Melachim 2/Kings 2-Chapter 17: The reign of Achaz

1.      The reign of Achaz:

  • The year of his reign: Achaz the son of Yosam the king of Yehuda became king in the seventeenth year of Pekach the son of Remaliah.
  • His age at the time of his reign: Achaz was twenty years old when he became king.
  • The years of his reign: Achaz reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.
  • His evil deeds: Achaz did not do what was proper in the eyes of Hashem and was unlike David his father. He went in the evil ways of the kings of Israel. He had passed his son through a fire following the abominable act of idolatry [i.e. Molech[1]] of the Gentile nations who were banished from the land of Israel. He offered sacrifices and burnt incense on the Bamos and on the hills, and under every green tree.

2.      The war of Aram and kingdom of Israel against Achaz:

  • Placing Jerusalem under siege: Retzin the king of Aram and Pekach the son of Remaliah the king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to wage war. They besieged Achaz, but did not wage war against him.
  • Jews are banished from various cities: At that time, Retzin the king of Aram restored the city of Eilat back to Aram, and drove out the Judeans from Eilat, and the Edomites settled in Eilat in their stead, and they dwell there until this day.
  • Achaz sends a tribute to the king of Ashur to help him against Aram and Israel: Achaz sent messengers to Tiglas-Pileser the king of Ashur, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and save me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel who have risen up against me.” Achaz then took the silver and the gold that was in the Temple and in the treasuries of the king’s palace, and he sent them to the king of Ashur as a bribe.
  • The king of Ashur conquers Damascus and Aram: The king of Ashur accepted the payment, and he went to wage war against Damascus and seized it, and exiled its inhabitants to Kirah. He also killed Retzin the king of Aram.

3.      Achaz builds a second altar in the Temple:

  • King Achaz traveled to Damascus to meet with Tiglas-Pileser the king of Ashur. During his visitation he saw a most beautifully designed altar that was in Damascus, and King Achaz desired to make a replica of it in Jerusalem. He thus sent Uriah the priest on a mission back to Jerusalem for him to build an exact replica of the altar in the temple prior to him arriving back to Jerusalem. Uriah the priest did as he was instructed, and he built the altar as per the instructions of King Achaz, prior to Achaz returning to Jerusalem.
  • Achaz offers sacrifices on the new altar: When Achaz returned from Damascus and saw the new altar, he approached the altar and offered sacrifices on it, including an Olah, and Mincha and Nesachim, and he sprinkled the blood of his Shelamim offering on the altar.
  • The position of the altar: The copper altar that was in front of the Heichal, was moved from there to the side of the altar to the north, having the new altar replace it in front of the Heichal.
  • The king instructs for all offerings to be given on the new altar: King Achaz instructed Uriah the priest to bring all the offerings onto the new altar, including the daily Olah offering and Mincha, and the offerings of the king, and all the offerings of the people of the land, including their libations and the blood of every sacrifice shall be sprinkled on it. The old copper altar shall only be used by me on occasion when I decide. Uriah the priest followed all of the instructions that King Achaz had commanded him.
  • Achaz makes structural changes to the temple: King Achaz cut off the foundations of the sinks, and he removed the tank off the copper cattle that were under it, and put it on a stone floor. The Shabbos canopy that they built in the Azarah for shade and the king’s outside entrance were hidden in the temple due to fear that the king of Ashur.
  • His Chronicles: The remainder of the deeds of Achaz are written in the book of chronicles of the kings of Yehuda.
  • Achaz dies and is buried: Achaz died and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David.
  • His successor: Chizkiah, the son of Achaz, reigned in his stead.

[1] Metzudos Dovid 16:3

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