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Our Young Folk's Josephus by  William Shepard
Table of Contents




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 [218] 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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