2 Chronicles 21


Summary of Jehoshaphat’s Reign (Continued)

      • Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. His son Jehoram succeeded him as king.

        • NET Bible makes two points, “The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.” And, “The parallel account in 2 Kgs 8:20-24 has the variant spelling “Joram” for the son of Jehoshaphat.”

Reign of Jehoram (21:2-20)

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The Chronicler’s account of Jehoram’s reign is considerably expanded over the description given in 2 Kings 8:16-24. The dominant concern here, and in the accounts of his successor Ahaziah (2 Chron 22:1-9) and the usurper Athaliah (22:10-23:21), is the disastrous influence of the house of Ahab on the Davidic dynasty and Judah. While the Chronicler’s portrayal of Jehoram is unremittingly negative, he highlights God’s promise to David (21:7) as the grounds for hope in the most troubled days. Again, the Chronicler’s own community may take this example from history and apply it to their own circumstances.”

Judah’s King Jehoram

      • Jehoram’s brothers (Jehoshaphat’s sons) were: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah. These were all sons of Israel’s King Jehoshaphat. Their father gave them many gifts- silver, gold, valuable possessions, as well as fortified cities in Judah. But he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the firstborn.

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “Jehoram reigned c. 849-842 BC, including a co-regency with his father from 853 (see 2 Kings 1:17…).”

        • NET Bible addresses another point of interest in how Jehoshaphat is referenced here, “A number of times in 2 Chronicles ‘Israel’ is used instead of the more specific ‘Judah’; see 2 Chr 12:6; 23:2). In the interest of consistency some translations (e.g., NAB, NRSV) substitute ‘Judah’ for ‘Israel’ here.”

        • HCSB says, “…This was not the only time the Chronicler used the term ‘Israel’ to refer to Judah. As far as he was concerned, the divided kingdom was an aberration. All the kings of Judah were the legitimate kings of all Israel.”

        • Guzik remarks, “The father of Jehoram was the godly king Jehoshaphat. Yet one of the worst things Jehoshaphat ever did was arrange the marriage of his son Jehoram to Athaliah, the daughter of the evil king Ahab and his wife Jezebel (2 Kings 8:16-18; 8:26)…Jehoshaphat followed the same wise policy with his sons that Rehoboam had previously followed (2 Chronicles 11:18-23) – to scatter them throughout the kingdom and away from the capital so they would not be a concentrated threat to his one son to succeed him, Jehoram.”

      • When Jehoram ascended to his father’s throne and had firmly established himself, he killed all his brothers as well as some of the princes of Israel with the sword. Jehoram was 32 years old when he became king and he ruled in Jerusalem for 8 years. He walked in the way of Israel’s kings, just as Ahab’s family had done, because Ahab’s daughter was his wife. He did what was evil in Yahweh’s eyes. However, Yahweh was not willing to destroy David’s family because of the covenant He had made with David. He had promised to give a lamp to him and his descendants forever.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Jehoram, whose wife was Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (18:1; 21:6; 22:2), was the first king of David’s line to receive a totally negative evaluation. His murders (21:4) seriously threatened the continuation of the dynasty, which was only preserved because of the Lord’s own faithfulness to David (21:7). On three other occasions, violence was perpetrated against the royal family that all but ended the dynasty (see 21:17; 22:8-9, 10-11).”

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “Because of the covenant that he had made with David is the Chronicler’s comment added to his source (see 1 Chron 17:14).” On the reference to a lamp, the same source continues, “A metaphor of persistence and permanence in the darkest times, perhaps suggested by constantly burning temple lamps (2 Chron 13:11). As the subsequent narrative shows, the Davidic line will be brought perilously close to extinction through murder and war…until it hangs by the slenderest thread. Against all odds, the dynasty will be preserved in God’s grace, but Jehoram must still bear the punishment of his own wickedness…”

        • Guzik adds, “While the southern Kingdom of Judah had a mixture of godly and wicked kings, the northern Kingdom of Israel had nothing but evil, God-rejecting kings…His father Jehoshaphat was a godly man who had a bad and sinful habit of making compromising associations. The worst fruit of this sinful tendency was not evident until after Jehoshaphat’s death…The implication is that Jehoram’s evil was great enough to justify such judgment, but God withheld it out of faithfulness to his ancestor David.”

      • During Jehoram’s reign, Edom revolted against the rule of Judah, and set up its own king. So Jehoram crossed over into Edom with his officers and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders. Then at night he set out to attack the Edomites who had surrounded them. So Edom is still in rebellion against Judah’s rule to this day. Libnah also revolted against his rule at that time because he had abandoned Yahweh, the God of his ancestors. He had also built high places on the hills of Judah, led Jerusalem’s residents into whoredom, and led Judah astray.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible explains, “ Jehoram’s disobedience caused him to lose the gains that Asa and Jehoshaphat had won…During Solomon’s reign, control of the territory of Edom gave Israel access to the rich trade from Arabia. The Edomites had also rebelled before Solomon’s death (1 Kgs 11:14-22), and were probably not under Rehoboam’s control. They apparently came under Judah’s control again following their defeat by Jehoshaphat (2 Chron 20:1-30; cp 1 Kgs 22:47).”

        • NET Bible points out an issue with the text regarding Jehoram’s nighttime attack of the Edomites, “The Hebrew text as it stands gives the impression that Jehoram was surrounded and launched a victorious nighttime counterattack. Yet v. 10 goes on to state that the Edomite revolt was successful…”

          • Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges offers this discussion on the issue above, “The Heb. root rendered ‘pass over’ means (a) to pass over a sea or river or other landmark, (b) to pass by persons. In the latter signification it is applied (as here) to the vanguard of an army which passes by the main body in order to take the lead; cp. Joshua 6:7. In this case Jehoram pushed on with the vanguard (consisting of all his chariots) leaving the ‘people’ (2 Kings 8:21), i.e. the bulk of his army to follow. A disaster ensued. Jehoram was hemmed in by the Edomites, and though he cut his way through them by a night surprise, his success came too late, for the rest of the army, thinking that the vanguard was cut off, dispersed to their homes. This last fact, which explains the failure of the campaign, is omitted by the Chronicler. 2 Kings 8:21 should read, And it came to pass, though he rose by night and smote the Edomites … that the people fled to their tents.”

        • On verses 8-10, ESV Study Bible adds, “This is taken from 2 Kings 8:20-22, with the additional comment that the revolts happened because Jehoram had forsaken the Lord, the God of his fathers…Libnah was a Judahite city on the border with Philistia.”

        • On verses 11-20, ESV Study Bible writes, “This is the Chronicler’s own material. In contrast to his father Jehoshaphat, who sought to suppress the heathenish high places…Jehoram actually promotes their construction, probably as a consequence of his marriage alliance with the northern kingdom. Whoredom was a traditional term among the prophets for apostasy into idolatry (see Ezek 16:16; Hos 4:17-18)…”

        • Guzik remarks, “Their idolatry was likened to harlotry for two reasons. First, the worship of these pagan sex/fertility gods and goddesses often involved immorality with a pagan priestess or priest. Second, since Israel was obligated to be faithful to God as a wife is obligated to be faithful to her husband, their idolatry was like harlotry in a spiritual sense.”

Elijah Warns King Jehoram

      • Then Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet which said, “This is what Yahweh, the God of your ancestor David says: ‘You have not walked in the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or Judah’s King Asa. Instead, you have walked in the way of Israel’s kings, leading Judah and the residents of Jerusalem into whoredom just as Ahab’s family has done in Israel. You also killed your brothers, members of your father’s family, who were better than you. Look, because of these things, Yahweh is about to severely afflict your family, your sons, your wives, and all of your possessions. You yourself will be struck with a severe intestinal disease which will cause your intestines to come out day after day.’”

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “As always in Chronicles, the errant king is subject to prophetic rebuke; here, it takes the singular form of a letter…from Elijah the prophet. The last years of Elijah’s ministry overlapped with the beginning of Jehoram’s reign (2 Kgs 1:17). As he had opposed Ahab (1 Kings 17-18), Elijah now condemns Ahab’s spiritual successor (2 Chron 21:6, 13) for leading Judah into idolatry and for murdering his own brothers. The destruction of Jehoram’s own family is decreed, to be fulfilled at the hands of the Philistines and of the Arabians, while Jehoram himself is condemned to a fatal bowel disease. On disease as divine punishment, see 16:12; 26:19-21…”

Jehoram’s Last Days

      • And Yahweh stirred up the Philistines and the Arabs who lived near the Cushites [or Ethiopians] to anger against Jehoram. They attacked Judah, invaded it, and carried away everything they found in the king’s house, including his sons and wives. None of his sons was left, except for his youngest son, Ahaziah. After all this, Yahweh afflicted him with an incurable intestinal disease. In the course of time, at the end of two years, his intestines came out due to the disease and he died in great agony. His people did not make a funeral fire in his honor as they had done for his ancestors.

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible notes, “In addition to the rebellion of Edom and Libnah…Jehoram also faced attacks on Judah (including Jerusalem) from regional foes to the south and west. These Arabs were located in the desert regions to the south of the Judahite Negev into portions of the Sinai peninsula. The Cushites noted here as adjacent to the Arabs might relate to the battle of Zerah, which would place them in the vicinity of Gerar, in the southern region of the Negev (14:9-13). The Arab raiders are credited with killing all of Jehoram’s sons except Ahaziah…In addition to the difficulties of fighting battles on multiple fronts, the loss of Judah’s hegemony over these areas entailed the loss of tribute payments and caravan (trade) revenue.”

      • Jehoram was 32 years old when he became king and he reigned for 8 years in Jerusalem. No one regretted his death. He was buried in the City of David, but not in the royal tombs.

        • Guzik says, “This compromising and sinful king was not mourned when he died.”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible remarks, “As with the withholding of a fire in the honor of Jehoram following his death…Jehoram was also denied the honor of being buried in the royal cemetery.”

        • ESV Study Bible adds, “Jehoram’s exclusion from burial in the tombs of the kings is a final indication that he belonged to the ways of Ahab rather than David.”

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