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CHAPTER 26 Oct. 29 
Uzziah’s Industry and Success
All the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah. 2He built Eloth and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers. 3Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign; and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jechiliah of Jerusalem. 4He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. 5He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the vision of God. As long as he sought Yahweh, God made him to prosper. 6He went forth and warred against the Philistines, and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod; and he built cities in the country of Ashdod and among the Philistines. 7God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians who lived in Gur Baal and the Meunim. 8The Ammonites gave tribute to Uzziah. His name spread abroad even to the entrance of Egypt; for he grew extremely strong. 9Moreover, Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate and the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them. 10He built towers in the wilderness, and dug out many cisterns, for he had much livestock; in the lowland also, and in the plain. He had farmers and vineyard keepers in the mountains and in the fruitful fields; for he loved farming. 11Moreover Uzziah had an army of fighting men, who went out to war by bands, according to the number of their reckoning made by Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the officer, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king’s captains. 12The whole number of the heads of fathers’ households, even the mighty men of valour, was two thousand six hundred. 13Under their hand was an army, three hundred and seven thousand five hundred, who made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy. 14Uzziah prepared for them, even for all the army, shields, spears, helmets, coats of armour, bows and stones for slinging. 15He made in Jerusalem engines, invented by skilful men, to be on the towers and on the battlements, with which to shoot arrows and great stones. His name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, until he was strong. 
Uzziah’s Failure
16But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up, so that he did corruptly, and he trespassed against Yahweh his God; for he went into Yahweh’s temple to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him eighty priests of Yahweh, who were valiant men. 18They resisted Uzziah the king, and said to him, It isn’t for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to Yahweh, but for the priests the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary; for you have trespassed; neither shall it be for your honour from Yahweh God. 19Then Uzziah was angry; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense; and while he was angry with the priests, the leprosy broke forth in his forehead before the priests in the house of Yahweh, beside the altar of incense. 20Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked on him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out quickly from there. Yes, he himself hurried also to go out, because Yahweh had struck him. 21Uzziah the king was a leper to the day of his death, and lived in a separate house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of Yahweh; and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land. 22Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, wrote. 23So Uzziah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the field of burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper. Jotham his son reigned in his place.


26:4 But Amaziah only did a few things right before God and turned to other gods in the end (25:20). God so thirsts for human response to Him that He writes these records so positively, in recognition of any spirituality which there was.
26:16 But when he was strong- He was strong only in his own self-perception, because his strength was only the result of God’s help (:15). Again we see how human strength precedes spiritual failure, which is a common theme in these lives of the kings and indeed throughout history; see on 25:3.
26:18 Uzziah is here condemned for doing what only the priests could do. However, David also did what only the priests (of the tribe of Levi) could do; but he was of the tribe of Judah and therefore not a priest (1 Chron. 15:27; 16:3). So we conclude that the same action can be sinful for one person but a sign of spiritual maturity in another. We need to bear this in mind when considering the behaviour of others, and try not to legislate against it in a legalistic manner but treat each case on its merits. We also learn from this that motive and not external action nor appearance are of ultimate importance to God. All our works need careful analysis once we grasp this point. It could be that Uzziah was trying to imitate David in acting as a priest when he wasn’t; for 2 Kings 14:3 emphasizes that Uzziah did not do his good deeds in the spirit of David. It was all just an attempt to externally mimic a righteous man when the heart is far from spirituality; and God judges such hypocrisy very hard.
26:17 Azariah was very brave to do this; for kings, especially like Uzziah at this time, considered themselves all powerful and beyond such criticism. We shouldn’t fear to bring God’s word to those who are ‘senior’ in rank, even if it criticizes them explicitly or implicitly; for compared to God’s word, all men are as grass, of whatever rank they are in human society (Is. 40:6-8).