2 Chronicles
1-7 Jehoram King of Judah 8-11 Rebellion of Edom and Libnah 12-15 A Letter From Elijah 16-17 The Discipline of the LORD 18-20 Death of Jehoram
Jehoram King of Judah

1Then Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Jehoram his son became king in his place. 2He had brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azaryahu, Michael and Shephatiah. All these [were] the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. 3Their father gave them many gifts of silver, gold and precious things, with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the firstborn. 4Now when Jehoram had taken over the kingdom of his father and made himself secure, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and some of the rulers of Israel also. 5Jehoram [was] thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 6He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab did (for Ahab’s daughter was his wife), and he did evil in the sight of the LORD. 7Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David because of the covenant which He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and his sons forever.

When Jehoshaphat died, he was buried with his fathers in the city of David, that is Jerusalem (verse 11Then Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Jehoram his son became king in his place.). That the city is called “the city of David” reminds us to the kingship of David, the man after God’s heart, and to the promises of eternal kingship in the great Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jehoshaphat is succeeded by his son Jehoram, who reigns from 848-841 BC. Jehoshaphat has more sons (verse 22He had brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azaryahu, Michael and Shephatiah. All these [were] the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.). However, they are first referred to as “brothers” of Jehoram. This relationship is therefore emphasized.

Jehoshaphat gave his sons wealth and fortified cities (verse 33Their father gave them many gifts of silver, gold and precious things, with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the firstborn.). Rehoboam did something similar (2Chr 11:2323He acted wisely and distributed some of his sons through all the territories of Judah and Benjamin to all the fortified cities, and he gave them food in abundance. And he sought many wives [for them].). It is hard to say whether Jehoshaphat’s policy was sensible. It may have contributed to Jehoram, who gets the kingship from him because he is the eldest son, seeing them as a danger to the undermining of his power. After all, his brothers all have an area over which they have authority.

Jehoram is an evil man. When he has come on the throne, he first does all that is necessary to strengthen his position as king (verse 44Now when Jehoram had taken over the kingdom of his father and made himself secure, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and some of the rulers of Israel also.; cf. 2Chr 23:11Now in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took captains of hundreds: Azariah the son of Jeroham, Ishmael the son of Johanan, Azariah the son of Obed, Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, [and they entered] into a covenant with him.). To strengthen his position, he may have given people important posts to ensure their support in exercising and maintaining his power. He will have done it with the plan in mind to kill all his brothers, a plan he then executes.

After the murder of his brothers (cf. Jdg 9:55Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself.), he also kills a number of rulers. Except that he sees them as competitors that threaten him in the exercise of his power, it may be that these men fear the LORD and address Jehoram about his evil path. We read from his brothers that they are better than he (verse 1313but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot as the house of Ahab played the harlot, and you have also killed your brothers, your own family, who were better than you,). Such voices are definitively silenced.

Authorities do everything to strengthen and maintain their position. They eliminate anyone they see as a threat to their position. People who act like Jehoram, do so because they expect that they themselves will be treated this way by others. They want to prevent that.

Jehoram is an adult man when he becomes king and commits these murders (verse 55Jehoram [was] thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.). He has been on the throne for eight years. What he does is the same as the kings of Israel do. The cause of this is his marriage to a daughter of Ahab (verse 66He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab did (for Ahab’s daughter was his wife), and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.). Through this, Jehoshaphat’s house is connected to Ahab’s house. The murders he commits show the influence that his wicked wife has on him, who also perform a massacre herself (2Chr 22:1010Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she rose and destroyed all the royal offspring of the house of Judah.). That woman has her murderousness not of a stranger, but of Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, who will have been closely involved in her upbringing (1Kgs 18:44for when Jezebel destroyed the prophets of the LORD, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water.); 19:22Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”; 21:7-157Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”8So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and sent letters to the elders and to the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city.9Now she wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the people;10and seat two worthless men before him, and let them testify against him, saying, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”11So the men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent [word] to them, just as it was written in the letters which she had sent them.12They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the people.13Then the two worthless men came in and sat before him; and the worthless men testified against him, even against Naboth, before the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones.14Then they sent [word] to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”15When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth, the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.”).

Despite this monstrous marriage and its monstrous manifestations, the LORD did not destroy the house of David. The reason for this is the covenant He made with Da-vid (2Sam 23:55“Truly is not my house so with God?
For He has made an everlasting covenant with me,
Ordered in all things, and secured;
For all my salvation and all [my] desire,
Will He not indeed make [it] grow?
; 1Chr 17:1212He shall build for Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever.; Isa 55:33“Incline your ear and come to Me.
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
[According to] the faithful mercies shown to David.
). Man’s actions cannot destroy God’s faithfulness.


Rebellion of Edom and Libnah

8In his days Edom revolted against the rule of Judah and set up a king over themselves. 9Then Jehoram crossed over with his commanders and all his chariots with him. And he arose by night and struck down the Edomites who were surrounding him and the commanders of the chariots. 10So Edom revolted against Judah to this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time against his rule, because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers. 11Moreover, he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot and led Judah astray.

Unfaithfulness to the Lord always brings with it loss of power over enemies. We see that here too. Edom, who is subject to Judah, rebels against the authority of Judah and establishes his own kingdom (verse 88In his days Edom revolted against the rule of Judah and set up a king over themselves.). Jehoram doesn’t accept that. He tries to submit Edom to himself again (verse 99Then Jehoram crossed over with his commanders and all his chariots with him. And he arose by night and struck down the Edomites who were surrounding him and the commanders of the chariots.). He goes up against Edom and defeats them. However, the victory is not complete, because Edom continues to resist and has not been brought back entirely under the authority of Judah (verse 1010So Edom revolted against Judah to this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time against his rule, because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers.).

Also Libnah, a priest city, withdraws from his power. The reason is: “Because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers.” Possibly the priests revolted against this wicked king because he led the people to idolatry. Jehoram also makes high places (verse 1111Moreover, he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot and led Judah astray.).

With this he goes further than his ancestors, of whom we read that they have not removed the high places. However, Jehoram not only lets idolatry exist, but even stimulates it, he encourages it. He causes the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the city which the LORD has chosen to make His Name dwell there, to play the harlot, which is idolatry (Exo 34:15-1615otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice,16and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons [also] to play the harlot with their gods.). He seduces Judah to do that. This is outright rebellion against the LORD.


A Letter From Elijah

12Then a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet saying, “Thus says the LORD God of your father David, ‘Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father and the ways of Asa king of Judah, 13but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot as the house of Ahab played the harlot, and you have also killed your brothers, your own family, who were better than you, 14behold, the LORD is going to strike your people, your sons, your wives and all your possessions with a great calamity; 15and you will suffer severe sickness, a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the sickness, day by day.’”

Then Elijah suddenly appears on stage in a letter. Here Elijah must already have gone to heaven, an event described in 2 Kings (2Kgs 2:1,111And it came about when the LORD was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.11As they were going along and talking, behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.). How about a letter from him? It is a prophetic letter in which Elijah writes down events that have been announced to him by the LORD. The letter is handed over to Jehoram at the right time.

This letter from Elijah is noteworthy in the light of the area and the nature of his service. Elijah has served as a prophet in the ten tribes realm. That is the area of his service. The service he does through the letter is directed at the king of Judah and the situation there. His service has always been oral and now we read that he wrote something. It is the first time that we read of the writing of any prophet. It is a letter to this evil king.

The content of the letter does fit in with Elijah’s service, which was not only, but nevertheless mainly a service of judgment. The letter contains a word from the LORD, Who presents himself to Jehoram as “the LORD God of your father David”. The remembrance to David shows the great contrast between David and Jehoram. This way of presenting also makes it clear that the LORD is not the God of Jehoram.

The content of the letter is the announcement of judgment with its reasons. First the different reasons are given:
1. Jehoram did not go in the ways of his father Jehoshaphat and in the ways of his grandfather Asa;
2. on the contrary, he has gone in the ways of the kings of Israel;
3. he has caused the people to play the harlot as the house of Ahab has done with Israel;
4. moreover, he has killed his brothers, his own family, people who are better than him.

The judgment is in accordance with his grave sins. The list is detailed and leaves nothing to be desired in terms of clarity. There will come great calamity about
1. his people,
2. his children,
3. his women,
4. his property and
5. himself. He himself will suffer severe sickness, a disease of his bowels. That disease will be so severe that his bowels come out because of the sickness. That will result in his death.

So first Jehoram is struck in what surrounds him, what he cherishes, where he sees his importance reflected, what serves his honor. Then he is taken out of this life by a two-year lasting terrible sickness.


The Discipline of the LORD

16Then the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who bordered the Ethiopians; 17and they came against Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions found in the king’s house together with his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.

The word of the LORD to and over Jehoram is fulfilled; the judgment comes. The judgment comes first from outside, but comes from the LORD. The LORD stirs up an enemy against Judah (verse 1616Then the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who bordered the Ethiopians;). The LORD stirs up the spirit, which means that He stimulates their spirit and sets them in motion to go up against Judah. He uses peoples who do not know Him and do not want to serve Him, and makes them tools to carry out His will. For this he brings together two peoples who live far apart. The Philistines live nearby, it is a neighboring country; the Arabs live on the border of Ethiopia.

The man who has killed his brothers to enjoy everything alone, now experiences that his sons and wives are killed (verse 1717and they came against Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions found in the king’s house together with his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.). However, God keeps the lamp burning even now (verse 77Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David because of the covenant which He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and his sons forever.), no matter how weak the glow may be. The youngest son of Jehoram, Jehoahaz, remains. Jehoahaz is the same person as Ahaziah (2Chr 22:11Then the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, his youngest son, king in his place, for the band of men who came with the Arabs to the camp had slain all the older [sons]. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign.), where in the name the prefix becomes the suffix, without changing the meaning of the name.


Death of Jehoram

18So after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable sickness. 19Now it came about in the course of time, at the end of two years, that his bowels came out because of his sickness and he died in great pain. And his people made no fire for him like the fire for his fathers. 20He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years; and he departed with no one’s regret, and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

“So after all this”, that is to say after all the misfortune by means of enemies, the LORD strikes Jehoram with a sickness that runs slowly and for which no cure is possible (verse 1818So after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable sickness.). As Elijah has predicted, it is a disease of its bowels. The word used here for ‘disease’ is only found in four other texts (Deu 29:2222“Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it, will say,; Psa 103:33Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
; Jer 14:1818‘If I go out to the country,
Behold, those slain with the sword!
Or if I enter the city,
Behold, diseases of famine!
For both prophet and priest
Have gone roving about in the land that they do not know.’”
; 16:44“They will die of deadly diseases, they will not be lamented or buried; they will be as dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their carcasses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth.”). The chronicler, as it were, holds us up as a mirror the end of a wicked man. In the quoted texts in which the word ‘disease’ appears, Psalm 103:3 lights up comfortingly. If we suffer from such a disease and then resort to the LORD, He will provide a solution.

The slowness of the disease can be seen as a proof of God’s grace, giving him time to repent. Asa also fell ill at the end of his life (2Chr 16:1212In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians.). Asa is a man who is faithful in his heart, but has gone the wrong way at the end of his life. This is illustrated by the fact that he gets sick at his feet. Jehoram is a man who is unfaithful in his heart. That is illustrated by the disease of his bowels. He who, so to speak ‘in his bowels’ has had no compassion for his brothers, is struck in his bowels. During his sickness he does not receive any support from women or children, because they have all been killed. He also receives no pity from the people.

No one has appreciated him during his life, no one regrets him when he dies. He goes, still quite young and after a rather short reign. This is a dark page in the history of God’s people in Judah. There will be a few more of these dark pages, until Joash becomes king and the darkness fades away a little.


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