The punishment of leprosy for King Uzziah (2 Chr 26:16-26:21)

“But when King Uzziah was strong, he grew proud to his destruction. He was false to Yahweh his God. He entered the temple of Yahweh to make an offering on the altar of incense. But priest Azariah went in after him, with eighty priests of Yahweh, men of valor. They withstood King Uzziah, and said to him. ‘It is not for you, King Uzziah, to make an offering to Yahweh, but for the priests, the descendents of Aaron, who are consecrated to make offerings. Go out of the sanctuary! You have done wrong! It will bring you no honor from Yahweh God.’ Then King Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to make an offering. When he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, in the presence of the priests in the house of Yahweh, by the altar of incense. When the chief priest Azariah, and all the priests, looked at him, he was leprous in his forehead. They hurried him out. He himself hurried to get out, because Yahweh had struck him. King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death. Being leprous, he lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of Yahweh. His son Jotham was in charge of the palace of the king, governing the people of the land.”

Although this punishment of leprosy for King Uzziah was mentioned in 2 Kings, chapter 15, here this biblical chronicler tells us why he received this leprosy from Yahweh. He, just like Miriam the sister of Moses in Exodus, chapter 40, received this punishment from Yahweh. King Uzziah wanted to offer a sacrifice with incense to Yahweh. Like King Saul in 1 Samuel, he was punished for taking the place of the priest of Yahweh, who alone could offer the incense. The chief priest Azariah, which was the exact name of this king in 2 Kings, along with 80 other Temple priests, told him to stop. King Uzziah became angry. As his anger with the priests occurred, he was suddenly struck with leprosy on his forehead. The priests and even the king himself realized that he was unclean and had to be removed from the Temple immediately. They all hurried to get this unclean leper out of the Temple. This was a permanent leprosy so he had to live in a separate house because of the interdiction against unclean lepers. His son Jotham became king in all practical matters.

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