2 Chronicles 26:1. Uzziah is called Azariah in 2 Kings 14:21.
2 Chronicles 26:5. Uzziah sought God in the days of Zechariah. This good priest being dead, as above, it must mean that Zechariah had established a course of religious instruction for youth, and that this prince had been educated by Jecoliah his mother, in those happy rudiments. He had understanding in the visions of God, and was a learned expositor of the law.
2 Chronicles 26:6. Brake down the wall of Jabneh, twelve miles from Gath, and near the rock of Etam, where Samson was surprised. It is called Jamnia in 1 Maccabees 4:15.
2 Chronicles 26:10. He built towers in the desert, for the defence of his flocks and estates. In every view he adorned his country, and multiplied his people.— It is recorded, that an earthquake happened during this reign, which is named by Amos the prophet: Amos 1:1. It shook the whole land of Judea; and in the course of the year the hiatus which had been opened, allowed the mountain west of Jerusalem to subside for the space of half a mile.
2 Chronicles 26:21. Uzziah the king was a leper. His error in seizing the censer is ascribed to regal pride; for many princes among the gentiles were both princes and priests; as Æneas king of Troy, and Agamemnon among the Greeks; yet we nowhere find that Cyrus exercised the office of a priest.
2 Chronicles 26:22. The rest of the acts of Uzziah—did Isaiah write. The rabbins very much lament the loss of this book.
Uzziah was not only happy in genius, but singularly so in his wise and learned tutor; and we have reason to believe that he took no false step while aided by Zechariah’s counsel. A religious guardian is worthy of double honour; the blessing he may prove to a prince or a great man can hardly be appreciated. Uzziah’s ascension to the throne was as the rising of the sun on the Hebrew horizon, after long seasons of dark and cloudy weather. In his wars to recover the covenant limits of his country, he was “helped of the Lord;” for he was faithful to the religion of his fathers, and God was faithful to him. He fortified his kingdom, defended the shepherds of the desert by towers, and distinguished himself by agriculture, which is the first blessing of national felicity. His civil and military arrangements at home very much discovered his wisdom, and contributed to the happiness of his people. His officers of various rank were two thousand and six hundred, and his whole force was three hundred and seven thousand men, out of which he retained a standing army, that he might instantaneously protect his subjects, or assert his rights; and happy is the people counted worthy of a gracious king. How much more glorious is Christ in the management of his kingdom; his enemies fall at his feet, and glory and peace attend his reign.
Worldly prosperity intoxicates the brain. In his intercourse with heathen princes Uzziah learned that they would sometimes burn incense on the altar; and therefore, forgetful of the law which restricted that to the priests alone, Exodus 30:7, he presumed, being no doubt a firstborn son, to assert a supposed right, it being honourable to burn incense to the Lord. In this he erred, and was presumptuous; for God had made the Aaronical priesthood typical of Christ. As to the right of prophesying, that was common to men of any tribe, being moved by the Spirit of God. But Christ being the Mediator between God and men, no man could take that honour to himself, “but he who was called of God, as was Aaron.” The pattern of the tabernacle was shown to Moses, and the pattern of the temple was shown to David, and delivered in writing to Solomon; and considering that Uzziah could not be ignorant of the death inflicted on the levite of his own name for putting the ark on a cart and touching it, and of the death of Nadab and Abihu for a deviation in using common fire, his sin was great. But after all, God, probably making some allowance for his intercourse with pagan princes, did not strike him dead. His punishment was mitigated, he was a leper for life; and though he retained the title of king, and was consulted in the affairs of state, yet he was excluded from the temple, from the palace, and from the mausoleum of his sires, being ignominiously interred in the adjacent field. Let all men therefore beware of the breath of an infidel tongue, lest it lead them so to speak and act against revelation and sacred things, as to bring God’s displeasure upon their bodies and souls. We have here very much to applaud the conduct of the priests. They united in courage and counsel, they followed him into the sanctuary; and destitute of carnal weapons, asserted their rights, and resisted the angry king in a bloodless war. It is happy for the church, happy beyond a name, when the house of God is filled with ministers who revere God more than men; yea, more than the princes of the earth. These are the true and faithful witnesses of the Lord, and shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
But excepting this one error of Uzziah, followed by so instructive a judgment, he was a very illustrious king. He reigned fifty two years; and the church was so afflicted by his death, that God saw it meet to give Isaiah a most remarkable vision. He saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lifted up: chap. 6. And this vision being applied to Jesus, John 12:41, we may be comforted at all times under the loss of good kings and good ministers, for the Lord still lives the glory and defence of his people.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 26". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany