History Proven Facts: King Uzziah

Archeological evidence has proven King Uzziah to have been a historical figure, not just a biblical one. King Uzziah was referenced in the books of Amos, 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Hosea, Zachariah and Matthew.


What the Bible tells us:

2 Kings 15:34 identifies King Uzziah as a man who had done right in the eyes of the Lord. Uzziah reigned as the King of Judah. 2 Chronicles 26 tells us he became king at the young age of 16. He ruled the kingdom from Jerusalem for 52 years. He had become a powerful ruler as his fame spread to the border of Egypt. 2 Chronicles 26:9 tells us he had built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, Valley Gate and fortified them. His army was well trained and equipped as Uzziah provided shields, spears, helmets, coats or armor, bows and slingshots for the entire army.

As his power grew in greatness so did his pride. He became unfaithful to God. He betrayed the honor and sanctity of the temple by burning incense to God without consulting the priests. The priests (sons of Aaron) having called him out in his sin and asked him to leave the temple. Uzziah became angry and was raging at the priests in the temple. In that moment, Leprosy broke out on his forehead. He remained leprous until he died and was banned from the temple. Uzziah was forced to live in a separate house outside of the palace. His son Jotham took charge in the palace and governed the people and the land.

Rembrandt's King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy

(aka Man in Oriental Costume) c. 1640


Amos 1:1 and Zechariah 14:5 identifies an earthquake took place during King Uzziah's reign.


 

Archology Facts: Royal Seals


It was common for Kings to have unique seals created to represents their authority. Authorized palace staff would show the king's seal to confirm the authentic nature of their message.


Etched in one seal is encryption saying "belonging to Abiyau, servant of Uzziah". It was made of agate and shows an Egyptian person kneeling.


The second seal is etched with "belonging to Sebnayau, servant of Uzziah". The seal shows a man holding a scepter. This seal was made of red limestone. Reviewing the seal style and letters confirm the seals date back to the timeline when Uzziah was king.


The seal of Sebnayau, “servant of Uzziah.” Photo Credit: Todd Bolen

 

Archology Facts: Burial Marker


A burial marker was discovered in 1931 with an encryption, "Here were brought the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah. Do not open." The marker dates back to 150 BC- 50 AD. The verbiage "here were brought" indicates the bones had been moved to a new location. The movement of the bones wouldn't have been uncommon due to the risk of grave robbers or city expansions.


Burial Marker Photo credit: Yoac Dothan



Archeology Facts: King Uzziah's Wilderness Outposts



Photo Credit: www.HolyLandPhotos.org


"He also built towers in the wilderness and dug many cisterns, because he had much livestock in the foothills and in the plain. He had people working his fields and vineyards in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil." 2 Chronicles 26:10


This photo shows an 8th century dig site that is believed to be a cistern built in the Judean wilderness.

 


What the Bible tells us:

"The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa—the vision he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel." Amos 1:1


"You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him." Zechariah 14:5


Archeology Facts: Earthquake Evidence


Archeologists have discovered evidence of an 8th earthquake in Jerusalem. With the absence of an ash layer archeologists were able to rule out the origins of fire or siege.


The site indicates stones had fallen (possibly from the collapse of a second floor) and broken layers of broken pottery.


Photo Credit: Eliyahu Yanai/ City of David


This single discovery alone doesn't confirm to be the evidence of an earthquake. Multiple dig sites have shown earthquake activity dating back to the 8th century. Evidence of the earthquake have also been found in other Israel dig sites at Hazor, Gezer, Tel Agol and Tell es-Safi/Gath.


An 8th Century dig site from Jerusalem Photo credit : Ortal Kalaf/ Israel Antiquities Authority



Wall damages in Tiberias show evidence of an 8th century 6.9-7.6 magnitude earthquake.

Photo credit: Francesca Ferrario