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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Hebrew - Uzziah, Uzzia

(uhz zi uh) Personal name meaning, “Yahweh is might.” 1. Descendant of Levi (1 Chronicles 6:24). 2. Father of one of David's treasurers (1 Chronicles 27:25).

3. Also known as Azariah (2 Kings 15:1,2 Kings 15:6-8,2 Kings 15:17,2 Kings 15:23,2 Kings 15:27); son and successor of King Amaziah of Judah. “All the people of Judah” declared Uzziah king when he was sixteen (2 Kings 14:21; 2 Chronicles 26:1). Some conjecture that the Judeans, rather than have King Joash of Israel install a puppet king, put Uzziah forward as king following Amaziah's defeat and subsequent imprisonment by Joash (2 Chronicles 25:21-24). According to this reconstruction, Uzziah began his reign about 792 B.C. and continued as joint regent after his father's release upon the death of Joash (2 Chronicles 25:25).

Uzziah's reign was a time a great material prosperity for Judah. Uzziah mounted a successful campaign against the Philistines, destroying the walls of some of their chief cities, Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod. To secure the caravan route along the Mediterranean coast (Via Maris), Uzziah built cities, perhaps military outposts, in the vicinity of Ashdod and at other sites on the Philistine plain (2 Chronicles 26:6). To secure the eastern caravan route (the King's Highway), Uzziah rebuilt Elat (Eloth), the strategic port on the gulf of Aqaba (2 Chronicles 26:2) and campaigned against the Arabs of Gurbaal (possibly Gur east of Beersheba), the Meunites (a branch of Edomites), and the Ammonites (2 Chronicles 26:7-8). Uzziah refortified the walls of Jerusalem with towers (2 Chronicles 26:9; compare 2 Chronicles 25:23). His construction of numerous cisterns and military outposts in the wilderness (the Arad Negeb) made widespread settlement possible. Archaeological evidence confirms that construction in the Negeb flourished during Uzziah's reign. Uzziah was a lover of the soil who promoted agriculture (2 Chronicles 26:10). Unlike his predecessors who relied on the troops to supply their own arms, Uzziah armed his troops with the most advanced weapons (2 Chronicles 26:11-15).

Uzziah is not so much remembered as the leader who brought Judah to a golden age rivaling David's and Solomon's empires, but as the “leper king.” The brief account of Uzziah's reign in 2 Kings 15:1-7 portrays the king as one who did what “was right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 15:3). No explanation for the king's affliction is given in Kings other than “the Lord struck the king” (2 Kings 15:5 NRSV). The Chronicler traced Uzziah's leprosy to his prideful attempt to ursurp the priestly prerogative of offering incense in the Temple (2 Chronicles 26:16-20; compare Numbers 16:1-40; 1 Samuel 13:8-15). Thereafter, his son Jotham reigned in his stead, though Uzziah likely remained the power behind the throne (1 Samuel 26:21). As a leper, Uzziah was denied burial in the royal tombs at Jerusalem. Rather, he was buried in a field (1 Samuel 26:23).

4. Postexilic priest with a foreign wife (Ezra 10:21). 5. Descendant of Judah and father of a postexilic resident of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:4).

Chris Church

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'UZZIA(H)'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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