Jotham becomes king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, he reigned together with Uzziah from 740 B.C. to 732 B.C., 1 Kings 15:32-38 / 2 Chronicles 1:7-9. He did what was right in God’s eyes but he didn’t remove the high places, 1 Kings 15:35.
These high places had become very important both socially and religiously for the Northern and Southern kingdoms. They were places where sacrifices were made and offerings were made to the false gods.
In effect, these high places took God’s people away from God, hence why both kingdoms fell into idolatry over and over again. Yes, the temples of Baal were destroyed but these high places remained, 2 Kings 15:1-4.
Coffman, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the wall of Ophel.
‘This wall was part of the old Jebusite city, a very important part of Jerusalem, also called ‘the City of David’. Jotham’s fortifying of this part of Jerusalem, indicated that he feared an external attack, probably from Assyria and Samaria. This faithless trust which Judah at that time put in fortifications was rebuked by the prophets, Hosea 8:14 / Isaiah 2:15.’
Ammon had been subject to Uzziah, Jotham’s father, but they rebelled against Jotham who put down their insurrection and exacted a heavy toll for three years.
Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.
‘The Ammonites, who had submitted to Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:8, revolted against Jotham. This revolt he firmly repressed; and, to punish it, he exacted a high rate of tribute for the three years following the termination of the war. The productiveness of the Ammonite country in grain, which is here indicated, has been remarked upon as extraordinary by modern travellers.’
In 1 Kings 15:37, we find the words, ‘In those days the LORD began to send Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah’.
This is the first intimation of the hostile feelings of the kings of Israel and Syria, toward Judah, which led them to form an alliance and make joint preparations for war, 2 Chronicles 27:5. However, war wasn’t actually waged until the reign of Ahaz.
Adam Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.
‘It was about this time that the Assyrian wars, so ruinous to the Jews, began, but it was in the following reigns that they arrived at their highest pitch of disaster to those unfaithful and unfortunate people. However much we may blame the Jews for their disobedience and obstinacy, yet we cannot help feeling for them under their severe afflictions. Grievously they have sinned, and grievously have they suffered for it.’
Jotham became and remained strong because he did right in the eyes of the Lord, sadly, his reign wasn’t very long because the people around him were corrupt.
However, unlike the previous three kings, he was buried with his ancestors and buried in the city of David, that is Jerusalem. His son, Ahaz now becomes king of Judah.