Second Chronicles 21 Commentary
Jehoram was a complete disaster. He reigned in Jerusalem for eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret. His death was good riddance. But who exactly is this Jehoram.
Married to Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter, Jehoram was the firstborn son of King Jehoshaphat. He inherited a thriving kingdom from his father Jehoshaphat but he was exceedingly wicked. His career of wickedness was cut short by the LORD through a firm judgment delivered by the prophet Elijah. He died in great pain from an incurable disease.
The sad events of Jehoram’s short reign are well documented. What may not be well documented is the role of his father Jehoshaphat.
Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, Deuteronomy 7 verse 3.
King Jehoshaphat ignored this instruction. Ahab’s palace at Samaria was as wicked as the Canaanites that Israel deposed. Jehoshaphat shouldn’t have taken Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter for his son Jehoram. By this marriage of convenience, Jehoshaphat imported wickedness into his own family.
Jehoram’s wickedness was unprecedented, only rivalled by similar wickedness in the northern kingdom of Israel. Athaliah inherited all the wickedness of her mother Jezebel. She was definitely an accomplice as well as a reliable partner in crime. She would go on to commit her own crimes on the same scale after her husband’s death.
Jehoram had it within himself to chat his own course towards righteousness. But Jehoshaphat still carried with him the guilt of ignoring the LORD’s instruction on marriage.
He had hoped to achieve peace and military scale by a marriage alliance with Ahab. This chapter tells us how Jehoshaphat’s plans failed lamentably. He was hardly gone by the time Jehoram killed all his brothers and some officials. Edom rebelled. Libnah revolted at the same time. The Philistines and the Arabs attacked Judah and carried off all they could find in the palace, including Jehoram’s sons and wives. Only Ahaziah, the youngest son, remained.
The great prophet Elijah wasn’t the writing type. But the word of the LORD has to be delivered either by word of mouth or by letter. So this chapter has preserved for us Elijah’s own handwritten letter. It is typical of the kind of messages that the LORD gave him: fiery, firm, and always spot on.
Parents must mind who their children marry. A decision to import wickedness can be made at this point. God forbid.
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