« Ahaus, Heinrich von Ahaz Ahaziah »

Ahaz

AHAZ, ê´haz: Eleventh king of Judah, son and successor of Jotham. He ruled, according to the older computation, 742-727 B.C.; according to Köhler, 739-724; according to Kamphausen, 734-715; according to Hommel, 734-728. The most important political event of his reign was the subjugation of Judah to Assyria as a result of the Arameo- (Syro-) Ephraimitic war. Pekah, king of Israel, and Rezin of Damascus had conspired against Judah before the death of Jotham (II Kings xv. 37), but war was not actively carried on until after the accession of Ahaz. The latter could not maintain himself in the field and retired to the fortified Jerusalem. According to the Chronicler, he was defeated in pitched battle at some stage of the war. Rezin captured Elath on the Red Sea, which had been in possession of Judah since the days of Amaziah and Uzziah (Azariah, II Kings xiv. 7, 22), and restored it to the Edomites (xvi. 6, where the reading should be “Edomites” instead of “Syrians”), perhaps in return for help in the war (cf. II Chron. xxviii. 17). Judea was laid waste and partly depopulated (cf. Isa. i. 5-9). Ahaz in his need applied for help to Tiglath-pileser II. of Assyria, who forced the enemies of the Judean king to retire; but, as the price of this deliverance, Judah became an Assyrian vassal state, the king’s treasure and the treasure of the Temple being carried to Nineveh, and a yearly tribute imposed. Few kings of Judah are represented as having so little inclination to the true Yahveh-religion as Ahaz. He sacrificed “on the hills, and under every green tree,” and set up molten images of the Baalim. In a time of great distress he even offered his son to Molech in the Valley of Hinnom; and it may be inferred from II. Kings xxiii. 11-12 that, under Assyrian influence, he built altars for the worship of the heavenly bodies in the vicinity of the Temple. The religious and moral deterioration of the people under Ahaz is the frequent theme of Isaiah’s prophecy.

(W. Lotz.)

It is now generally held that the reign of Ahaz extended from 735 to 719 B.C. The dates are important not merely as fixing the time of the accession of Hezekiah with his change of policy toward Assyria, but also their correlation with other events. Thus Ahaz is seen to have survived the fall of Samaria (722 B.C.) and the Assyrian expedition against Ashdod (720 B.C.) with its consequences to Judah (cf. Isa. xx.).

J. F. M.

Bibliography: Consult the works mentioned under Ahab, and C. P. Caspari, Ueber den Syrisch-ephraimitischen Krieg unter Jotham und Ahas, Christiania, 1849.

« Ahaus, Heinrich von Ahaz Ahaziah »
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