II Chronicles 26
The twenty-three verses of this chapter, entirely occupied with the career
of Uzziah, have to be content with a parallel of nine verses only, viz.
II Kings 14:21-22; 15:1-7. Our chapter first glances at the usual prefatory
particulars of the age, pedigree, length of reign, kind of character, and
choice between virtue and vice of the new king (vs. 1-5; but note the
remarkable appearance of v. 2, looking as though it had strayed). Next,
of his good works (vs. 6-15). Next, of his fall through most gratuitous
“presumptuous sin,” and its decisive crushing visitation of punishment
(vs. 16-21). Lastly, of his death and burial (vs. 22-23). The nine verses
of the parallel instanced above answer respectively:
Ø 21-22 to our vs. 1-2;
Ø 1-3, to our vs. 1, 3, 4;
Ø 5, to our v. 21; and
Ø 6-7, to our vs. 22-23.
That our chapter should abound in interest, and such solemn interest,
awakens the more thought [as to the causes of the absence of so much of
its most interesting matter in the Book of Kings.
all the people of
old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.”
Uzziah; Hebrew, עֻזִּיָּה. (signifying “Strength of Jehovah”).
Once in Chronicles, and once only (I Chronicles 3:12), this king’s
name is given Azariah, Hebrew, עֲזַרְיָה (signifying “Help of Jehovah”) or
עֲזַרְיָהוּ; and Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1, etc.), Hosea (Hosea 1:1, etc.), and
Amos (Amos 1:1, etc.) always use the word Uzziah. In the parallel,
however, and in both the chapters in which the parallel clauses lie, the
word Azariah is used, as well in other clauses as in those (e.g. II Kings
15:1, 6, 8, 23, 27), yet Uzziah is also used in verses intermingled with them
(e.g. 13, 30, 32, 34). It is probable that Azariah was the first-used name,
that the latter name was not a corruption of the former, but that, for
whatever reason, the king was called by both names. Nevertheless, the apt
analogy that has been pointed out of Uzziel (I Chronicles 25:4) and
Azareel (18) is noteworthy. Sixteen years old. Therefore Uzziah must have
been born just before the fatal outside mistake of his father’s life in the
challenge he sent to Joash of Israel, and after the deadly inner mistake
of his soul in turning aside to “the gods of the children of Seir.” (ch. 25:14
built Eloth, and restored it to
with his fathers.” "Eloth"; Hebrew, אֶת־אֵילות; the parallel reads אֵילַת.
This place was at the head of the Gulf Akaba (ch. 8:17; I Kings 9:26); Judah
had lost hold of it at a past revolt of
again and rebuilding it, thus finishing very probably a work that he knew
had been in his father’s heart to do. This consideration may explain alike
the following clause in our verse. and the placing of this here. Uzziah
charged himself to do it the first thing.
3 “Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he
reigned fifty and two years in
was Jecoliah of
in the parallel. The character, however, is kappa in both texts. The
meaning of the name is, “Made strong of Jehovah.” Another unreliable
form of the name is Jekiliah, the result probably of a mere clerical error.
4 “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according
to all that his father Amaziah did.” Right… according to… his father.
His father’s comparatively long reign, sullied by two frightful stains, which
were fearfully visited with a long punishment and a fatal end, is graciously
recognized here for the good that was in it, and apparently credited even
with a “balance to the good.”
5 “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.” In the days of Zechariah.
Twice in the foregoing chapter we have read of “a man of God”
and “a prophet” whose names are not given. The chariness of the
narrative in this exact respect is not very explicable,
for if the simple reason be assumed to be that they were not of much
repute, now when the name of Zechariah is given, all that we can say is
that nothing else is known of him. Had understanding; Hebrew, הַמֵּבִין.
There seems no reason to divest this hiph. conjugation form of its stricter
signification, “gave understanding “(see Isaiah 40:14). In the visions of
God; Hebrew, בִּרְאות. Some slight discrepancy in the usual fuller writing
of the word in some manuscripts lends a little ground of preference for the
reading, which a few manuscripts evidently had (see Septuagint Version,
ἐν φόβῳ - en phobo), of בִּירְאַת; i.e. “in the fear of God” (Proverbs 1:7;
Isaiah 11:3); either reading in either of these sub-clauses leaves an
undisturbed good meaning to the description of Zechariah.
Premature Responsibility (vs. 1-5)
In these verses we have a picture or a suggestion of:
Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king.” They all agreed to
set a lad upon the throne. Events seem to have justified their course; and if
Zechariah the prophet, or, what is more likely, some prominent “prince of
in the earlier years of his administration. But it is a very great mistake to
devolve large responsibilities upon the young.
Ø It is bad for the estate they have to administer, whatever that may be.
“Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child” (Ecclesiastes 10:16),
is a curse which has a wide application. The very young, with minds that
must be immature:
o judge without knowledge,
o are swayed by persons rather than governed by principles, and
o fall into serious and often into disastrous mistakes.
Ø It is bad for themselves. It exposes them to several temptations which it
is not right they should encounter, and it loads them with a weight of duty
and difficulty they are not strong enough to carry. In most cases they break
down, in some direction, under their burden. Responsibility is not for
youth; it is for prime and for the ripe experience of later life.
wealth and their attendant advantages. To others he denies these larger
gratifications altogether, and grants very limited comforts, and these for a
very brief hour. How do we account for this? All is plain if we consider:
Ø That neither justice nor kindness requires that God should give to one
man as large a heritage as He has given to another; it is no injury to me to
whom He has given one talent that it has pleased Him to bestow ten talents
on my neighbor. I had no claim to that one talent which, of His pure
goodness, He has conferred upon me.
Ø That the chief value of human life depends neither upon its surroundings
nor upon its duration, but upon its moral and spiritual characteristics.
Ø That if there be any inequalities that, in the cause of righteousness,
require adjustment, there remains the long future for redress.
AND OUR COURSE. It is not without meaning that we have the record,
“his mother’s name was Jecoliah.” To much too large a degree in the East
all that the mother contributes is maternity. But “woman, beloved of God
figure) in the home; she was an intelligent, active sharer in the thought and
history of her country and her time. Jesus Christ owed much to her truer
appreciation, and to her more faithful ministry. It is likely that Uzziah owed as
much to his mother as to his father in the way of godly training and good home
influence. A very considerable number of the great and good men who
have rendered conspicuous services to their race became what they were
because they grew up in the atmosphere of a mother’s gentle and beautiful
life. “No mother knows who or what she has in her cradle,” or can tell how
great a share she may have, by the training of the little child that is
slumbering there, in the enrichment or the reformation of the world.
CHARACTER AND COURSE. “He sought God in the days of Zechariah”
(v. 5). No doubt this seeking of the Lord was very largely due to the
prophet’s influence over him. The true Christian minister is, like the
Hebrew prophet, “one that speaks for God” to men. And he who speaks
for his Divine Master with faithfulness, with earnestness of spirit, in true
and pure affection, speaking “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27)
as he is able to learn and utter it, has a work to do and an influence to
exert second to none in the hearts and lives of men. From the court to the
cottage-home the gracious power of such ministry is felt in the land.
made him to prosper” (v. 5). (See homily on ch. 25:15, The Folly of Irreligion.
Ø There is no prosperity worthy of the name, or worthy of our ambition
and pursuit, outside the fear and the favor of God. “Who hath hardened
himself against Him and prospered?” (Job 9:4) Many have seemed to do so,
and have imagined that they did. But, in the light of Divine wisdom, they
have miserably failed.
Ø There can be no failure in the faithful service of THE SUPREME!
What looks like it, there may be, there often is; but not the thing itself.
For he who walks with God, and is the friend of Jesus Christ, must be
what is right and good; must stand where he is secure from harm;
must be witnessing for the truth of God; must be moving on towards
deeper wisdom, purer joy, and a glorious estate beyond.
Seeing God (v. 5)
Zechariah “had understanding in the seeing of God” (marginal reading). In
what way did the prophet, and in what respects may we now, have such
first sight, that there would be no degrees in such capacity. If God enabled
a man to see Him and to know His truth by granting him a vision, or by
specially enlarging his natural faculty, it must be of no consequence (or of
very little) what his individual capacities may be. But, thus reasoning, we
should be wrong. God did not then, as He does not now, grant His Divine
enlightenment independent of all human conditions. He had regard to:
Ø Purity and sanctity of character.
Ø Natural intellectual faculty.
Ø Special training.
We cannot say that God never revealed His mind to any one who did not
possess the first of these qualifications in a high degree. Remembering
Balsam and Jonah, it would be impossible to maintain that view. Yet we
may be quite sure that such men as Samuel and Elijah were preferred to
others because of the elevation of their characters. Nor can we suppose
that the second qualification was indispensable; but we may well believe
that Balaam was employed as he was partly because he was a man of
considerable intellectual endowment, and that Isaiah and Amos were
among the “chosen” partly for the same reason. We know that there was
special training for the work of prophecy, for there were “schools of the
prophets” in the time of the judges. Whether Zechariah had one or all of
these three advantages we do not know, but he was a man, on some such
grounds, peculiarly adapted to receive communication from God, and,
having received them, to deliver them.
stand among the multitude of godly men undistinguished by any office, may
have “understanding in the seeing of God.” What are its conditions?
Ø Docility of spirit (readily trained or taught). If we would “enter the
to be seen and known by us as our forgiving Father, we must “become as
little children” (Matthew 18:3; 19:14). Much “understanding” in the way
of human learning may, as in the case of the scribes and lawyers, keep us
out of that atmosphere of docility without which we shall not learn of
Christ, and shall not know God as we urgently need to know him
(see I Corinthians 1:26-29). It is the man that has come to understand
his own spiritual ignorance and incapacity who will be willing to learn
OF GOD, and thus to “have understanding in the seeing of God.”
Ø Purity of heart. This, we know from the great Teacher Himself, is an
essential (Matthew 5:8). This purity of which Christ speaks includes:
o Simplicity and sincerity of spirit; that which is not content with
passing through fleshly rites, but desires to know God Himself,
to come into communion with Him, to gain His loving favor.
o A freedom from degrading affections; and therefore from debasing
acts and associations — a heart that is not worn with:
§ selfish ambitions, or
§ corroding cares, or
§ blemished by injurious excitements.
o Consequent elevation of affection and aim — the love of Christ, the
love of man, the earnest desire to be of service to our generation.
(As David did his – Acts 13:36 – CY – 2016)
Ø Patient continuance in well-being and in well-doing. To those who thus
“continue in the grace of God” will be granted “eternal life.” They who are
faithful unto death shall wear “the crown of life” (see Romans 2:7;
Revelation 2:10). And we are sure that this life which is consummated
beyond includes such a vision of God as we do not now enjoy, even when
it is most true that “the eyes of our understanding are opened”
(Ephesians 1:18) and even when we are “blessed with all spiritual blessings
in heavenly places in Christ” (ibid. v. 3). Then, with purer heart than we
now possess, and with a holiness (Hebrews 12:14) to which we do not now
attain, we shall “have understanding [and experience] in the seeing of God.”
Surely every one that hath this hope in him will “purify himself, even as
Christ the Lord is pure.” (I John 3:3)
6 “And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake
down the wall of
The Philistines. It has been seen how the Philistines, humbled
to tribute under Jehoshaphat (ch. 17:10-13), had lifted up
their heads repeatedly since, as on one occasion in alliance with Arabians
(ch. 21:16-17) against Jehoram. Brake down the wall (see ch. 25:23, the first
occasion of this exact expression).
II Kings 12:17). Jabneh. A city on the coast, northwest of Judah, now Jebna (see
of Jabneh (Joshua 15:47). It is
now a large village in
Esdud, answering to the Azotus of Acts 8:40 (see Topographical Index
to Conder’s ‘Handbook to the Bible;’ and Dr. Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’
sub voc., 1:119). Built
italic type” in the country of
preposition בְּ before “
the great importance of the place, in respect of its situation, on the road to
incorporated with her, Uzziah saw it expedient to surround it with other
fortified cities, or strong forts, which should be a watch upon it.
7 “And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the
Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.” Gur-baal.
Though nothing is known of this place (the meaning of which is “abode of
Baal,” perhaps from some
of the Mehunim (ch. 22:1; Judges 10:12), shows whereabouts it was.
8 “And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread
abroad even to the entering in of
exceedingly.” The Ammonites. This nation lay east of
Gave gifts. This expression was found in our ch. 17:11; I Kings 4:21; 10:25.
The reference to tribute payment is evident. The entering in of Egypt. This,
of course, marks the breadth of the land, and describes the breadth of Uzziah’s
sway or influence.
Uzziah built towers in
at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them.”
Built towers in
(ch. 25:23), in Conder’s ‘Handbook to the Bible’ (2nd edition), facing
p. 334, furnishes a very clear idea alike of these towers and of
the walls of
the corner gate, see our note, ch. 25:23. Valley gate. This is called by
some the Gehenna gate. As many as three sites, reducible perhaps
to two, are proposed for this gate:
the west gate, called somewhile the “
Ø a gate over the valley of “Hinnom;” or, if it be not the same,
that at the
And at the turning; Hebrew, הַמִקְצוַע. This word occurs eleven times,
viz. twice in Exodus, four times in Nehemiah, four times in Ezekiel, and in
this place, and is always rendered “corner” or “turning;” the word wanted
is angle. The site of this gate cannot very certainly be pronounced upon.
Perhaps the angle that marks the gate is that at the southeast corner of the
temple plateau. The language of Nehemiah 3:19 is our best clue: “Next
to him Ezer repaired… a piece over against the going up to the armory at
10 “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
Towers in the desert; Hebrew, בַּמִּזְבָּר; the rendering should
be the usual one of “wilderness.” This was the cattle-pasture west and
southwest of the
observation against marauding and cattle-robbing incursions, as well as for
shelter in some attacks. Many wells; Hebrew, בֹּרות. These were not
springs, but rather,
as in the margin, tanks and cisterns.
probable that this is the proper name. The translation of
field.” As a proper name it occurs about twenty times, from Joshua 12:22;
15:55; 19:26; on to Amos 1:2; 9:3; and perhaps Micah 7:14; and as not a
proper name it occurs about twenty times also; the “fruitful field,” e.g., of
Isaiah 29:17 and 32:15 shows in the Hebrew text הַכַּרְמֶל. The aspect of
this verse is very picturesque, and the picturesqueness very pleasant, with
its low country and pasturing cattle, its plains and their herds, its hills and
their vines, all quickened into life by the mention of towers and wells,
husbandmen and vine-dressers, and finished off by the home-touch that
this king’s partiality looked to agricultural and pastoral pursuits.
11 “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.” That went out to war by bands; Hebrew, יוצְאֵי צָבָא לִגְדוּד.
The last of these words occurs thirty-three times, and is rendered:
Ø “troop” ten times,
Ø “company” four times,
Ø “band” fourteen times, and
Ø (too generically) “army” five times.
The middle word occurs above four hundred times, is rendered “host” an
immense preponderance of these times, and probably should have been so
rendered without exception. The first word is the poel participle kal of the
familiar verb יָצָא, and compels the translation (given literally), “the goers
out of the host by bands.” Meantime, if the persons here spoken of were leaders,
as seems possible, the hiph. participle is required (which would postulate an
initial mem for the present initial yod), and a most typical example among
some thirty others essentially similar may be quoted from Isaiah 40:26. Their
account by the hand of Jeiel; i.e. their muster tabulated by Jeiel, whose
office is mentioned before in ch. 25:11. Under the hand of Hananiah.
That is, Hananiah was head of the whole matter of the registering, etc.
12 “The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of
valor were two thousand and six hundred.” Of the mighty men of valor.
The “of” here is incorrect; the former substantive is not necessarily in
construct state, and this word has the prefix of the preposition לְ; nor is the
rendering “valor” for our Hebrew text חָיִל; so likely a rendering as that found
in the foregoing verse, “host.” Render, The whole number of the chief of the
fathers in the mighty men of the host was, etc. So in the next verse. “with mighty
power” will be better rendered “with the strength of a host.”
13 “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.” An army; Hebrew, חֵיל צָבָא. “A force of host”
would render this expression, though by an ambiguous use of the word חֵיל,
construct state of חַיִל. This verse gives the number of the body of the army
proper, which shows it seven thousand five hundred more than that of
Amaziah in the foregoing chapter (v. 5).
14 “And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and
spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.
Habergeons… slings to cast stones. Revised Version right in
rendering, coats of mail… and stones for slinging. On the Israelites’
employment of the sling, note Judges 20:16; I Samuel 17:40; II Kings 3:25.
15 “And he
be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great
stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvelously
helped, till he was strong.” Engines; Hebrew, חִשְּׁבֹנות; used only here
and Ecclesiastes 7:29 (where it is rendered “inventions”), but the related
word חֶשְׁבּון, is found three times: ibid. v. 25 (the “reason”), 27
(the “account”); 9:10 (“device”); while the verb root חָשַׁב, to “devise,”
occurs about a hundred and thirty times, as in next sub-clause מַחֲשֶׁבֶת חושֵׁב.
A strict rendering of the clause would make it read, “He made
inventions, the inventing of an inventive man;” and the force of the words
might be to appraise very highly the virtue of the invention or machine,
while to himself may have been due the credit thereof. The balista which
discharged stones is depicted on Assyrian sculptures; not so the machine
for discharging darts and arrows, the catapult. Although, as just suggested,
it were conceivable that to Uzziah himself was due in part the invention or
the great improving of the machines in question, yet the verse may be
regarded as simply saying that the introduction of
his work. He was marvelously helped (see v. 7).
Uzziah the Prosperous (1-15)
Ø His names. Uzziah, “Might of Jehovah” (II Kings 15:13, 30, 32, 34;
Isaiah 1:1; 6:1; Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5); Azariah, “Whom
Jehovah aids” (II Kings 14:21; 15:1, 6, 8, 17, 23, 27; I Chronicles
3:12); the former, the designation taken by or conferred upon him at or
soon after his accession (Thenius, Bahr); the latter, his name before that
event. But if the two appellations should not be regarded as equivalent
(Keil), the likelihood is that Uzziah was his personal and Azariah his kingly
title (Nagelsbach in Herzog, and Kleinert in Riehm), as the latter, Azrijahu,
is the name he ordinarily bears on the Assyrian monuments
(Schrader, ‘Keilin-schriften,’ p. 217).
Ø His parents. Amaziah the son of Joash, and Jecoliah of Jerusalem. Of the
latter nothing is known beyond her name and residence, except that she
had been the wife, and was the mother, of a king. That Uzziah was not his
father’s firstborn son has been inferred (Bertheau, Ewald, Bahr), though
precariously, from the statement that “all the people took him and made
him king” (v. 1).
Ø The date of his accession. After his father’s death, in the fifteenth year
Jeroboam II of
accession should be dated from his father’s capture by Joash (Sumner) is
not without support from certain circumstances stated in the narrative, as
e.g. that Amaziah lived (not reigned) after the death of Joash fifteen years
(ch. 25:25), and that Uzziah built Eloth after the death of his father (ch.
26:2), as if he had been sovereign before that event, Nevertheless, it is not
by Josephus (‘
text (consult Exposition).
4. The length of his reign. Fifty-two years — with one exception (ch. 33:1)
longest throne-occupancy of any sovereign of
synchronized with the accession of Pekah to the
of conspiracy and assassination (II Kings 15:23-25).
Ø A worshipper of Jehovah. “He did that which was right in the eyes of
Jehovah, according to all that his father Amaziah had done,” i.e. until he
declined into idolatry (ch. 25:14). “He was a good man, and
by nature righteous and magnanimous, and very laborious in taking care of
affairs of his kingdom” (Josephus, ‘
religion, while sincere, was, like his father’s, imperfect (ch. 25:2).
“The high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt
incense still on the high places” (II Kings 15:4). See the confirmation of
this in the minor prophets (Hosea 8:14; 12:2; Amos 2:4).
Ø A seeker after God. “And he sought God.”
o How? By observing His worship, keeping His commandments,
honoring His prophets, and studying His Law — the only true way of
seeking God still.
o When? In the days of Zechariah, “who had understanding,” or “gave
instruction” (Revised Version, margin), “in the vision of God.” Nobler
distinction than the former, better employment than the latter, can no
o How long? Until Zechariah died, after which his fervor declined, the
remembrance of his teacher faded, his devotion to Jehovah and the true
religion diminished. So Joash behaved wisely and religiously while
Jehoiada lived (ch. 24:17). Human goodness too often short-lived
o With what result? Prosperity, which kept pace with his piety. “As long
as he sought Jehovah, Elohim made him to prosper” (v. 5) — a
remarkable combination of words, which perhaps teaches that, whilst
prosperity or success is from God, the Supreme Being as such, it is
never conferred upon good men except on the ground that they are
worshippers of Him as the covenant God of grace and salvation.
Ø A pupil of Zechariah. “Zechariah had understanding,” and perhaps gave
him instruction “in the vision [or, ‘seeing’] of God.” That this Zechariah
was neither the priest whom Joash slew (ch. 24:20), nor the
prophet who lived in the second year of Darius (Zechariah 1:1), is
apparent. That he possessed that special gift or capacity of beholding God
in vision which pertained to the prophetic calling cannot be inferred from
the Chronicler’s statement, “since this beholding of God, of which the
prophets were conscious only in moments of highest inspiration, cannot be
thought of as a work of human activity and exercise” (Berthcau). Most
probably he was one who, like Daniel (Daniel 1:17), “had
understanding in all visions and dreams,” and who acted as Uzziah’s
counsellor and teacher.
Ø The fortification of Eloth. (v. 2.) His father’s conquest of
had either not been pushed as far as this important harbor-town upon the Red
Sea (see on ch. 8:17), or the town, though taken, had been given up and not
On attaining to the throne, Uzziah rectified his father’s oversight by capturing
erecting it into a fortress, and restoring it to
the early part of Uzziah’s reign, was probably that from which he derived
his name Azariah (II Kings 14:21-22); while its introduction at this
stage in the narrative, before the chronological statement which follows it
(v. 3), may have been due to a desire on the part of the Chronicler to
introduce Uzziah to his readers as the well-known monarch who had
conquered, recovered, and fortified Eloth (Berthcau).
Ø The war against the Philistines and Arabians. (vs. 6-7.) These had
and Uzziah may have purposed to inflict upon them
chastisement for that aggression (Keil); but the assumption is as rational
that Uzziah either dreaded or experienced a combination against himself
similar to that which had assailed Jehoram, and that, either (in the former
case) taking time by the forelock, he fell upon his enemies ere they could
strike at him, or (in the latter case), meeting the emergency with courage,
he repelled the attacks they made upon him. His success in dealing with
Philistines was complete. He broke down the walls of
ch. 11:8), which, formerly taken from the Philistines by David
(I Chronicles 18:1), had latterly been recovered, most likely in the
reign of Jehoram; the wall of Jabneh, here mentioned for the first time, but
the town in
(Joshua 15:11), Jamnia in the period of the. Maccabees, at the present
day Jabneh, eighteen miles northwest of
on the west bank of the
miles from the sea coast” (
(I Samuel 5:1), and now a village called Esdud, after which he erected cities
entirely victorious over the Arabians in (Gur-baal —
not the city
(Septuagint), but perhaps the town of Gerar (Targum) — and the Meunims,
who dwelt in Mann (I Chronicles 4:41).
Ø The submission of the Ammonites. These, whose settlements lay east of
Sea, and who, in Jehoshaphat’s time, had come up
(ch. 20:1), were now so reduced that they rendered tribute to
Philistines and Arabians under Jehoshaphat (ch. 17:11).
Ø The extension of his fame to
splendid victories traveled so far as the land of the Pharaohs, but the
boundaries of his empire reached to its vicinity. An inscription of Tiglath-
Pileser II shows that the northern people of Hamath attempted to free
themselves from the Assyrian yoke by going over to Azariah (‘Records,’
etc., 5:46; Schrader, ‘Keilinschriften,’ p. 221).
Eloth and the cities in
o At the corner-gate, i.e. at the north-west corner of the city (ch. 25:23).
the valley-gate, i.e. on the west side, where the
o At the turning of the wall, i.e. at a curve in the city wall on the east
Ø In the desert, or wilderness. The place was “the steppe-lands on the
west side of the
flocks and shepherds against attacks from robber-bands, whether
of Edomites or Arabians.
Ø An extensive cattle-breeder. He had much cattle in the region just
in the lowland between the mountains of
in the flat district on the east of the
Arnon to near Heshbon in the north. For the use of these animals he
hewed cisterns in each of these localities.
Ø An ardent agriculturist. He kept farmers and vine-dressers upon the
mountains and in the fruitful fields. “He took care to cultivate the ground.
He planted it with all sorts of plants, and sowed it with all sorts of seeds”
Ø He organized the army.
o The number of fighting men was reckoned up by Hananiah, one of the
king’s captains, assisted by Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the steward,
two officials practised in writing and the making up of lists. The total
force, according to their estimation, was 307,500 (370,000, Josephus)
able-bodied and thoroughly disciplined troops, with 2600 (2000,
Josephus) heads of fathers’ houses, mighty men of valour, who
acted as superior officers or divisional commanders.
o The entire host was arranged into bands, detachments, or army corps,
each father’s house, perhaps, composing a regiment, and a group of
these a battalion.
o Whether these army corps served in rotation (Jamieson) is not stated.
Ø He armed the soldiers. For all the host he prepared the necessary
weapons for offensive and defensive warfare — for the first, spears, bows,
and slings; for the second, shields, helmets, and coats of mail; or perhaps,
for the heavy-armed troops, shields, spears, and helmets; and for the light
infantry, bows and sling-stones. The mention of “sling-stones,” it has been
thought (Bertheau), was intended to indicate the completeness of his
preparations, as in the late France-German war Marshal Leboeuf declared
the French army to be ready for the projected campaign down to the
“shoe-buckle.” Besides furnishing each soldier with a set of weapons,
Uzziah collected a store of such “that he might have them in readiness
to put into the hands of his subjects on any exigency” (A. Clarke)
Ø He fortified the capital This, which
he strengthened by placing on the towers and battlements of its walls
ingenious machines — “engines invented by cunning men” — to shoot
arrows and great stones withal, like the catapultae and ballistae of the
Ø The beneficial influence of parental piety — it tends to reproduce
itself in the children.
Ø The true Source of all prosperity, whether temporal or spiritual is God.
Ø The necessary condition of all permanent prosperity for individuals or
communities — religion, seeking God.
Ø The unspeakable advantage to kings and subjects of having as their
counselors men who have understanding in the VISIONS OF GOD!
Ø The obvious wisdom of sovereigns and their people devoting
attention to the cultivation of the soit.
Ø The lawfulness, in nations as in individuals, of taking due precautions
A Victorious Career (vs. 6-15)
Perhaps it is not well understood that Uzziah was one of the strongest of
set in some dark clouds, his name and fame would probably have stood far
higher than they do. But when we have made necessary allowances, there
remains before our eyes the picture of
Ø The extension of his kingdom; he prevailed against the Edomites, the
Philistines, the Arabians (vs. 2, 6-8). Or to:
Ø The strengthening of his kingdom by military means — by building
fortifications (vs. 9-10), by ordering and equipping his army (vs. 11-13),
by inventing or adopting the latest weapons of warfare (vs. 14-15).
Ø His attention to the national produce. It speaks very highly indeed for a
monarch of that period that he dug wells, that he had much cattle, that he
encouraged the vine-dressers, that he “loved husbandry.” These are things
which in that age of the world were too often disregarded and even
despised by men in high places, especially by monarchs. But it was on such
things as these that national prosperity very largely rested. Much of the
power of a country comes from its wealth; and its wealth comes from the
soil. No wise ruler will be indifferent to the question of the produce of the
land. The king that “loves husbandry” is, other things being present, a king
that loves his people, and rules for the happiness of their homes. It is
as during the long reign of Uzziah.
Ø It was partly due to the fact that he came under good human influence;
that of his father in his better days, that of Zechariah all through that
prophet’s life; (perhaps) that of a godly mother.
Ø It was due in part to his own capacity and energy. Had he been a weak
prince, giving way to base flatteries and to corrupt companionship, he
could not have played the admirable part he did.
Ø It was due, chiefly and primarily, to the favor of Jehovah. “God made
him to prosper” (v. 5). From the Divine resources came intelligence,
strength, sagacity, statesmanship. He might well have said, “Thou art
the glory of my strength, and in thy favor has my horn been exalted.”
(Psalm 89:17) This is the explanation of every victorious career.
o There goes toward it individual character and energy. Every man
must “bear his own burden,” and “have rejoicing in himself alone”
(Galatians 6:4-5). In some sense and to some degree we must all
“fight the good fight” (I Timothy 6:12) for ourselves, if we would
gain the victory and win “the prize of our high calling.”
o There is included in it helpful influence from without; all kindly
human help from the home and from the sanctuary, from the father
and from the friend.
o The all-decisive force is the power that works from above on our
behalf. God must make us to prosper if we are to gain the victory
in the great strife of life. From Him must come the guidance and the
guardianship, the inspiration and the control, without which we shall
faint and fall. And this is to be secured by:
§ submission to the gracious sway, and
§ living in the holy service of A DIVINE SAVIOUR!
16 “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.”
To (his) destruction; Hebrew, עַד־לְחַשְׁחִית, hiph. conjugation infinitive,
of שָׁחַת. This conjugation frequently occurs in the sense of “destroying,”
but also as well without an accusative as with, in the sense of “doing corruptly”
(Genesis 6:12 with accusative; but without Deuteronomy 4:16; 31:29;
Judges 2:19; Isaiah 1:19; and next chapter, v. 2). He transgressed. The
“transgression” of a heart that had waxed wanton through prosperity took
that peculiarly aggravated form of sinning against holy things and a holy
ceremonial. Although, in the daily service of the second temple, the duty
of offering incense attached to one chosen by lot each morning and evening
of the inferior priests, yet originally the high priest was solemnly appointed
for this office. The following are among the most important references to
the matter of the incense and its offering (Exodus 25:6; 30:1, 7-8, 34, 37-38;
Leviticus 16:13; Luke 1:9; Numbers 6:24-26; 16:1-35; 18:1-7).
17 “And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore
priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:” Azariah the priest. V. 20 states
what was otherwise to be supposed, that he was the chief priest (הָראשׁ). We fail
to identify his name with any in the typical list of I Chronicles 6:4-15, where the
Azariah of v. 11 is too early, and the Azariah of v. 13 too late, for our present
Azariah. With him four score priests. This passage suggests to us an idea
of how many deeply interesting details are wanting, which would fill in the
interstices of Old Testament history. Probably the intention of the king,
ambitious to simulate the self-assumed religious ways of neighboring
Gentile kings, was no secret; and possibly the king may have given time for
the chief priest to collect his auxiliaries, through some ostentatious display
on his own part, in the very performance of his desecration. The number
and the character of these helping priests (בְּנֵי־חָיַל) give the idea that they
had their work to do, and purposed doing it promptly, or that they would
over-awe, and obviate the use of actual force, by their imposing number.
18 “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 honor from the LORD God.”
They withstood. A somewhat more forcible rendering would
be justified by the Hebrew text, such e.g. as, “They confronted Uzziah to
his face,” or “They stood in the way of Uzziah,” since our “withstood”
almost always conveys the idea of argumentative confronting only. There
was expostulation here, as we are immediately told, but there was
something else also, as v. 20 makes very plain, “They thrust him out.”
19 “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.” Render, Then Uzziah was wrath, and in
his hand (at that moment) was a censer to burn incense, etc. From the most
literal rendering of the Hebrew text, not unfrequently the most forcible Bible
English results. From beside; render, at the very side of (compare Numbers
12:10; II Kings 5:27).
20 “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.” They thrust him out. This hiph. conjugation of
kal בָּהַל does not point to the force adopted, but to the trembling anxiety
with which, for horror’s sake of such a monstrous catastrophe, as a leper by the
altar and with a censer in his hand, etc., the priests urged him out. Evidently,
from the next clause, no great force in the ordinary sense was needed. Yea,
himself hasted. The Hebrew verb is niph. conjugation of דָחַפ. It is
interesting to note that this root occurs only here and three times in Esther,
viz. 3:15; 6:12; 8:14. Uzziah can scarcely have been ignorant that he had
been daring the utmost penalty of the Law (Numbers 16:31, 35; 18:7).
21 “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.” And dwelt in a several house. The Hebrew for
“several house” is הַחָפְשׁות: the parallel (II Kings 15:5) showing yod instead
of van in the last syllable. The verbal root is חָפַשׁ, and occurs once
(Leviticus 19:20, with the Authorized Version rendering “was free;” in
the same verse is also found a feminine noun derived from it, and rendered
in the Authorized Version “freedom’’). The adjective חָפְשִׁי occurs sixteen
times, and is always rendered in the Authorized Version “free,” except
once “at liberty” (Jeremiah 34:16). The “freedom” conveyed by the
word is that of separation, in the use of it as found here. The leper and the
house in which he lived were kept free from contact with others
(Leviticus 13:46). Gesenius appears, however, to prefer the idea of
“infirmity,” “sickness,” as determining the cast of the meaning of the word
in our text, and goes so far as to translate it an “hospital,” quoting the
word of Suidas, τὸ νοσοκομεῖον.
A Clouded Close (vs. 16-21)
We could have wished that the end of Uzziah’s life had answered to the
beginning; that a reign which began so well, which had so commendable
and even distinguished a record, had closed in light and honor. But it was
not to be. That powerful temptation which assails the strong and the
victorious proved too powerful for the Hebrew king; he fell beneath its
force, and he paid a heavy penalty for his fall. We have:
the leper we have one who occupied the highest place in the kingdom
brought to an estate which the meanest subject in the realm, who had the
hue of health in his cheeks, would not have accepted in place of his own;
we have one in whose presence it was once an honor to stand, and whose
face it was a high privilege to behold, reduced to such a condition that it
was a kindness for any one to be with him, a pain for any eye to regard
him, a sacrifice and defilement for any one to touch him; we have a man
whose presence once brought highest honor to the home the threshold of
which he might condescend to cross, now brought so low that no humblest
householder in the land could or would permit him to pass his door; we
have a man who did stand foremost in every religious privilege, debarred
from entering the outer court of the sanctuary; we have one who had spent
his manly energies in all forms of happy and useful activity, shut up in a
separate house and secluded from affairs; we have an instance of complete
humiliation, and we cannot fail to be affected by it if we dwell upon all that
it meant to the unhappy subject of it.
inquire — Why this terrible visitation? And we find that it was because the
king invaded the
permitted by law. To any one judging superficially, the sentence may seem
severe and indeed excessive. It may seem unjust to visit one day’s wrongdoing,
one act of guilt, with a heavy penalty for life — a penalty that
disabled and disqualified, as leprosy did, for all the duties and all the
enjoyments of human life. But we have not to look far to find the reason.
Ø It was of the first importance that the royal power should not presume
upon ecclesiastical functions. It was not a mere question between king and
priest; that would have been small enough. It was a question whether God
should continue to rule, through His chosen officers, over the nation, or
whether the king should set aside the divinely given Law, and practically
make himself supreme. To defy and disobey one of the clearest and one of
the most emphatic precepts in the Law, and to assume a prerogative which
God had strictly confined to the priestly order, was a step that was
revolutionary in its character and tendency, that was calculated to overturn
the most sacred traditions, and to break up the ancient usage as well as to
lessen that sense of the Divine separateness and sanctity which it was the
first object of the great Lawgiver to fasten on the mind of the people. It
was a daring and a dangerous innovation, which nothing but overgrown
presumption would have attempted, and which demanded the most striking
and impressive rebuke that could be administered. The sentence was
judicial, and was intended to warn all others from acts that were injurious,
and from an ambition that was unholy.
Ø It was the punishment, not merely of one sinful action, but also of a
guilty state of heart. Uzziah would not have done this sacrilegious action if
he had not fallen from the humility, which is the first condition of true
piety, into a state of condemnable spiritual pride. “His heart was lifted up;”
“his heart was haughty, and his eyes were lofty,” and therefore he wanted
to “exercise himself in things too high for him” (Psalm 131:1). Much
success had spoiled him, as it spoils so many in every land and Church. It
had made him arrogant, and human arrogance is a moral evil of the first
magnitude, displeasing in a very high degree to the Holy One of Israel,
utterly unbecoming in any one of the children of men, exposing the soul to
other sins, requiring a strong and sometimes even a stern discipline that it
may be uprooted from the heart and life. It may be hoped, and perhaps
believed, that in the “several house” (v. 21) in which Uzziah afterwards
lived, he learned the lesson which God designed to teach him, humbled his
heart before his Maker, and came to bless that pruning hand which dealt so
severe a stroke to save the vine from fruitlessness and death.
o Shrink from intruding where God does not call you. But, more
o Recognize the fact that success in any sphere is a “slippery place,”
and calls for much self-examination and much earnest prayer for
humility and simplicity of spirit.
22 “Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet,
the son of Amoz, write.” Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah the prophet asserts that his
prophetic inspiration was in Uzziah’s time (Isaiah 1:1; 6:1), or we
should have taken for granted that, as he was alive in the time of Hezekiah,
grandson to Uzziah, he wrote of Uzziah only from hearsay and previous
records. It must be concluded, accordingly, that Isaiah’s inspiration as a
prophet was early in his own life, that the beginning of it dated not long
before the end of Uzziah’s career, and that his life was a prolonged one,
while still the most part of the acts first and last of Uzziah, which he
wrote, must have consisted of a compilation from other treatises and
perhaps partly from tradition.
23 “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.”
In the field of the burial which belonged to the kings. The
parallel simply says, “with
his fathers in the city of
however, both from the somewhat remarkable words in our text, “the field
of the burial” (i.e. the burial-field), and from the following clause, for they
said, He is a leper, we may understand that, though it was in the “city of
David” that he was buried, and “with his fathers” so far forth, and also that
he lay near them, yet his actual sepulcher was not one with theirs, any
more than his house of late had been one with the house he had known so
well (see Condor’s ‘ Handbook to the Bible,’ p. 341).
The Reign of Fifty-two Years Spoiled in an Hour (vs. 1-23)
Many a reign, indeed, was a spoiled reign which had begun well, promised
well, and continued well for some length, of time. But the reign of Uzziah,
all the reigns of
that of Manasseh, and particularly full of prosperity, and remarkably varied
prosperity within, of success in just foreign wars, and of that which led to
these things, viz. the most gracious tokens of the Divine approval and help
— was all to be wrecked in an hour apparently, so far as King Uzziah was
concerned. His people, indeed, were not stricken for his sin. Nor were his
priests, whose loyal fidelity to their high office and sacred charge and
whose faithful courage shone out to great advantage; but for the king
himself, whenever his defection occurred, all the harvest of many years of a
well-spent and hitherto glorious reign was “blown quite away” by — surely
only such it can have been — “one cunning bosom sin”! The preacher may
fix close and detailed attention on:
OF UZZIAH’S REIGN. All this left little to Uzziah to desire, and little to
be desired for him. They should have paved the way for an honorable,
peaceful, restful old age, with the blessings of a nation and a nation’s God
not a sin of the world, nor a sin of the flesh, and though undoubtedly it was
a sin of the devil, it must rather be written, the sin of the devil. It was akin
to the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Numbers 16:1-35). It was
akin to the turning sin of the life of the first king, Saul. It was, we may
perhaps say, akin to the sin of those “angels who lost their first estate.”
(Jude 1:6) It was a sin particularly legislated against (Numbers 18:1-7). It is
one, probably in our own days, and through all Christendom’s past ages of
history, more largely at work and more malignant, and of more dire
disaster to priests even and people, than may be generally imagined. It
harbors itself, not in the flesh, and not in the heart, but in the spirit. It is
ambition ecclesiastical, and unbridled! It is a snatching at spiritual
function, domination, and claim of authority, unauthorized! It is a zeal of
self-exaltation and self-display, where self’s very vesture should be the
vesture of purity and of obedience! With Uzziah it was technical sacrilege.
It none the less surely covered real sacrilege, which his spirit desired,
sought, and defiantly dared. The opportunity here may be well utilized by
the preacher for dwelling on and explaining the scripturally described triple
designation of human nature, “body, soul, and spirit.”
SPIRIT. We do not, indeed, know the birth of this sin in Uzziah at all —
when it was, what favored it, when or how it peeped out first to view.
Though it seems, as we read it, as though it were absolutely the evil
suggestion of an hour in Uzziah, yet the preparation so easily matured by
Azariah, when he followed “into the temple after Uzziah, and with him
fourscore priests of the Lord, valiant men,” seems to indicate that those
true ministers of the temple were to some degree forewarned and apprised
of what was going to be attempted. The cunningness was that this
particular disposition and impulse to sin had lain dormant for many a year
of useful, good, and perhaps holy work. And the subtleness of it ranges
with the truth that higher intellects and higher intelligences are exposed to
higher, finer, and more refined forms of temptation, the highest to the
highest, Let men say what they wilt in derogation and superficial
disparagement of the inviolable sacredness of the offices and services and
sacraments of the Church — differencing them from the older typical
dispensation, when they differ not at all, except in demand of higher
reverence and more spiritual unfeigned observance — it is indisputable
that the most solemn warnings of apostles and Epistles point in this same
direction of protest against all the offspring and widespread family of
sacrilege. It is, indeed, in and of the very genius of Christianity to hallow
intentions, vows, determinations, and works of religion with a sacredness
all their own. The rush and rage of modern national life may overwhelm
and sweep away many an old and many a sacred boundary, but the might is
not the right. And the might that seems to usurp successfully, as Uzziah’s
was not given to do, is inflicting only the deadlier blow and more inwardly
leprosy meant, marked, sin’s last, typical chastisement for the body. And
sin’s last daring attempt of the spirit is stricken down with this loathsome
stroke and scourge. It made the sinner hasten away to make if he could his
escape; it makes the sinner loathe himself; it is the dread earnest of his
shut-off, “let-alone,” solitary condemnation. And one thing only — THE
BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST — has efficacy to cleanse that leper. Though
the principle cannot safely be applied either by Job’s comforters or any
modern successors of them, yet the nature and severity of a punishment
roughly measure the significance of the sin, the steps of which it tracks.
And Uzziah’s sin and punishment, startling as they are in their own
connection, have been also written as admonition that might be greatly
needed as the wayward ages should flow onward, even to our own, and
perhaps to the end.
Uzziah the Leprous (vs. 16-23)
Ø The cause of it.
o Pride. “His heart was lifted up.” This the inevitable tendency of too
much material and temporal prosperity (Deuteronomy 8:13-14).
§ Amaziah (ch.25:18-19; II Kings 14:9),
§ Sennacherib (ch. 32:31; II Kings 18:19-35),
§ Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:30-34; 5:20).
o Ignorance. He perceived not that his heart was being lifted up “to his
destruction.” Had he foreseen the consequences of his rash act, he
might have paused. But questions of right and wrong must be
determined without regard to temporal results. Only none need
remain in ignorance of this, that the path of holiness is the path of
safety (Proverbs 3:17), whatever be its external issues; and that the
way of disobedience, however promising to appearance, is and
must be the way of peril and doom (Proverbs 4:19).
Ø The nature of it. “He went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense
upon the altar of incense,” i.e. he took upon himself the priestly function of
ministering before Jehovah in the holy place. Whether in doing so he
conceived himself to be following in the steps of David and Solomon
(Thenius, Ewald, Stanley) may be doubted. It is not clear that either of
these sovereigns ever offered incense in the sanctuary proper, though they
frequently officiated at the offering of sacrifices in the outer court on the
occasion of religious festivals (Bertheau, Keil, Bahr). More likely is the
view that Uzziah desired to ape the potentates of the world generally, as
supreme priests (pontifices maximi), with other priests to aid them,
conducted temple-worship in honor of the gods. In any case, what he did
expressly violated the Divine Law, which reserved the privilege of entering
the holy place and ministering therein exclusively for the priests
(Exodus 30:7-8; Leviticus 16:2, 12-13; Numbers 18:1-10). The statement of
tempted Uzziah to forget himself was the celebration of some high national
Ø The aggravations of it. He committed this offence:
o When he was strong; when his empire was at the height of its
splendor, and himself at the top of his fame; when his kingly
magnificence was in full bloom, and his regal heart had everything
it could desire — in short, when he ought to have been supremely
contented and happy, without aspiring after more.
o Against God through whose assistance he had climbed to the
pedestal of earthly renown on which he stood, thereby furnishing a
proof of monstrous ingratitude quite on a level with that of his
father Amaziah (ch.25:14).
o In spite of the remonstrance of Azariah the priest and eighty
colleagues, who, going into the sanctuary after him, courageously
reminded him of the heinous character of his proposed action, as an
invasion of the province Jehovah had set apart for the Aaronic
priesthood, fearlessly commanded him to leave the sacred edifice,
and warned him of the peril he incurred in thus defying the
ordinance of God. Men who have God upon their side
have no need to be afraid of kings. Nothing emboldens the
human spirit like a consciousness of right (Psalm 27:1).
o With outburst of kingly rage. According to Josephus, he threatened
to kill Azariah and his colleagues unless they held their peace
(Proverbs 19:12; 16:14). Wrath often leads to murder.
Ø Sudden. The Lord smote him (II Kings 15:5) where he stood, within
the holy place, censer in hand, attired in a priestly robe, fuming at Azariah
and his eighty assistants, ready, in defiance of one and all, to go through
with the unhallowed project he had in hand. Foolish Uzziah! Jehovah, who
all the while was looking on (ch. 7:16; Habakkuk 2:20), simply stretched
forth his invisible finger, and the daringly sacrilegious act
arrested. According to Josephus (‘
great earthquake shook the ground, splitting the mountain on which the
city stood, and making in the temple dome a rent, through which the sun’s
rays, shining, fell upon the king’s face, insomuch that the leprosy seized on
him immediately (compare Amos 1:1; Micah 1:4; Zechariah 14:5).
Ø Severe. The leprosy brake forth (or rose as the sun) in his forehead. (On
the nature of this disease, consult the Exposition.) The same punishment
inflicted on Miriam for speaking against Moses (Numbers 12:10), and on
Gehazi for lying to Elisha (II Kings 5:27). The severity of the stroke
measured the greatness of the sin for which it fell.
Ø Conspicuous. “The chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him,
and, behold, he was leprous.” The signs and tokens of this plague had been
laid down in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 13). Like the mark upon Cain’s
brow (Genesis 4:15), the spot upon Uzziah’s forehead proclaimed him
an object of Divine wrath. Many suffer on account of their transgressions
whose chastisement is not visible to their fellow-men; that Uzziah’s was
perceptible to Azariah and his colleagues was a proof of the heinous
character of his offence, while it served as a warning to others. One of
Jehovah’s purposes in inflicting punishment on evil-doers is to convince
beholders of the horrible iniquity of sin, and deter them through “the terror
of the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:11.) from its commission.
Ø Humiliating. The priests thrust the stricken king from the sacred
dwelling; yea, the king himself “hasted to go out.” Moreover, he was
henceforth as an unclean person, cut off from the congregation of Jehovah
(Leviticus 13:45-46; Numbers 5:2), and, because of the infectious
nature of his malady, lodged in “several house,” i.e. a lazar-house, or
infirmary. As the leprosy, in its spreading, wasting, corrupting, loathsome,
contagious, incurable character, was a hideous emblem of sin, so the
exclusion of the leper from the congregation, and his isolation from the
society of his fellows, was an impressive picture of the fate reserved for
unpardoned sinners (Psalm 1:5-6). It must not, however, be assumed
that Uzziah died in impenitence.
Ø Fatal. It ended in DEATH AS ALL SIN DOES! (Ezekiel 18:4; Romans
6:23). Yet sin is not incurable by Divine power any more than leprosy was.
As Miriam, Naaman, and the man who came to Christ (Matthew 8:2)
were cleansed, so may the sinful soul be RENEWED! (I John 1:7).
Ø Posthumous. Uzziah’s punishment followed him after death. His people
buried him, indeed, but not in the royal mausoleum, only in its
neighborhood, in the field of burial which belonged to the kings, lest his
leprous dust should defile that of his fathers.
Ø The danger of prosperity.
Ø The sin of pride.
Ø The unlawfulness of will-worship.
Ø The certainty that GOD CAN PUNISH SIN!
Ø The hopelessness of those who die in sin.
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