In Hebrew, the name Uzziah or Azariah means “Yahweh is my strength”. This man was noted as one of the Kingdom of Judah‘s finest kings. Although he ruled at a very young age, he was able to show great wisdom and character as a king, and this was the reason he remained in his reign for as much as 52 years. However, he was only his father’s co-regent during the initial 24 years that he ruled the kingdom.
According to some historians, King Azariah reigned from 783 to 742 BC, which is where he can be found on the Biblical Timeline. In the Bible, he suffered from leprosy because of is disobedience to God. At this time, Jotham, his son, took his place. Another ruler named Pekah led the kingdom during the final year of King Azariah’s reign.
Life of Azariah
According to researchers, Azariah began his reign when he was only 16 years of age. Although he started as a young ruler, it was noted that his time was one of the most prosperous. He was also inspired and guided by Zechariah, a prophet, who helped him during the onset of his reign. Azariah remained faithful to God, and he did his best to always do what was pleasing to the Lord.
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The king successfully made great machines used for battles including ones that can hurl big stones or shoot arrows, in case they were under attack by invaders. In 2 Chronicles 26, Azariah was able to defeat the Arabians and the Philistines. He also reorganized the country, and his army was re-equipped with strong weapons to use for battles. Indeed, the king was a responsible and committed ruler. His contributions made him popular in various lands including Egypt, as stated in 2 Chronicles 26:8.
The Downfall of a Great King
Unfortunately, things fell to an end when he allowed his pride to get the best of him. He made a mistake by entering the Lord’s temple to burn incense on the altar. When the high priest discovered this, a group of 80 priests confronted the King to say that he was not supposed to do a thing as that. Burning incense at the altar of the temple was supposed to be reserved solely to the priests who were Aaron‘s descendants.
Afterwards, there was a strong earthquake that occurred, and a large hole appeared in the temple where brilliant rays radiated from it. The ray hit the king’s face, and he was instantly afflicted with leprosy. Immediately, he was asked to leave the temple, and he was forced to find himself a separate dwelling where he stayed until he died.
Thus, Jotham, son of Azariah, was on a co-regency where his reign lasted for 11 years. This period was the last 11 years of the king’s life. In his death, he was given a separate grave, which was described as lonely and isolated.
This was the life of a powerful ruler who started his reign being admired by many, yet his pride caused him to lose everything he had even at the time of his death.
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