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Uzziah reigneth. His presumption ; and his leprosy. 1 Then all the people of Ju- the low country, and in the plains: dah took Uzziah, who was six- husbandmen also, and vine dressteen years old, and made him ers in the mountains, and in Carking in the room of his father mel: for he loved husbandry. Amaziah.
11 Moreover Uzziah had an 2 He built Eloth, and restored host of fighting men, that went it to Judah, after that the king out to war by bands, according slept with his fathers.
to the number of their account 3 Sixteen years old was Uzziah by the hand of Jeiel the scribe when he began to reign, and he and Maaseiah the ruler, under reigned fifty and two years in the land of Hananiah, one of the Jerusalem. His mother's name king's captains. also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 12 The whole number of the
4 And he did that which was chief of the fathers of the mighty right in the sight of the LORD, men of valour were two thousand according to all that his father and six hundred. Amaziah did.
13 And under their hand was 5 And he sought God in the an army, three hundred thoudays of Zechariah, who had un- sand and seven thousand and five derstanding in the visions of hundred, that made war with God: and as long as he sought mighty power, to help the king the LORD, God made him to against the enemy. prosper.
14 And Uzziah prepared for 6 And he went forth and war- them throughout all the host red against the Philistines, and shields, and spears, and helmets, brake down the wall of Gath, and and habergeons, and bows, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall slings to cast stones. of Aslidod, and built cities about 15 And he made in Jerusalem Aslıdod, and among the Philis- engines, invented by cunning tines.
men, to be on the towers and 7 And God helped him against upon the bulwarks, to shoot arthe Philistines, and against the rows and great stones withal. Arabians that dwelt in Gur-baal, And his name spread far abroad; and the Mehunims
for he was marvellously helped, 8 And the Ammonites gave till he was strong. gifts to Uzziah : and his name 16 But when he was strong, his spread abroad even to the enter- heart was lifted up to his deing in of Egypt; for he strength- struction : for he transgressed ened himself exceedingly. against the LORD his God, and
9 Moreover Uzziah built tow- went into the temple of the ers in Jerusalem at the corner Lord to burn incense upon the gate, and at the valley gate, and altar of incense. at the turning of the wall, and 17 And Azariah the priest went fortified them.
in after him, and with him four10 Also he built towers in the score priests of the LORD, that desert, and digged many wells: were valiant men: for he had much cattle, both in 18 And they withstood Uzziah
the king, and said unto him, It him out from thence; yea, himappertaineth not unto thee, Uz- self hasted also to go out, because zial, to burn incense unto the the Lord had smitten him. Lord, but to the priests the sons 21 And Uzziah the king was a of Aaron, that are consecrated leper unto the day of his death, to burn incense: go out of the and dwelt in a several house, sanctuary; for thou hast tres being a leper; for he was cut off passed; neither shall it be for from the house of the Lord: thine honour from the LORD and Jotham his son was over the God.
king's house, judging the people 19 Then Uzziah was wroth, of the land. and had a censer in his hand to 22 Now the rest of the acts of burn incense; and while he was Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah wroth with the priests, the lep- the prophet, the son of Amoz, rosy even rose up in his forehead write. before the priests in the house 23 So Uzziah slept with his of the Lord, from beside the in- fathers, and they buried him with cense altar.
his fathers in the field of the 20 And Azariah the chief priest, burial which belonged to the and all the priests, looked upon kings; for they said, He is a him, and, behold, he was leprous leper: and Jotham his son reignin his forehead, and they thrust ed in his stead.
LECTURE 704. A warning against being elated by prosperity. Uzziah, like his father, began well, and prospered greatly as long as he served God truly. He was victorious in war. He was eminent in promoting the more useful arts of peace. And during the time of peace, he was diligent in strengthening his kingdom for future warfare. “But when he was strong, bis heart was lifted up to his destruction.” Not content with his authority as head of the church in temporal matters, he was bent upon ministering in holy things. He“ went into the temple of the Lord, to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” The firm opposition of the priests, instead of moving him from this presumptuous purpose, only served to provoke his wrath. And thereupon God Himself avenged his own insulted majesty; and while the king stood with the censer in his hand, and with anger raging in his heart, behold “the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the incense altar.” So ended all his glory, all his might. Cut off at once from the pursuits of war and of peace, shut out alike from the throne and from the temple, he “ dwelt in a several house, being a leper;” whilst “ Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land.” What a warning to them that are mighty and renowned, against being elated to their destruction! What a profitable lesson for all men, to be content with their proper place, and to be diligent in their proper duties, never meddling with matters that do not belong to them, least of all presuming, without due authority, to minister in holy things !
Jotham reigneth well. i Jotham was twenty and five dren of Ammon gave him the years old when he began to same year an hundred talents of reign, and he reigned sixteen silver, and ten thousand meayears in Jerusalem. His mo- sures of wheat, and ten thousand ther's name also was Jerushah, of barley. So much did the the daughter of Zadok.
children of Ammon pay unto 2 And he did that which was him, both the second year, and right in the sight of the Lord, the third. according to all that his father 6 So Jotham became mighty, Uzziah did : howbeit he enter- because he prepared his ways ed not into the temple of the before the LORD his God. Lord. And the people did yet 7 Now the rest of the acts of corruptly.
Jotham, and all his wars, and 3 He built the high gate of his ways, lo, they are written in the house of the Lord, and on the book of the kings of Israel the wall of Ophel he built and Judah. much.
8 He was five and twenty 4 Moreover he built cities in years old when he began to the mountains of Judah, and in reign, and reigned sixteen years the forests he built castles and in Jerusalem. towers.
9 And Jotham slept with his 5 He fought also with the king fathers, and they buried lim in of the Ammonites, and prevail- the city of David: and Ahaz ed against them. And the chil- his son reigned in his stead.
Private virtue is public strength. Though but little is here told us concerning the reign of Jotham, that little is highly to his honour. And it is remarkable, that no one thing is here laid to his charge, as done contrary to God's commandments. This is no common case in sacred history, which is designed to instruct us, not only by setting forth the good deeds of God's servants for our encouragement, but also by relating their sins for our warning: Some blame may perhaps appear to be intended, when it is said that the people did yet corruptly.” For it may be implied that Jotham ought to have checked, chastised, and prevented them. But these words are quite as likely to mean, that the people did corruptly notwithstanding the example of the king, and in spite of his kingly authority. And if this were so, it may rather add to his praise, that he continued stedfast in the service of the Lord, when all around him were so apt to turn away from God's worship to a religion of their own devising.
It is mentioned to the praise of Jotham, that "he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah did : howbeit he entered not into the temple of the Lord.” He was like his father in all that his father did aright. But he was not like his father in the unholy attempt to
burn incense in God's temple. He would not arrogate to himself an office which did not belong to him. And though he doubtless resorted to the temple as a worshipper, he never entered into it as an irreverent intruder. His father's leprosy was indeed a warning not easily forgotten. But the temptation was greater than we should be apt to suppose, unless we bear in mind, that it was very common in those times for the same person to be both king and priest, and that this was a great source of power amongst the superstitious heathen, and that it might well appear to an ambitious king of Judah a likely means to strengthen him in his kingdom.
But Jotham found a better way of strength than this. He “ became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God.” No wonder that he prospered in all the works he undertook during his years of peace. No wonder that he was victorious in his wars. “ He prepared his ways before the Lord his God.” When will Christian sovereigns take words like these for their rule of greatness; for their principle of strength? When will they be persuaded, that the only power which it is really well for one man to have over his fellows, is the power that is exerted for the general good? When will they become aware, that the only adequate security for their exerting their power for the good of their subjects
, is that they prepare their ways before the Lord their God ?
By the constitution of our own country, there is scarcely any one who has not some influence, directly or indirectly, in the affairs of state. Whether this be or be not upon the whole productive of private happiness, it certainly makes it every man's duty to understand the principles, on which he may use aright such influence as he has. Let all then take note, that in order for the nation to be really strong, its rulers must follow the example of Jotham, its public national acts must be done upon the principle which regulated his. And let all observe, that the best way to attain this object, is for every one to act upon
this principle in his own personal conduct. In some countries the measures of the rulers may be little influenced by the principles of their subjects. But in our own it cannot fail to come to pass, that the larger is the proportion of those who prepare their ways before the Lord, there is so much the higher probability, that the nation will do the like in its national capacity. Thus private virtue will be found the chief source of public strength. And he will be in every sense the best lover of his country, who is the most faithful servant of his God.
Ahaz reigneth most wickedly. 1 Alaz was twenty years old 9 But a prophet of the LORD when he began to reign, and he was there, whose name was Oded: reigned sixteen years in Jeru- and he went out before the host salem: but he did not that which that came to Samaria, and said was right in the sight of the unto them, Behold, because the LORD, like David his father : Lord God of your fathers was
2 For he walked in the ways wroth with Judah, he hath deof the kings of Israel, and made livered them into your hand, and also molten images for Baalim. ye have slain them in a rage that
3 Moreover he burnt incense in reacheth up unto heaven. the valley of the son of Hinnom, 10 And now ye purpose to keep and burnt his children in the fire, under the children of Judah and after the abominations of the hea- Jerusalemfor bondmen and bondthen whom the Lord had cast women unto you : but are there out before the children of Israel, not with you, even with you, sins
4 He sacrificed also and burnt against the LORD incense in the high places, and 11 Now hear me therefore, and on the hills, and under every deliver the captives again, which green tree.
ye have taken captive of your 5 Wherefore the Lord his God brethren: for the fierce wrath delivered him into the hand of of the Lord is upon you. the king of Syria; and they 12 Then certain of the heads smote him, and carried away a of the children of Ephraim, great multitude of them cap- Azariah the son of Johanan, tives, and brought them to Da- Berechiah the son of Meshillemascus. And he was also deli- moth, and Jehizkiah the son of vered into the hand of the king Shallum, and Amasa the son of of Israel, who smote him with a Hadlai, stood up against them great slaughter.
that came from the war, 6 For Pekah the son of Rema- 13 And said unto them, Ye liah slew in Judah an hundred shall not bring in the captives and twenty thousand in one hither: for whereas we have day, which were all valiant men; offended against the LORD albecause they had forsaken the ready, ye intend to add more to Lord God of their fathers. our sins and to our trespass : for
7 And Zichri, a mighty man our trespass is great, and there of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the is fierce wrath against Israel. king's son, and Azrikam the
14 So the armed men left the vernor of the house, and Elka- captives and the spoil before the nah that was next to the king. princes and all the congregation.
8 And the children of Israel 15 And the men which were carried away, captive of their expressed by name rose up, and brethren two hundred thousand, took the captives, and with the women, sons, and daughters, spoil clothed all that were naked and took also away much spoil among them, and arrayed them, from them, and brought the and shod them, and gave them spoil to Samaria.
to eat and to drirk, and anoint