SACRIFICED HIS SON IN THE FIRE: "Shall I offer my
firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
(Mic 6:7; cp 2Ch 28:1-4) -- an aspect of Baal worship which God particularly
abhorred. This practice is repeated with some regularity (2Ki 17:17; 21:6;
23:10; 2Ch 28:3; 33:6), and is directly condemned in the law (Lev 18:21;
Vv 5-9: Whilst Ahaz was plotting to save his own life the
prophet Isaiah was speaking words to encourage Ahaz to trust in Yahweh (see esp
Isa 7; 8).
AHAZ TOOK THE SILVER AND GOLD... AND SENT IT AS A GIFT TO
THE KING OF ASSYRIA: This led to a yearly tribute, which came to plague
Ahaz's son Hezekiah (2Ki 18:7).
AN ALTAR IN DAMASCUS... ITS CONSTRUCTION: The original
"foundation stone" was the altar-rock of Zion -- which was probably the site
where Abraham prepared to offer Isaac (Gen 22: cp v 9 there with Psa 118:27),
and which was probably also the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite on mount
Moriah (2Sa 24:18-25). The wicked Ahaz, infected with a zest for the worship of
foreign gods, removed the altar of burnt-offering from its prominent place atop
this foundation stone, and "hid" it away in a corner of the Temple enclosure
(2Ki 16:14). Yet whilst the true altar might be set aside, there was no way to
shift the massive outcropping of rock on which it had stood (it is still there
today, in the center of the Dome of the Rock). Thus, in Ahaz's day it remained
-- quite literally -- a "stone of stumbling" (Isa 8:14,15) for priests walking
across the temple court, and a "rock of offence" in a spiritual sense.
It was only when Hezekiah came into full control of the
kingdom that he could remedy this sacrilege, and restore the Temple worship to
its rightful setting. And so the "stone" rejected by the new "builders" of Judah
became, once again, a precious stone and a sure foundation for the true worship
of the Lord (Isa 28:16).
It is easy, then, to see how this foundation stone symbolized
Hezekiah himself (and his faith in the Lord), upon which all true worship in
Judah depended. While sick unto death, he had been "set aside" by other would-be
"builders" and rulers, but when miraculously healed he would stand forth again
as the chief prince of his people.
And all this incident, and its typical teaching -- even in
Isaiah's day -- may be seen, just as clearly, to point forward to the Lord Jesus
Christ, and to find its ultimate fulfillment in him. (See further on WBS
The new Assyrian altar was prob placed alongside the old altar
of Yahweh, which (prob) sat atop the foundation stone on the temple mount.
Later, the original altar (because it was still more prominent than the "new"
altar) may have been removed altogether from atop the foundation stone -- and
relegated to a distant corner (v 14). (This perhaps explains Isa 8:14;
THE BRONZE ALTAR: Solomon's original altar was removed
by Ahaz, far away on the north edge of the temple mount. He did not want it to
become a distraction for those serving the new "improved" Assyrian altar. See
Pro 14:12: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to
THE LARGE NEW ALTAR: That is, the Assyrian altar -- now
replacing the old Solomonic altar.
A STONE BASE: Probably the "foundation of stone" -- the
great rock platform or outcropping where the original altar had previously
stood. The great rock which is now inside the Dome of the Rock.
THE SABBATH CANOPY: A canopied seat for the king and
his family when they attended Sabbath services, etc.
THE ROYAL ENTRYWAY: A private entrance for the royal
family into the temple.