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UZZIAH ():

  • 1. Son of Amaziah; called also Azariah (comp. II Kings xv. 1, 13, 30). He was king of Judah, and began to rule, at the age of sixteen, in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Jeroboam II. The Kings record (ib. xv. 2) states that his reign extended through fifty-two years (788-737 B.C.), and that he was righteous as his father had been, though he did not take away the high places, but allowed the people to sacrifice and burn incense at them. II Chron. xxvi. relates how Uzziah conquered the Philistines and the Arabians, and received tribute from the Ammonites; how herefortified his country, reorganized and reequipped his army, and personally engaged in agricultural pursuits. His success as king, administrator, and commander-in-chief of the army made him ruler over the largest realm of Judah since the disruption of the kingdom. His power and authority over the peoples of this realm help to explain to a certain extent the political situation in the reign of Judah's later kings, and probably also in 739, when Tiglathpileser III. conquered nineteen districts in northern Syria which had belonged to Uzziah (Azri-ia-u).Uzziah's strength became his weakness; for he attempted to usurp the power of the priesthood in burning incense in the Temple of Yhwh. While in the act he was smitten with leprosy; and he was subsequently forced to dwell in a leper's house until the day of his death (II Chron. xxvi. 21). While he was in this condition Jotham, his son, ruled in his stead. The total number of years, fifty-two, attributed to Uzziah's reign include the period from his accession to his death.
E. G. H. I. M. P.
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