Easton's Bible Dictionary
A contracted form of Azari'ah the Lord is my strength.
(1) One of Amaziah's sons, whom the people made king of Judah in his father's
stead ( 2
Kings 14:21 ; 2
Chronicles 26:1 ). His long reign of about fifty-two years was "the most prosperous
excepting that of Jehosaphat since the time of Solomon." He was a vigorous and
able ruler, and "his name spread abroad, even to the entering in of Egypt" ( 2
Chronicles 26:8 , 26:14
). In the earlier part of his reign, under the influence of Zechariah, he was
faithful to Jehovah, and "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" (
Kings 15:3 ; 2
Chronicles 26:4 , 26:5
); but toward the close of his long life "his heart was lifted up to his destruction,"
and he wantonly invaded the priest's office ( 2
Chronicles 26:16 ), and entering the sanctuary proceeded to offer incense
on the golden altar. Azariah the high priest saw the tendency of such a daring
act on the part of the king, and with a band of eighty priests he withstood him
Chronicles 26:17 ), saying, "It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn
incense." Uzziah was suddenly struck with leprosy while in the act of offering
incense ( 2
Chronicles 26:19 - 21
), and he was driven from the temple and compelled to reside in "a several house"
to the day of his death ( 2
Kings 15:5 , 15:27
Chronicles 26:3 ). He was buried in a separate grave "in the field of the
burial which belonged to the kings" ( 2
Kings 15:7 ; 2
Chronicles 26:23 ). "That lonely grave in the royal necropolis would eloquently
testify to coming generations that all earthly monarchy must bow before the inviolable
order of the divine will, and that no interference could be tolerated with that
unfolding of the purposes of God, which, in the fulness of time, would reveal
the Christ, the true High Priest and King for evermore" (Dr. Green's Kingdom of
(2) The father of Jehonathan, one of David's overseers ( 1
Chronicles 27:25 ).
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(strength of Jehovah)
(1) King of Judah B.C. 809-8 to 757-6. In some
passages his name appears in the lengthened form Azariah: After the murder of
Amaziah, his son Uzziah was chosen by the people, at the age of sixteen, to occupy
the vacant throne; and for the greater part of his long reign of fifty-two years
he lived in the fear of God, and showed himself a wise, active and pious ruler.
He never deserted the worship of the true God, and was much influenced by Zechariah,
a prophet who is mentioned only in connection with him. ( 2 Chronicles 26:5 )
So the southern kingdom was raised to a condition of prosperity which it had not
known since the death of Solomon. The end of Uzziah was less prosperous than his
beginning. Elated with his splendid career, he determined to burn incense on the
altar of God, but was opposed by the high priest Azariah and eighty others. See
( Exodus 30:7 , 30:8 ; Numbers 16:40 ; 18:7 ) The king was enraged at their resistance,
and, as he pressed forward with his censer was suddenly smitten with leprosy.
This lawless attempt to burn incense was the only exception to the excellence
of his administration. ( 2 Chronicles 27:2 ) Uzziah was buried "with his fathers,"
yet apparently not actually in the royal sepulchres. ( 2 Chronicles 26:23 ) During
his reign a great earthquake occurred. ( Amos 1:1 ; Zechariah 14:5 )
(2) A Kohathite Levite, and ancestor of Samuel. ( 1 Chronicles 6:24 ) (9).
(3) A priest of the sons of Harim, who had taken a foreign wife in the days of
Ezra. ( Ezra 10:21 ) (B.C. 458.)
(4) Father of Athaiah or Uthai. ( Nehemiah 11:4 )
(5) Father of Jehonathan, one of Davids overseers. ( 1 Chronicles 27:25 ) (B.C.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
('uzziyah (2 Kings 15:13 , 30 ; Hosea 1:1 ; Amos 1:1 ; Zechariah 14:5), 'uzziyahu
(2 Kings 15:32 , 34 ; Isaiah 1:1 ; 6:1 ; 7:1 ; 2 Chronicles 26:1 ; 27:2); also
called 'azaryah (2 Kings 14:21 ; 15:1 , 7 ; 1 Chronicles 3:12), 'azaryahu (2 Kings
15:6 , 8); Azarias, in Kings, elsewhere Ozias; the significations of the names
are similar, the former meaning "my strength is Yah"; the latter, "Yah has helped."
It has been thought that the form "Uzziah" may have originated by corruption from
the other. The history of the reign is given in 2 Kings 15:1 - 8 and 2 Chronicles
Uzziah or Azariah, son of Amaziah, and 11th king of Judah, came to the throne
at the age of 16. The length of his reign is given as 52 years. The chronological
questions raised by this statement are considered below. His accession may here
be provisionally dated in 783 BC. His father Amaziah had met his death by popular
violence (2 Kings 14:19), but Uzziah seems to have been the free and glad choice
of the people (2 Chronicles 26:1).
2. Foreign Wars:
The unpopularity of his father, owing to a great military disaster, must ever
have been present to the mind of Uzziah, and early in his reign he undertook and
successfully carried through an expedition against his father's enemies of 20
years before, only extending his operations over a wider area. The Edomites, Philistines
and Arabians were successively subdued (these being members of a confederacy which,
in an earlier reign, had raided Jerusalem and nearly extirpated the royal family,
2 Chronicles 21:16 ; 22:1); the port of Eloth, at the head of the Red Sea, was
restored to Judah, and the city rebuilt (2 Kings 14:22 ; 2 Chronicles 26:2); the
walls of certain hostile towns, Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod, were razed to the ground,
and the inhabitants of Gur-baal and Maan were reduced to subjection (2 Chronicles
26:6 , 7). Even the Ammonites, East of the Jordan, paid tribute to Uzziah, and
"his name spread abroad even to the entrance to Egypt; for he waxed exceeding
strong" (2 Chronicles 26:8).
3. Home Defenses:
Uzziah next turned his attention to securing the defenses
of his capital and country. The walls of Jerusalem were strengthened by towers
built at the corner gate, at the valley gate, and at an angle in the wall (see
plan of Jerusalem in the writer's Second Temple in Jerusalem); military stations
were also formed in Philistia, and in the wilderness of the Negeb, and these were
supplied with the necessary cisterns for rain storage (2 Chronicles 26:6 , 10).
The little realm had now an extension and prosperity to which it had been a stranger
since the days of Solomon.
4. Uzziah's Leprosy and Retirement:
These successes came so rapidly that Uzziah had hardly passed his 40th year when
a great personal calamity overtook him. In the earlier part of his career Uzziah
had enjoyed and profited by the counsels of Zechariah, a man "who had understanding
in the vision of God" (2 Chronicles 26:5), and during the lifetime of this godly
monitor "be set himself to seek God." Now it happened to him as with his grandfather
Jehoash, who, so long as his preserver Jehoiada lived, acted admirably, but, when
he died, behaved like an ingrate, and killed his son (2 Kings 12:2 ; 2 Chronicles
24:2 , 22). So now that Zechariah was gone, Uzziah's heart was lifted up in pride,
and he trespassed against Yahweh. In the great kingdoms of the East, the kings
had been in the habit of exercising priestly as well as royal functions. Elated
with his prosperity, Uzziah determined to exercise what he may have thought was
his royal prerogative in burning incense on the golden altar of the temple. Azariah
the high priest, with 80 others, offered stout remonstrance; but the king was
only angry, and pressed forward with a censer in his hand, to offer the incense.
Ere, however, he could scatter the incense on the coals, and while yet in anger,
the white spots of leprosy showed themselves upon his forehead. Smitten in conscience,
and thrust forth by the priests, he hastened away, and was a leper ever after
(2 Chronicles 26:16 - 21).
Uzziah's public life was now ended. In his enforced privacy, he may still have
occupied himself with his cattle and agricultural operations, "for he loved husbandry"
(2 Chronicles 26:10); but his work in the government was over. Both Kings and
Chronicles state in nearly identical words: "Jotham the king's son was over the
household, judging the people of the land" (2 Kings 15:5 ; 2 Chronicles 26:21).
Works of the same kind as those undertaken by Uzziah, namely, building military
stations in the hills and forests of Judah, repairing the walls of city and temple,
etc., are attributed to Jotham (2 Chronicles 27:3); the truth being that Jotham
continued and completed the enterprises his father had undertaken.
5. Chronology of Reign:
The chronology of the reign of Uzziah presents peculiar difficulties, some of
which, probably, cannot be satisfactorily solved. Reckoning upward from the fall
of Samaria in 721 BC, the Biblical data would suggest 759 as the first year of
Jotham. If, as is now generally conceded, Jotham's regnal years are reckoned from
the commencement of his regency, when his father had been stricken with leprosy,
and if, as synchronisms seem to indicate, Uzziah was about 40 years of age at
this time, we are brought for the year of Uzziah's accession to 783. His death,
52 years later, would occur in 731. (On the other hand, it is known that Isaiah,
whose call was in the year of Uzziah's death, Isaiah 6:1, was already exercising
his ministry in the reign of Jotham, Isaiah 1:1.) Another note of time is furnished
by the statement that the earliest utterance of Amos the prophet was "two years
before the earthquake" (Amos 1:1). This earthquake, we are told by Zechariah,
was "in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah" (Zechariah 14:5). Josephus likewise
embodies a tradition that the earthquake occurred at the moment of the king's
entry into the temple (Ant., IX, x, 4). Indubitably the name of Uzziah was associated
in the popular mind with this earthquake. If the prophecy of Amos was uttered
a year or two before Jeroboam's death, and this is placed in 759 BC, we are brought
near to the date already given for Uzziah's leprosy (Jeroboam's date is put lower
In 2 Kings 15 Uzziah is referred to as giving data for the accessions of the northern
kings (Zechariah in 2 Kings 15:8 , Shallum in 2 Kings 15:13 ; Menahem in 2 Kings
15:17 ; Pekahiah in 2 Kings 15:23 ; Pekah in 2 Kings 15:27), but it is difficult
to fit these synchronisms into any scheme of chronology, if taken as regnal years.
Uzziah is mentioned as the father of Jotham in 2 Kings 15:32 , 34 ; 2 Chronicles
27:2, and as the grandfather of Ahaz in Isaiah 7:1. He was living when Isaiah
began his ministry (Isaiah 1:1 ; 6:1); when Hoses prophesied (Hosea 1:1); and
is the king in whose reign the afore-mentioned earthquake took place (Zechariah
14:5). His name occurs in the royal genealogies in 1 Chronicles 3:11 and Matthew
1:8,9. The place of his entombment, owing to his having been a leper, was not
in the sepulchers of the kings, but "in the garden of Uzza" (2 Kings 21:26 ; compare
2 Chronicles 26:23). Isaiah is stated to have written a life of Uzziah (2 Chronicles
W. Shaw Caldecott
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