Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam II, king of Israel (2 Chronicles 26)

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Illustration: Pride led King Uzziah to Offer Incense at the Temple

Uzziah, called Azariah in 2 Kings 14:21 and 15:1-7, ruled Judah for 52 years, from approximately 792 to 740 B.C. He “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 15:3), an God blessed him both militarily and economically. Uzziah’s name appears on two seals of unknown origin and later inscription. The seals read, respectively, “belonging to Abiah Servant of Uzziah” and “belonging to Shebaniah servant of Uzziah”. The inscription, also of unknown origin states “Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah king of Judah – do not open!”

Jeroboam II was a contemporary of Uzziah, ruling the northern kingdom for some 41 years, from around 793 to 753 B.C. His career is summarized in just seven verses in 2 Kings 14:23-29. There is only one known reference to Jeroboam II outside the Bible – the famous “Shema Seal”, found in excavations at Megiddo in 1904. It was sent to the Turkish sultan in Istanbul and unfortunately lost. Before it was sent, however¨, a bronze cast was made. Now on display at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, it depicts a roaring lion along with the owner’s name, “belonging to Shema”, and the title, “servant of Jeroboam”. The style of the lettering dates the seal to the early eighth century B.C. This is the earliest of a number of seals and seal impressions bearing the names of Biblical figures.


 

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