The Word Made Fresh
1Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother was Jerushah daughter of Zadok. 2He followed the way of the LORD just as his father Uzziah had done, except he did not trespass in the LORD’s temple. Still, however, the people engaged in corrupt practices.
3He built the upper gate of the LORD’s temple and made extensive repairs to the wall of Ophiel. 4He also built cities in the hill country of Judah, with forts and towers on the wooded hills. 5He fought the Ammonite king and prevailed, and the Ammonites gave him three and three-fourth tons of silver, plus sixty-two thousand bushels of both wheat and barley. They paid the same amount in the second and third years after their defeat. 6Jotham was strong because he arranged his actions in accordance with the LORD his God. 7The rest of Jotham’s reign, his wars and his activities, are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. 8He began his reign when he was twenty-five and ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years. 9He joined his ancestors in death and was buried in the city of David. His son Ahaz succeeded him.
1-9: Jotham’s reign was less remarkable. He ruled for 16 years, but his actual term was somewhat longer because he assumed the duties of the throne before his father Uzziah died with leprosy. He is judged to be a good king like his father and to have done everything his father did (except, he didn’t violate the most holy place in the temple and come down with leprosy). He is given credit for a number of building projects and for successfully subduing the Ammonites, none of which was mentioned in the earlier account (2 Kings 15:32-38). The earlier account, however, tells us things that are not mentioned here – that during his reign the Arameans and the Israelites carried out a number of successful raids into his territory.
Thank goodness we get to read about a short, unremarkable reign! I’m sure you’ve noticed, though, that as regimes come and go the whole country except the priesthood is slipping into the worship of other gods. Some of them probably didn’t even realize they were worshiping other gods – they were just doing what everybody else in their town was doing. Be careful who you copy!