After committing more or less similar acts of defiance the two Kings of Israel seem to have been judged differently.

2 Chronicles 26:16-21 NASB

16 But when he became strong, his heart was so [m]proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God, for he entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.21 King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death; and he lived in a separate house, being a leper, for he was cut off from the house of the Lord. And Jotham his son was over the king’s house judging the people of the land.

1 Samuel 13:8-9 NASB

8 Now he waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.” 14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

Uzziah's judgement

1)Struck with leprosy

2)Banished from the house of God

3)Lived in a seperate house

4)Kingdom taken away

Saul's judgement

1)Was never struck immediately with any visible illness

2)Did interact with both Samuel and Ahijah the Priest after this incident

3)Was never secluded

4)Went on to rule for some more years before his death

Was Uzziah 's judgement not too severe?

  • The very scant details in the story are exceedingly brief and so a final judgement, from the divine viewpoint, is only possible if we had the same information as the Divine. Since we do not, this is better left to the sovereignty of God whose judgement is unflawed.
    – user25930
    Jun 5, 2019 at 11:14
  • This type of question is the sort of thing that Isaiah wrote about (questioning the wisdom of God) in Isa 29:16, 45:9. This question should be closed.
    – user25930
    Jun 5, 2019 at 11:17
  • I would vote to keep the question open, myself. I think it is both a genuine inquiry and an astute comment.(+1, by the way.) I don't see that the questioner is in any way questioning why God did what he did. He is only commenting on the history and asking if the historical account is a matter of severity.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 5, 2019 at 12:18
  • 1
    Uzziah's son ruled after him, whereas Saul's dynasty ended after him (and his son)
    – b a
    Jun 5, 2019 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


There are several ways in which Uzziah's actions should be seen as "more serious" than Saul's and so would warrant a "more severe" response:

  • Uzziah's actions occurred at the altar in Solomon's Temple, the dedicated location for national offerings. Saul's actions occurred in Gilgal and there is no record the altar or the Tabernacle of Moses were there. So Uzziah was desecrating a holy place and object; Saul was only wrong in offering the sacrifice.
  • A priest tried to stop Uzziah; no priest tried to stop Saul.
  • A priest was available so Uzziah could have allowed one who was authorized to carry out his intended actions; no priest was present to "take over" for Saul.
    • The priests who were available were sons of Aaron; Samuel was not a son of Aaron.
  • Uzziah is described as acting out of pride; Saul claimed to act to appease the people.

There is one way in which Uzziah's judgment was less severe: Uzziah's son reigned in his place and his "line continued. Saul's judgment brought an end to his "line."

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