a contracted form of Azari'ah the Lord is my strength. (1.) One of Amaziah's sons, whom the people made king of Judah in his father's stead (2Ki 14:21; 2Ch 26:1). His long reign of about fifty-two years was "the most prosperous excepting that of Jehosaphat since the time of Solomon." He was a vigorous and able ruler, and "his name spread abroad, even to the entering in of Egypt" (2Ch 26:8,14). In the earlier part of his reign, under the influence of Zechariah, he was faithful to Jehovah, and "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" (2Ki 15:3; 2Ch 26:4-5); but toward the close of his long life "his heart was lifted up to his destruction," and he wantonly invaded the priest's office (2Ch 26:16), and entering the sanctuary proceeded to offer incense on the golden altar. Azariah the high priest saw the tendency of such a daring act on the part of the king, and with a band of eighty priests he withstood him (2Ch 26:17), saying, "It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense." Uzziah was suddenly struck with leprosy while in the act of offering incense (2Ch 26:19-21), and he was driven from the temple and compelled to reside in "a several house" to the day of his death (2Ki 15:5,27; 2Ch 26:3). He was buried in a separate grave "in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings" (2Ki 15:7; 2Ch 26:23). "That lonely grave in the royal necropolis would eloquently testify to coming generations that all earthly monarchy must bow before the inviolable order of the divine will, and that no interference could be tolerated with that unfolding of the purposes of God, which, in the fulness of time, would reveal the Christ, the true High Priest and King for evermore" (Dr. Green's Kingdom of Israel, etc.).
(2.) The father of Jehonathan, one of David's overseers (1Ch 27:25).
("strength of Jehovah".) UZZAIH or AZARIAH. (See AZARIAH.) (2Ki 14:2,22; 15:1-7,13), "helped by Jehovah". The two names, as nearly equivalent, were used promiscuously; so the Kohathite Uzziah and Azariah (1Ch 6:9,24) king of Judah (2 Chronicles 26).
1. A Kohathite, ancestor of Samuel (1Ch 6:24).
2. Uzziah, king of Judah. After the murder of his father Amaziah Uzziah succeeded at the age of 16 by the people's choice, 809 B.C. Energetic, wise, and pious for most part of his 52 years' reign. His mother was Jecholiah of Jerusalem. He did not remove the high places, whereat, besides the one only lawful place, the Jerusalem temple, the people worshipped Jehovah. He recovered Elath or Eloth from Edom, which had revolted from Joram (2Ki 8:20), and "built" i.e. enlarged and fortified it, at the head of the gulf of Akaba, a capital mart for his commerce. "(See ZECHARIAH , who had understanding in the visions of God," influenced Uzziah for good so that in his days Uzziah "sought God"; he must have died before Uzziah's fall, and so cannot be the Zechariah of Isa 8:2, a Levite Gershonite of Hezekiah's reign (2Ch 29:13).
Uzziah was the biting "serpent" (Isa 14:28-31) to the Philistines, out of whose "root," after that "the rod of Uzziah which smote them was broken" by their revolt under the feeble Ahaz (2Ch 28:18), came forth a "cockatrice" and "fiery flying serpent," namely, Hezekiah (2Ki 18:8). Uzziah broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod; and built cities in the domain of Ashdod and in other domains of the Philistines; this avenged Judah's invasion by the Philistines under Jehoram (2Ki 21:16-17), when they carried away all the substance found in the king's house and his sons, all except the youngest Jehoahaz. Uzziah also smote the Philistines' allies in that invasion, the Arabians of Gurbaal, and the Mehunim of Mann (in Arabia Petraea S. of the Dead Sea); Ammon became tributary (compare Isa 16:1-5; 2Ki 3:4), and Uzziah's fame as a conqueror reached to Egypt, to whose borders he carried his conquests.
He built towers at the N.W. corner gate, the valley gate (on the W. side, the Jaffa gate, now opening to Hinnom), and the turning of the wall of Jerusalem, E. of Zion, so that the tower at this turning defended both Zion and the temple from attacks from the S.E. valley; and fortified them at the weakest points of the city's defenses. His army was 307,500, under 2600 chiefs, heads of fathers' houses; and they were furnished with war engines for discharging arrows and great stones. The Assyrian Tiglath Pileser II relates that in his fifth year (741 B.C.) he defeated a vast army under Azariah (Uzziah) king of Judah. (Rawlinson Anc. Mon., 2:131.) Uzziah also built towers in the desert of Judah, in the steppe lands W. of the Dead Sea, to protect his herds, a main constituent of his wealth, against the predatory bands of Edom and Arabia.
He dug many wells for cattle in the shephelah toward the Mediterranean, (not "the low country," but the low hills between the mountain and the plain) and in the plain (the mishor) E. of the Dead Sea from the Arnon to Heshbon and Rubbath Ammon; this Uzziah probably reconquered from Ammon (verse 8) who had taken it from Israel (Keil). Husbandmen and vinedressers he had in the mountains and in Carmel, for he loved husbandry, Hosea prophesied "in the days of Uzziah" a scarcity of food (Ho 1:1; 2:9; 4:3; 9:2). So Amos (Am 1:1-2; 4:6-9; 5:16-17). The precarious state of the supply of food in Israel undesignedly harmonizes with Uzziah's special attention to husbandry; as also the prophecy in the days of Uzziah's descendant, Ahaz, that "on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come there the fear of briers and thorns," etc. (Isa 7:25).
But "when he was strong his heart was lifted up to his destruction" (compare Isa 14:12-15), "pride going before destruction" as in Satan's, Babylon's, Tyre's, and antichrist's cases (Eze 28:2,17-23; Pr 16:18; 2'>1:32,2 Thessalonians 2). Uzziah wished, like Egypt's kings, to make himself high priest, and so combine in himself all civil and religious power. Azariah the high priest, therefore, with 80 valiant priests, withstood his attempt to burn incense (Ex 30:7-8; Nu 16:40; 18:7) on the incense altar. In the very height of his wrath at their resistance a leprosy from God rose up in his forehead, so that they thrust him out, yea he hasted to go out of himself, feeling it vain to resist Jehovah's stroke. So Miriam was punished for trying to appropriate Moses' prerogative (Numbers 12).
Uzziah, being thus severed from Jehovah's house, could no longer live in fellowship with Jehovah's people, but had to dwell in a separate house, counted virtually as dead (Le 13:46; Nu 12:12) for the year or two before his death, during which Jotham conducted the government for him; "a several house" (2Ki 15:5), Beth ha-kophshi, "a house of manumission," i.e. release from the duties and privileges of social and religious intercourse with the people of God; Winer and Gesenius, from an Arabic cognate root "he was infirm," translated it "infirmary or lazar house," but the Hebrew has only the sense "free," and the Mosaic law contemplated not the cure of the patient, which could only be by God's extra. ordinary interposition, but his separation from the Lord's people. Isaiah recorded the rest of his acts first and last in a history not extant; "write" marks it as a history, "vision" is the term for his prophecy (Isa 1:1).
Isaiah wrote his first five chapters under Uzziah, and had his vision in the year of Uzziah's death (Isa 6:1, etc.). "They buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper"; therefore not in the tombs of the kings, but near them in the burial field belonging to them, that his body might not defile the royal tombs, probably in the earth according to our mode. One great sin blots an otherwise spotless character (2Ch 27:2; Ec 10:1). A mighty earthquake occurred in Uzziah's reign; Josephus (Ant. 9:10, section 4) makes it at the time of Uzziah being smitten with leprosy; the objection is, Amos prophesied "in the days of Jeroboam of Israel, two years before the earthquake" (Am 1:1), and Jeroboam II died 26 years before Uzziah died; but what is meant may be, Amos' prophesying continued all the Israelite Jeroboam's days, and so far in the partly contemporary reign of the Jewish king Uzziah as "two years before the earthquake." (See AMOS.)
Amos thus would speak his prophecies two years before the earthquake, but not write them out in order until after it. However, Josephus may be wrong, as but for his statement the likelihood is the earthquake was not later than the 17th year of Uzziah's reign. Zechariah (Zec 14:5) alludes to the earthquake, the physical premonitor of convulsions in the social, political, and spiritual world; compare Mt 24:7. In the century from Jehu of Israel until late in Uzziah's reign over Judah the Assyrian annals are silent as to Scripture persons and events. Assyria's weakness just then harmonizes with the Scripture statement of the extension of Israel by Jeroboam II and of Judah by Uzziah. Only in the time of Assyria's weakness could such small states have attempted conquests such as those of Menahem (2Ki 15:16).
3. Of the sons of Harim; took a foreign wife (Ezr 10:21).
4. Father of Athaiah or Uthai (Ne 11:4).
5. Father of Jehonathan, one of David's overseers (1Ch 27:25).
UZZIAH, also called AZARIAH, was king of Judah after his father Amaziah. His name was Azariah originally, whether abbreviated in popular usage or corrupted in the written form can no longer be made out with certainty. His reign is said to have been fifty-two years in length. Religiously he is classed among the good kings (2Ki 15:1 ff.). The only event recorded of this king by the Book of Kings is the restoration of Elath, the town at the head of the Gulf of Akabah. As his father Amaziah had conquered Edom, we conclude that this nation had revolted at the accession of Uzziah. The re-building of Elath (2Ki 14:22) points to some attempt at commerce, but of this our sources say nothing. We should be glad to know whether the subjection of Judah to Israel effected by Jehoash continued in this reign; but here again we are left to conjecture. The Chronicler (2Ch 26) knows, indeed, of successes against the Philistines, Arabs, and Ammonites, as well as of extensive building operations, but the traditions drawn upon by this author are not always reliable.
The additional fact related by the Book of Kings is that the king was a leper. On account of this disease he withdrew from public business, and his son Jotham acted as his representative (2Ki 15:5). This regency, as it may be called, may account for some of the chronological difficulties of the period. Uzziah seems not to have been compelled to leave his palace. The Chronicler has the story of a conflict between Uzziah and the priesthood, according to which the monarch attempted to usurp the function of the chief priest and offer incense. For this the plague was sent upon him, after which he was thrust out as unclean.
Uzziah has been supposed to be mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions in connexion with a campaign of Tiglath-pileser in the Lebanon region. But it is now generally conceded that the inscription in question has reference to some prince of Northern Syria.
H. P. Smith.
1. Son of Amaziah and father of Jotham. He reigned over Judah fifty-two years, B.C. 810 to 759. At the commencement of his reign he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord prospered him. He greatly strengthened the kingdom, and organised his army well. He was successful against the Philistines, the Arabians, and the Mehunims; and the Ammonites were tributary, so that his fame was spread abroad.
A prophet named Zechariah counselled him, and he did well as long as the prophet lived; but on the prophet's death he became 'strong,' and his heart was lifted up to his destruction, for he went into the temple to offer incense. The priests withstood him, and on his persisting he was smitten with leprosy, and had to dwell in a separate house to the day of his death. His son Jotham acted as regent while he lived.
Uzziah is a solemn instance of one walking well until he was 'strong,' and of one not chosen of God attempting to exercise priestly service. His history evinces the truth that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." 2Ch 26; Isa 1:1; Ho 1:1; Am 1:1; Zec 14:5. He is called AZARIAH in 2Ki 14:21; 15:1-27; 1Ch 3:12; and OZIAS in Mt 1:8-9.
2. Son of Uriel, a Kohathite. 1Ch 6:24.
3. Father of Jehonathan, one of David's overseers. 1Ch 27:25.
4. Priest who had married a strange wife. Ezr 10:21.
5. Father of Athaiah who returned from exile. Ne 11:4.
(strength of Jehovah).
1. King of Judah B.C. 809-8 to 757-6. In some passages his name appears in the lengthened form Azariah: After the murder of Amaziah, his son Uzziah was chosen by the people, at the age of sixteen, to occupy the vacant throne; and for the greater part of his long reign of fifty-two years he lived in the fear of God, and showed himself a wise, active and pious ruler. He never deserted the worship of the true God, and was much influenced by Zechariah, a prophet who is mentioned only in connection with him.
So the southern kingdom was raised to a condition of prosperity which it had not known since the death of Solomon. The end of Uzziah was less prosperous than his beginning. Elated with his splendid career, he determined to burn incense on the altar of God, but was opposed by the high priest Azariah and eighty others. See
The king was enraged at their resistance, and, as he pressed forward with his censer was suddenly smitten with leprosy. This lawless attempt to burn incense was the only exception to the excellence of his administration.
Uzziah was buried "with his fathers," yet apparently not actually in the royal sepulchres.
During his reign a great earthquake occurred.
2. A Kohathite Levite, and ancestor of Samuel.
3. A priest of the sons of Harim, who had taken a foreign wife in the days of Ezra.
4. Father of Athaiah or Uthai.
5. Father of Jehonathan, one of David's overseers.
(B.C. about 1053.)