Moral Relapse

The period of economic prosperity under Uzziah's reign had brought much wealth and luxury into the country, and the higher standards of living were accompanied by a degeneration of the moral standards of the people. If the people could not satisfy their wants legally, they resorted to illegal methods; usury and oppression of the poor were spreading all over the country. This moral depravity was coupled with a general laxity of religious practices and a turning to various forms of idolatry.

Uzziah had not done much about these unhealthy conditions because he had been involved in warfare or other affairs of state. He had left most of the domestic matters in the hands of his nobles, many of whom were unfit for their offices. In the years following his forced abdication and isolation, the clique of the rich and of the nobility had had full power to do as they pleased. Jotham, Uzziah's son to whom the government was handed over, was only a youngster. Being of a very modest character, he officially recognized his father's reign during his lifetime and acted only as his representative.

Jotham's Loyalty to G‑d

After Uzziah's death, Jotham was crowned king of Judea. Very cautiously and slowly he went about assuming full powers. During the first few years he concentrated all his efforts upon strengthening the political and military position of his land, which had suffered so much during the period when the throne of Judea stood vacant. He subdued all those neighbors who had thrown off the supremacy of Judea and recaptured the provinces that had been lost. He built new forts and strengthened the defenses of the city of Jerusalem. He also did a great amount of building for civilian purposes. Much of his attention was directed towards the renovation and beautification of the Holy Temple. However, he avoided going there too often, because of the misfortune that had befallen his much adored father there. In general he was very similar to Uzziah. But he was even more pious and observed and studied the laws of the Torah. Perhaps the best testament of his moral and religious strength is the fact that nowhere is there any record of his having committed even a single sin. Such a testament is a rarity even among the pious kings of Judea.