“In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham the king of Judah became king (Kings II 16:1).” On the one hand it’s confusing to constantly have the timeline of one king be told in relation to the timeline of another. But if I’m going to try to get deeper than that with my amateur analysis, it’s kind of beautiful that despite the generations of separation between Israel and Judah, they were still so intertwined that their histories formed in relation to one another.
Anyway Ahaz is young, reigns for a while, and during the course of his reign he goes bad. “He went in the ways of the kings of Israel, and also he passed his son through fire in the abominable manner of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before the children of Israel (Kings II 16:3).” This seems like an extreme offense, and he adds to it by making idolatrous sacrifices. Pekah and Rezin, the king of Aram, decide to wage war against him, but fail. Ahaz asks for assistance from the Assyrians, sending them tribute, and Assyria’s king helps him defeat the Arameans. At the same time, Ahaz travels to Damascus, and he sees an altar there that he falls in love with and wants to replicate.
“And Uriah the priest built the altar, according to all that King Ahaz sent from Damascus, so did Uriah the priest make it until King Ahaz came from Damascus (Kings II 16:11).” Ahaz sacrifices on this new altar, and then he dies and his son Hezekiah takes the throne. This reign is neatly wrapped up in one chapter, and we’re on to the next!