Ahaz was the worst of all the kings of Judah. He imitated the worst of the Israelite kings - Ahab and Ahaziah - by a re-introduction of the Baal worship, which had been rooted out of Israel by Jehu and out of Judah by Jehoiada.
And made Iris son to pass through the fire - i. e. Ahaz adopted the Moloch worship of the Ammonites and Moabites 2 Kings 3:27; Micah 6:7, and sacrificed at least one son, probably his firstborn, according to the horrid rites of those nations, and the Canaanite tribes Deuteronomy 12:31; Psalm 106:37-38. Hereto, apparently, the Jews had been guiltless of this abomination. They had been warned against it by Moses (marginal reference; Deuteronomy 18:10); and if (as some think) they had practiced it in the wilderness Ezekiel 20:26; Amos 5:26, the sin must have been rare and exceptional; from the date of their entrance into the promised land they had wholly put it away. Now, however, it became so frequent (compare 2 Kings 17:17; 2 Kings 21:6) as to meet with the strongest protest from Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jeremiah 7:31-32; Jeremiah 19:2-6; Jeremiah 32:35; Ezekiel 16:20; Ezekiel 20:26; Ezekiel 23:37, etc.).
Because the people of God had confused ideas of the ceremonial sacrificial offerings, and had heathen traditions confounded with their ceremonial worship, God condescended to give them definite directions, that they might understand the true import of those sacrifices which were to last only till the Lamb of God should be slain, who was the great antitype of all their sacrificial offerings. 3SG 304.1Read in context »
The accession of Ahaz to the throne brought Isaiah and his associates face to face with conditions more appalling than any that had hitherto existed in the realm of Judah. Many who had formerly withstood the seductive influence of idolatrous practices were now being persuaded to take part in the worship of heathen deities. Princes in Israel were proving untrue to their trust; false prophets were arising with messages to lead astray; even some of the priests were teaching for hire. Yet the leaders in apostasy still kept up the forms of divine worship and claimed to be numbered among the people of God. PK 322.1
The prophet Micah, who bore his testimony during those troublous times, declared that sinners in Zion, while claiming to “lean upon the Lord,” and blasphemously boasting, “Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us,” continued to “build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.” Micah 3:11, 10. Against these evils the prophet Isaiah lifted his voice in stern rebuke: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? saith the Lord.... When ye come to appear before Me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread My courts?” Isaiah 1:10-12. PK 322.2Read in context »
“They which lead thee,” the prophet continued, “cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Verse 12. During the reign of Ahaz this was literally true; for of him it is written: “He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom;” “yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 28:2, 3; 2 Kings 16:3. PK 324.1
This was indeed a time of great peril for the chosen nation. Only a few short years, and the ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel were to be scattered among the nations of heathendom. And in the kingdom of Judah also the outlook was dark. The forces for good were rapidly diminishing, the forces for evil multiplying. The prophet Micah, viewing the situation, was constrained to exclaim: “The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men.” “The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge.” Micah 7:2, 4. “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant,” declared Isaiah, “we should have been as Sodom, and ... Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:9. PK 324.2
In every age, for the sake of those who have remained true, as well as because of His infinite love for the erring, God has borne long with the rebellious, and has urged them to forsake their course of evil and return to Him. “Precept upon precept; line upon line, ... here a little, and there a little,” through men of His appointment, He has taught transgressors the way of righteousness. Isaiah 28:10. PK 324.3Read in context »