Uzziah Succeeds Amaziah in Judah
1 Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah. 2 He built Eloth and restored it to Judah after the king [Amaziah] slept with his fathers [in death]. 3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jechiliah of Jerusalem. 4 He did right in the sight of the Lord, in accordance with everything that his father Amaziah had done. 5 He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding (a)through the vision of God; and as long as he sought (inquired of, longing for) the Lord, God caused him to prosper.
Uzziah Succeeds in War
6 He went out and made war against the Philistines, and broke through the wall of Gath, the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod; and he built cities near Ashdod and [elsewhere] among the Philistines. 7 God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabs who lived in Gur-baal, and the Meunites. 8 The Ammonites paid tribute (money) to Uzziah, and his fame spread abroad, even as far as the border of Egypt, for he became very strong. 9 Uzziah also built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, the Valley Gate, and at the corner buttress [of the wall], and fortified them. 10 He also built towers in the wilderness and dug many cisterns, for he had a great deal of livestock, both in the lowlands and in the plain. He also had farmers and vinedressers in the hill country and in the fertile fields, for he loved the soil. 11 Moreover, Uzziah had an army ready for battle, which went into combat by divisions according to the number of their muster as recorded by Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the official, under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders. 12 The total number of the heads of the fathers’ households, of valiant men, was 2,600. 13 Under their command was an army of 307,500, who could wage war with great power, to help the king against the enemy. 14 Moreover, Uzziah prepared shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows, and sling stones for the entire army. 15 In Jerusalem he made machines of war invented by skillful men to be put on the towers and on the [corner] battlements for the purpose of shooting arrows and large stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong.
Pride Is Uzziah’s Undoing
16 But when Uzziah became strong, he became so proud [of himself and his accomplishments] that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful and sinned against the Lord his God, for he went (b)into the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.(A) 17 Then Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him eighty priests of the Lord, men of courage. 18 They opposed King Uzziah and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron who have been consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful and will have no honor from the Lord God.” 19 Then Uzziah, with a censer in his hand to burn incense, was enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, (c)leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar. 20 As Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked toward him, behold, he was leprous on his forehead; and they hurried him out of there, and he also hurried to get out because the Lord had stricken him. 21 King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and, being a leper, he lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the Lord. And his son Jotham took charge of the king’s household, judging and governing the people of the land.
22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, from the first to the last, Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, has written.(B) 23 So Uzziah slept with his fathers [in death], and they buried him with his fathers in the burial field of the kings [outside the royal tombs], for they said, “He is a leper.” And his son Jotham became king in his place.
a. 2 Chronicles 26:5: Many mss read in the fear of God.
b. 2 Chronicles 26:16: Only priests were permitted to enter the temple proper and perform such ceremonies.
c. 2 Chronicles 26:19: Or possibly a skin disease, because the Hebrew word is a general term that can refer to true leprosy (Hansen’s disease) or lesser skin diseases. In any case, it was a severe judgment from God because the disease rendered Uzziah ceremonially unclean, limiting his contact with other people and banning him from participation in worship services (see v 21).