Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.Ch. 2 Chronicles 26:1-4 (= 2 Kings 14:21-22; 2 Kings 15:2-3). Uzziah’s Reign
1. all the people of Judah] Cp. 2 Chronicles 22:1.
Uzziah] Called “Azariah” in 1 Chronicles 3:12 and in 2 Kin. (eight times), but “Uzziah” in 2 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 15:32; 2 Kings 15:34; Isaiah 1:1; Isaiah 6:1; Hosea 1:1; Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5. It has been supposed that this king is mentioned under the name of Az-ri-ja-a-u (i.e. “Azariah”) on an injured and obscure inscription of Tiglath-Pileser III. (reigned 745–727 b.c.) of Assyria, but the identification is doubtful. The two forms of the name when written in Heb. consonants closely resemble each other; the meanings moreover of the two are similar, “Jah is my strength” and “Jah hath given help.” Most likely the king bore both names; cp. “Abram” and “Abraham”—“Eliakim and Jehoiakim” (2 Chronicles 36:4).
He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.2. Eloth] So spelt in 2 Chronicles 8:17 (= 1 Kings 9:26), but “Elath” in Deuteronomy 2:8; 2 Kings 14:22. In 2 Kings 16:6 the two forms are found side by side in one verse. The word is probably of foreign origin, and such words are seldom of fixed form when adopted into common language; cp. the various forms of “Damascus” (1 Chronicles 18:5, note).
after that the king, etc.] We conjecture that this phrase means that it was after king Amaziah slept with his fathers that Uzziah his son restored Elath to Judah. If this be right, we must suppose that Uzziah reigned in Jerusalem for some time, while his father was in refuge at Lachish. Some years of history may be crowded into 2 Chronicles 25:27. The meaning of the present passage will be that Uzziah built Elath after he became sole and undisputed king.
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.3. Jecoliah] R.V. Jechiliah (so C’thib; A.V. follows the Ḳ’ri and the parallel passage of Kings.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.4. his father Amaziah] This verse suits its original context in Kings, for Kings records nothing against Amaziah; it is however out of place in Chron., for according to 2 Chronicles 25:14 Amaziah was an idolater.
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.5–10 (not in Kings). The Prosperity of Uzziah
5. Zechariah] Nothing is known (apart from this passage) of this Zechariah. He is hardly to be identified with the author of Zechariah 12-14, though there is an allusion to Uzziah’s reign in Zechariah 14:5.
who had understanding] R.V. mg., “who gave instruction”; Heb. mçbîn, a word applied to a leader of song (1 Chronicles 15:22, “skilful”; ib. 1 Chronicles 25:7, “conning”; Ch 25:8, “teacher”).
in the visions of God] Read, in the fear of God (so LXX., Targ. Pesh.), making a slight correction of the Heb. text.
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.6. the Philistines] Cp. 2 Chronicles 21:16; 2 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Kings 18:8; 1Ma 5:66-68; 1Ma 14:34. Wars against the Philistines continned almost down to Roman times.
brake down the wall of Gath] See note on 2 Chronicles 25:23.
Jabneh] Mentioned here only in the O.T., but probably to be Identified with “Jabneel” (Joshua 15:11). At a later date It was called “Jamnia” (2Ma 12:8). Its ruins are to be seen about 10 miles south of Jaffa (Joppa) on the coast. The modern Yebna is a few miles inland. Bädeker, p. 159.
Ashdod] Cp. 1 Samuel 5:1 ff.; Isaiah 20:1; Zephaniah 2:4; Nehemiah 4:7; Nehemiah 13:23; Acts 8:40 (Ἄζωτος). Now Esdud. Bädeker, 159.
about Ashdod] R.V. in the country of Ashdod (lit. “in Ashdod”). Perhaps the name has been repeated through an early scribal error and we should read simply “and built cities among the Philistines.”
And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.7. Gur-baal] An unidentified place; a “Gur” is mentioned in 2 Kings 9:27. A slight correction of the Heb. would give, “in Gerar (cp. Genesis 20:1) and against the Meunim.”
Mehunims] R.V. Meunim; cp. 2 Chronicles 20:1 (note).
And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.8. gave gifts] Cp. 1 Chronicles 18:2 (note).
he strengthened himself exceedingly] R.V. he waxed exceeding strong.
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.9. the corner gate] Cp. 2 Chronicles 25:23 (note).
the valley gate] Nehemiah 2:13; Nehemiah 3:13. On the west of the city (Bädeker, p. 24).
the turning of the wall] Mentioned Nehemiah 3:19; Nehemiah 3:24.
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.10. the desert] R.V. the wilderness (where the pastures were: cp. Psalm 65:12).
digged many wells] R.V. hewed out many cisterns.
both in the low country, and in the plains] R.V. in the lowland also, and in the plain (mg. table land). For the “lowland” (Heb. Shephçlah) see 2 Chronicles 1:15 (note). “The table land” (Heb. Mishor) is the name of the high pasture lands east of Jordan; apparently the part occupied by the Ammonites whom Uzziah had subdued is meant here.
husbandmen also] R.V. and he had husbandmen.
Carmel] R.V. the fruitful fields. “Carmel” is not always a proper name, nor does it always refer to the well-known mountain. In 1 Samuel 25:2 it designates a spot in the south of Judah near Maon; in 2 Kings 19:23 “of his Carmel” (A.V.) should be “of his fruitful field” (R.V.).
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.11–15 (no parallel in Kings). Uzziah’s Army
11. by bands] This expression indicates that this army was used not for some great war, offensive or defensive, but for marauding or “punitive” expeditions against neighbouring tribes.
of their account by the hand of Jeiel] R.V. of their reckoning made by Jeiel.
the ruler] R.V. the officer. The same Heb. word (shôṭçr) is used Deuteronomy 20:5; Deuteronomy 20:8-9.
The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred.12. the chief of the fathers of the mighty men] R.V. the heads of fathers’ houses, even the mighty men.
were two thousand] R.V. was two thousand.
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.13. an army] R.V. a trained army.
three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred] This total corresponds roughly with the 300,000 men who formed Amaziah’s army; 2 Chronicles 25:5. Cp. note on 2 Chronicles 14:8 (the forces of Asa and of Jehoshaphat).
And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.14. throughout all the host] R.V. even for all the host.
habergeons] R.V. coats of mail. Skeat (Cambridge Companion to the Bible, p. 549) explains habergeon as “a smaller kind of hauberk, a coat of mail covering the neck and breast.” Cp. Nehemiah 4:16 (with Ryle’s note).
slings to cast stones] R.V. stones for slinging. Such stones needed to be carefully chosen, for they had to be smooth and of a suitable size. A water-course was the most suitable place for finding them (1 Samuel 17:40).
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.15. engines] Cp. 1Ma 6:51-52 and article Engine Hastings’ Bible Dictionary.
bulwarks] R.V. battlements (lit. “corners”).
helped] Cp. 2 Chronicles 26:7.
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.16. to his destruction] R.V. so that he did corruptly; cp. 2 Chronicles 27:2 (the same Heb. word).
he transgressed] R.V. trespassed; cp. 2 Chronicles 12:2; Joshua 7:1; Joshua 22:16. The Heb. word implies presumptuous dealing with holy things.
the altar of incense] Cp. Exodus 30:1-10. Not only the altar, but the incense Itself was “most holy”; ib. Exodus 30:34-38.
16–20 (not in Kings). Uzziah’s Presumption
For a discussion of the historical probabilities of this account see the Introduction § 8.
And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:17. Azariah the priest] i.e. the high-priest (2 Chronicles 26:20). He cannot be identified certainly with any priest in the list given 1 Chronicles 6:4-15 (5:30–41, Heb.).
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.18. the priests the sons of Aaron] Cp. 2 Chronicles 13:10-11 and Numbers 16:40. neither shall it be for thine honour] A euphemism, a threat of danger and disgrace.
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.19. and had] R.V. and he had.
even rose up] R.V. brake forth.
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.20. thrust him out] R.V. thrust him out quickly.
the Lord had smitten him] So 2 Kings 15:5.
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.21–23 (= 2 Kings 15:5-7). The End of Uzziah
21. a several house] i.e. separate, special; cp. Numbers 28:13; Matthew 25:15. The same Heb. word is used in Psalm 88:5, “free (R.V. “cast off”) among the dead.”
cut off] The same Heb. word is translated in the same way in Isaiah 53:8.
Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.22. did Isaiah … write] This statement is not in Kings. Uzziah is mentioned in Isaiah 6:1.
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.23. the field of the burial] R.V. the field of burial. In Kings, “in the city of David.”