Ahaz, king of Judah, and Rezin, king of Aram (2 Kings 16)

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Illustration: King Ahaz

Ahaz ruled Judah for 16 years, from approximately 743 to 727 B.C. He is remembered most for his war against Israel (under Pekah) and Aram (under Rezin). Ahaz sought the aid of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III when Pekah and Rezin sought to force him to join a coalition against Assyria (2 Kings 16:5). A number of inscriptions from the ancient world refer to kings of this time:

  • Among the records of Tiglath-Pileser III is an entry claiming that he received tribute from “Jehoahaz of Judah” in 734 B.C. Joehoahaz, Ahaz’s full name, means “Yahweh has possessed”.
  • Ahaz’s name also appears on a seal and three bullae from Israel, all acquired from antiquities dealers: (1) The seal of an official during the reign of Ahaz carries the inscription “Belonging to Ushna, servant of Ahaz” (2) Two of the seal impressions, made from the same seal, read “Belonging to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz, king of Judah” (3) Ahaz’s personal seal, on the other hand, was used to impress the third bulla with the legend ” Belonging to Ahaz (son of) Yehotam (Jotham), king of Judah”.
  • Rezin, king of Aram, is named nine times in the Old Testament and six times in the surviving records of Tiglath-Pileser III. He paid tribute to the Assyrian king in 738 B.C. sometime after that Rezin formed the anti-Syrian coalition. Ahaz’s appeal to Tglath-Pileser III for help (16:7-8) was heeded. According to Assyrian records Tiglath-Pileser III responded by laying siege to Damascus, capital of Aram, in 733 B.C. In 732 B.C. Damascus was crushed, its citizens taken into captivity and Rezin killed, as recorded in 16:9, thus bringing the kingdom of Aram to an end.

See also Menahem and Pekah of Israel, Jotham of Judah and Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria under 2 Kings 15.


 

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