And the Lord smote the king
With leprosy; the reason of it was, because he intruded into the priest's office, and went into the temple to burn incense on the altar of incense, ( 2 Chronicles 26:19 2 Chronicles 26:20 ) ,
so that he was a leper unto the day of his death;
but how long it was to it from his being smitten cannot be said with certainty; Dr. Lightfoot F12 thinks he died the same year he was smitten:
and dwelt in a several house:
without Jerusalem, as the Targum; for lepers, according to the law, were to dwell separate without the camp or city, ( Leviticus 13:46 ) the word for "several" signifies "free" F13; here he lived alone, free from the company and conversation of men, free from the business of government, his son doing that for him, and in the country, where he might freely walk about, as lepers did, and take the air; the Jews say F14, his house was among the graves, where he was free among the dead, as the phrase is, ( Psalms 88:5 ) , but not likely; much better is what Abendana observes from R. Jonah, that the word, in the Arabic F15 language, signifies a little house, and so this might be in which he dwelt out of the city, in comparison of his palace:
and Jotham the king's son was over the house;
had the direction of the palace, and the management of all affairs in it:
judging the people of the land;
administering justice in all cases, for which they came to him, and so filled up his father's place; he did not depose his father, nor take upon him to be king, only did the business of one.
F12 Works, vol. 1. p. 99.
F13 (tyvpxh tybb) "in domo libero", V. L. Tigurine version
F14 T. Hieros. apud Jarchium in loc.