Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament2 CHRONICLES 26
THE REIGN OF UZZIAH (AZARIAH IN KINGS) OVER JUDAH
IX. UZZIAH (783-742 B.C.)
UZZIAH SUCCEEDS AMAZIAH AS KING
And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah. He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers. Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign; and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Jechiliah, of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. And he set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the vision of God: and as long as he sought Jehovah, God made him to prosper.
Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign
(2 Chronicles 26:3). The youth of Uzziah probably accounts for the fact that the conspirators against Amaziah waited so long to murder him; for they had surely determined to do so as soon as he worshipped the gods of Edom, an event that took place when Uzziah was an infant.
He did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah
(2 Chronicles 26:4). As in the case of his father, this only means that he began well. Later in the chapter, we learn of the corruption that fell upon him.
His was a long and powerful reign indeed. "He successfully defended Judah against the belligerent Ammonites, Philistines and Arabians, developed a strong standing army, and rebuilt the nation's fortifications. He even reopened the Red Sea port of Eloth, and promoted commerce."F1 Eloth is the same as Ezion-geber.
THE RECORD OF UZZIAH'S MIGHTY ACHIEVEMENTS
And 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 he built cities in [the country of] Ashdod, and among the Philistines. And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gur-baal, and the Meunim. And the Ammonites gave tribute to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entrance of Egypt; for he waxed exceeding strong. Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning [of the wall], and fortified them. And he built towers in the wilderness, and hewed out many cisterns, for he had much cattle; in the lowland also, and in the plain: [and he had] husbandmen and vinedressers in the mountains and in the fruitful fields; for he loved husbandry. Moreover Uzziah had an army of fighting men, that went out to war by bands, according to the number of their reckoning made by Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the officer, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king's captains. The whole number of the heads of fathers' [houses], even the mighty men of valor, was two thousand and six hundred. 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. And Uzziah prepared for them, even for all the host, shields, and spears, and helmets, and coats of mail, and bows, and stones for slinging. And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by skilful men, to be on the towers and upon the battlements, wherewith to shoot arrows and great stones. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.
THE PRESUMPTION, SIN, AND PUNISHMENT OF UZZIAH
But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up, so that he did corruptly, and he trespassed against Jehovah his God; for he went into the temple of Jehovah to burn incense upon the altar of incense. And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of Jehovah, that were valiant men: and they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It pertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto Jehovah, 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 Jehovah God. Then Uzziah was wroth; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense; and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy brake forth in his forehead before the priests in the house of Jehovah, beside the altar of incense. 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 quickly from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because Jehovah had smitten him. And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a separate house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of Jehovah: and Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land. Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write. So Uzziah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the field of burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.
This writer has diligently studied the Bible, and the commentaries that men have written concerning it, for the greater part of a long lifetime; and the most unbelievable, the most ridiculous, and the most fraudulent comments we have encountered regarding God's Word are such as the following from Jacob M. Meyers:
"The misfortune that befell the king, his leprosy, was due directly to his violation of the priestly prerogatives set up by the P Code."F2
This explanation offered here in Anchor Bible harmonizes completely with what many modern liberal and radical scholars teach; but there are some Gargantuan reasons why their position regarding that imaginary P Code must be rejected by believers. Throughout our commentaries we have continually stressed the weak and precarious grounds which underlie the speculation that postulates any such code. Throughout the Holy Bible, it is referred to again and again as the Law of God given through Moses; and that is what Uzziah violated. The Bible verse that teaches this is not in Deuteronomy but in Exo. 29:29. If it had been only a man-made prerogative, fraudulently invented and imposed upon God's people by unscrupulous priests, which Uzziah violated, GOD WOULD NOT HAVE PUNISHED HIM BY STRIKING HIM WITH LEPROSY! If the P Code inventors want us to believe their fairy tale, let them explain why God smote Uzziah with leprosy.
Oh yes, their defense is merely to deny what is written here; but this circumstantially reported episode is obviously that of nearly a hundred eye-witnesses! The king himself renounced his authority on account of it; and it was officially attested and proved by his burial, not in the tombs of the kings, but in a field nearby. All the critics on earth cannot get rid of what is written here.
Furthermore, the allegation, made to back up their speculations, that David, Solomon, and Ahaz indeed sometimes offered incense in the temple, while true enough, is not relevant. In a million years their violations of God's Word could not justify Uzziah's doing so. Throughout the Samuels, the Kings, and the Chronicles, the sins of David and Solomon read like a complete anthology of human wickedness. We challenge the liberal and radical commentators to name one sin of any description that either Solomon or David, or both of them, did not commit.
What Uzziah actually violated here was the divine instructions of God himself through Moses in the Pentateuch (Exodus 29:29). Saul lost his kingship for failing to respect those very restrictions; and that was centuries prior to the alleged date of the imaginary P Code.
And speaking of the P Code, Where is it? Who has ever seen it? And just what was in it? It is our opinion that no genuine scholar has any right to appeal to imaginary documents.
Footnotes for 2 Chronicles 26
1: Everyone in the Bible, p. 350.
2: The Anchor Bible, Chronicles, p. 153.