The story of Uzziah and his punishment by the Lord is found in 2 Chronicles 26:16–23. After Uzziah became powerful, he became proud. And this sin led to his fall. For he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense (2 Chronicles 26:17). Under ordinary circumstances, only the priests were permitted to offer incense on the golden altar before the Lord (Numbers 18:1–7). This was a very solemn duty restricted only to the priests. Thus, Uzziah was guilty of presumption in his effort to carry on this sacred priestly right.
Azariah the priest with eight other brave priests of the LORD confronted the king saying, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God” (verse 17,18). the king had perhaps entered the Temple with an entourage and might have made an attempt to struggle with the high priest’s attempt to expel him. But Azariah was ready to use force if necessary to stop the king from committing this sin (verses 17,18).
The king, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became annoyed by the resistance of the priests. While he was angry at them in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, the Lord struck him with leprosy on his forehead (verse 19). At this point, the king realized with fear that God had condemned him. When Azariah, the chief priest, and all the other priests looked at him, they took him out of the temple because he was defiled (verse 20).
King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house and was excluded from all people. Lepers were not permitted by Jewish law to dwell with others. They were to live alone, “without the camp” (Leviticus 13:46). Jotham his son had charge of the palace and ruled the people of the land (verse 21). Thus, Uzziah stained his noble record by his transgression in the latter part of his rule.
Uzziah died and was buried near his fathers in a field that belonged to the kings, for the people said, “He had leprosy.” He was buried “in the city of David” (2 Kings 15:7). And Jotham his son succeeded him as king (2 Chronicles 26:16–23). The other events of Uzziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz (verse 22).
In His service,