“He had people working his fields and vineyards in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil.” 2 Ch. 26:10
Could it be even possible that King Uzziah was a farmer at heart, for he “loved the soil” and “had much livestock in the foothills and in the plain.” One thing was for certain, however, the king didn’t do the farming or shepherding by himself; he assigned his people to perform the task for him. To the king, farming was an ideal, not a reality. It may be rather romantic looking at farming from afar, but when the reality becomes a down-to-earth kind of thing, it instantly loses its luster. This might have been the case with King Uzziah. He was merely looking at an ideal, and paid no attention to the toil and sorrow of actual farming.
Uzziah was like all monarchs before and after him from east to west. When they assume this lofty position they intend either to expand the territory of the kingdom by starting a war or two, or to launch a gigantic building project that requires enormous manpower and immense financial resources. I don’t think the welfare of the commoners in the nation concern them that much at all, for most of them only care about their own legacy and lose sight of the need of people to be sheltered and fed.
What were the things Uzziah actually did after he assumed the kingship? Well, it goes without saying that he fought a war or two, enslaved the ones who were defeated, and also built a few towers to defend the city and to demonstrate his power. After all these had been accomplished, he started to think about the soil and how wonderful it would be if he could get down to his knees and kiss the dirt.
If only the king had known what it was like to support a family by working the soil and raising the cows! Had he known all these, he wouldn’t have done a lot of things that he did governing the nation.
Indeed, there is nothing romantic about farming and grazing cattle, for I have experienced both as a little boy and found them rather dreary and wearisome. Surely it was neither fun nor romantic when I was told in my preteen years to get down on all fours in the rice paddies, looking for weeds as I crawled forward, inch by inch in steamy, muddy water. How could a little boy learn to love the soil under such conditions? No wonder I found it ironic when I came across the line that says: “He had people working his fields and vineyards in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil.”
Come to think of it, the king might have loved the cattle and the soil more than the people whom he had been charged by the Lord to shepherd.