Uzziah Rules in Judah
1All the people of Judah had crowned Amaziah’s sixteen-year-old son, Uzziah, as king in place of his father. 2After his father’s death, Uzziah rebuilt the town of Elath#26:2 As in Greek version (see also 2 Kgs 14:22; 16:6); Hebrew reads Eloth, a variant spelling of Elath. and restored it to Judah.
3Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 4He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. 5Uzziah sought God during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear God.#26:5 As in Syriac and Greek versions; Hebrew reads who instructed him in divine visions. And as long as the king sought guidance from the Lord, God gave him success.
6Uzziah declared war on the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod. Then he built new towns in the Ashdod area and in other parts of Philistia. 7God helped him in his wars against the Philistines, his battles with the Arabs of Gur,#26:7 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads Gur-baal. and his wars with the Meunites. 8The Meunites#26:8 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads Ammonites. Compare 26:7. paid annual tribute to him, and his fame spread even to Egypt, for he had become very powerful.
9Uzziah built fortified towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the angle in the wall. 10He also constructed forts in the wilderness and dug many water cisterns, because he kept great herds of livestock in the foothills of Judah#26:10 Hebrew the Shephelah. and on the plains. He was also a man who loved the soil. He had many workers who cared for his farms and vineyards, both on the hillsides and in the fertile valleys.
11Uzziah had an army of well-trained warriors, ready to march into battle, unit by unit. This army had been mustered and organized by Jeiel, the secretary of the army, and his assistant, Maaseiah. They were under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s officials. 12These regiments of mighty warriors were commanded by 2,600 clan leaders. 13The army consisted of 307,500 men, all elite troops. They were prepared to assist the king against any enemy.
14Uzziah provided the entire army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and sling stones. 15And he built structures on the walls of Jerusalem, designed by experts to protect those who shot arrows and hurled large stones#26:15 Or to shoot arrows and hurl large stones. from the towers and the corners of the wall. His fame spread far and wide, for the Lord gave him marvelous help, and he became very powerful.
Uzziah’s Sin and Punishment
16But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar. 17Azariah the high priest went in after him with eighty other priests of the Lord, all brave men. 18They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is the work of the priests alone, the descendants of Aaron who are set apart for this work. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have sinned. The Lord God will not honor you for this!”
19Uzziah, who was holding an incense burner, became furious. But as he was standing there raging at the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s Temple, leprosy#26:19 Or a contagious skin disease. The Hebrew word used here and throughout this passage can describe various skin diseases. suddenly broke out on his forehead. 20When Azariah the high priest and all the other priests saw the leprosy, they rushed him out. And the king himself was eager to get out because the Lord had struck him. 21So King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house, for he was excluded from the Temple of the Lord. His son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land.
22The rest of the events of Uzziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 23When Uzziah died, he was buried with his ancestors; his grave was in a nearby burial field belonging to the kings, for the people said, “He had leprosy.” And his son Jotham became the next king.