We have here an account of two things concerning Uzziah:—
I. His piety. In this he was not very eminent or zealous; yet he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. He kept up the pure worship of the true God as his father did, and was better than his father, inasmuch as we have no reason to think he ever worshipped idols as his father did, no, not in his latter days, when his heart was lifted up. It is said (2 Chron. 26:5), He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who, some think, was the son of the Zechariah whom his grandfather Joash slew. This Zechariah was one that had understanding in the visions of God, either the visions which he himself was favoured with or the visions of the preceding prophets. He was well versed in prophecy, and conversed much with the upper world, was an intelligent, devout, good man; and, it seems, had great influence with Uzziah. Happy are the great men who have such about them and are willing to be advised by them; but unhappy those who seek God only while they have such with them and have not a principle in themselves to bear them out to the end.
II. His prosperity.
1. In general, as long as he sought the Lord, and minded religion, God made him to prosper. Note, (1.) Those only prosper whom God makes to prosper; for prosperity is his gift. (2.) Religion and piety are very friendly to outward prosperity. Many have found and owned this, that as long as they sought the Lord and kept close to their duty they prospered; but since they forsook God every thing has gone cross.
2. Here are several particular instances of his prosperity:—(1.) His success in his wars: God helped him (2 Chron. 26:7), and then he triumphed over the Philistines (those old enemies of God’s people), demolished the fortifications of their cities, and put garrisons of his own among them, 2 Chron. 26:6. He obliged the Ammonites to pay him tribute, 2 Chron. 26:8. He made all quiet about him, and kept them in awe. (2.) The greatness of his fame and reputation. His name was celebrated throughout all the neighbouring countries (2 Chron. 26:8) and it was a good name, a name for good things with God and good people. This is true fame, and makes a man truly honourable. (3.) His buildings. While he acted offensively abroad, he did not neglect the defence of his kingdom at home, but built towers in Jerusalem and fortified them, 2 Chron. 26:9. Much of the wall of Jerusalem was in his father’s time broken down, particularly at the corner gate. But his best fortification of Jerusalem was his close adherence to the worship of God: if his father had not forsaken this the wall of Jerusalem would not have been broken down. While he fortified the city, he did not forget the country, but built towers in the desert too (2 Chron. 26:10), to protect the country people from the inroads of the plunderers, bands of whom sometimes alarmed them and plundered them, as 2 Chron. 21:16. (4.) His husbandry. He dealt much in cattle and corn, employed many hands, and got much wealth by his dealing; for he took a pleasure in it: he loved husbandry (2 Chron. 26:10), and probably did himself inspect his affairs in the country, which was no disparagement to him, but an advantage, as it encouraged industry among his subjects. It is an honour to the husbandman’s calling that one of the most illustrious princes of the house of David followed it and loved it. He was not one of those that delight in war, nor did he addict himself to sport and pleasure, but delighted in the innocent and quiet employments of the husbandman. (5.) His standing armies. He had, as it should seem, two military establishments. [1.] A host of fighting men that were to make excursions abroad. These went out to war by bands, 2 Chron. 26:11. They fetched in spoil from the neighbouring countries by way of reprisal for the depredations they had so often made upon Judah, [2.] Another army for guards and garrisons, that were ready to defend the country in case it should be invaded, 2 Chron. 26:12, 13. So great were their number and valour that they made war with mighty power; no enemy durst face them, or, at least, could stand before them. Men unarmed can do little in war. Uzziah therefore furnished himself with a great armoury, whence his soldiers were supplied with arms offensive and defensive (2 Chron. 26:14), spears, bows, and slings, shields, helmets, and habergeons: swords are not mentioned, because it is probable that every man had a sword of his own, which he wore constantly. Engines were invented, in his time, for annoying besiegers with darts and stones shot from the towers and bulwarks, 2 Chron. 26:15. What a pity it is that the wars and fightings which come from men’s lusts have made it necessary for cunning men to employ their skill in inventing instruments of death.