went back to Samaria.
So evil were those times, that Achaz must send to the king of the Assyrians to beg for aid.
The Edomites came in and slew many of Juda’s folk, taking rich spoils besides,
and the Philistines spread out their forces among the cities of the plain, and over the southern part of Juda, taking Bethsames, Aialon, Gaderoth, Socho, Thamnan, Gamzo and their daughter townships to settle in.
Thus did the Lord humble Juda, to shew how Achaz had robbed them of all aid, by slighting the divine will.✻
As for the king of the Assyrians, Thelgath-Phalnasar, the Lord made him an enemy, not an ally, to Juda, which he oppressed and plundered, with none to oppose him,
till Achaz was fain to court his favour with gifts, stripping temple and royal palace and princely palace of their treasures, but no help did he win thereby.
Such a man was this Achaz, that times of adversity did but minister to the contempt he shewed for the Lord;
he would even offer victims to the gods of Damascus, that were his enemies; These Syrian gods, thought he, help their own country now, they will be on my side instead, if I win them over with gifts. But in truth these gods were his ruin, and all Israel’s.✻
All the ornaments of the Lord’s house he had already taken away and broken up; now he closed the temple doors, and built altars of his own in every corner of Jerusalem;
altars, too, in every city of Juda, the smoke of whose incense enraged the Lord, the God of his fathers.
What else he did, all his history, first and last, may be found in the Record of the kings of Juda and Israel.
So Achaz was laid to rest with his fathers, with the city of Jerusalem for his burying-place; but among the tombs of Israel’s kings they would not lay him. And the throne passed to his son Ezechias.
The Holy Bible