Azariah is a name that appears several times in the Bible, referring to different individuals. Here is an overview of the main Azariahs in Scripture:
1. Azariah the king of Judah (also called Uzziah)
One of the most well-known Azariahs in the Bible was a king of Judah who reigned for 52 years. He is first introduced in 1 Kings 14:21 and 2 Kings 15:1, where he is called Azariah. However, he is more commonly called Uzziah in 2 Kings 15:13, Isaiah 6:1, and elsewhere.
Azariah/Uzziah was the son of Amaziah and became king at the age of 16. Early in his reign, he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God (2 Chronicles 26:5). As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. He won great military victories over the Philistines and Ammonites, fortified Jerusalem, and became extremely powerful (2 Kings 15:1-7).
However, later in life Azariah/Uzziah’s pride became his downfall. He entered the temple to burn incense on the altar of incense, which was a duty reserved only for the priests. Azariah was confronted by 81 priests, but he became enraged. At that moment, he was struck with leprosy on his forehead as a sign of God’s judgment (2 Chronicles 26:16-20).
Due to his leprosy, Azariah lived in isolation until his death. His son Jotham became coregent and had charge of the palace while Azariah remained quarantined with leprosy (2 Kings 15:5). Azariah/Uzziah reigned for a total of 52 years until his death around 740 BC (2 Kings 15:2).
2. Azariah the high priest in Hezekiah’s time
A different Azariah is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 31 as a high priest during the days of King Hezekiah of Judah. After Hezekiah had restored proper worship in Judah, Azariah the high priest led the priests and Levites in making needed reforms and arrangements to serve in the temple again (2 Chronicles 31:9-10).
This Azariah is likely the same priest mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:10 as the son of Johanan and grandson of Azariah (1 Chr. 6:9). He would have served in the temple sometime in the late 8th century BC during Hezekiah’s reign.
3. Azariah the son of Obed
In 2 Chronicles 23, when Joash was revealed as the rightful king of Judah at age 7 after years of hiding from Queen Athaliah, it was a priest named Jehoiada who orchestrated the coup. He stationed guards at the temple to protect the young king. Among these guards was “Azariah the son of Obed” (2 Chronicles 23:1).
So this Azariah was likely one of the temple priests or Levites who helped protect Joash’s claim to the throne around 835 BC. Not much more is said about him.
4. Azariah the prophet during Asa’s reign
Azariah son of Oded appears in 2 Chronicles 15 as a prophet who went out to meet King Asa of Judah as Asa was returning from battle. Azariah prophesied to Asa, urging him to seek the Lord and lead the people to do the same (2 Chronicles 15:1-7). Asa heeded Azariah’s exhortation and led extensive religious reforms in Judah (2 Chronicles 15:8-18).
This encounter happened earlier in Asa’s reign, sometime in the early to mid 9th century BC. The text emphasizes that the Lord was found by those who sought him during this period of spiritual renewal in Judah.
5. Azariah the grandson of Zadok
1 Chronicles 6 lists the priestly line descending from Aaron through his son Eleazar and grandson Phinehas. One of the priests named in this lineage is Azariah son of Ahimaaz and grandson of Zadok, the high priest in David’s time (1 Chronicles 6:9-10).
So this Azariah would have been part of the priestly line in Jerusalem around David’s time in the 10th century BC. But not much more is said about his life.
6. Azzur the father of Jeremiah’s accuser
In Jeremiah 29, the prophet Jeremiah sent a letter from Jerusalem to the exiles in Babylon. However, one of the priests in Babylon named Shemaiah opposed Jeremiah’s message and wrote back to Zephaniah the priest with a claim that Jeremiah was a madman who should be put in stocks (Jeremiah 29:24-28).
This Shemaiah is identified as the son of Azzur, and Azzur seems to be a shortened form of the name Azariah. So this Azariah was likely among the exiles in Babylon around the early 6th century BC when Jeremiah was prophesying, and his son denounced Jeremiah’s words (Jeremiah 29:24).
7. Azariah the Daniel’s Hebrew name
The prophet Daniel has a Hebrew name meaning “God is my help,” which was Hananiah (Daniel 1:6). However, the chief official of Nebuchadnezzar renamed him Belteshazzar, after a Babylonian god (Daniel 1:7).
Interestingly, the Jewish historian Josephus records this name change but claims the Hebrew name was originally Azariah, not Hananiah (Antiquities 10.10.1). So it is possible Azariah was an alternate Hebrew name for Daniel.
8. A different Azariah the son of Hilkiah
After the Jews returned from exile in Babylon, Ezra 8 lists those who returned with him. Among them is listed an Azariah son of Hilkiah from the line of Zadok (Ezra 8:1-2). This could possibly be the same as Azariah the grandson of Zadok mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6. Or it may be another Azariah from the same priestly line.
In any case, this Azariah returned from Babylon with Ezra in the mid 5th century BC and is mentioned among the descendants of Phinehas the priest (Ezra 8:1-3).
9. Azariah the son of Maaseiah
Nehemiah 3 records those who helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem after the exile. Among these workers was Azariah son of Maaseiah, who was ruler of Beth-haccerem and repaired part of the wall (Nehemiah 3:23-24).
This Azariah would have lived in the mid 5th century BC when Nehemiah was governing Judea following the return from exile in Babylon.
So in summary, there are numerous individuals named Azariah in the Old Testament, spanning many centuries of biblical history:
- The king of Judah (Uzziah)
- The high priest in Hezekiah’s time
- The priest who protected Joash
- The prophet who exhorted King Asa
- The descendant of Zadok the priest
- The possible Hebrew name for Daniel
- Those who returned from exile: son of Hilkiah and son of Maaseiah
The name Azariah means “Yahweh has helped” and was a fairly common name among Hebrews. It was borne by priests, prophets, and kings throughout Israel’s history, by those who were close to God and sought to serve Him as well as those who turned away. The name is a reminder of how the Lord helps and sustains His people, even though some may later abandon Him. Through all Israel’s ups and downs, Azariah was a name pointing back to God as the source of true help and deliverance.