Verses 32–38

We have here a short account of the reign of Jotham king of Judah, of whom we are told, 1. That he reigned very well, did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, 2 Kgs. 15:34. Josephus gives him a very high character, stating that he was pious towards God, just towards men, and laid out himself for the public good,—that, whatever was amiss, he took care to have it rectified,—and, in short, wanted no virtue that became a good prince. Though the high places were not taken away, yet to draw people from them, and keep them close to God’s holy place, he showed great respect to the temple, and built the higher gate which he went through to the temple. If magistrates cannot do all they would for the suppressing of vice and profaneness, let them do so much the more for the support and advancement of piety and virtue, and the bringing of them into reputation. If they cannot pull down the high places of sin, yet let them build and beautify the high gate of God’s house. 2. That he died in the midst of his days, 2 Kgs. 15:33. Of most of the kings of Judah we are told how old they were when they began their reign, and by that may compute how old they were when they died; but no account is kept of the age of any of the kings of Israel that I remember, only of the years of their reigns. This honour God would put upon the kings of the house of David above those of other families. And by these accounts it appears that there was none of all the kings of Judah that reached David’s age, seventy, the common age of man. Asa’s age I do not find. Uzziah lived to be sixty-eight, Manasseh sixty-seven, and Jehoshaphat sixty; and these were the three oldest; many of those that were of note did not reach fifty. This Jotham died at forty-one. He was too great a blessing to be continued long to such an unworthy people. His death was a judgment, especially considering the character of his son and successor. 3. That in his days the confederacy was formed against Judah by Rezin and Remaliah’s son, the king of Syria and the king of Israel, which appeared so very formidable in the beginning of the reign of Ahaz that, upon notice of it, the heart of that prince was moved and the heart of the people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind, Isa. 7:2. The confederates were unjust in the attempt, yet it is here said (2 Kgs. 15:37), The Lord began to send them against Judah, as he bade Shimei curse David, and took away from Job what the Sabeans robbed him of. Men are God’s hand—the sword, the rod in his hand—which he makes use of as he pleases to serve his own righteous counsels, though men be unrighteous in their intentions. This storm gathered in the reign of pious Jotham, but he came to his grave in peace and it fell upon his degenerate son.