Who was Azariah (Uzziah)?
He was the son of Amaziah king of Judah. He became king at the age of sixteen when his father died (2 Kings 14:21, 15:1-2, and 2 Chronicles 26:1). He was also known as Uzziah (see 2 Chronicles 26:1). He reigned a total of fifty-two years (2 Kings 15:2 and 2 Chronicles 26:3). “His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem” (2 Kings 15:2 and 2 Chronicles 26:3). He was a powerful and successful leader (2 Chronicles 26:8-15).
How does the Scripture appraise the reign of Azariah (Uzziah)?
“He did right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 15:3 and 2 Chronicles 26:4) but he failed to remove the high places (2 Kings 15:4). “He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah” (2 Chronicles 26:5). We do not know for certain the identity of this particular Zechariah. Like Joash of Judah who did what was right while Jehoiada was alive (see 2 Chronicles 24:2), Uzziah did right “in the days of Zechariah.” The Scripture adds that “as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him” (2 Chronicles 26:5).
Practical Consideration: God is under no obligation to bless those who do not seek Him.
The Scripture records that “as long as [Uzziah] sought the Lord, God prospered him” (2 Chronicles 26:5). 2 Chronicles 16:9 states, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” David wrote, “For it is Thou who dost bless the righteous man, O Lord, Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield.” God is under no obligation to bless any man who does not seek Him. We cannot live lives that are displeasing to God and expect to experience the blessings of God.
What were some of the accomplishments of Uzziah?
He was successful in his military campaigns against the Philistines, Arabians, Meunites, and Ammonites (2 Chronicles 26:6-8). He fortified the nation militarily and had a well- organized army (2 Chronicles 26:6-15). He had a reputation that was far-reaching (2 Chronicles 26:8, 15).
What was Uzziah’s undoing?
2 Chronicles 26:16 summarizes the causes of Uzziah’s undoing: “But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. ”
Uzziah’s pride was his undoing. He entered the temple of the Lord and presumed to do the work of a priest. Azariah the priest and a contingency of 80 priests entered the temple to confront Uzziah who became enraged at the confrontation (see 2 Chronicles 26:17-19). At that moment leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests (see 2 Chronicles 26:19-20).
Uzziah then hastened out of the temple and spent his last years of life as a leper. His son Jotham assumed administrative/judicial responsibilities during Uzziah’s last years as a leper (see 2 Chronicles 26:21).
Practical Consideration: The road to destruction is paved with pride.
Uzziah became increasing filled with himself with every success. He lost his spiritual bearings when he focused his attention on his accomplishments. He lost sight of God when he turned his eyes on himself. Pride blinds men to anything bigger or greater than themselves. Men become corrupt and presumptuous when they are intoxicated with pride. Pride pays in dividends of destruction. Proverbs 16:18a states, “Pride goes before destruction.” Proverbs 29:23a records, “A man’s pride will bring him low.” The road to destruction is paved with pride. Uzziah’s pride was his undoing.
Who was Zechariah?
He was the son of Jeroboam who became king of Israel after his father’s death (2 Kings 15:8). Like all of the kings of Israel before him, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam” (2 Kings 15:9). He was killed by a man named “Shallum the son of Jabesh” (2 Kings 15:10). Zechariah reigned only six months (2 Kings 15:8). He was the final king in the line of Jehu to sit on the throne of Israel as promised by God (2 Kings 15:12 and see also 2 Kings 10:30 and Item 1 1 on page 29 of these notes for more information).
How long did Shallum the usurper reign?
Shallum reigned a total of one month in Samaria (2 Kings 15:13) before he was assassinated by Menahem (2 Kings 15:14). His reign was the second shortest in Israel’s history. Zimri’s reign was the shortest, lasting only seven days (1 Kings 16:15).
Practical Consideration: Men who advance themselves by dishonest means must “sleep with one eye open!”
Israel had several men who usurped the throne by assassinating the reigning king. Zechariah was assassinated by Shallum. Shallum was assassinated by Menahem. Menahem’s son Pekahiah was assassinated by Pekah. Pekah was assassinated by Hoshea. Proverbs 10:9 states, “He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.” The man who advances himself by dishonest means must always look over his shoulder lest he be overtaken by another as wicked as himself.
How long did Menahem reign over Israel?
Menahem’s reign lasted ten years (2 Kings 15:17). His ten year reign was characterized by evil and a failure to depart from the sins of Jeroboam (2 Kings 15:18). He also perpetrated some terrible atrocities on the people of Tiphsah because they refused to open the city to him (2 Kings 15:16). During his reign, Pul (better known as Tiglath-pileser), the king of Assyria, came against Israel. Menahem paid a thousand talents of silver (about $2,000,000) to Pul to keep him from devastating Israel. He then exacted the money from the wealthy people of Israel (2 Kings 15:19-20). After his death, his son Pekahiah became king in his place (2 Kings 15:22).
Practical Consideration: It is difficult to deal with problems without help from the Lord.
When the Assyrian King Pul invaded the land of Israel, King Menahem of Israel gave him a great deal of money to keep him from devastating Israel. When King Ahaz of Judah was having problems with his adversaries he took treasures from the house of the Lord and his own treasuries to try to secure the help and cooperation of the King of Assyria. The Bible tells us that ‘it did not help him” (2 Chronicles 28:21). The Lord invites us to turn to Him for help when we are in trouble. He invites us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us (see 1 Peter 5:7). There are only two ways to deal with problems, with or without the Lord’s help.
Who was Pekahiah?
Pekahiah was the son of Menahem and became king of Israel after his father’s death (2 Kings 15:23). He became king of Israel two years before Azariah (Uzziah) king of Judah died (2 Kings 15:23 and 15:2). His evil reign lasted only two years (2 Kings 15:23-24). He was assassinated by “Pekah son of Remaliah” (2 Kings 15:25), an officer in his army.
Practical Consideration: We should do good while we have the opportunity.
The writer of Kings found nothing noteworthy in the reign of Pekahiah. The Biblical record simply indicates that his two year reign was characterized by evil and a failure to depart from the sins of Jeroboam. How sad that when Pekahiah became king he did not use his position and influence and reign to do good. How sad that when the deeds of his life were totaled the sum of the equation was evil.
What does the Bible tell us about the reign of Pekah?
Pekah became king over Israel the year that Azariah (Uzziah) king of Judah died (2 Kings 15:27 and 15:2). His reign was evil and displeasing to the Lord like that of every king of Israel who preceded him (2 Kings 15:28). The Northern Kingdom lost much of its territory to the Assyrians during Pekah’s twenty year reign (2 Kings 15:29). He was assassinated by “Hoshea the son of Elah” who “became king in his place” (2 Kings 15:30).
What does the Bible tell us about Jotham?
Jotham was the son of Uzziah. He became king of Judah when he was twenty-five years old and reigned a total of sixteen years (2 Kings 15:32 and 2 Chronicles 27:1). The Bible tells us that “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 15:34) and “became mighty because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 27:6). He led his kingdom in several building projects (2 Chronicles 27:3-4) and successful military campaigns against the Ammonites who paid him tribute for three years (2 Chronicles 27:5). His son Ahaz became king when he died (2 Kings 15:38 and 2 Chronicles 27:9).
Practical Consideration: God’s way is always best.
Some people see God’s way and instructions as an alternative or an option. Some people like to pick and choose what part of God’s law they will obey. Some people do not like to be inconvenienced by commands in God’s Word that require them to forsake sinful ways. Some people prefer their relationship with God and His Word to be on their terms and not His. We must realize that God’s way is always best. King Jotham of Judah did what was right in God’s sight and understood that God’s way is always best. The Living Bible paraphrases 2 Chronicles 27:6, “King Jotham became powerful because he was careful to follow the path of the Lord.”