II Chronicles 27



This chapter of nine verses is paralleled by the seven verses of II Kings

15:32-38. It consists of personal particulars respecting Jotham (vs. 1-2);

his building and his wars (vs. 3-6); a reference to his further doings (v. 7);

an exact repetition of a part of the first verse (v. 8); his death, burial,

and. successor (v. 9).


1 Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and

he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was

Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok.”  Jerushah. This name in the parallel

is spelt with a final aleph instead of he. Nothing else is known of Jerushah,

nor of her father Zadok.


2 “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD,

according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not

into the temple of the LORD. And the people did yet corruptly.”

Howbeit. This word purports to render the Hebrew רַק, which

might find a more telling reproduction in such a phrase as “and moreover.”

It has been said, wherein his father did right, so did he; and to his clear

advantage, where his father went wrong, he did not. The people did yet

corruptly. The parallel, in its v. 35, specifies in what this consisted, viz.

that they continued the high places, burning incense and sacrificing at them.

The early chapters of Isaiah depict forcibly the extent of this national

apostasy, and the heinous offensiveness of it in the Divine sight.



Uzziah and Jotham, Father and Son (vs. 1-2)


From the slight materials we have here, and those still more scanty in the

Book of Kings, we may glean:



FATHERHOOD. He did, indeed, enjoy a very good estate; the “lines fell

to him in pleasant places, and he had a goodly heritage.” (Psalm 16:6)  He

had the highest position in the land, power, wealth, a large and noble

sphere for great natural ability and honorable ambition (ch.  26:6-15).

But more precious than all of these to the king’s heart, we may be sure,

was the possession of a true, loyal, godly son and successor. That which

touches us in our home affections either stirs within us the deepest and

purest joy or awakens the profoundest and most poignant grief. An

unworthy son, a “thankless child,” an heir who is likely to overturn all that

we have laboriously built up, will make the very sweetest enjoyments and

the fairest earthly possessions to lose ill their charm and be of no account

to us. But such a son as Jotham is to his father the crown of prosperity and

the comfort of adversity. From royal cares the king goes home to find, in

conjugal and in filial affection, a contentment and a peace, an exhilaration

and a joy, which no glittering gewgaws and no obsequious attentions are

able to command. We do not know how highly Uzziah prized the virtue

and the attachment of his son during his earlier and happier years, but we

may be well assured that, when the hand of God was upon him, and he was

separated from the society of men, he found in Jotham’s regency and in his

filial sympathy a priceless mitigation to his loss, an invaluable treasure in

his loneliness and his decline. Parents may think that their professional or

household duties make it impossible for them to afford time for the

teaching and training of their children, for the culture of their Christian

character; but they ought to know that, whatever their other claims may be,

they cannot afford to neglect their parental duty. (If a parent neglects

his work, it will forever be undone!)  If they do neglect it, they

will leave undone that which will make them immeasurably poorer than

they might become a few years further on.



FATHER’S CHARACTER. He inherited great things from his father, the

king; but from his father, the servant of Jehovah, he gained one that

outweighed them all the influence for good of a godly man. He “did

what was right… according to all that his father did.” It was very largely,

indeed, to his father’s example that he owed his own character for piety

and purity. And what is there in the most splendid surroundings, or in the

most attractive positions, that is to be compared with that? They will

perish, but that will endure; they will soon lose their charm, but it will

always he precious beyond all price; they are relatively, but that is

intrinsically and eternally, valuable. We may not have to thank our parents

for a fortune or a dowry — it matters little; we may have to thank them for

a bright and beautiful example — that matters much, indeed everything.



FATHER TAUGHT, “Howbeit he entered not [profanely and intrusively]

into the temple of the Lord.” God rebuked his father, Uzziah, for this

flagrant transgression, rebuking at the same time his pride of heart, his

spiritual decline (see homily on ch. 26:16-21, “A           Clouded Close”).

Doubtless Uzziah himself understood the meaning of that heavy

blow, and bowed his heart beneath it; he “was in subjection to the Father of

spirits, and lived.” (Hebrews 12:9)  In that lingering death of leprosy he found

life in penitence and in return to God. Jotham, his son, also learned the lesson;

and, instead of giving way to haughtiness of heart in the days when he was

mighty (v 6), he retained his integrity before the Lord.


Ø      We may not plead our father’s deficiencies, excesses, or disobediences

as an excuse for our own. If they erred or sinned, they also suffered for

their error, for their guilt. And their experience should be a warning

which we should heed, and not an example which we foolishly follow.


Ø      We should give God heartfelt thanks for all the gracious influences

which come to us in our home-life, and regard them as of the very

best gifts that come from his Divine hand.


Ø      We should have it as a sacred and honorable ambition to confirm (and

not to destroy) the work of those who went before us. If we do thus

live, our fathers will be living on in us and through us, and if we

cannot immortalize their name, we can perpetuate their influence.


Ø      We may hope that such filial devotedness will be rewarded by parental

rejoicing in those whom we shall leave behind, to whom we shall commit

the fruit of our labor.


3 “He built the high gate of the house of the LORD, and on the wall of Ophel

he built much.”  The high gate. In the parallel, rendered in the Authorized

Version the “higher” gate, the Hebrew (חָעֶלְיון) being the same in both

places. The Revised Version shows “upper gate” in both places. It was

probably the gate which led from the palace to the temple’s outer court

(see ch. 23:20, and note there). On the wall of Ophel; Hebrew, הָעפֶל; i.e.

the ophel, which may be Anglicized  “the swelling ground.” It was the extreme

south end of the spur which gradually narrowed southward, and which was the

continuation of the Bezetha hill, bounded by the brook Kedron on the east, and

the Tyropceon on the west.  This extreme south part called the Ophel sank into

the bounding valleys to the Kedron precipitously and to the Tyropeon gradually.

Pp. 328-335 of Condor’s ‘Handbook’ (2nd edit.), and specially pp. 332-334,

well repay a thorough study. A ditch was cut across the narrowest part of the

ridge, which separated the temple hill itself from the Bezetha hill. In these parts

fortifications were built, and no doubt to such it is our text calls attention.


4 “Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he

built castles and towers.” The mountains of Judah; Hebrew, בְּהַר; Revised

Version, hill country of Judah, the Hebrew text being in the singular number

(compare particularly Joshua 9:1, where the Har is evidently placed in

contrast with the Shefelah). Castles; Hebrew, בִּירָנִיּות (so ch. 17:12). The

meaning is that he built forts (Isaiah 2:15; Hosea 8:14).


5 “He fought also with the king of the Ammonites, and prevailed

against them. And the children of Ammon gave him the same year

an hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat,

and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Ammon

pay unto him, both the second year, and the third.”

He fought… the King of the Ammonites. No allusion is made

to the matter of this verse in the parallel, which contains a statement of the

Syrian Rezin’s attack or threatened invasion of Judah; as well as Pekah’s,

son of Remaliah King of Israel. Of the Ammonites’ defeat by Uzziah we

have just heard (foregoing chapter, v. 8). A general statement is all that is

made there of the gifts or tribute, they then had to pay. The present tribute

was a heavy payment, and enforced for three, years. The “wheat” and

barley,” in which payment was largely made bespeak the fertile arable

quality of the Ammonite land, and this is noticed by travelers to the

present day.


6 “So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before

the LORD his God.”  The virtue of the reflection of this verse is apparent.

Prepared;  Hebrew, הֵכִין; Revised Version, ordered; with some others

(such as “set straight,” etc.), a good rendering in keeping with other

Old Testament renderings of words betokening moral habitude.



The Accumulation of Spiritual Power (v. 6)


“So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the Lord

his God;” or, because “he made his ways firm before Jahveh.” Whatever

may be the exact rendering of the passage, and whatever may be the

precise shade of thought intended to be conveyed, it is clear that Jotham’s

might or his strength in the kingdom is referred to his continuance in the

service of the Lord. And thence we gain the truth that true power is to be

sought and found in permanent piety, in walking with an unfaltering step in

the ways of Divine wisdom and of human obedience. Power of the truest

and highest kind is not the endowment of a moment; it is not a suddenly

acquired possession; it is a growth, an accumulation; it is the “long result ‘

of a faithful service. It is:



mighty” swordsman is the man who is strong at all points of attack and

defense; as the “mighty” speaker is he who has all possible qualifications

for interesting, convincing, and persuading men; so the “mighty” man of

God is he who has acquired all the various excellences which we are able

to secure. “Giving all diligence,” we are ‘to add to our faith virtue; and to

virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance,” etc. (II Peter 1:5-6).

“Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good

report,” we are to think upon and, of course, to pursue and to acquire.

(Philippians 4:8)  We are to “build ourselves up on our holy faith.”

(Jude 1:20)  And building up is a work that is not done in a day nor in a

year. It is a work of time. And the strong character thus formed is the

accumulated result of many spiritual activities, protracted over many years.



mighty man, in a spiritual sense, who is not:


Ø      A large possessor of Divine wisdom. A superficial. knowledge of Divine

truth may serve for a while in simpler and subordinate positions; but he

who occupies an important post, to which large responsibilities and

delicate duties belong, must be furnished with a large measure of spiritual

sagacity. And this can only be gained by serving the Lord for many years

and in many ways. It is the acquisition of one whose “ways have been firm

before Jehovah;” who has been living before God, and learning of Him from

year to year, from period to period.


Ø      A man of much self-command. A hasty or impulsive man is necessarily a

weak man. Only those who can control themselves can command their

fellows or direct affairs. Patience, self-possession, the ruling of our own

spirit — this is an essential condition of all real strength; and this, again, is

the work of long-continued struggle and discipline. It is the harvest of

strenuous effort and of earnest prayer; it is a steady, spiritual accumulation.


Ø      One that has acquired skill and strength in exercise and activity. No

man can do a thing really well till he has first done it imperfectly and

tentatively. Excellency is always the fruit of practice, of patient, continuous

endeavor. And here, again, is gradual acquisition or accumulation.


Ø      One that enjoys a good measure of esteem. It is the man of whom we

say, “We know the proof of him;” the man who has approved himself in

many a field of labor and in many a flood of trial; to whose words we

listen, whose will we obey, whom we permit to guide and rule us. And, of

all things, esteem is the product of consistency and beauty in life, of much

walking “in the ways of Jehovah.”



power, or might, is, to some extent, an endowment; it is a direct gift of

God. But it is far from being wholly so. In the kingdom, large or small,

over which we are placed, we may “become mighty;” we may rise to

influence; we may make our mark, which will not soon, if ever, be erased.


Ø      By a thorough consecration of ourselves to Jesus Christ and His cause;

Ø      by consistency and excellency — by blamelessness and beauty of life

and spirit;

Ø      by earnestness of purpose and endeavor;

Ø      by prayer for Divine communications (Ephesians 3:16;

Colossians 1:11); — we also may “become mighty” to bear our

witness, to overcome our foes, to do our work before we die.


7 “Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all his wars, and his ways,

lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.”

All his wars (see note on v. 5, and parallel, v. 37). The book of the kings

of Israel and Judah. Note carefully the parallel, v. 36, and also v. 6 of

same chapter, entries of Judah kings, and compare vs. 11, 15, 21, 26, 31

of the same chapter. (II Kings 15.), entries of Israel kings.


8 “He was five and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned

sixteen years in Jerusalem.  9 “And Jotham slept with his fathers,

and they buried him in the city of David: and Ahaz his son reigned in his

stead.”  This verse is identical with so much of v 1 as has to do with

same subject; that it is no mere careless repeated insertion, however, is

evidenced by the name Jotham in that verse, in the place occupied by was

in this verse.



The Blameless Reign of a Son who Followed All that was Good

in a

Father’s Example, and Took Warning of what was Wrong in It. 

        (vs. 1-9)


The preacher may take occasion, from the apparently scant contents of this

chapter, to enlarge on the general subject of example as a force in human

life, pointing out its strong points and its weaker side; what is requisite to

give it a steady and equable influence, and how there is only one perfect

Example an Example always and in all things and by all worthy to be

followed. Point may be given to the subject, as based on this chapter, by

observing how it reminds us that:



AND COPIED IN EVERY RESPECT. The most filial son may not look to

the wisest, kindest, and most religious father as an absolutely safe guide

and model in everything; and so, through the whole range and operation of

the relationships, and the influences in them for good even, which affect

our character and are prone to dominate our life.







is, in such cases, to see that errors, defects, peculiarities, mannerisms, are

what are copied first, while the weightier qualities and objects of imitation

are overlooked! As if we imitate perfectly our human model, much is still

wanting of Divine perfection, and which in our measure it is quite possible

to incorporate; so, if we imitate slavishly, we are putting in what had better

be left cut, and are often caught putting it in, even at the expense of

omitting the worthier things.





DONE OR ATTAINED. It offers our thought and our moral nature a

stepping-stone; it leads us on by the analogy to take the advantage of

higher endeavour and of a higher model.





PRAYER WILL DO VERY MUCH TO FIT US. As in so much else these

three moderating and directing forces reap God’s blessing and gain safe

practical results, so assuredly they will here, in what is a delicate grace to

bloom and flourish in any circumstances, viz. that of discrimination. Jotham

was made wise in this respect above many others, and his brief but very

expressive and unique biography is therefore written without one single

reproach or blot.



    Features of an Honorable Life: Jotham (vs. 1-9)


But little of Jotham’s reign is recorded in Scripture, and his name is seldom

on our lips. But he was a man of worth and wisdom; and, considering the

comparative brevity of his life, we may say that he contributed much to his

country. We learn from the account in II Kings 15:5:



for some time during his father’s illness, he, “the king’s son, was over the

house, judging the people of the land.” This was an admirable arrangement

for the country and for the young prince; for it had the advantage (which

the son could not fail to obtain) of the experience of Uzziah; and he was

learning the great art of ruling, while his responsibility was shared by one

much wiser and stronger than he. It is an excellent thing for the young, in

every sphere, to be placed where they can be gathering wisdom before they

carry the heavy burden of a weighty responsibility.



GOOD MAN. (v. 2.) (See previous homily on “Uzziah and Jotham,

father and son.”)



OUTWARD. First, “he built the high gate” of the temple (v. 3); that was

beginning at the very center, at “the house of the Lord,” which was

morally, if not geographically, the central spot in the kingdom. Then he

made some additions to the wall of Jerusalem (v. 3). Then, moving

outward, he built fortified cities in the mountains, and castles in the forests

of Judah. And. then, going further afield, he warred with Ammon, and

compeled it to pay tribute (v. 5). This is the true order. Let solicitude

and activity begin at the center; let them begin at the very center — at a

man’s own heart and character; let them move outward — to those in the

home circle, to the kindred, to the Church; and then to those still further

away — to fellow-countrymen, to fellowmen everywhere. A

circumscribed activity is altogether a mistake; but we must begin with

ourselves, becoming right at heart, and then we may and should move

outward in our sympathies and our endeavors.



GODLY CHARACTER. (v. 6.) (See succeeding homily.)





Ø      He could not effect all the reforms he would have liked to carry out, and

he had to witness some evil-doings which must have grieved his spirit.

“The people did yet corruptly” (v. 2).


Ø      Foreign invasion began to threaten the kingdom (I Kings 15:37).


Ø      He found himself sick unto death at an age (forty-one) when he might

have expected to do great things, and to be much to the people whom he

ruled. It was an honorable and useful life that Jotham lived; one to be

remembered and to be followed in its salient features. Like him:


o        we should see that we inherit that which is the best from our fathers;

o        pursue the right steadfastly, without swerving, even to the end;

o        beginning at home, we should extend our influence as far as we can

send it;

o        be prepared to lay down our weapons in the midst of our days. And

how much better to die, as Jotham did, leading all men to wish that

he had lived longer, than, as so many others have done, compelling

their best friends to wish that they had died sooner! It matters little

when the night of death comes; but it matters much that, during the

day of life, we do our work well and bear our burden with a brave

and patient heart.




A Brief Record of a Bright Reign (vs. 1-9)




Ø      Of honorable parentage.


o        His father Uzziah, though guilty in his lifetime of a great sin (ch. 26:16),

and dying under a cloud (ibid. v. 21), was essentially a sincere worshipper

of Jehovah. Good men may commit acts of wickedness, from the temporal

consequences of which they cannot, in their lifetime, shake themselves

free, (e.g. Moses, Jacob, David); yet are their characters and standing

before God not to be judged by these, but by the whole course of their

earthly careers.


o        His mother Jerushah, a native of Jerusalem (Josephus, ‘Ant.,’ 9:11. 2),

and the daughter of Zadok — if this was the high priest mentioned in

I Chronicles 6:53 (Bertheau) — was probably a woman of piety.

Incalculable is the influence of mothers in determining the characters

of sons (e.g. Jochebed, Eunice, Monica, Susanna Wesley).


Ø      Of excellent character.


o        He followed in his father’s steps in so far as these were good (v. 2),

which was all he was warranted to do (Acts 4:19). Religion is doubly

influential upon the young when recommended by the example of devout

fathers and mothers. Who would make others good, himself must be

good. Irreligious parents are not likely to succeed in the godly

upbringing of their children.


o        He avoided the mistake his father had committed (v. 2). Mistakes of

ourselves or others are not actions to be repeated or patterns to be copied,

but beacons to be observed and paths to be shunned. Whether, had Uzziah

not been “stricken of the Lord,” but permitted to assume the priest’s

office, Jotham would have discontinued the practice as an unwarrantable

intrusion into a province that belonged not to kings, may be doubtful; it

was to his credit that he was able to interpret the lesson of God’s judgment

on his parent, and meekly acquiesce in the same (Psalm 119:75, 120).


o        He persevered in the right way in spite of the sinful practices of his

people. These “did corruptly” (v. 2), i.e. worshipped idols, sacrificed,

and burnt incense in the high places (II Kings 15:35); and were sunk in

deplorable immorality (Isaiah 2:6-9, etc.; 5:7, etc.; Micah 1:5; 2:1, etc.).

Compare the phrase used of the Babylonian tower-builders on the

monuments: “Babylon corruptly to sin went” (‘Records,’ etc., 7:131).

Jotham stood alone, or nearly so, in an extremely degenerate age;

ike Noah in the antediluvian world (Genesis 7:1), Lot in Sodom

(II Peter 2:8), and Daniel in Babylon (Daniel 6:13); which heightens

one’s idea of both the nobility of his character and the strength of his

piety. It requires a strong man, intellectually and morally, to be singular,

and especially to be good, when goodness is unpopular and immorality

with irreligion holds the field. “This king was not defective in any virtue,

but was religious towards God and righteous towards men” (Josephus).




Ø      The duration of his success. Throughout his entire reign of sixteen

years. If his father’s reign was longer and more brilliant, his was more

symmetrical and complete. If he was a more obscure monarch than his

father, he was probably as good a man.


Ø      The nature of his success.


o        His buildings were important.


§         He restored and beautified the upper gate of the temple (v. 3),

i.e. the northern gate, which led into the inner court (Ezekiel

8:3,5,14), and was called “upper” probably because it stood

upon higher ground than the gates upon the south (Ezekiel 9:2).

His reason for such architectural ornamentation most likely was,

either that it formed the principal entrance to the temple (Bertheau),

or that there the burnt offerings were washed; compare Ezekiel

40:38 (Bahr). In beginning with the temple, Jotham observed

the right order:


ü      first the things of God, and then those of man;

ü      first religion, and then business;

ü      first the claims of Heaven, and then those of earth.


§         He added to the city fortifications. “On the wall of Ophel,”

which ran along the southern slope of the temple hill and joined

the temple wall at the southeastern corner, at the turning of the

wall (ch. 26:9), where his father before him had raised erections,

he built much.” As Solomon’s palace, on the southern slope,

was considerably lower than the temple, Jotham may have had

a good deal of building.


§         “In the mountains of Judah,” on the military roads, he erected

fortified cities or garrisons; and in the forests or wooded hills,

where such “cities” could not be placed, he constructed “castles

and towers” (v. 4). Thus, while like a good man he honored God,

like a prudent sovereign he looked well to the safety of his



o        His wars were victorious.He fought with the Ammonites, and

prevailed against them” (v. 5), compelling them to resume payment of

the tribute which Uzziah had imposed upon them (ch. 26:8),

but which they had discontinued. If, after two payments, the tribute (“a

hundred talents of silver,” with “ten thousand measures

of wheat, and ten thousand of barley”) ceased, this was probably due

to the incursions of Rezin of Syria and Pekah of Israel (II Kings 15:37)

having enabled them to successfully assert their independence. Probably

in close connection with this subjection of the Ammonites was his

annexation to the kingdom of Judah of the trans-Jordanic tribe of Gad,

of whose population he made a registration according to their genealogies,

doubtless for the purpose of imposing an assessment (I Chronicles 5:17).


o        His reputation was high. If barely realizing the ideal of uprightness or

perfection contained in his name (Jotham, equivalent to “Jehovah” is,

upright,” or “perfect),” he yet maintained an untarnished escutcheon.

Though a man s funeral cannot always be accepted as an index to his

moral excellence (Luke 16:22), yet the circumstance that when Jotham

died he was interred in the royal mausoleum, “in the city of David,” was

a proof he had done nothing to forfeit the good opinion of his subjects.

Contrast the burials of;


§         Joash (ch. 24:25),

§         Uzziah (ch. 26:23), and

§         Ahaz (ch. 27:27).


Ø      The explanation of his succces. Neither the wealth of his kingdom,

which was “full of silver and gold” (Isaiah 2:7), nor the size of his

army, “The land [in his day] was also full of horses, neither was there any

end of chariots” (ibid.), nor the splendor of his merchant navy, which consisted

of ships of Tarshish (ibid. v. 16), accounted for the remarkable prosperity of this

sovereign’s reign. If, on the one hand, these were rather signs and results of the

flourishing condition of the nation; on the other hand, they were ominous of,

and contributory to, the nation’s decay. Not only did these in no way diminish,

but, on the contrary, fostered and increased the worst characteristics of the

people a love of luxury, which evinced itself amongst the women in a

passion for finery and dress  (ibid. ch. 3:16-24), amongst the men in

licentiousness and oppression, witchcraft and soothsaying (ibid. ch. 2:6; 3:9),

amongst both in haughtiness and self-conceit (ibid. ch. 2:17), a thirst for war

(ibid. ch. 2:7), and an infatuation for idolatry (ibid. v. 8). The real secret of

the kingdom’s prosperity lay in the piety of its king. Judah was blessed

because Jotham “prepared [or, ‘ordered’] his ways before the Lord”

a clear case of imputation of merit and of vicarious blessing. Jotham

systematically and studiously guided his personal and official actions

by a regard to the Divine Law, and Jehovah caused him to become mighty.

“Them that honor me I will honor” (I Samuel 2:30). No piety likely to be

either deep or permanent that does not spring from well-considered choice

and lead to scrupulous obedience. A good man may pray, “Order my steps in

thy Word” (Psalm 119:133), knowing that “it is not in man that walketh to

direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23), and that a good man’s steps are

ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23); if a truly good man, he will try to

answer his own prayer (Psalm 101:2), in doing which he has God’s

encouragement (Psalm 50:23). Rehoboam prepared neither his heart

nor his way, and consequently went astray (ch. 12:14).




Ø      The best men are often the least known.

Ø      A life short in years may be long in influence.

Ø      The danger of inferring inward stability from outward prosperity.




"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."


This material can be found at:



If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.