He sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him - "This passage," says Mr. Hallet, "greatly surprised me; for the sacred historian himself is here represented as saying, The gods of Damascus had smitten Ahaz. But it is impossible to suppose that an inspired author could say this; for the Scripture everywhere represents the heathen idols as nothing and vanity, and as incapable of doing either good or hurt. All difficulty is avoided if we follow the old Hebrew copies, from which the Greek translation was made, Και ειπεν ὁ βασιλεις Αχαζ, εκζητησω τους Θεους Δαμασκου τους τυπτοντας με, And King Ahaz said, I Will Seek to the Gods of Damascus Which Have Smitten Me; and then it follows, both in Hebrew and Greek, He said moreover, Because the gods of the king of Syria help them; therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. Both the Syriac and Arabic give it a similar turn; and say that Ahaz sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, and said, Ye are my gods and my lords; you will I worship, and to you will I sacrifice."
“Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted .... Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying, Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it: ... thus saith the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.” The prophet declared that the kingdom of Israel, and Syria as well, would soon come to an end. “If ye will not believe,” he concluded, “surely ye shall not be established.” Verses 4-7, 9. PK 329.1
Well would it have been for the kingdom of Judah had Ahaz received this message as from heaven. But choosing to lean on the arm of flesh, he sought help from the heathen. In desperation he sent word to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria: “I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.” 2 Kings 16:7. The request was accompanied by a rich present from the king's treasure and from the temple storehouse. PK 329.2
The help asked for was sent, and King Ahaz was given temporary relief, but at what a cost to Judah! The tribute offered aroused the cupidity of Assyria, and that treacherous nation soon threatened to overflow and spoil Judah. Ahaz and his unhappy subjects were now harassed by the fear of falling completely into the hands of the cruel Assyrians. PK 329.3Read in context »