The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Kings

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2 Kings 16

2Ki 16:3

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; 20:2).

2Ki 16:5

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).

2Ki 16:8

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).

2Ki 16:10

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 111-116.)

2Ki 16:11

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; 28:16.)

2Ki 16:14

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 death."

2Ki 16:15

THE LARGE NEW ALTAR: That is, the Assyrian altar -- now replacing the old Solomonic altar.

2Ki 16:17

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.

2Ki 16:18

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.

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