2 Kings Chapter Fifteen
2 Kings 15
Reign of Azariah, or Uzziah, king of Judah. (1-7) The latter kings of Israel. (8-31) Jotham, king of Judah. (32-38)
Commentary on 2 Kings 15:1-7
(Read 2 Kings 15:1-7)
Uzziah did for the most part that which was right. It was happy for the kingdom that a good reign was a long one.
Commentary on 2 Kings 15:8-31
(Read 2 Kings 15:8-31)
This history shows Israel in confusion. Though Judah was not without troubles, yet that kingdom was happy, compared with the state of Israel. The imperfections of true believers are very different from the allowed wickedness of ungodly men. Such is human nature, such are our hearts, if left to themselves, deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. We have reason to be thankful for restraints, for being kept out of temptation, and should beg of God to renew a right spirit within us.
Commentary on 2 Kings 15:32-38
(Read 2 Kings 15:32-38)
Jotham showed great respect to the temple. If magistrates cannot do all they would, for the suppressing of vice and profaneness, let them do the more to support and advance piety and virtue.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on 2 Kings》
2 Kings 15
 In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign.
To reign — Solely and fully to exercise his regal power.
 And the LORD smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house. And Jotham the king's son was over the house, judging the people of the land.
A leper — The cause whereof see 2 Chronicles 26:16.
 In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months.
Six months — After the throne had been vacant several years, thro' the dissentions that were in the kingdom.
 Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria.
Full moon — That dominion seldom lasts long, which is founded in blood and falsehood.
 And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.
Twentieth year — The meaning is, that he began his reign in the twentieth year after the beginning of Jotham's reign; or, which is the same thing, in the fourth year of Ahaz, son of Jotham.
 Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.
To reign — Alone: for he had reigned before this, as his father's deputy.
 Howbeit the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD.
Gate — Not of the temple, but of one of the courts of the temple, probably that which led to the king's palace.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on 2 Kings》
15 Chapter 15
And the Lord smote the King.
Familiarity with religious things
1. The character and conduct of King Uzziah are very full of instruction. His life was marked by one fault, and by one signal act of punishment from God. His fault was the offering sacrifice, that which only the priest might do; and his punishment a leprosy, inflicted on him by the word of a priest on his persevering in his fault. This is the more remarkable as he is on the whole described as a good character. One notable circumstance is, that in the Book of Kings he goes by the name of Azariah, and is there also described as a good king, and all that we are told is that he died a leper, having dwelt in a several house until the day of his death. He made constant reference to Zachariah the prophet, and we are told, as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper. He made war on Philistia, and prospered. Again, we are told that God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabians. Having come back, he built towers in the desert, and he had much cattle. It appears that in his campaigns he won a high name for courage. He transgressed against God by going into the temple and offering incense on the altar. The priest went in after him with fourscore other priests--all valiant men; and they withstood Uzziah, saying, “It appertaineth not to thee, O Uzziah, to burn it.” Uzziah, having a censer in his hand, was wroth; and while angry, holding the censer in his hand, the leprosy rose up into his forehead, and the priests thrust him forcibly out; and he himself hasted to go out, because the Lord had smitten him.
2. It seems clear that Uzziah was a man whose life throughout, until the finishing act of it, was in conformity to God’s will, and blessed with God’s mercy. That crowning act of his life--the offering the incense, we are told, was the result of a presumptuous spirit brought on by the success of his life. But while this cause is assigned for the fault, and the fault is mentioned to explain the punishment in the Book of Chronicles, in the Book of Kings the punishment only is mentioned; and we are simply told that the Lord smote the king till he was a leper; and that he dwelt in a several house; so that any one reading the account in this book, without referring to Chronicles, would be in the dark as to the motive of the Almighty in afflicting the king. We must refer to one portion of God’s counsels to understand the other. The light shed from one page of His will, will irradiate and explain that which hitherto may have appeared to be obscure; and how often is this the case in daily life!
3. And this leads us to consider that particular form of sin in King Uzziah which called out the vengeance of God, and which developed itself into so singular an act, and one, at first sight, so little in keeping with the former portions of his life. His early career was one of a good and religious man, blessed by God with prosperity on that account. Trusting to his success as a sign not only of God’s favour, but of his own moral security, he became inflated with pride and self-sufficiency, and his temptation was to fall into that very sin, so natural to those who, having once been earnest or sincere in their religion, have by degrees familiarised themselves with it; so that they think they may play with it as a bauble, or use its influence to serve their own ends, and, like Uzziah, thrust themselves into the very office of the priest, by a profane and irreverent handling of holy things. This familiarity with the things of religion is the natural result of that precocity of spiritual knowledge which belongs to many. It ends in more than one false condition of mind. Familiarity itself quickly shades off into irreverence, pride and self-sufficiency, and independence of those means of grace and elevated helps to the religious life which are so inseparably mixed up with the life of the earnest Christian. Into these faults Uzziah fell. A disposition of independence, which his seems to have been, would naturally lead him to think very much for himself in things religious; and thinking for himself would naturally lead him to too subjective a view of religion generally.
4. There are many forms which this particular error takes that come before our eye--familiarity with holy things and holy names, which look upon reserve with the same eye as they look on hypocrisy, and on reverence with the same feeling with which they regard superstition. Many sad conditions result from this so great a familiarity of treatment of the external objects of religion, that, by degrees, such men lose sight of objective religion altogether, and blend it into themselves. In the realms of faith, where the shadowy forms which pass before the mind’s eye are matters of apprehension more to the mind than to the sense, there is ever a danger of our ignoring the separate existence of those forms, making them after all but the idols of our own creation. The attitude necessary towards those objects is one of reverence and reserved delicacy. The forms of the unseen world are in themselves to our eye infinitely fine; the rude touch, the over-curious gaze, may dissipate them as far as our perception of them goes. So that some have dealt with the Second blessed Person of the Trinity, till they have denied His Divinity, and with the Holy Spirit until they have denied His Personality. With an unauthorised touch they have entered the holiest place, and dared to intrude upon scenes for which they have neither warrant nor commission. Another end in which this kind of spirit results is, very naturally, pride and self-sufficiency. In proportion as we melt off the outlines of the objects of our creed, we lower our estimation of them; and in proportion as they are made parts only of our own interior self, we by degrees find nothing on which we can place reliance, save on our own opinion or personal energy. It is to this condition of mind that our familiarity with religious subjects will judicially bring us, and those whose intentions were best, may in this life have to bewail Uzziah’s end. (E. Monro.)
And carried them captive to Assyria.
A very humbling expression! But this is an aspect of providence we cannot afford, if we be wise men, to ignore. Tiglath-pileser, King of Assyria, came and carried away all these people captive to Assyria--simply “carried” them. When men have lost their soul, their spirit, their fire, they are simply carted away like so many hundredweights and tons of dead matter. We are not men if we have lost manliness--in other words, if we have lost the indwelling Spirit of God, the force eternal, the seal Divine; we are not then conquered, because to be “conquered” would imply some measure of calculated and rational resistance--we are simply carried away, borne off, as men might carry dead matter. This is the lot of all nations that forget God: this is the lot of every man whose heart ceases to be the sanctuary of the living Spirit: he is but so much bulk; name him in pounds avoirdupois, report him in so many inches and feet of stature and girth;--he has grieved the Spirit; he has quenched the Spirit; henceforth he is to be driven as one of a herd of dumb cattle; he is to be carried as if he were but so much flesh. (J. Parker, D. D.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》