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Great Characters of the Bible (6 of 12)
Ruined by Prosperity -- Uzziah
by Clarence E. Macartney
2 Chron. 26:15-16
Uzziah is one of the most noteworthy of the kings of
Judah. He has two names in the Bible. In the book of
Kings he is called Azariah but in the book of
Chronicles, Uzziah. It is by the latter that he is
best known. He came to the throne when he was only
sixteen years of age. He reigned for fifty-two years,
and his reign was almost the longest and, in certain
respects, the most glorious in the history of the
kingdom. He began his reign with great promise. It is
written that he sought God in the days of Zechariah,
the high priest, and that as long as he sought the
Lord, God made him to prosper. Yet this long and
glorious reign ended in tragedy.
Uzziah -- King and Conqueror
When he ascended the throne, the young Uzziah revealed
splendid traits and high ability. The fortunes and the
defenses of the kingdom were then at a low ebb. The
first thing he did was to subdue the Edomites, the
congenital enemies of Israel, and to take the port of
Eloth on the Red Sea, thus reviving the commerce which
had flourished in the days of Solomon. Next he smote
the Philistines, capturing their strongholds of Gath
and Ashdod. Two other longtime enemies of Israel,
always a thorn in the side of the nation, were also
subdued-the Ammonites and the Arabians. These
conquests gave Uzziah great renown and made his name
feared as far as the gates of Egypt.
At home he restored the defenses of Jerusalem,
building strong towers on the walls to resist a
besieging army. He also invented military engines,
like the catapults of the Romans, to hurl arrows and
darts and to cast stones down upon a besieging army.
He organized a great standing army of 307,000 men and
had a special crack troop, like David's mighty men,
except that Uzziah's numbered not 600, but 2,600.
Uzziah was also a great agriculturalist-an asset fo ...
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