II Chronicles 28
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1  Achaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Yerushalayim. He did not do what was pleasing to Hashem as his father David had done,

א  בֶּן־עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה אָחָז בְּמָלְכוֹ וְשֵׁשׁ־עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה מָלַךְ בִּירוּשָׁלָ ִם וְלֹא־עָשָׂה הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינֵי יְהֹוָה כְּדָוִיד אָבִיו׃

2  but followed the ways of the kings of Yisrael; he even made molten images for the Baals.

ב  וַיֵּלֶךְ בְּדַרְכֵי מַלְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגַם מַסֵּכוֹת עָשָׂה לַבְּעָלִים׃

3  He made offerings in the Valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his sons in fire, in the abhorrent fashion of the nations which Hashem had dispossessed before the Israelites.

v’-HU hik-TEER b’-GAY ven hi-NOM va-yav-AYR et ba-NAV ba-AYSH k’-to-a-VOT ha-go-YIM a-SHER ho-REESH a-do-NAI mi-p’-NAY b’-NAY yis-ra-AYL

ג  וְהוּא הִקְטִיר בְּגֵיא בֶן־הִנֹּם וַיַּבְעֵר אֶת־בָּנָיו בָּאֵשׁ כְּתֹעֲבוֹת הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר הֹרִישׁ יְהֹוָה מִפְּנֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

 28:3   He made offerings in the Valley of Ben-hinnom

Unlike his father and grandfather, Achaz was an evil king who reintroduces systematic idol worship and intentionally spreads it to every city in the kingdom (verse 25). In this verse, we are told that he worships Baal and burns his children in the Valley of Hinnom. In biblical times this cursed valley was known as the place where the sinful Israelites worshipped the false god Baal and offered their children as sacrifices to the fire god Molech (Jeremiah 32:35). Therefore, this valley, which is located just outside of the present-day Jerusalem Old City walls, was thought to be cursed. Figuratively, it became associated with hell. As the Sages teach (Eiruvin 19a), “The gate [to hell] lies between two palm trees in the valley of Hinnom, from which smoke is continually rising.” The term ‘Gehenna,’ referring to hell, is derived from the Hebrew name for the valley, Gei ben Hinnom (גיא בן הנום).1 comment

4  He sacrificed and made offerings at the shrines, on the hills, and under every leafy tree.

ד  וַיְזַבֵּחַ וַיְקַטֵּר בַּבָּמוֹת וְעַל־הַגְּבָעוֹת וְתַחַת כָּל־עֵץ רַעֲנָן׃

5  Hashem his God delivered him over to the king of Aram, who defeated him and took many of his men captive, and brought them to Damascus. He was also delivered over to the king of Yisrael, who inflicted a great defeat on him.

ה  וַיִּתְּנֵהוּ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהָיו בְּיַד מֶלֶךְ אֲרָם וַיַּכּוּ־בוֹ וַיִּשְׁבּוּ מִמֶּנּוּ שִׁבְיָה גְדוֹלָה וַיָּבִיאוּ דַּרְמָשֶׂק וְגַם בְּיַד־מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל נִתָּן וַיַּךְ־בּוֹ מַכָּה גְדוֹלָה׃

6  Pekach son of Remaliah killed 120,000 in Yehuda—all brave men—in one day, because they had forsaken God of their fathers.

ו  וַיַּהֲרֹג פֶּקַח בֶּן־רְמַלְיָהוּ בִּיהוּדָה מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף בְּיוֹם אֶחָד הַכֹּל בְּנֵי־חָיִל בְּעָזְבָם אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתָם׃

7  Zichri, the champion of Efraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, and Azrikam chief of the palace, and Elkana, the second to the king.

ז  וַיַּהֲרֹג זִכְרִי גִּבּוֹר אֶפְרַיִם אֶת־מַעֲשֵׂיָהוּ בֶּן־הַמֶּלֶךְ וְאֶת־עַזְרִיקָם נְגִיד הַבָּיִת וְאֶת־אֶלְקָנָה מִשְׁנֵה הַמֶּלֶךְ׃

8  The Israelites captured 200,000 of their kinsmen, women, boys, and girls; they also took a large amount of booty from them and brought the booty to Shomron.

ח  וַיִּשְׁבּוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֲחֵיהֶם מָאתַיִם אֶלֶף נָשִׁים בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת וְגַם־שָׁלָל רָב בָּזְזוּ מֵהֶם וַיָּבִיאוּ אֶת־הַשָּׁלָל לְשֹׁמְרוֹן׃

9  A Navi of Hashem by the name of Oded was there, who went out to meet the army on its return to Shomron. He said to them, “Because of the fury of God of your fathers against Yehuda, He delivered them over to you, and you killed them in a rage that reached heaven.

ט  וְשָׁם הָיָה נָבִיא לַיהֹוָה עֹדֵד שְׁמוֹ וַיֵּצֵא לִפְנֵי הַצָּבָא הַבָּא לְשֹׁמְרוֹן וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם הִנֵּה בַּחֲמַת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי־אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם עַל־יְהוּדָה נְתָנָם בְּיֶדְכֶם וַתַּהַרְגוּ־בָם בְזַעַף עַד לַשָּׁמַיִם הִגִּיעַ׃

10  Do you now intend to subjugate the men and women of Yehuda and Yerushalayim to be your slaves? As it is, you have nothing but offenses against Hashem your God.

י  וְעַתָּה בְּנֵי־יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלַ ִם אַתֶּם אֹמְרִים לִכְבֹּשׁ לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת לָכֶם הֲלֹא רַק־אַתֶּם עִמָּכֶם אֲשָׁמוֹת לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם׃

11  Now then, listen to me, and send back the captives you have taken from your kinsmen, for the wrath of Hashem is upon you!”

יא  וְעַתָּה שְׁמָעוּנִי וְהָשִׁיבוּ הַשִּׁבְיָה אֲשֶׁר שְׁבִיתֶם מֵאֲחֵיכֶם כִּי חֲרוֹן אַף־יְהֹוָה עֲלֵיכֶם׃

12  Some of the chief men of the Ephraimites—Azarya son of Yehochanan, Berechya son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shalum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—confronted those returning from the campaign

יב  וַיָּקֻמוּ אֲנָשִׁים מֵרָאשֵׁי בְנֵי־אֶפְרַיִם עֲזַרְיָהוּ בֶן־יְהוֹחָנָן בֶּרֶכְיָהוּ בֶן־מְשִׁלֵּמוֹת וִיחִזְקִיָּהוּ בֶּן־שַׁלֻּם וַעֲמָשָׂא בֶּן־חַדְלָי עַל־הַבָּאִים מִן־הַצָּבָא׃

13  and said to them, “Do not bring these captives here, for it would mean our offending Hashem, adding to our sins and our offenses; for our offense is grave enough, and there is already wrath upon Yisrael.”

יג  וַיֹּאמְרוּ לָהֶם לֹא־תָבִיאוּ אֶת־הַשִּׁבְיָה הֵנָּה כִּי לְאַשְׁמַת יְהֹוָה עָלֵינוּ אַתֶּם אֹמְרִים לְהֹסִיף עַל־חַטֹּאתֵינוּ וְעַל־אַשְׁמָתֵינוּ כִּי־רַבָּה אַשְׁמָה לָנוּ וַחֲרוֹן אָף עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

14  So the soldiers released the captives and the booty in the presence of the officers and all the congregation.

יד  וַיַּעֲזֹב הֶחָלוּץ אֶת־הַשִּׁבְיָה וְאֶת־הַבִּזָּה לִפְנֵי הַשָּׂרִים וְכָל־הַקָּהָל׃

15  Then the men named above proceeded to take the captives in hand, and with the booty they clothed all the naked among them—they clothed them and shod them and gave them to eat and drink and anointed them and provided donkeys for all who were failing and brought them to Yericho, the city of palms, back to their kinsmen. Then they returned to Shomron.

טו  וַיָּקֻמוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־נִקְּבוּ בְשֵׁמוֹת וַיַּחֲזִיקוּ בַשִּׁבְיָה וְכָל־מַעֲרֻמֵּיהֶם הִלְבִּישׁוּ מִן־הַשָּׁלָל וַיַּלְבִּשׁוּם וַיַּנְעִלוּם וַיַּאֲכִלוּם וַיַּשְׁקוּם וַיְסֻכוּם וַיְנַהֲלוּם בַּחֲמֹרִים לְכָל־כּוֹשֵׁל וַיְבִיאוּם יְרֵחוֹ עִיר־הַתְּמָרִים אֵצֶל אֲחֵיהֶם וַיָּשׁוּבוּ שֹׁמְרוֹן׃

16  At that time, King Achaz sent to the king of Assyria for help.

טז  בָּעֵת הַהִיא שָׁלַח הַמֶּלֶךְ אָחָז עַל־מַלְכֵי אַשּׁוּר לַעְזֹר לוֹ׃

17  Again the Edomites came and inflicted a defeat on Yehuda and took captives.

יז  וְעוֹד אֲדוֹמִים בָּאוּ וַיַּכּוּ בִיהוּדָה וַיִּשְׁבּוּ־שֶׁבִי׃

18  And the Philistines made forays against the cities of the Shephelah and the Negev of Yehuda; they seized Beit Shemesh and Aijalon and Gederoth, and Soco with its villages, and Timnah with its villages, and Gimzo with its villages; and they settled there.

יח  וּפְלִשְׁתִּים פָּשְׁטוּ בְּעָרֵי הַשְּׁפֵלָה וְהַנֶּגֶב לִיהוּדָה וַיִּלְכְּדוּ אֶת־בֵּית־שֶׁמֶשׁ וְאֶת־אַיָּלוֹן וְאֶת־הַגְּדֵרוֹת וְאֶת־שׂוֹכוֹ וּבְנוֹתֶיהָ וְאֶת־תִּמְנָה וּבְנוֹתֶיהָ וְאֶת־גִּמְזוֹ וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֶיהָ וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם׃

19  Thus Hashem brought Yehuda low on account of King Achaz of Yisrael, for he threw off restraint in Yehuda and trespassed against Hashem.

יט  כִּי־הִכְנִיעַ יְהֹוָה אֶת־יְהוּדָה בַּעֲבוּר אָחָז מֶלֶךְ־יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי הִפְרִיעַ בִּיהוּדָה וּמָעוֹל מַעַל בַּיהֹוָה׃

20  Tillegath-pilneser, king of Assyria, marched against him and gave him trouble, instead of supporting him.

כ  וַיָּבֹא עָלָיו תִּלְּגַת פִּלְנְאֶסֶר מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר וַיָּצַר לוֹ וְלֹא חֲזָקוֹ׃

21  For Achaz plundered the House of Hashem and the house of the king and the officers, and made a gift to the king of Assyria—to no avail.

כא  כִּי־חָלַק אָחָז אֶת־בֵּית יְהֹוָה וְאֶת־בֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהַשָּׂרִים וַיִּתֵּן לְמֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר וְלֹא לְעֶזְרָה לוֹ׃

22  In his time of trouble, this King Achaz trespassed even more against Hashem,

כב  וּבְעֵת הָצֵר לוֹ וַיּוֹסֶף לִמְעוֹל בַּיהֹוָה הוּא הַמֶּלֶךְ אָחָז׃

23  sacrificing to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him, for he thought, “The gods of the kings of Aram help them; I shall sacrifice to them and they will help me”; but they were his ruin and that of all Yisrael.

כג  וַיִּזְבַּח לֵאלֹהֵי דַרְמֶשֶׂק הַמַּכִּים בּוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי אֱלֹהֵי מַלְכֵי־אֲרָם הֵם מַעְזְרִים אוֹתָם לָהֶם אֲזַבֵּחַ וְיַעְזְרוּנִי וְהֵם הָיוּ־לוֹ לְהַכְשִׁילוֹ וּלְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

24  Achaz collected the utensils of the House of Hashem, and cut the utensils of the House of Hashem to pieces. He shut the doors of the House of Hashem and made himself altars in every corner of Yerushalayim.

כד  וַיֶּאֱסֹף אָחָז אֶת־כְּלֵי בֵית־הָאֱלֹהִים וַיְקַצֵּץ אֶת־כְּלֵי בֵית־הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּסְגֹּר אֶת־דַּלְתוֹת בֵּית־יְהֹוָה וַיַּעַשׂ לוֹ מִזְבְּחוֹת בְּכָל־פִּנָּה בִּירוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

25  In every town in Yehuda he set up shrines to make offerings to other gods, vexing God of his fathers.

כה  וּבְכָל־עִיר וָעִיר לִיהוּדָה עָשָׂה בָמוֹת לְקַטֵּר לֵאלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וַיַּכְעֵס אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתָיו׃

26  The other events of his reign and all his conduct, early and late, are recorded in the book of the kings of Yehuda and Yisrael.

כו  וְיֶתֶר דְּבָרָיו וְכָל־דְּרָכָיו הָרִאשֹׁנִים וְהָאַחֲרוֹנִים הִנָּם כְּתוּבִים עַל־סֵפֶר מַלְכֵי־יְהוּדָה וְיִשְׂרָאֵל׃

27  Achaz slept with his fathers and was buried in the city, in Yerushalayim; his body was not brought to the tombs of the kings of Yisrael. His son Chizkiyahu succeeded him as king.

כז  וַיִּשְׁכַּב אָחָז עִם־אֲבֹתָיו וַיִּקְבְּרֻהוּ בָעִיר בִּירוּשָׁלַ ִם כִּי לֹא הֱבִיאֻהוּ לְקִבְרֵי מַלְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּמְלֹךְ יְחִזְקִיָּהוּ בְנוֹ תַּחְתָּיו׃

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II Chronicles 27
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II Chronicles 28

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