Jotham's Son Ahaz

Jotham was succeeded by his son Ahaz, who began to reign in the seventeenth year of Pekah, and reigned sixteen years. He was a very wicked king, and brought great trouble upon his people. The Bible says, "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, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree."

Then the Lord allowed his enemies to distress him on every side. The king of Syria carried away many of the people as captives; Pekah, king of Israel, slew one hundred and twenty thousand men of Judah in one day, and took two hundred thousand women and children to Samaria; and the Philistines invaded the land on the south and took a number of cities.

Instead of turning to the Lord in his distress, Ahaz continually committed new acts of wickedness. He cut in pieces all the holy vessels, and finally shut up the temple. He made altars for the worship of his false gods in every corner of Jerusalem, and built high places to burn incense to them in every city in Judah.  On account of his great wickedness, Ahaz was denied a burial in the sepulchers of the kings.

Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and reigned twenty-nine years. This good king turned to the Lord with all his heart. He restored the services of the temple, the keeping of the Passover, and every part of the worship of God, following the instructions of Moses and the example of David and Solomon. During Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came against Jerusalem with a vast army, taunting the Lord's people with their weakness, and the inability of their God to protect them. But Hezekiah trusted in God, and encouraged the people. He and the prophet Isaiah prayed to the Lord, and received a promise of help from him. So the angel of the Lord went out into the camp of the Assyrians that night, and smote one hundred and eighty-five thousand men; after which Sennacherib returned to Nineveh, where he was slain in the house of his god by his own son.

Then was Hezekiah very sick, and Isaiah the prophet came to him and said, "Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die. "And Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and wept and prayed; and the Lord told Isaiah to return and tell Hezekiah that the Lord had heard his prayer, and granted him fifteen years more of life. As a sign of the fulfillment of this prophecy, the shadow was made to go back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz.

It was in the sixth year of Hezekiah's reign that Hoshea and the people of the kingdom of Israel, were carried away captive by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria. After Hezekiah had been healed of his sickness, the king of Babylon sent messengers to congratulate him on his recovery. Hezekiah, led on by the pride of his heart, was so foolish as to show these messengers all the treasures of his house, not only showing them the gold and silver laid up there, but also the arms and equipments kept for use in defending the city. Then Isaiah told him that the days would come when all these things should be carried away to Babylon, and when his sons should become slaves to the king of that country.

Hezekiah had great riches and honor, and when he died, he was buried in the chiefest of the sepulchers of the kings.