(Joʹtham) [Jehovah Is Perfect; or, May Jehovah Complete].
1. A descendant of Judah designated as a ‘son’ of Jahdai.—1Ch 2:47.
2. Youngest son of Judge Gideon (Jerubbaal) residing at Ophrah. (Jg 8:35; 9:5) After Gideon’s death, Abimelech, his son by a slave girl, murdered all of Gideon’s other sons, his half brothers, that is, all but Jotham, who had concealed himself. Thereafter, when the landowners of Shechem made Abimelech their king, Jotham stationed himself atop Mount Gerizim and, by means of an illustration involving trees, pronounced a prophetic malediction upon the landowners of Shechem and upon Abimelech. Subsequently Jotham fled and took up residence at Beer.—Jg 9:6-21, 57.
3. Son of Judean King Uzziah (Azariah) by Jerusha(h) the daughter of Zadok. (2Ki 15:32, 33; 1Ch 3:12; 2Ch 27:1; Mt 1:9) After Uzziah was struck with leprosy when he became angry at the priests because of being reproved by them for unlawfully invading the temple and attempting to offer up incense, Jotham began caring for the kingly duties in his father’s stead. But apparently not until Uzziah’s death did 25-year-old Jotham begin his 16-year rule (777-762 B.C.E.).—2Ki 15:5, 7, 32; 2Ch 26:18-21, 23; 27:8.
Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah served as prophets in the time of Jotham. (Isa 1:1; Ho 1:1; Mic 1:1) Although his subjects engaged in improper worship at high places, Jotham personally did what was right in Jehovah’s eyes.—2Ki 15:35; 2Ch 27:2, 6.
Much construction work was done during Jotham’s reign. He erected the upper gate of the temple, did considerable building on the wall of Ophel, also built cities in the mountainous region of Judah as well as fortified places and towers in the woodlands.—2Ch 27:3-7.
But Jotham did not enjoy a peaceful reign. He warred with the Ammonites and finally triumphed over them. As a result, for three years they paid a yearly tribute of 100 silver talents ($660,600) and 10,000 cor measures (2,200 kl; 62,500 bu) both of wheat and of barley. (2Ch 27:5) During Jotham’s reign the land of Judah also began to experience military pressures from Syrian King Rezin and Israelite King Pekah.—2Ki 15:37.
At his death Jotham was buried in the City of David, and his son Ahaz, who had been about four years old when Jotham became king, ascended the throne of Judah.—2Ch 27:7–28:1.
Since Jotham ruled only 16 years, the reference at 2 Kings 15:30 to the “twentieth year of Jotham” evidently is to be understood to mean the 20th year after his becoming king, that is, the fourth year of Ahaz. The writer of the Kings account may have chosen not to introduce Jotham’s successor Ahaz at this point because of yet having to supply details about Jotham’s reign.