King Ahaz, the grandson of king Uzziah, reigned in Judah during the time when Israel was taken into captivity by Assyria. Ahaz did not have a relationship with the LORD and there is no record of God ever speaking to him directly or through a prophet. Ahaz worshipped Baalim and because he lived as the gentiles did, it says in 2 Chronicles 28:5 that God “delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria” and “the hand of the king of Israel.”
It could have been that king Ahaz’s apparent turning away from God was what kept the Assyrians from taking Judah into captivity along with the rest of Israel. After Israel killed 120,000 of king Ahaz’s warriors and took 200,ooo women and children captive, Ahaz asked the kings of Assyria for help in fighting his enemies. Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria didn’t help Ahaz, but instead took a bribe from Ahaz to go after a common enemy, Syria (2 Chronicles 28:21).
Because Ahaz was left on his own to fight with a significantly diminished army, he became distressed and was desperate to find a way out of his situation. In an attempt to gain spiritual strength, Ahaz turned to demon worship (2 Chronicles 28;23). His final, and perhaps greatest offense against God, was to “shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 28:24).
King Ahaz is a perfect example of how God uses wicked behavior to bring about his desired result. In spite of all that Ahaz did to offend God, Judah was not destroyed by Assyria as the rest of Israel was. It says in 2 Chronicles 28:19 that “the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz.” This could mean that the LORD caused Ahaz’s army to be diminished so that Assyria would not see them as a threat.
The northern kingdom of Israel was at a peak in its strength when it was taken into captivity by Assyria. This is evident by its ability to slaughter 120,ooo of Judah’s valiant warriors in one day and to take another 200,00o people captive. Perhaps the greatest difference between the kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel at the time when Shalmaneser V initiated a three-day siege against Israel was a lack of confidence on the part of king Ahaz. Had Ahaz thought he could stand up to Tiglath-pilneser or Shalmaneser, Judah might have been attacked as well.