Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.
2Ch 26:1-8. Uzziah Succeeds Amaziah and Reigns Well in the Days of Zechariah.
1. Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah—(See on 2Ki 14:21; 2Ki 15:1).
He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.
2. He built Eloth—or, "He it was who built Eloth." The account of the fortifications of this port on the Red Sea, which Uzziah restored to the kingdom of Judah (2Ch 33:13), is placed before the chronological notices (2Ch 26:3), either on account of the importance attached to the conquest of Eloth, or from the desire of the historian to introduce Uzziah as the king, who was known as the conqueror of Eloth. Besides, it indicates that the conquest occurred in the early part of his reign, that it was important as a port, and that Hebrew merchants maintained the old trade between it and the countries of the East [Bertheau].
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.
5. he sought God in the days of Zechariah—a wise and pious counsellor, who was skilled in understanding the meaning and lessons of the ancient prophecies, and who wielded a salutary influence over Uzziah.
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, 7. he went forth and warred against the Philistines—He overcame them in many engagements—dismantled their towns, and erected fortified cities in various parts of the country, to keep them in subjection.
Jabneh—the same as Jabneel (Jos 15:11).
And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.
7. Gur-baal—thought by some to be Gerar, and by others Gebal.
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. the Ammonites gave gifts—The countries east of the Jordan became tributary to him, and by the rapid succession and extent of his victories, his kingdom was extended to the Egyptian frontier.
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.
2Ch 26:9, 10. His Buildings.
9. Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem, &c.—whence resistance could be made, or missiles discharged against assailants. The sites of the principal of these towers were: at the corner gate (2Ch 25:23), the northwest corner of the city; at the valley gate on the west, where the Joppa gate now is; at the "turning"—a curve in the city wall on the eastern side of Zion. The town, at this point, commanded the horse gate which defended Zion and the temple hill on the southeast [Bertheau].
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. Also he built towers in the desert—for the threefold purpose of defense, of observation, and of shelter to his cattle. He dug also a great many wells, for he loved and encouraged all branches of agriculture. Some of these "were in the desert," that is, in the district to the southeast of Jerusalem, on the west of the Dead Sea, an extensive grazing district "in the low country" lying between the mountains of Judah and the Mediterranean; "and in the plains," east of the Jordan, within the territory of Reuben (De 4:43; Jos 20:8).
in Carmel—This mountain, being within the boundary of Israel, did not belong to Uzziah; and as it is here placed in opposition to the vine-bearing mountains, it is probably used, not as a proper name, but to signify, as the word denotes, "fruitful fields" (Margin).
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.
2Ch 26:11-15. His Host, and Engines of War.
11-15. an host of fighting men, that went out to war by bands—He raised a strong body of militia, divided into companies or regiments of uniform size, which served in rotation. The enumeration was performed by two functionaries expert in the drawing up of military muster-rolls, under the superintendence of Hananiah, one of the high officers of the crown. The army consisted of 307,500 picked men, under the command of two thousand gallant officers, chiefs or heads of fathers' houses, so that each father's house formed a distinct band. They were fully equipped with every kind of military accoutrements, from brazen helmets, a habergeon or coat of mail, to a sling for stones.
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.
15. he made … engines, invented by cunning men … to shoot arrows and great stones—This is the first notice that occurs in history of the use of machines for throwing projectiles. The invention is apparently ascribed to the reign of Uzziah, and Pliny expressly says they originated in Syria.
he was marvellously helped till he was strong—He conducted himself as became the viceroy of the Divine King, and prospered.
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.
2Ch 26:16-21. He Invades the Priest's Office, and Is Smitten with Leprosy.
16-21. he transgressed against the Lord, &c.—(See on 2Ki 15:5). This daring and wicked act is in both records traced to the intoxicating influence of overweening pride and vanity. But here the additional circumstances are stated, that his entrance was opposed, and strong remonstrances made (1Ch 6:10) by the high priest, who was accompanied by eighty inferior priests. Rage and threats were the only answers he deigned to return, but God took care to vindicate the sacredness of the priestly office. At the moment the king lifted the censer, He struck him with leprosy. The earthquake mentioned (Am 1:1) is said to have been felt at the moment [Josephus].
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.
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.
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.
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. dwelt in a several house—in an infirmary [Bertheau].
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.
23. they buried him … in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings—He was interred not in, but near, the sepulcher of the kings, as the corpse of a leper would have polluted it.