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.