If men will not be humbled by God’s judgments, God will find means to bring them low and will make them as despicable as they have been formidable.
II Chronicles 28
1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father:
2 For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim.
3 Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
4 He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
5 Wherefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.
6 ¶ For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers.
7 And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king’s son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king.
8 And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.
9 But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven.
10 And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God?
11 Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.
12 Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war,
13 And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.
14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation.
15 And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria.
16 ¶ At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him.
17 For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives.
18 The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there.
19 For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD.
20 And Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not.
21 For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.
22 ¶ And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz.
23 For 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. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.
24 And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
25 And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.
26 ¶ Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
27 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.
II Chronicles 28:1-8 – J. Vernon McGee
II Chronicles 28:9-15 – J. Vernon McGee
II Chronicles 28:16-27 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Chronicles 28:1-11 – Smitten for Forsaking the Lord
The reign of Ahaz was marked by terrible and rapid degeneration. He not only restored idolatry and offered his children to Moloch, but as the difficulties of his reign increased, he made an alliance with the king of Assyria, notwithstanding the vehement protests of Isaiah. His extreme wickedness made him notorious. “This is that king Ahaz,” II Chronicles 28:22. The instruments used for his punishment were the kings of Syria and Israel, II Chronicles 28:5-6; and his sin led to the suffering of his people, carried from their homes to Samaria. When a nation or an individual life turns from the love and life of God, it becomes at once a prey to enemies that are lurking near, as an anemic constitution is liable to the microbes of disease.
It was a noble act on the part of the prophet Oded to denounce the captivity of so many brethren and sisters; and his splendid protest touched the finest chords in the conquerors’ hearts. We must never flinch from holding up God’s standard before the minds of our contemporaries. It will often arrest evil and incite to nobleness of action. —Through the Bible Day by Day
2 Chronicles 28:12-27 – A Wicked King’s Blind Folly
This sending of the captives home, clothed, shod, and anointed was a beautiful act, and anticipates the spirit of Christianity. This is the true way of making and maintaining peace. Magnanimity is, after all, the best solvent of national hatred, and lays the foundations of enduring brotherhood. The Edomites and Philistines smote Judah and weakened it, but they were only the instruments. We are distinctly told that the Lord brought Israel low, II Chronicles 28:19. The relief bought from the king of Assyria at so great a sacrifice secured a temporary respite. See II Kings 16:7-9. In the end, however, it only added to his distress, II Chronicles 28:20. None can help the man who has forfeited the help of God. If He is against us, who can be for us!
The more distressed Ahaz was, the more he trespassed. See Isaiah 1:5-6. With blind infatuation he went step by step farther from God, sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, and offered wanton insult to God’s house. The detestation of the people was evidenced in their treatment of his remains. See Proverbs 10:7. —Through the Bible Day by Day
II Chronicles 28:15—The men clothed all that were naked, and gave them to eat and to drink.
A great burst of generosity was here, for Israel had every reason to be incensed against Judah for the raid made on their territory. But, instead of pushing their advantage to the uttermost, they returned good for evil, and anticipated the words of the apostle (Romans 12:20), “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
Have you in your life people who have done you injury, and against whom you entertain hard thoughts? You do not injure them in return, but you cannot pray for them. So far as you can, you avoid them; you make no attempt to overcome the evil that is in them. But to act thus is to come short of Christ’s standard. It is your duty, not merely to keep at a distance and give a wide berth, but by love to destroy the evil, to transform the enemy into a friend, and to create love and friendship where hostility and alienation had reigned. It is God’s way, and in this we are bidden to be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect.
Will you try it? Will you begin by doing kind acts to those who have harmed you? Not because as yet you feel as you would, but because it is right. Then as you dig the trench in right-doing, look up to God, and He will pour into your heart the warm gush of affection. If you sincerely will His will in this matter, and act as the Good Samaritan did to the Jew, and exercise faith, God will come to your aid you clothe others and minister to them, you will find their hard heart melted, and yourselves clothed with the beautiful garments of salvation, and of a meek and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is of great price. —Our Daily Homily