The Reign of Amaziah
25 1 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king and reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. 2 He lived well before God, doing the right thing for the most part. But he wasn't wholeheartedly devoted to God. 3 When he had the affairs of the kingdom well in hand, he executed the palace guard who had assassinated his father the king. 4 But he didn't kill the sons of the assassins - he was mindful of what God commanded in The Revelation of Moses, that parents shouldn't be executed for their childrens' sins, nor children for their parents'. We each pay personally for our sins. 5 Amaziah organized Judah and sorted out Judah and Benjamin by families and by military units. Men twenty years and older had to register - they ended up with 300,000 judged capable of military service. 6 In addition he hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel in the north at a cost of about four and a half tons of silver. 7 A holy man showed up and said, "No, O king - don't let those northern Israelite soldiers into your army; God is not on their side, nor with any of the Ephraimites. 8 Instead, you go by yourself and be strong. God and God only has the power to help or hurt your cause." 9 But Amaziah said to the holy man, "But what about all this money - these tons of silver I have already paid out to hire these men?" "God's help is worth far more to you than that," said the holy man. 10 So Amaziah fired the soldiers he had hired from the north and sent them home. They were very angry at losing their jobs and went home seething. 11 But Amaziah was optimistic. He led his troops into the Valley of Salt and killed 10,000 men of Seir. 12 They took another 10,000 as prisoners, led them to the top of the Rock, and pushed them off a cliff. They all died in the fall, smashed on the rocks. 13 But the troops Amaziah had dismissed from his army, angry over their lost opportunity for plunder, rampaged through the towns of Judah all the way from Samaria to Beth Horon, killing 3,000 people and taking much plunder.
14 On his return from the destruction of the Edomites, Amaziah brought back the gods of the men of Seir and installed them as his own gods, worshiping them and burning incense to them. 15 That ignited God's anger; a fiery blast of God's wrath put into words by a God-sent prophet: "What is this? Why on earth would you pray to inferior gods who couldn't so much as help their own people from you - gods weaker than Amaziah?" 16 Amaziah interrupted him, "Did I ask for your opinion? Shut up or get thrown out!" The prophet quit speaking, but not before he got in one last word: "I have it on good authority: God has made up his mind to throw you out because of what you've done, and because you wouldn't listen to me."
17 One day Amaziah sent envoys to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, challenging him to a fight: "Come and meet with me, I dare you. Let's have it out face to face!" 18 Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah, "One day a thistle in Lebanon sent word to a cedar in Lebanon, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' But then a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it. 19 Just because you've defeated Edom in battle, you now think you're a big shot. Go ahead and be proud, but stay home. Why press your luck? Why bring defeat on yourself and Judah?" 20 Amaziah wouldn't take no for an answer - God had already decided to let Jehoash defeat him because he had defected to the gods of Edom. 21 So Jehoash king of Israel came on ahead and confronted Amaziah king of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh, a town of Judah. 22 Judah was thoroughly beaten by Israel - all the soldiers straggled home in defeat. 23 Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh. But Jehoash didn't stop at that; he went on to attack Jerusalem. He demolished the Wall of Jerusalem all the way from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate - a stretch of about six hundred feet. 24 He looted the gold, silver, and furnishings - anything he found that was worth taking - from both the palace and The Temple of God - and, for good measure, he took hostages. Then he returned to Samaria. 25 Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah continued as king fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel. 26 The rest of the life and times of Amaziah from start to finish is written in the Royal Annals of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 During those last days, after Amaziah had defected from God, they cooked up a plot against Amaziah in Jerusalem, and he had to flee to Lachish. But they tracked him down in Lachish and killed him there. 28 They brought him back on horseback and buried him in Jerusalem with his ancestors in the City of David.
The Reign of Uzziah
26 1 The people of Judah then took Uzziah, who was only sixteen years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah. 2 The first thing he did after his father was dead and buried was to recover Elath for Judah and rebuild it. 3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king and reigned for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 4 He behaved well in the eyes of God, following in the footsteps of his father Amaziah. 5 He was a loyal seeker of God. He was well trained by his pastor and teacher Zechariah to live in reverent obedience before God, and for as long as Zechariah lived, Uzziah lived a godly life. And God prospered him. 6 He ventured out and fought the Philistines, breaking into the fortress cities of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod. He also built settlements around Ashdod and other Philistine areas. 7 God helped him in his wars with the Philistines, the Arabs in Gur Baal, and the Meunites. 8 The Ammonites also paid tribute. Uzziah became famous, his reputation extending all the way to Egypt. He became quite powerful. 9 Uzziah constructed defense towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, the Valley Gate, and at the corner of the wall. 10 He also built towers and dug cisterns out in the country. He had herds of cattle down in the foothills and out on the plains, had farmers and vinedressers at work in the hills and fields - he loved growing things. 11 On the military side, Uzziah had a well-prepared army ready to fight. They were organized by companies under the direction of Jeiel the secretary, Maaseiah the field captain, and Hananiah of the general staff. 12 The roster of family leaders over the fighting men accounted for 2,600. 13 Under them were reinforcement troops numbering 307,000, with 500 of them on constant alert - a strong royal defense against any attack. 14 Uzziah had them well-armed with shields, spears, helmets, armor, bows, and slingshots. 15 He also installed the latest in military technology on the towers and corners of Jerusalem for shooting arrows and hurling stones. He became well known for all this - a famous king. Everything seemed to go his way.
16 But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, he fell. One day, contemptuous of God, he walked into The Temple of God like he owned it and took over, burning incense on the Incense Altar. 17 The priest Azariah, backed up by eighty brave priests of God, tried to prevent him. 18 They confronted Uzziah: "You must not, you cannot do this, Uzziah - only the Aaronite priests, especially consecrated for the work, are permitted to burn incense. Get out of God's Temple; you are unfaithful and a disgrace!" 19 But Uzziah, censer in hand, was already in the middle of doing it and angrily rebuffed the priests. He lost his temper; angry words were exchanged - and then, even as they quarreled, a skin disease appeared on his forehead. 20 As soon as they saw it, the chief priest Azariah and the other priests got him out of there as fast as they could. He hurried out - he knew that God then and there had given him the disease. 21 Uzziah had his skin disease for the rest of his life and had to live in quarantine; he was not permitted to set foot in The Temple of God. His son Jotham, who managed the royal palace, took over the government of the country. 22 The rest of the history of Uzziah, from start to finish, was written by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 23 When Uzziah died, they buried him with his ancestors in a field next to the royal cemetery. His skin disease disqualified him from burial in the royal cemetery. His son Jotham became the next king.
The Reign of Jotham
27 1 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king; he reigned sixteen years at Jerusalem. His mother was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. 2 In God's eyes he lived a good life, following the path marked out by his father Uzziah. Unlike his father, though, he didn't desecrate The Temple of God. But the people pushed right on in their lives of corruption. 3 Jotham constructed the Upper Gate of The Temple of God, considerably extended the Wall of the Ophel, 4 and built cities in the high country of Judah and forts and towers down in the forests. 5 He fought and beat the king of the Ammonites - that year the Ammonites turned over three and a quarter tons of silver and about sixty-five bushels of wheat, and another sixty-five bushels of barley. They repeated this for the next two years. 6 Jotham's strength was rooted in his steady and determined life of obedience to God. 7 The rest of the history of Jotham, including his wars and achievements, are all written in the Royal Annals of the Kings of Israel and Judah. 8 He was twenty-five years old when he became king; he reigned for sixteen years at Jerusalem. 9 Jotham died and was buried in the City of David. His son Ahaz became the next king.