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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

2 Chronicles 26

Verses 1-23

J. Uzziah ch. 26

The Chronicler gave us much more information about Uzziah than we have in Kings (2 Kings 15:1-7). Uzziah ("Yahweh is strong") was evidently the king’s throne name, and Azariah ("Yahweh helps") his personal name.

Uzziah, as his father, began well but ended poorly. The writer documented his fidelity to Yahweh and God’s consequent blessing of him and his kingdom at length (2 Chronicles 26:1-15). Perhaps 2 Chronicles 26:5 summarizes this best. To seek the Lord meant to seek to please Him by trusting and obeying Him.

Unfortunately, Uzziah took personal credit for what God had given him (2 Chronicles 26:16). The writer noted several times that Uzziah was strong (2 Chronicles 26:8; 2 Chronicles 26:15-16). His pride led to self-exaltation; he put himself above God.

"If he had only remembered the message of his names, that he was powerful because of the Lord’s help, he would not have fallen." [Note: Thompson, p. 330.]

The Mosaic Law permitted only the priests to offer incense in the temple (Exodus 30:1-10; Numbers 3:10; Numbers 3:38; Numbers 16:40; Numbers 18:1-7). The Davidic kings could offer sacrifices on the bronze altar in the temple courtyard, as could the ordinary Israelites. But Uzziah’s presumptuous act of offering incense in the holy place manifested rebellion against God’s will. For this reason God struck him with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:19). [Note: See E. V. Hulse, "The Nature of Biblical Leprosy," Palestine Exploration Quarterly 107 (1975):87-105.]

"He had not been one of the weak kings of Judah who was easily swayed by others (like Jehoshaphat) or too open and accommodating with the leaders in the north. But as is often the case with strong leaders, this virtue gave way to a headstrong, I-can-do-no-wrong attitude. It was precisely his strength that blinded him to the effrontery of his action." [Note: Thompson, p. 331.]

Uzziah’s leprosy meant he could no longer enjoy personal worship at the temple (2 Chronicles 26:21). Rather than caring for the temple and building it up as God had said David’s son would do, Uzziah could not even enter its courtyard. The king’s leprosy was an outward evidence of his inward uncleanness (cf. Isaiah 6:5).

Uzziah’s reign was the third in a "royal trilogy" of kings who began well but ended poorly: Joash, Amaziah, and Uzziah. Their histories show the reader how difficult, yet how important, it is to hold the confidence of right standing with God that we have at the beginning of our lives firm until the end (Hebrews 3:14). [Note: Allen, p. 345.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 26". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/2-chronicles-26.html. 2012.