Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok.
Verse 1. - Jerushah. This name in the parallel is spelt with a final aleph instead of he. Nothing else is known of Jerushah, nor of her father Zadok.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the LORD. And the people did yet corruptly.
Verse 2. - Howbeit. This word purports to render the Hebrew רַק, which might find a more telling reproduction in such a phrase as "and moreover." It has been said, wherein his father did right, so did he; and to his clear advantage, where his father went wrong, he did riot. The people did yet corruptly. The parallel, in its ver. 35, specifies in what this consisted, viz. that they continued the high places, burning incense and sacrificing at them. The early chapters of Isaiah depict forcibly the extent of this national apostasy, and the heinous offensiveness of it in the Divine sight.
He built the high gate of the house of the LORD, and on the wall of Ophel he built much.
Verse 3. - The high gate. In the parallel, rendered in the Authorized Version the "higher" gate, the Hebrew (חָעֶלְיון) being the same in both places. The Revised Version shows "upper gate" in both places. It was probably the gate which led from the palace to the temple's outer court (see 2 Chronicles 23:20, and note there). On the wall of Ophel; Hebrew, הָעפֶל; i.e. the ophel, which may be Englished "the swelling ground." It was the extreme south end of the spur which gradually narrowed southward, and which was the continuation of the Bezetha hill, bounded by the brook Kedron on the east, and the Tyropceon on the west. This extreme south part called the Ophel sank into the bounding valleys to the Kedron precipitously and to the Tyropeon gradually. Pp. 328-335 of Condor's 'Handbook' (2nd edit.), and specially pp. 332-334, well repay a thorough study. A ditch was cut across the narrowest part of the ridge, which separated the temple hill itself from the Bezetha hill. In these parts fortifications were built, and no doubt to such it is our text calls attention.
Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he built castles and towers.
Verse 4. - The mountains of Judah; Hebrew, בְּהַר; Revised Version, hill country of Judah, the Hebrew text being in the singular number (compare particularly Joshua 9:1, where the Har is evidently placed in contrast with the Shefelah). Castles; Hebrew, בִּירָנִיּות (so 2 Chronicles 17:12). The meaning is that he built forts (Isaiah 2:15; Hosea 8:14).
He fought also with the king of the Ammonites, and prevailed against them. And the children of Ammon gave him the same year an hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Ammon pay unto him, both the second year, and the third.
Verse 5. - He fought... the King of the Ammonites. No allusion is made to the matter of this verse in the parallel, which contains a statement of the Syrian Rezin's attack or threatened invasion of Judah; as well as Pekah's, son of Remaliah King of Israel. Of the Ammonites' defeat by Uzziah we have just heard (foregoing chapter, ver. 8). A general statement is all that is made there of the gifts or tribute, they then had to pay. The present tribute was a heavy payment, and enforced for three, years. The "wheat" and "barley," in which payment was largely made bespeak the fertile arable quality of the Ammonite land, and this is noticed by travellers to the present day.
So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.
Verse 6. - The virtue of the reflection of this verse is apparent. Prepared; Hebrew, הֵכִין; Revised Version, ordered; with some others (such as "set straight," etc.), a good rendering in keeping with other Old Testament renderings of words betokening moral habitude.
Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all his wars, and his ways, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
Verse 7. - All his wars (see note on ver. 5, and parallel, ver. 37). The book of the kings of Israel and Judah. Note carefully the parallel, ver. 36, and also ver. 6 of same chapter, entries of Judah kings, and comp. peps. 11, 15, 21, 26, 31 of same chapter. (2 Kings 15.), entries of Israel kings.
He was five and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.
Verse 8. - This verse is identical with so much of per. 1 as has to do with same subject; that it is no mere careless repeated insertion, however, is evidenced by the name Jotham in that verse, in the place occupied by was in this verse.
And Jotham slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.