2 Kings 15:32-38

Jotham, King of Judah

This son of Uzziah began his reign the second year of Pekah (cf. 2 Chr. 27: 1‑9), and reigned sixteen years at Jerusalem. His mother, Jerusha, daughter of Zadok, was probably of the priestly family. With her we continue to observe the blessed role of the mothers of the kings of Judah. Nothing of the kind for the kings of Israel. But "the people still acted corruptly" (2 Chr. 27: 2), because of the lack of decision in these godly kings who did not dare at­tack idolatry at its root. The account in Chronicles teaches us that Jotham "became strong, for he prepared his ways before Jehovah his God." Godliness is a source of strength for us also, and of spiritual power. From the moment that our ways are not ordered before God, strength forsakes us. Serious reflection for all, and a thousand times yet more serious for those who have a particular responsibility with respect to the people of God. Only the sense of this strength presents a danger. We have seen in the case of Uzziah that this feeling pushed him to lift himself up before the high priest (2 Chr. 26: 16‑21). Jotham does not become puffed up by his strength. Also it is said of him, in comparing him with his father: "Only he entered not into the temple of Jehovah" (2 Chr. 27: 2). On the contrary, being humble, he was occupied with the house of God. He "built the upper gate of the house of Jehovah" (v. 35), a deed characteristic of his reign in the book of kings. What a privilege when a believer leaves behind him as a remembrance, that which he has done for the house of God! God records this deed and leaves it with us as a memorial for Jotham. There are other deeds in his life, and Chronicles informs us of them, but is it not touching to see that God puts this one into the spot­light as characteristic, in His eyes, of the reign of this faith­ful king Without giving way to imagination, there is noth­ing that forbids us to think that the daughter of Zadok might have inculcated into her son from his youth on a respect for the temple of the Lord, and that under this in­fluence the center of the king's activity was the house of God.

Pekah, the son of Remaliah, allied with Rezin, king of Syria, begins to go up against Judah in the days of Jotham (v. 37). The sin of Judah necessitated the discipline of God, but the consequences of this discipline could be removed by the godliness of their leader, as happened later under pious Hezekiah with regard to the Assyrian. It seems also that this may have been the case during the reign of Jotham.