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King Uzziah of Judah
1-2 After King Amaziah died, all the people of Judah appointed his son Uzziah, who then was 16 years old, as their king. One of the things that happened while he was the king was that his men captured Elath town on the Gulf of Aqaba and rebuilt it.
Uzziah ruled in Jerusalem for 52 years. His mother was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem. Uzziah did things that Yahweh consdered to be good, like his father Amaziah had done. He tried to please God while the priest Zechariah was living, because Zechariah taught him to revere God. As long as Uzziah tried to please God, God enabled him to be successful.
Uzziah and his army started to fight against the army of Philistia. They tore down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod cities. Then they rebuilt the towns near Ashdod and in other places in Philistia. God helped them to fight the army of Philistia and the Arabs who lived in the town of Gur-Baal and the descendants of Meun who had come to that area from Edom. Even the Ammon people-group paid taxes to Uzziah each year. So Uzziah became famous as far as the border of Egypt, because he had become very powerful.
Uzziah’s workers built watchtowers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and at the place where the wall turns, and they placed weapons in them. 10 They also built watchtowers in the desert and dug many wells. They did that to provide water for a lot of the king’s cattle that were in the foothills and in the plains. Uzziah liked farming, so he also stationed workers to take care of his fields and vineyards in the hills and in the fertile areas.
11 Uzziah’s army was trained for fighting battles. They were in groups that were always ready to go into battle. Jeiel, the king’s secretary, and Maaseiah, one of the army officers, counted the men and placed them in groups. Hananiah, one of the king’s officials, was their commander. 12 There were 2,600 leaders of those groups of soldiers. 13 In the groups that those leaders commanded there were a total of 307,500 well-trained soldiers. It was a very powerful army which was ready to help the king fight against his enemies. 14 Uzziah gave to each soldier a shield, a spear, a helmet, a vest made of iron plates, a bow and arrows, and a slingshot. 15 In Jerusalem his skilled workers made machines to put on the watchtowers and on the corners of the walls, to shoot arrows and to hurl large stones. He became very famous even in distant places, because God helped him very much and enabled him to become very powerful.
16 But because Uzziah was very powerful, he became very proud, and that led to his being punished. He disobeyed what Yahweh his God had commanded. He went into the temple to burn incense on the altar where God had said that only the priests should burn incense. 17 Azariah the Supreme Priest and 80 other brave priests followed him into the temple. 18 They rebuked him and said to him, “Uzziah, it is not right for you to burn incense to honor Yahweh. That duty is only for the priests, those who are descendants of Aaron our first Supreme Priest! You must leave immediately, because you have disobeyed Yahweh our God, and he will not honor you for what you have done!”
19 Uzziah had in his hand a pan for burning incense. He became very angry with the priests, but suddenly there was leprosy on his forehead. 20 When Azariah the Supreme Priest and all the other priests who were there looked at him, they saw the leprosy on his forehead, so they quickly took him outside. And truly the king was eager to leave the temple, because he knew that it was Yahweh who had caused him to have that leprosy, and he did not want it to become worse.
21 King Uzziah had leprosy until he died. And because he had leprosy, he lived in a house that was not near other houses, and he was not allowed to enter the courtyard of the temple. His son Jotham supervised the palace and ruled the people of Judah.
22 A record of all the other things that Uzziah did while he was the king of Judah was written by the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz. 23 Because Uzziah was a leper, when he died, they would not bury him in the tombs where the other kings were buried. Instead, he was buried in a nearby cemetery that the kings owned. Then his son Jotham became the king of Judah.