In Kings II ch. 15, עזריה, Azariah son of Amaziah is said to reign over Judah. During his reign he is stricken with leprosy and lives out his days in this state, while his son Jotham rules in his stead.

Chronicles II ch. 26 Gives more detail, explaining that this kings was stricken with leprosy because in arrogance he tried to perform the priestly service by burning incense on the inner altar. However, in the Chronicles account, he is named עזיהו, Uzziah! He is also named this in Isaiah.

Why is this king's name different in Kings than it is in other texts?

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    See Matt's answer to your other question; though that does not mean there is no specific answer to this question – MTL Jul 13 '14 at 20:00
  • @Shokhet this change's the meaning of the word pretty significantly. I think it amounts to more than just 'dikduk', which is why I asked it separately. – Baby Seal Jul 14 '14 at 2:29

In Chronicles II 26, Uzziah's delinquent service is opposed by the head priest Azariah, and 80 companions.

Perhaps Uzziah is called Azariah to hint that he attempted to fulfill the role of this priest.

The Midrash Tanhuma Noah 13 discusses Uzziah's blunder. It says that he forsook Torah for land, which led to his error. He overheard a discussion of the laws precluding non-priests from serving, and said:

הקב"ה מלך ואני מלך נאה למלך לשמש פני מלך ולהקטיר לפניו

God is a king and I am a king. It is fitting for a king to serve before a king and burn incense before him

Figuratively, Uzziah means "Might of God". Azariah means "aid of God". A King certainly wields the might of God by subverting the people to the Torah and enforcing its laws. Priests perform a more subtle role, attending God as his aides in the Temple service.

The Torah clearly distinguishes between the two, but by turning from Torah to the way of the land, Uzziah forgot this and over extended his jurisdiction. He thought of the Monarchy, might as encompassing aid. This is again hinted at by his naming in Kings.

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  • Down voter, care to explain yourself? – Baby Seal Jul 14 '14 at 13:01

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