UZZIAH, KING OF JUDAH
UZZIAH was sixteen years old when he was made king of Judah in place of his father, Amaziah,
who had been slain. At first he did what was right, and God blessed him, so that he
prospered, and the kingdom flourished under him. But this success made him proud, and
he forgot that it was God to whom he owed it. One day, on the occasion of a great
festival, he put on the holy garment of the priests and went into the temple to offer
up incense to God on the golden altar. The priests sought to dissuade him from his
purpose, telling him it was not lawful for any but the descendants of Aaron to sacrifice
at that altar. Then the king was angry, and threatened to kill them unless they held
their peace. No sooner were these words uttered than the earth began to shake and
tremble, the roof of the temple was rent, and the rays of the sun shone through and
fell full upon the king's face, which at the same moment was covered all over with
leprosy. A mountain that was near the city was split asunder by the
 earthquake, and half of it broke off from the rest and rolled four furlongs, till the roads, as well as
the king's gardens, were spoiled by the obstruction.
As soon as the priests saw that the king's face was covered with leprosy, they ordered him out of the
temple and out of the city, for there was a law that no leper should be allowed within the city walls.
The king was so frightened and distressed at this strange calamity that he did whatever was
commanded, and took up his abode outside the walls, and lived a private life, while his son
Jotham took the government.
And he soon died, and Jotham was crowned king of Judah.
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