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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2 Chronicles 26


We are indebted to this chapter of Chronicles for the most we know of the acts and character of Uzziah. The brief notices of him in 2 Kings 14:21-22; 2 Kings 15:1-7, mention only the general character of a part of his reign, his building of Elath, and the mere fact of his suffering from leprosy. In the present chapter we have, 1) A general account, of his buildings, wars, riches, army, and great fame, (2 Chronicles 26:1-15;) and 2) of his pride, sacrilege, leprosy, and death. 2 Chronicles 26:16-23. On the names Uzziah and Azariah, see 2 Kings 15:1, note.

Verse 2

2. Built Eloth Commonly written Elath; situated on the eastern arm of the Red Sea. See on 2 Kings 14:22.

After that the king slept with his fathers That is, after the king Amaziah, his father, slept with his fathers. These words indicate that Uzziah fortified Elath at the beginning of his reign, and soon after his father’s decease, and the work seems to have been a very notable act of his reign.

Verse 5

5. He sought God in the days of Zechariah Of this Zechariah we know nothing more than that he had understanding in the visions of God. He was a prophet, perhaps also a priest, who acted as a spiritual adviser to the king.

As long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper Thus the chronicler continually impresses upon his reader the moral lessons of history.

Verse 6

6. Warred against the Philistines He would avenge, and, as far as possible, restore, the losses his kingdom had sustained from these enemies in Jehoram’s time. Compare 2 Chronicles 21:16-17.

Brake down the wall of Gath This city had been taken by Hazael of Syria in the days of Joash. 2 Kings 12:17.

Jabneh Represented in the modern Yebna, near the Philistine coast. The same as Jabneel in Joshua 15:11, where see note.

Ashdod The most powerful of the Philistine cities. See note on Joshua 11:22.

Verse 7

7. And against the Arabians These also injured Israel in the days of Jehoram. 2 Chronicles 21:16. The position of Gur-baal is unknown; but from its association here with the Mehunims, we infer that it was somewhere in the vicinity of Mount Seir. On the Mehunims, or Maonites, see notes on 2 Chronicles 20:1; 1 Chronicles 4:41; and Judges 10:12.

Verse 8

8. The Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah That is, they paid tribute to him, as the Philistines and Arabians had done to Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 17:11.

Verse 9

9. Built towers… at the corner gate Thus repairing and fortifying the city at the places where it had been broken down by Joash. 2Ch 25:23 ; 2 Kings 14:13, note.

The valley gate The gate opening westward into the valley of Hinnom, probably at the place of the modern Jaffa gate.

The turning of the wall Perhaps a bend or angle in the wall near the northeast corner of Zion. See note on Nehemiah 3:19.

Verse 10

10. Towers in… desert Such towers were a necessity on exposed frontiers, where marauding parties were wont to surprise and plunder all who kept not a lookout against such plunderers. Compare 2 Chronicles 20:24; 2 Kings 9:17; 2 Kings 17:9.

Digged many wells Better as the margin, cut out many cisterns. In a desert country, where there are no springs, it was necessary to form such cisterns to catch and hold rain water, which falls in Palestine only in winter months.

The low country The Shephelah, or plain of Philistia, whose territory Uzziah had conquered, 2 Chronicles 26:6.

The plains Hebrew, the mishor; the upland plateau beyond the Jordan.

In Carmel In this connexion the margin is the better rendering, in the fruitful fields, for Mount Carmel was not under Uzziah’s control.

He loved husbandry Literally, loved the ground; but the common version gives the true sense. The whole verse testifies to the agricultural enterprise of Uzziah.

Verse 14

14. Habergeons Coats of mail. See note on 1 Samuel 17:5.

Verse 15

15. Engines… to shoot arrows and great stones These must have been of somewhat similar construction to the Roman balista and catapults enormous bows or springs, set in a wooden framework, and so contrived as to hurl with the greatest violence both darts and stones.

Verse 16

16. When he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction His great power, wealth, and fame fostered in him a disposition to feel that nothing was too good for him and nothing was above him. Thus “pride” went “before destruction… a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Went into the temple… to burn incense “With a lofty feeling of his power, Uzziah wished to make himself high priest of his kingdom, like the kings of Egypt and of other nations.” Keil. Here was Uzziah’s great sin. It is not mentioned in Kings, though its punishment is mentioned there. Such sacrilege and invasion of the priest’s office demanded the opposition from the priests and the punishment from God, which it so promptly received.

Verse 18

18. They withstood Uzziah Azariah and his assistants were too frail of zeal and respect for the law and service of Jehovah not to resist such high-handed offence.

Verse 19

19. The leprosy even rose up in his forehead A judgment as sudden and signal as that which smote Miriam and Gehazi. Numbers 12:10; 2 Kings 5:27. The offence was such as to demand swift and signal retribution.

Verse 21

21. A several house Free from, or apart from, others, as the law required. Leviticus 13:46; Numbers 5:3. See note on 2 Kings 15:5. Jotham his son was over the king’s house Thus the son was pro-rex some time before his father’s death.

Verse 23

23. In the field of the burial In 2 Kings 15:7, we have simply, “they buried him with his fathers in the city of David.” But here it appears that he was not buried in the royal sepulchre, but in a burial plot belonging to the kings. This was doubtless on account of his leprosy.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 26". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.