Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.2 Chronicles 26:1. The people of Judah took Uzziah — Called also Azariah, 2 Kings 14:21; both names signifying the same thing, the strength, or help of God. Of this and 2 Chronicles 26:1; 2 Chronicles 26:3-4, see notes on 2 Kings 14:21-22; and 1 Kings 15:2-3.
He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.
Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.
And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.2 Chronicles 26:5. He sought God in the days of Zechariah — Who was probably the son of that Zechariah whom his grand-father Joash slew. Who had understanding in the visions of God — Either the visions with which he himself was favoured, or the visions of the preceding prophets. He was well skilled in prophecy, and conversed much with the heavenly world; was an intelligent, devout, and good man; and had such influence on Uzziah, that while he lived he sought God, sought his favour, direction, and aid; trusted in him, cleaved to him, and persisted in his worship, and in the true religion. Happy are the great men who have such about them, and are willing to be advised by them: but unhappy those who seek God only while they have such with them, and have not a principle in themselves to bear them out to the end.
And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines.2 Chronicles 26:6. And brake down the wall of Gath — Which had been taken by Hazael, in the days of Joash his grand-father, chap. 2 Kings 12:17; but was either relinquished by him, because it lay so far from his other dominions; or retaken by the Philistines, who had now repaired its fortifications and kept it.
And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.
And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.
Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them.
Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.2 Chronicles 26:10-11. He built towers in the desert — Partly to guard his cattle from the inroads and depredations which the Arabians were accustomed to make: and partly to give notice of the approach of any enemy, and to put some stop to their march on that side. Uzziah had an army that went out to war by bands — Some bands at one time, and some at another, as occasion required.
Moreover Uzziah had an host of fighting men, that went out to war by bands, according to the number of their account by the hand of Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the ruler, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king's captains.2 Chronicles 26:11. Now therefore deliver the captives — Release your brethren, whom you have made prisoners, and send them home again with care. For the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you — And there is no other way of escaping it, but by showing mercy.
The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred.
And under their hand was an army, three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy.
And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.
And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.
But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.2 Chronicles 26:16. When he was strong — Strengthened in his kingdom, and free from the fear of any enemy; his heart was lifted up to his destruction — Thus the prosperity of fools, by puffing them up with pride, destroys them. He had done so much business, and attained so much honour, that he began to think no business, no honour too great, or too good for him; no, not that of the priesthood. He went unto the temple of the Lord — Into the holy place, where the altar of incense stood, and into which none but priests might enter, much less offer incense.
And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:
And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.2 Chronicles 26:18. And they withstood Uzziah — Hebrew, stood up against Uzziah, not by force, or laying hands upon him to restrain him, for in the next verse we still find the censer in his hand; but only by admonition and reproof, which follows. Neither shall it be for thine honour, &c. — Expect that God will punish thee, or put some brand of infamy upon thee for this presumption. But this they express modestly, because they considered that he to whom they spake, though an offender, was their sovereign.
Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.2 Chronicles 26:19. Then Uzziah was wroth — With the priests. While he was wroth the leprosy rose up in his forehead — So that he could not hide his shame: though it is probable it was also in the rest of his body. From beside the incense-altar — By a stroke from an invisible hand, coming from the altar; that he might be assured this was the effect of God’s displeasure.
And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.2 Chronicles 26:20. They thrust him out from thence — Not by force, which needed not, for he voluntarily hasted away, as it follows; but by vehement persuasions and denunciations of God’s further judgments upon him, if he did not depart.
And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land.2 Chronicles 26:21. Uzziah was a leper unto the day of his death — God would have this leprosy to be incurable, as a lasting monument of his anger against such presumptuous invaders of the priest’s office. Dwelt in a several house, &c. — As he was obliged to do by law, which he durst not now resist, being under the hand of God, and under the fear of worse plagues, if he did not so. For he was cut off from the house of the Lord — He dwelt in a several house, because he might not come into the temple and courts, nor consequently into any public assembly. So the punishment answers the sin, as face does to face in a glass. He thrust himself into the temple of God, whither the priests only had admission: and for that was thrust out of the very courts of the temple, into which the meanest of his subjects might enter. He invaded the dignity of the priesthood, to which he had no right, and is for that deprived of the royal dignity, to which he had an undoubted right.
Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.
So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.