Uzziah’s rule as king of Judah

Chapter 15

Uzziah’s rule as king of Judah

v1 Uzziah, Amaziah’s son, began his rule as king of *Judah. He did so in the 27th year of Jeroboam’s rule. Jeroboam was king of *Israel. v2 Uzziah began to rule when he was 16 years old. He ruled in Jerusalem for 52 years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. v3 He did what pleased the *Lord. He did what his father Amaziah had done. v4 But he did not remove the places where people *worshipped on the high hills. The people continued to offer *sacrifices there and they continued to burn *incense there.

v5 The *Lord made Uzziah suffer with a serious disease in his skin. Uzziah had that disease for the rest of his life. He lived in a house alone. He did not perform his duties as the king. Jotham his son was in command of the palace. And Jotham ruled over the people in the country.

v6 You can read about all the other events during Uzziah’s rule. And you can read about all the things that he did. They are in the history of *Judah’s kings. v7 Uzziah died. People buried him near the royal graves in David’s city (Jerusalem). Jotham his son became the king after him.

Uzziah (also called Azariah) began to rule together with his father in 790 *B.C.. He became the king alone after his father died in 767 *B.C.. Uzziah did what was right. He *worshipped God at the *temple. But he did not remove the places where people *worshipped on the high hills.

Like his grandfather Joash and his father Amaziah, Uzziah was loyal to God during the first part of his rule. A man called Zechariah taught Uzziah to serve God. But after Uzziah’s successes, Uzziah became proud.

2 Chronicles chapter 26 gives further information about Uzziah’s rule. He defeated the army of Philistia. And he defeated an army from Arabia. Uzziah built tall buildings to protect Jerusalem. Soldiers could stand at the top of those buildings. From there, they could see their enemies a long distance away. Uzziah’s soldiers even invented new military equipment. They had machines that could shoot arrows. And they had machines that could throw stones. So there was much progress during Uzziah’s rule.

Uzziah had many skills. He built new buildings. He encouraged people to work with agriculture. He had a large and powerful army. But he also wanted to do the work that the priests did. He tried to burn *incense in the *temple. That was a terrible *sin. The *Lord had ordered that only the *descendants of Aaron could be priests. So Uzziah’s action was *rebellion against God. The priests tried to stop Uzziah so that he would not carry out his *sin. They told him that he was not loyal to God. They urged him to stop. But Uzziah became very angry. Immediately, Uzziah became ill. The front of his head became white because of a serious skin disease. When everyone saw this, they hurried him out of the *temple. For the rest of his life, he had to live alone. His son became the king. This story warns us too: we must not become proud. We must only *worship God in the manner that he wants us to.

Uzziah’s punishment was less severe than the punishment of other people who were guilty of similar *sins. Nadab and Abihu died in Leviticus 10:1-2. Korah and his followers died in Numbers 16:31-35. But God was kind to Uzziah. That is why his punishment was less severe. God allowed Uzziah to live. Of course, Uzziah had to be humble after that event. Because of his illness, Uzziah could not enter the *temple again. He could not continue to rule. And even when Uzziah died, his grave was not among his *ancestors’ graves. People considered that he should have a separate grave because of the circumstances.

Zechariah’s rule as king of *Israel

v8 Zechariah, Jeroboam’s son, became king of *Israel in Samaria. That was in the 38th year of Uzziah’s rule. Uzziah was king of *Judah. Zechariah ruled for 6 months. v9 He *sinned against the *Lord, as the kings before him had done. He did the same *sins as Nebat’s son Jeroboam had done. Earlier, Jeroboam had caused the *Israelites to *sin.

v10 Shallum, Jabesh’s son, plotted against Zechariah. Shallum attacked Zechariah in front of the people and he killed Zechariah. Then Shallum became the king instead of Zechariah. v11 You can read about all the other events during Zechariah’s rule. They are in the history of *Israel’s kings. v12 So this *prophecy that the *Lord gave to Jehu became true. ‘Your *descendants until the fourth (4th) *generation will be kings of *Israel.’

This passage explains how the rule of Jehu’s family ended. Their rule lasted for 4 *generations (2 Kings 10:30). Zechariah only ruled for 6 months and then Shallum murdered him.

The final period in the history of *Israel (the northern *kingdom) had begun. The country would exist for only another 30 years. During those years, there was a series of kings. Most of those kings obtained power when they murdered the previous king. There were many revolutions and many wars. In the end, the army of Assyria would overcome *Israel.

Shallum’s rule as king of *Israel

v13 Shallum, son of Jabesh, became the king (of *Israel). That happened in the 39th year of Uzziah’s rule. Uzziah was king of *Judah. Shallum ruled for one month in Samaria. v14 Then Menahem, Gadi’s son, went from Tirzah to Samaria. Menahem attacked Shallum, Jabesh’s son, in Samaria. Menahem killed Shallum and Menahem became the king.

v15 You can read about the other events during Shallum’s rule. That includes the plot that he led. The account is in the history of *Israel’s kings.

v16 On his way from Tirzah city, Menahem attacked the city called Tiphsah. And he attacked its people. The people in the city did not open the city’s gates to him. So he attacked also the territory that surrounded the city. Menahem destroyed the city. He even tore open the wombs of the women that were expecting babies. (A womb is the part of a woman’s body where she carries a baby before its birth.)

Shallum only ruled for a month. Then Menahem killed him. Menahem was very cruel, as we learn from the story. He attacked Tiphsah because its inhabitants would not support him. He wanted to frighten anyone else who might try to oppose him.

Menahem’s rule as king of *Israel

v17 Menahem, son of Gadi, became king of *Israel. He did so in the 39th year of Uzziah’s rule. Uzziah was king of *Judah. Menahem ruled in Samaria for 10 years. v18 He *sinned against the *Lord during his entire rule. He did the same *sins as Nebat’s son Jeroboam had done. Earlier, Jeroboam had caused the *Israelites to *sin.

v19 Tiglath-Pileser, the king of Assyria, entered *Israel and he attacked it. Menahem gave him 34 tons of silver. Menahem wanted Tiglath-Pileser to support him so that Menahem could increase his own power over the country (*Israel). v20 Menahem forced the people in *Israel to give that money to him. He made each rich man give one and a quarter pounds (more than half a kilo) of silver. So the king of Assyria took the silver and he went away. He did not remain in the country.

v21 You can read about all the other events during Menahem’s rule. And you can read about all the things that he did. They are in the history of *Israel’s kings. v22 Menahem died and people buried him. Pekahiah his son became the king after him.

By the time of Menahem’s rule, Assyria had become a very powerful country. Menahem realised that he could not defeat the army from Assyria. So he decided to pay the king of Assyria for a peace agreement (see Hosea 5:13). The price was large and, of course, Menahem did not pay the money himself. Instead, he forced the people to pay taxes. Menahem collected the silver then he paid it to Assyria’s king. Menahem realised that Assyria’s king would then support him. So Assyria’s king helped Menahem to deal with the people that opposed Menahem. Then the king of Assyria went away. But he only went away for a short time, as we learn later in this chapter.

When Menahem died, people buried his body. Then his son became king. Menahem was the last of *Israel’s kings to receive a proper grave among his *ancestors’ graves.

Pekahiah’s rule as king of *Israel

v23 Pekahiah, son of Menahem, became king of *Israel. That happened in the 50th year of Uzziah’s rule. Uzziah was king of *Judah. Pekahiah ruled in Samaria for 2 years. v24 Pekahiah *sinned against the *Lord. He did the same *sins as Nebat’s son Jeroboam had done. Earlier, Jeroboam had caused the *Israelites to *sin. v25 One among Pekahiah’s officers, Remaliah’s son Pekah, plotted against Pekahiah. Pekah took 50 men that were from Gilead with him. And he killed Pekahiah in the royal palace in Samaria. Pekah also killed Argob and Arieh. Then Pekah became the king.

v26 You can read about all the other events during Pekahiah’s rule. And you can read about all the things that he did. They are in the history of *Israel’s kings.

Pekahiah ruled for only 2 years. Then one of his own officers opposed him.

*Israel was in a terrible state at this time. The *prophets Amos, Hosea and Isaiah described how cruel the leaders of *Israel had become. It seems as if nobody trusted anyone else. The king could not even trust the leader of his army. They were all evil men. And they were all eager to carry out their ambitions. Pekah plotted his attack carefully. He entered the royal palace with 50 soldiers to support him. There, he murdered the king and two other important men. Then Pekah appointed himself to be the new king.

Pekah’s rule as king of *Israel

v27 Pekah, son of Remaliah, became king of *Israel. That was in the 52nd year of Uzziah’s rule. Uzziah was king of *Judah. Pekah ruled in Samaria for 20 years. v28 He *sinned against the *Lord. He did the same *sins as Nebat’s son Jeroboam had done. Earlier, Jeroboam had caused the *Israelites to *sin.

v29 While Pekah was king of *Israel, Assyria’s king Tiglath-Pileser *captured some cities in *Israel. Those cities were Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. Tiglath-Pileser also *captured the regions called Gilead and Galilee. In Galilee, he *captured all the area where Naphtali’s *descendants lived. Tiglath-Pileser forced the people from these places to live in Assyria. v30 Then Hoshea, Elah’s son, plotted against Pekah, Remaliah’s son. Hoshea killed Pekah and then Hoshea became the king. That happened in the 20th year of Jotham’s rule. Jotham, Uzziah’s son, was king of *Judah.

v31 You can read about all the other events during Pekah’s rule. And you can read about all the things that he did. They are in the history of *Israel’s kings.

Pekah ruled for 20 years. He had a strong army. He made an agreement with the king of Syria. Together, they tried to attack *Judah (16:5; Isaiah chapter 7). And they had great success (2 Chronicles 28:5-8). But, as Isaiah *prophesied (Isaiah 7:16-17), God would send a much stronger army against both *Israel and Syria. That enemy was the king of Assyria. During Pekah’s rule, Assyria’s king *captured several cities in Pekah’s country *Israel. The king of Assyria also *captured larger areas of Pekah’s territory. He took some people away from those places. Those people included the entire *tribe of Naphtali. The king of Assyria forced all those people to leave their homes. He forced them to live and to work in Assyria. God had said that it would happen. So this *prophecy that God had given started to become true. ‘You must listen to what I say. If you do not listen, then… I will scatter you among the nations. Your enemies will destroy your cities.’ That is in Leviticus 26:27-33.

In the end, another powerful man called Hoshea murdered Pekah. There is an account of Hoshea’s rule in chapter 17. Hoshea would be the last king of *Israel, that is, the northern *kingdom.

Jotham’s rule as king of *Judah

v32 Jotham, Uzziah’s son, began to rule as king of *Judah. That was in the 2nd year of Pekah’s rule. Pekah, Remaliah’s son, was king of *Israel. v33 Jotham was 25 years old when he became the king. He was the king in Jerusalem for 16 years. His mother was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. v34 Jotham did what pleased God. He was like his father Uzziah. v35 However, he did not remove the places where people *worshipped on the hills. People continued to offer *sacrifices there and they continued to burn *incense there. Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the *Lord’s *temple.

v36 You can read about all the other events during Jotham’s rule. And you can read about the things that he did. They are in the history of *Judah’s kings. v37 At that time, the *Lord allowed Syria’s king Rezin and Remaliah’s son Pekah (*Israel’s king) to attack *Judah. v38 Jotham died. People buried him in the royal graves in David’s city (Jerusalem). Jotham’s son Ahaz became the king after him.

Jotham ruled well. He built the higher gate to the *temple. He *worshipped the *Lord. He could not stop all the evil things in his country. But he encouraged people to do the right things.

2 Chronicles chapter 27 contains a record of his successful war against Ammon. That chapter says that Jotham became a powerful king. And it adds that Jotham remained loyal to the *Lord.

Verse 33 says that Jotham ruled for 16 years. But verse 30 refers to the 20th year during his rule. Probably this means that Jotham ruled alone for 16 years. But afterwards he ruled for 4 more years while his son Ahaz was the official king. And then Pekah died in the 20th year of Jotham’s rule, as verse 30 says.