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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Uzziah, the son of Amaziah, succeeds; and begins his reign piously and prosperously, which continued during the life of Zechariah the prophet, 2 Chronicles 26:1-5. He fights successfully against the Philistines, and takes and dismantles some of their chief cities, 2 Chronicles 26:6; prevails over the Arabians and Mehunims, 2 Chronicles 26:7; and brings the Ammonites under tribute, 2 Chronicles 26:8. He fortifies Jerusalem, and builds towers in different parts of the country, and delights in husbandry, 2 Chronicles 26:9, 2 Chronicles 26:10. An account of his military strength, warlike instruments, and machines, 2 Chronicles 26:11-15. He is elated with his prosperity, invades the priest's office, and is smitten with the leprosy, 2 Chronicles 26:16-20. He is obliged to abdicate the regal office, and dwell apart from this people, his son Jotham acting as regent, 2 Chronicles 26:21. His death and burial, 2 Chronicles 26:22, 2 Chronicles 26:23.
1Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.
The people of Judah took Uzziah - They all agreed to place this son on his father's throne.
2He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.
He built Eloth - See the notes on 2 Kings 14:21. This king is called by several different names; see the note on 2 Kings 15:1.
3Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.
4And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.
5And 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 - Who this was we know not, but by the character that is given of him here. He was wise in the visions of God - in giving the true interpretation of Divine prophecies. He was probably the tutor of Uzziah.
6And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines.
7And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.
And God helped him - "And the Word of the Lord helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians who lived in Gerar, and the plains of Meun." - Targum. These are supposed to be the Arabs which are called the Meuneons, or Munites, or Meonites.
8And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.
The Ammonites gave gifts - Paid an annual tribute.
9Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them.
10Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.
Built towers in the desert - For the defense of his flocks, and his shepherds and husbandmen.
And in Carmel - Calmet remarks that there were two Carmels in Judea: one in the tribe of Judah, where Nabal lived, and the other on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, near to Kishon; and both fertile in vines.
He loved husbandry - This is a perfection in a king: on husbandry every state depends. Let their trade or commerce be what they may, there can be no true national prosperity if agriculture do not prosper; for the king himself is served by the field. When, therefore, the king of a country encourages agriculture, an emulation is excited among his subjects; the science is cultivated; and the earth yields its proper increase; then, should trade and commerce fail, the people cannot be reduced to wretchedness, because there is plenty of bread.
11Moreover 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.
12The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred.
13And 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.
14And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.
Shields, and spears - He prepared a vast number of military weapons, that he might have them in readiness to put into the hands of his subjects on any exigency.
15And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.
Engines - to shoot arrows and great stones - The Targum says, "He made in Jerusalem ingenious instruments, and little hollow towers, to stand upon the towers and upon the bastions, for the shooting of arrows, and projecting of great stones."
This is the very first intimation on record of any warlike engines for the attack or defense of besieged places; and this account is long prior to any thing of the kind among either the Greeks or Romans. Previously to such inventions, the besieged could only be starved out, and hence sieges were very long and tedious. Shalmaneser consumed three years before such an inconsiderable place as Samaria, 2 Kings 17:5, 2 Kings 17:6; Sardanapalus maintained himself in Nineveh for seven years, because the besiegers had no engines proper for the attack and destruction of walls, etc., and it is well known that Troy sustained a siege of ten years, the Greeks not possessing any machine of the kind here referred to. The Jews alone were the inventors of such engines; and the invention took place in the reign of Uzziah, about eight hundred years before the Christian era. It is no wonder that, in consequence of this, his name spread far abroad, and struck terror into his enemies.
16But 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.
He transgressed against the Lord - "He sinned against the Word of the Lord his God." - T.
Went into the temple to burn incense - Thus assuming to himself the priest's office. See this whole transaction explained in the notes on 2 Kings 15:5 (note).
17And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:
18And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.
19Then 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.
20And 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.
Because the Lord had smitten him - "Because the Word of the Lord had brought the plague upon him." - T.
21And 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 - He was separated, because of the infectious nature of his disorder, from all society, domestic, civil, and religious.
Jotham - was over the king's house - He became regent of the land; his father being no longer able to perform the functions of the regal office.
22Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.
The rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet - write - This work, however, is totally lost; for we have not any history of this king in the writings of Isaiah. He is barely mentioned, Isaiah 1:1; Isaiah 6:1.
23So 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.
They buried him - in the field of the burial - As he was a leper, he was not permitted to be buried in the common burial-place of the kings; as it was supposed that even a place of sepulture must be defiled by the body of one who had died of this most afflictive and dangerous malady.