The outlook appeared indeed far darker to Jeremiah than it seemed more than a century before to Isaiah in the evil days of Jotham and Ahaz, " when the whole head was sick and the whole heart faint " (Isa.
Its king, Uzziah, was a leper in his latter days, and his son and regent, Jotham, claims notice for the circumstantial reference (2 Chron.
The country to the south and east of Amman is distinguished by its fertility; and ruined towns are scattered thickly over it, attesting that it was once occupied by a population which, however fierce, was settled and industrious, a fact indicated also by the tribute of corn paid annually to Jotham (2 Chron.
The same heading already referred to gives us our only traditional information as to the period during which Isaiah prophesied; it refers to Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah as the contemporary kings.
Chap. vi., which describes a vision of Isaiah "in the death-year of King Uzziah" (740 or 734 B.C.?) may possibly have arisen out of notes put down in the reign of Jotham; but for several reasons it is not an acceptable view that, in its present form, this striking chapter is earlier than the reign of Ahaz.
Jotham, the only one who is said to have escaped, boldly appeared on Mount Gerizim and denounced the ingratitude of the townsmen towards the legitimate sons of the man who had saved them from Midian.
During Uzziah's seclusion his son Jotham acted as regent.
The editorial title of the book of Micah declares that Micah prophesied "in the days of Jotham (739-734), Ahaz (733-721) and Hezekiah (720-693), kings of Judah."
Nothing in the book itself can claim to belong to the reign of Jotham, but the prophecy against Samaria (i.
6-13); wars of Uzziah and Jotham (2 Chron.
This removes, or at least mitigates, the difficulty referred to, and leaves more room for the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz; but it requires, of course, a corresponding reduction in the reigns of the kings succeeding Ahaz.
It is possible that Judah (under Uzziah and Jotham) had come to an understanding with Assyria; at all events Ahaz was at once encircled by fierce attacks, and was only saved by Tiglath-Pileser's campaign against Philistia, north Israel and Damascus.