UZZIA (ŭ-zī'a, Heb. ‘uzzîyā’, strength). One of David’s mighty men who was from Ashtaroth (
In spite of these successes, he strayed far from the Lord at the end of his life. Apparently as long as the prophet Zechariah lived, his influence was great on the king and “as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success” (
2. A Levite descended from Kohath (
3. The father of a certain Jonathan in David’s time (
4. One of the sons of Harim who put away his foreign wife when admonished by Ezra the priest (
5. The father of Athaiah who came to Jerusalem after the Exile (
UZZIA ə zī’ ə (עֻזִיָּ֖א, my strength is Jehovah). A man from the town of Ashtaroth who is listed among David’s “mighty men” (
Uzziah was prob. coregent with Amaziah for many years. The evidence in 2 Kings is in (1) 14:23, that Jeroboam’s reign lasted forty-one years; (2) 15:1, that Uzziah became king (impliedly, that his father died) in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam; (3) 15:8, that Jeroboam’s reign ended in Uzziah’s thirty-eighth year. From Jehu’s rebellion in 841 b.c., through the reigns of Athaliah, Joash, and Amaziah, the date of Amaziah’s death can be derived as 768/7; on this basis Uzziah counted his years from 792/1 and died in 740/39 (Thiele, Pavlovsky and Vogt).
W. F. Albright, working from a terminal date of 738 b.c. for Menahem, dates Uzziah 783-742, and alters the lengths of some reigns to dispose of the surplus arising from simply adding up the MT figures. H. Tadmor arrives at 785/4-733/2 b.c.
Uzziah’s reign is briefly noted in
Uzziah’s southward policy had three clear aims: (1) to bring Arabian trade by the sea coast; (2) to exploit the mineral wealth of the Rift Valley; (3) to develop agriculture in the Shephelah W of the Judaean Hills, and to extend pasturing in the Negev. Much of the coast plain too, now covered in sand, was then fertile. Uzziah established defended settlements on land which the Philistines prob. could no longer cultivate, for lack of manpower; 8th-cent. remains at Tell Mor, about a kilometer inland of Ashdod, may illustrate
The defenses of Jerusalem were rebuilt and developed, with new towers at two principal gates (
The Azriyau mystery.
The Annals of Tiglath-pileser (745-723 b.c.) record that in or after his third year he assaulted the city of Azriyau of Ya-u-da; it seems that he built a royal palace there to mark its subjection. Though the context is apparently Syrian, many scholars have argued that Azriyau must have been Uzziah (Azariah) of Judah; this view has been as strongly contested.
Winckler (Altorient. Forschung. I:1) noted clues to an alternative interpretation. A N-Syrian state of Y’di is known from Aram. inscrs. found at Sam’al; its king witnessed the triumph of Tiglath-pileser at Damascus in 732 b.c.
Luckenbill (AJSL 41) and Albright (JBL 71) rejected the theory of an Azriyau of Y’di; Tadmor likewise (Scripta Hierosolymitana 8) denies that Assyr. Ya-u-da could represent Y’di, or that such an insignificant state could have headed a coalition against Assyria. He suggests that after the death of Jeroboam, while Israel was rent by civil war, Uzziah inherited the leadership in the N; he dates the events noted in the Annals to 738 b.c., following the usual reconstruction, disputed by Thiele (see Menahem, 2b). Thiele rejects the Y’di hypothesis, though for him the period falls in Jotham’s coregency.
The available fragments of the Annals are not clear as to Azriyau’s activities or his ultimate fate; but Uzziah could not have been involved except as a leader. Tadmor (p. 271) does not show that he could be defeated without repercussions in Judah. Further, a northern involvement would be out of keeping with Uzziah’s general policy, and unlikely at the very end of his reign.
Chronicles records a confrontation between King Uzziah and Azariah the high priest, who objected to the king’s offering incense in the b.c.. During this unhappy scene, as Uzziah was simultaneously in an act of prayer and losing his temper with the priests, a skin disease broke out on his forehead. Humiliated and rejected, he left the Temple, and for his remaining years was unable to fulfil the royal office, particularly as he was excluded from the Temple. The event is dated by Jotham’s coregency in 750/1
Josephus (Antiq. IX. x. 4) adds that (1) the day was a great festival (which is likely); (2) there was a severe earthquake (one occurred in Uzziah’s time, cf.
Uzziah now lived in a “separate house,” or “house of separation,” bēt hăḥŏpshīt. The meaning of the phrase is debated. Ḥŏpshī in
In comparing Uzziah’s case with Naaman’s, it may be relevant that Naaman was not an Israelite, and he may have had a less serious form of the disease (cf. Herodotus I:138, LSJ s.v. leukē; but these references imply no distinction of grade).
Uzziah was buried “in the city” (
G. Cooke, North Semitic, 185; D. D. Luckenbill, AJSL 41 (1925), 217ff.; D. Diringer, Iscr. Ant. Ebr. (1934); J. Morgenstern, HUCA 12/13 (1935), 1-53, 15 (1940), 267-274; N. Glueck, BASOR 72 (1938), 2-10, 75 (1939), 10-19, 79 (1940), 3-17; W. F. Albright, BASOR 100 (1945), 18-22; A. Honeyman, JBL 67 (1948), 20f.; J. Montgomery, Kings ICC, (1951); J. Simons, Jerusalem in the OT (1952), 330; W. F. Albright, JBL 71 (1952), 78; BASOR 140 (1955), 34ff.; J. Pritchard, ANET2 (1955), 282; F. Cross, J. Milik, BASOR 142 (1956); M. Unger, Israel and the Aramaeans (1957), 97f.; Y. Aharoni, IEJ 8 (1958), 33-38; N. Glueck, Rivers in the Desert (1959), 166-179; W. Hallo, BA 23 (1960), 44-48; B. Rothenberg, God’s Wilderness (1961), 41, 124ff.; H. Tadmor, Scr. Hierosol. 8 (1961), 232-271; Y. Aharoni, IEJ 11 (1961), 15f.; C. Schedl, Vet Test 12 (1962), 90ff., 101ff.; G. Rinaldi, Vet Test Suppl. 9 (1962), 225-234; Y. Yadin, Art of Warfare (1963), 325f.; V. Pavlovsky, E. Vogt, Biblica 45 (1964), 326-337; J. Milgrom, Vet Test 14 (1964), 164-182; J. Gray, Kings (1964); J. Myers, Chronicles (1965); N. Glueck, BA 28 (1965), 70-87; Y. Aharoni, Land of the Bible (1966), 313ff.; E. Thiele, Vet Test 16 (1966), 103ff.; Y. Aharoni, IEJ 17 (1967), 1-17.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
An Ashterathite and one of David’s mighty men (
1. Accession: Uzziah or Azariah, son of Amaziah, and 11th king of Judah, came to the throne at the age of 16. The length of his reign is given as 52 years. The chronological questions raised by this statement are considered below. His accession may here be provisionally dated in 783 BC. His father Amaziah had met his death by popular violence (
2. Foreign Wars:
The unpopularity of his father, owing to a great military disaster, must ever have been present to the mind of Uzziah, and early in his reign he undertook and successfully carried through an expedition against his father’s enemies of 20 years before, only extending his operations over a wider area. The Edomites, Philistines and Arabians were successively subdued (these being members of a confederacy which, in an earlier reign, had raided Jerusalem and nearly extirpated the royal family,
3. Home Defenses:
Uzziah next turned his attention to securing the defenses of his capital and country. The walls of Jerusalem were strengthened by towers built at the corner gate, at the valley gate, and at an angle in the wall (see plan of Jerusalem in the writer’s Second Temple in Jerusalem); military stations were also formed in Philistia, and in the wilderness of the Negeb, and these were supplied with the necessary cisterns for rain storage (
4. Uzziah’s Leprosy and Retirement:
These successes came so rapidly that Uzziah had hardly passed his 40th year when a great personal calamity overtook him. In the earlier part of his career Uzziah had enjoyed and profited by the counsels of Zechariah, a man "who had understanding in the vision of God" (
Uzziah’s public life was now ended. In his enforced privacy, he may still have occupied himself with his cattle and agricultural operations, "for he loved husbandry" (
5. Chronology of Reign:
The chronology of the reign of Uzziah presents peculiar difficulties, some of which, probably, cannot be satisfactorily solved. Reckoning upward from the fall of Samaria in 721 BC, the Biblical data would suggest 759 as the first year of Jotham. If, as is now generally conceded, Jotham’s regnal years are reckoned from the commencement of his regency, when his father had been stricken with leprosy, and if, as synchronisms seem to indicate, Uzziah was about 40 years of age at this time, we are brought for the year of Uzziah’s accession to 783. His death, 52 years later, would occur in 731. (On the other hand, it is known that Isaiah, whose call was in the year of Uzziah’s death,
W. Shaw Caldecott