261All the people of Judah chose Amaziah's sixteen-year-old son Uzziah to succeed his father as king. 2(It was after the death of Amaziah that Uzziah recaptured Elath and rebuilt the city.)
3Uzziah became king at the age of sixteen, and he ruled in Jerusalem for 52 years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 4Following the example of his father, he did what was pleasing to the LORD. 5As long as Zechariah, his religious adviser, was living, he served the LORD faithfully, and God blessed him.
6Uzziah went to war against the Philistines. He tore down the walls of the cities of Gath, Jamnia, and Ashdod, and built fortified cities near Ashdod and in the rest of Philistia. 7God helped him to defeat the Philistines, the Arabs living at Gurbaal, and the Meunites. 8The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and he became so powerful that his fame spread even to Egypt.
9Uzziah strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem by building towers at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and where the wall turned. 10He also built fortified towers in the open country and dug many cisterns, because he had large herds of livestock in the western foothills and plains. Because he loved farming, he encouraged the people to plant vineyards in the hill country and to farm the fertile land.
11He had a large army ready for battle. Its records were kept by his secretaries Jeiel and Maaseiah under the supervision of Hananiah, a member of the king's staff. 12The army was commanded by 2,600 officers. 13Under them were 307,500 soldiers able to fight effectively for the king against his enemies. 14Uzziah supplied the army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of armour, bows and arrows, and stones for slinging. 15In Jerusalem his inventors made equipment for shooting arrows and for throwing large stones from the towers and corners of the city wall. His fame spread everywhere, and he became very powerful because of the help he received from God.
16But when King Uzziah became strong, he grew arrogant, and that led to his downfall. He defied the LORD his God by going into the Temple to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17Azariah the priest, accompanied by eighty strong and courageous priests, followed the king 18
to resist him. They said, “Uzziah! You have no right to burn incense to the LORD. Only the priests who are descended from Aaron have been consecrated to do this. Leave this holy place. You have offended the LORD God, and you no longer have his blessing.”
19Uzziah was standing there in the Temple beside the incense altar and was holding an incense burner. He became angry with the priests, and immediately a dreaded skin disease broke out on his forehead. 20Azariah and the other priests stared at the king's forehead in horror, and then forced him to leave the Temple. He hurried to get out, because the LORD had punished him.
21For the rest of his life King Uzziah was ritually unclean because of his disease. Unable to enter the Temple again, he lived in his own house, relieved of all duties, while his son Jotham governed the country.
22The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz recorded all the other things that King Uzziah did during his reign. 23
Uzziah died and was buried in the royal burial ground, but because of his disease he was not buried in the royal tombs. His son Jotham succeeded him as king.
271Jotham became king at the age of 25, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. His mother was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok. 2He did what was pleasing to the LORD, just as his father had done; but unlike his father he did not sin by burning incense27.2 he did not sin by burning incense; or he did not take part in the worship. in the Temple. The people, however, went on sinning.
3It was Jotham who built the North Gate of the Temple and did extensive work on the city wall in the area of Jerusalem called Ophel. 4In the mountains of Judah he built cities, and in the forests he built forts and towers. 5He fought against the king of Ammon and his army and defeated them. Then he forced the Ammonites to pay him the following tribute each year for three years: 3.4 tonnes of silver, 1,000 tonnes of wheat, and 1,000 tonnes of barley. 6Jotham grew powerful because he faithfully obeyed the LORD his God. 7The other events of Jotham's reign, his wars, and his policies, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. 8Jotham was 25 years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. 9He died and was buried in David's City and his son Ahaz succeeded him as king.
281Ahaz became king at the age of twenty, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. He did not follow the good example of his ancestor King David; instead, he did what was not pleasing to the LORD 2and followed the example of the kings of Israel. He had metal images of Baal made, 3burnt incense in the Valley of Hinnom, and even sacrificed his own sons as burnt offerings to idols, imitating the disgusting practice of the people whom the LORD had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced. 4At the pagan places of worship, on the hills, and under every shady tree Ahaz offered sacrifices and burnt incense.
Because King Ahaz sinned, the LORD his God let the king of Syria defeat him and take a large number of Judeans back to Damascus as prisoners. The LORD also let the king of Israel, Pekah son of Remaliah, defeat Ahaz and kill 120,000 of the bravest Judean soldiers in one day. The LORD, the God of their ancestors, permitted this to happen, because the people of Judah had abandoned him. 7An Israelite soldier named Zichri killed King Ahaz' son Maaseiah, the palace administrator Azrikam, and Elkanah, who was second in command to the king. 8Even though the Judeans were their own relatives, the Israelite army captured 200,000 women and children as prisoners and took them back to Samaria, along with large amounts of loot.
9A man named Oded, a prophet of the LORD, lived in the city of Samaria. He met the returning Israelite army with its Judean prisoners as it was about to enter the city, and he said, “The LORD God of your ancestors was angry with Judah and let you defeat them, but now he has heard of the vicious way you slaughtered them. 10And now you intend to make the men and women of Jerusalem and Judah your slaves. Don't you know that you also have committed sins against the LORD your God? 11Listen to me! These prisoners are your brothers and sisters. Let them go, or the LORD will punish you in his anger.”
12Four of the leading men of the Northern Kingdom, Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai also opposed the actions of the army. 13They said, “Don't bring those prisoners here! We have already sinned against the LORD and made him angry enough to punish us. Now you want to do something that will increase our guilt.” 14So then the army handed the prisoners and the loot over to the people and their leaders, 15and the four men were appointed to provide the prisoners with clothing from the captured loot. They gave them clothes and sandals to wear, gave them enough to eat and drink, and put olive oil on their wounds. Those who were too weak to walk were put on donkeys, and all the prisoners were taken back to Judean territory at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then the Israelites returned home to Samaria.
16-17The Edomites began to raid Judah again and captured many prisoners, so King Ahaz asked Tiglath Pileser, the emperor of Assyria, to send help. 18At this same time the Philistines were raiding the towns in the western foothills and in southern Judah. They captured the cities of Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, and Gederoth, and the cities of Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo with their villages, and settled there permanently. 19Because King Ahaz of Judah had violated the rights of his people and had defied the LORD, the LORD brought troubles on Judah. 20The Assyrian emperor, instead of helping Ahaz, opposed him and caused him trouble. 21So Ahaz took the gold from the Temple, the palace, and the homes of the leaders of the people, and gave it to the emperor, but even this did not help.
22When his troubles were at their worst, that man Ahaz sinned against the LORD more than ever. 23He offered sacrifices to the gods of the Syrians, who had defeated him. He said, “The Syrian gods helped the kings of Syria, so if I sacrifice to them, they may help me too.” This brought disaster on him and on his nation. 24In addition, he took all the temple equipment and broke it in pieces. He closed the Temple and set up altars in every part of Jerusalem. 25In every city and town in Judah, he built pagan places of worship, where incense was to be burnt to foreign gods. In this way he brought on himself the anger of the LORD, the God of his ancestors.
26All the other events of his reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27
King Ahaz died and was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.