Uzziah, or Ozias, also known as Azariah, King of Judah

Uzziah, also known as Azariah ("Yah is my strength") became King of Judah at age 16 and reigned 52 years. He was generally a good king. While Zechariah was alive, Uzziah was always eager to please God, and he prospered, for God blessed him (2 Chronicles 26:5). God helped him in wars against the Philistines, against the Arabs of Gurbaal, and the Meunites. His fame spread to Egypt and he was very powerful.

He built numerous fortifications in and around Jerusalem, and extended his domain in all directions. He made water reservoirs for the great herds of cattle in the valleys, and had many farms and vineyards. He organized a draft system and an army of 307,500 men. He produced war machines, invented to shoot arrows and huge stones.

But he also became proud and corrupt. He sinned against the Lord by personally burning incense upon the altar of the Temple. The High Priest went in after him and demanded that he get out. Uzziah refused to set down the incense burner that he was holding, and suddenly - leprosy appeared on his forehead. King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death, and lived in isolation.

His son, Jotham, became vice-regent in charge of the king's affairs, and became king after his father's death. Uzziah was buried in the Royal cemetery, even though he was a leper. The story of Uzziah is found in 2 Kings 15:1-7, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 26. Talmudic references report that because of his leprosy, Uzziah's remains were later removed from their original grave and reburied. A tablet was found on Mount Olives that has the inscription: "Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah. Do not open."

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