King Ahaz of Judah faced invasion from Israel and Aram Damascus (Syria) after refusing to join them in a revolt against Assyria, the dominant imperial power of the age. Ahaz, against Isaiah’s advice to seek the protection of God, invited the Assyrians to protect him, turning Judah into an Assyrian vassal. Israel (the northern kingdom) was consequently destroyed by the Assyrians.
Take a moment to consider this and the furthering of the deep hate and resentment that Ahaz’s actions must have caused between Judah and Israel, which just 200 years earlier had been strongly united under King Solomon.
Upon the death of Ahaz, c.715 BCE, his son Hezekiah followed a policy which Isaiah saw as dangerous, waging war on the Philistine cities and on Edom even though the territory which was under direct Assyrian control (i.e., the former kingdom of Israel) now came to within a few miles of Jerusalem. Isaiah’s warning that Judah would meet the same fate as Israel was ignored. Eventually Hezekiah revolted against Assyria, and as Isaiah had predicted, the country was ravaged by Assyrian armies. Hezekiah then took Isaiah’s advice and threw himself on the protection of God, and Jerusalem was saved.
Leaders of Judah during Isaiah’s ministry:
Yotam ben ‘Uziyah,
Death: natural causes
’Ahaz ben Yotam,
Hizqiyah ben ’Ahaz,