Uzziah King of Judah
1Then all the people of Judah made Uzziah king in place of his father Amaziah. Uzziah was sixteen years old. 2He rebuilt the town of Elath and made it part of Judah again after Amaziah died.
3Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he ruled fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah, and she was from Jerusalem. 4He did what the Lord said was right, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5Uzziah obeyed God while Zechariah was alive, because he taught Uzziah how to respect and obey God. And as long as Uzziah obeyed the Lord, God gave him success.
6Uzziah fought a war against the Philistines. He tore down the walls around their towns of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod and built new towns near Ashdod and in other places among the Philistines. 7God helped Uzziah fight the Philistines, the Arabs living in Gur Baal, and the Meunites. 8Also, the Ammonites made the payments Uzziah demanded. He was very powerful, so his name became famous all the way to the border of Egypt.
9Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, the Valley Gate, and where the wall turned, and he made them strong. 10He also built towers in the desert and dug many wells, because he had many cattle on the western hills and in the plains. He had people who worked his fields and vineyards in the hills and in the fertile lands, because he loved the land.
11Uzziah had an army of trained soldiers. They were counted and put in groups by Jeiel the royal secretary and Maaseiah the officer. Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders, was their leader. 12There were twenty-six hundred leaders over the soldiers. 13They were in charge of an army of three hundred seven thousand five hundred men who fought with great power to help the king against the enemy. 14Uzziah gave his army shields, spears, helmets, armor, bows, and stones for their slings. 15In Jerusalem Uzziah made cleverly designed devices. These devices on the towers and corners of the city walls were used to shoot arrows and large rocks. So Uzziah became famous in faraway places, because he had much help until he became powerful.
16But when Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his ruin. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God; he went into the Temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar for incense. 17Azariah and eighty other brave priests who served the Lord followed Uzziah into the Temple. 18They told him he was wrong and said to him, “You don’t have the right to burn incense to the Lord. Only the priests, Aaron’s descendants, should burn the incense, because they have been made holy. Leave this holy place. You have been unfaithful, and the Lord God will not honor you for this.”
19Uzziah was standing beside the altar for incense in the Temple of the Lord, and in his hand was a pan for burning incense. He was very angry with the priests. As he was standing in front of the priests, a skin disease broke out on his forehead. 20Azariah, the leading priest, and all the other priests looked at him and saw the skin disease on his forehead. So they hurried him out of the Temple. Uzziah also rushed out, because the Lord was punishing him. 21So King Uzziah had the skin disease until the day he died. He had to live in a separate house and could not enter the Temple of the Lord. His son Jotham was in charge of the palace, and he governed the people of the land.
22The other things Uzziah did as king, from beginning to end, were written down by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 23Uzziah died and was buried near his ancestors in a graveyard that belonged to the kings. This was because people said, “He had a skin disease.” And his son Jotham became king in his place.