5.88 2 Kings -- Turnaround in Judah
Israel was not the only nation that was adrift. King Ahaz of Judah travelled to Damascus, the capital of Aram, to meet his rescuer, Tiglath-Pileser. He used this opportunity to make an exact copy of the altar there, which he constructed in Jerusalem. He made other changes in the Temple as well, "in deference to the king of Assyria" (2 Kings 16:18). Ahaz had no reverence for the God of Israel: he had sacrificed his son (to Chemosh) (2 Kings 16:3), then imported religious practices from Aram and Assyria.
Yet these bad state of affairs did not last long. In Judah, the unusual situation occurred of an evil father being followed by a righteous son. Hezekiah succeeded his father Ahaz, and he earned the unique praise of Scripture:
He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done...Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. (2 Kings 18:3-5).
He even removed the high places, cut down the Asherah figures, and broke Moses' bronze serpent. As a result,
the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him (2 Kings 18:7).
He witnessed the destruction of Israel, and the final deportation of the Israelites to Assyria. No doubt for him, their fate was an object lesson on the importance of obedience to God.