The wicked and unhappy reign of Achaz.
CHAZ was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: he did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord as David his father had done,
But walked in the ways of the kings of Israel; moreover also he cast statues for Baalim.
It was he that burnt incense in the valley of Benennom, and consecrated his sons in the fire according to the manner of the nations, which the Lord slew at the coming of the children of Israel.
He sacrificed also, and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
And the Lord his God delivered him into the hands of the king of Syria, who defeated him, and took a great booty out of his kingdom, and carried it to Damascus: he was also delivered into the hands of the king of Israel, who overthrew him with a great slaughter.
For Phacee the son of Romelia slew of Juda a hundred and twenty thousand in one day, all valiant men, because they had forsaken the Lord the God of their fathers.
At the same time Zechri a powerful man of Ephraim, slew Maasias the king's son, and Ezricam the governor of his house, and Elcana who was next to the king.
And the children of Israel carried away of their brethren two hundred thousand women, boys, and girls, and an immense booty: and they brought it to Samaria.
At that time there was a prophet of the Lord there, whose name was Oded: and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria, and said to them: Behold the Lord the God of your fathers being angry with Juda, hath delivered them into your hands, and you have butchered them cruelly, so that your cruelty hath reached up to heaven.
Moreover you have a mind to keep under the children of Juda and Jerusalem for your bondmen and bondwomen, which ought not to be done: for you have sinned in this against the Lord your God.
But hear ye my counsel, and release the captives that you have brought of your brethren, because a great indignation of the Lord hangeth over you.
Then some of the chief men of the sons of Ephraim, Azarias the son of Johanan, Barachias the son of Mosollamoth, Ezechias the son of Sellum, and Amasa the son of Adali, stood up against them that came from the war.
And they said to them: You shall not bring in the captives hither, lest we sin against the Lord. Why will you add to our sins, and heap up upon our former offences? for the sin is great, and the fierce anger of the Lord hangeth over Israel.
So the soldiers left the spoils, and all that they had taken, before the princes and all the multitude.
And the men, whom we mentioned above, rose up and took the captives, and with the spoils clothed all them that were naked: and when they had clothed and shod them, and refreshed them with meat and drink, and anointed them because of their labour, and had taken care of them, they set such of them as could not walk, and were feeble, upon beasts, and brought them to Jericho the city of palm trees to their brethren, and they returned to Samaria.
At that time king Achaz sent to the king of the Assyrians asking help.
And the Edomites came and slew many of Juda, and took a great booty.
The Philistines also spread themselves among the cities of the plains, and to the south of Juda: and they took Bethsames, and Aialon, and Gaderoth, and Socho, and Thamnan, and Gamzo, with their villages, and they dwelt in them.
For the Lord had humbled Juda because of Achaz the king of Juda, for he had stripped it of help, and had contemned the Lord.
And he brought against him Thelgathphalnasar king of the Assyrians, who also afflicted him, and plundered him without any resistance.
And Achaz stripped the house of the Lord, and the house of the kings, and of the princes, and gave gifts to the king of the Assyrians, and yet it availed him nothing.
Moreover also in the time of his distress he increased contempt against the Lord: king Achaz himself by himself,
Sacrificed victims to the gods of Damascus that struck him, and he said: The gods of the kings of Syria help them, and I will appease them with victims, and they will help me; whereas on the contrary they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.
Then Achaz having taken away all the vessels of the house of God, and broken them, shut up the doors of the temple of God, and made himself altars in all the corners of Jerusalem.
And in all the cities of Juda he built altars to burn frankincense, and he provoked the Lord the God of his fathers to wrath.
But the rest of his acts, and all his works first and last are written in the book of the kings of Juda and Israel.
And Achaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of Jerusalem: for they received him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel. And Ezechias his son reigned in his stead.