New Defender's Study Bible Notes
16:3 pass through the fire. Among all “the abominations of the heathen,” the worst was probably child sacrifice, and it might seem incredible that even the chosen people of God, led by a Davidic king, could descend into such depths of pagan pantheism. Yet, all these practices—the high places, the tree worship, even child sacrifice—are reportedly being practiced again today in certain New Age cults.
16:4 And he sacrificed. Again and again it had been recorded that even the “good kings” of Judah—perhaps in the cause of “religious freedom”—had not removed the centers of idolatry, the high places and the pagan altars, from the land. This was true of Asa (I King 15:14), Jehoshaphat (I Kings 22:43), Joash (II Kings 12:3), Amaziah (II Kings 14:4), Uzziah (II Kings 15:4), and Jotham (II Kings 15:35). This long period of compromise with the pagan gods of Israel’s neighbors eventually culminated in the utter paganism of Ahaz.
16:7 Tiglath-pileser. Tiglath-Pileser left an inscription referring to Ahaz and this tribute. As usual, the Biblical records are consistent with archaeology.
16:10 altar that was at Damascus. King Ahaz went so far as to build his own pagan sacrificial altar, modeled after the Syro-Assyrian altar at Damascus, cannibalizing much of the accoutrements of the true temple—“the house of the LORD” (II Kings 16:13,17-18)—in the process.
16:20 Hezekiah his son. When Ahaz died (II Kings 16:20), only one son—Hezekiah—was left to take the throne. Ahaz had “burnt his children in the fire” (II Chronicles 28:3), and lost one son in combat with Israel (II Chronicles 28:7). Providentially, the Lord saw to it that Hezekiah survived all this, for he had somehow returned to the faith of his fathers, in spite of the apostasy of his father, and would prove to be Judah’s most godly king since David.