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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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UZZIAH . 1 . A king of Judah. See next article. 2 . A Kohathite Levite ( 1 Chronicles 6:24 ). 3 . The father of an officer of David ( 1 Chronicles 27:25 ). 4 . A priest ( Ezra 10:21 [ Esther 9:21 Esther 9:21 Azarias ]). 5 . A Judahite ( Nehemiah 11:4 ).

UZZIAH , also called AZARIAH , was king of Judah after his father Amaziah. His name was Azariah originally, whether abbreviated in popular usage or corrupted in the written form can no longer be made out with certainty. His reign is said to have been fifty-two years in length. Religiously he is classed among the good kings ( 2 Kings 15:1 ff.). The only event recorded of this king by the Book of Kings is the restoration of Elath, the town at the head of the Gulf of Akabah. As his father Amaziah had conquered Edom, we conclude that this nation had revolted at the accession of Uzziah. The re-building of Elath ( 2 Kings 14:22 ) points to some attempt at commerce, but of this our sources say nothing. We should be glad to know whether the subjection of Judah to Israel effected by Jehoash continued in this reign; but here again we are left to conjecture. The Chronicler ( 2 Chronicles 26:1-23 ) knows, indeed, of successes against the Philistines, Arabs, and Ammonites, as well as of extensive building operations, but the traditions drawn upon by this author are not always reliable.

The additional fact related by the Book of Kings is that the king was a leper. On account of this disease he withdrew from public business, and his son Jotham acted as his representative (2 Kings 15:5 ). This regency, as it may be called, may account for some of the chronological difficulties of the period. Uzziah seems not to have been compelled to leave his palace. The Chronicler has the story of a conflict between Uzziah and the priesthood, according to which the monarch attempted to usurp the function of the chief priest and offer incense. For this the plague was sent upon him, after which he was thrust out as unclean.

Uzziah has been supposed to be mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions in connexion with a campaign of Tiglath-pileser in the Lebanon region. But it is now generally conceded that the inscription in question has reference to some prince of Northern Syria.

H. P. Smith.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Uzziah'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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