Ahaz

A'haz (Hebrew Achaz', אָחָז, possessor), the name of two men.

1. (Sept. Χαάζ v. r. Α᾿χάζ.) A great grandson of Jonathan, son of King Saul, being one of the four sons of Micah, and the father of Jehoiadah or Jarah (1Ch 8:35; 1Ch 9:42). B.C. post 1037.

2. (Sept. and N.T. ῎Αχαζ, Josephus Α᾿χάζης, Auth. Vers. "Achaz," Mt 1:9.) The son and successor of Jotham, being the twelfth king of the separate kingdom of Judah, who reigned fourteen years, B.C. 740- 726 (besides two years as viceroy under his father). In 2Ki 16:2, he is said to have ascended the throne at the age of 20 years. This has been regarded as a transcriber's error for 25, which number is found in one Hebrew MS., the Sept., the Peshito, and Arabic version of 2Ch 28:1; for otherwise his son Hezekiah was born when he was eleven years old (so Clinton, Fasti Hell. 1, 318). But it more probably refers to a still earlier viceroyship at the date of his father's full coronation (2Ki 15:32-33), B.C. 756. At the time of his accession, Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, had recently formed a league against Judah, and they proceeded to lay siege to Jerusalem, intending to place on the throne Ben-Tabeal, who was not a prince of the royal family of Judah, but probably a Syrian noble. Upon this the prophet Isaiah, full of zeal for God and patriotic loyalty to the house of David, hastened to give advice and encouragement to Ahaz (see Richardson's Sermons, 2, 186), and it was probably owing to the spirit of energy and religious devotion which he poured into his counsels that the allies failed in their attack on Jerusalem. Thus much, together with anticipations of danger from the Assyrians, and a general picture of weakness and unfaithfulness both in the king and the people, we find in the famous prophecies of the 7th, 8th, and 9th chapters of Isaiah, in which he seeks to animate and support them by the promise of the Messiah. From 2 Kings 16, and 2 Chronicles 28, we learn that the allies took a vast number of captives, who, however, were restored in virtue of the remonstrances of the prophet Oded; and that they also inflicted a most severe injury on Judah by the capture of Elath, a flourishing port on the Red Sea, in which, after expelling the Jews, they re- established the Edomites (according to the true reading of 2Ki 16:6, אֲדוֹמַים for אֲדוֹמַים), who attacked and wasted the east part of Judah, while the Philistines invaded the west and south. The weak-minded and helpless Ahaz sought deliverance from these numerous troubles by appealing to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, who freed him from his most formidable enemies by invading Syria, taking Damascus, killing Rezin, and depriving Israel of its northern and Transjordanic districts — an extension of their dominions for which the Assyrians had been already preparing (see Kitto's Daily Bible Illustr. in loc.). But Ahaz had to purchase this help at a costly price: he became tributary to Tiglath-pileser, sent him all the treasures of the Temple and his own palace, and even appeared before him in Damascus as a vassal. He also ventured to seek for safety in heathen ceremonies, despite the admonitions of Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah; making his son pass through the fire to Moloch, consulting wizards and necromancers (Isa 8:19), sacrificing to the Syrian gods, introducing a foreign (originally Assyrian, apparently, Rawlinson, Hist. Evidences, p. 117) altar from Damascus, and probably the worship of the heavenly bodies from Assyria and Babylon, as he would seem to have set up the horses of the sun mentioned in 2Ki 23:11 (comp. Tacit. Ann. 12, 13); and "the altars on the top (or roof) of the upper chamber of Ahaz" (2Ki 23:12) were connected with the adoration of the stars. SEE ASTROLOGY. The worship of Jehovah became neglected, and the Temple at length altogether closed. We see another and blameless result of this intercourse with an astronomical people in the "sundial of Ahaz" (Isa 38:8). SEE DIAL. He died at the age of fifty years, and his body was refused a burial in the royal sepulcher (2 Kings 16, and 2Ch 28; Isa 7). He was succeeded by his son Hezekiah (see Simeon's Works, 4, 177). SEE JUDAH, KINGDOM OF.

Bible concordance for AHAZ.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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