While Jehoshaphat was still king in Judah, Ahab, king of Israel, was killed in battle and his son Ahaziah took over. First Kings 22:51 tells us: “Ahaziah son of Ahab began to rule over Israel in the seventeenth year of King Jehoshaphat’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria two years” (NLT). You may recall Ahaziah, after consulting Baal rather than the Lord, died from injuries sustained in a fall – you can read the entire account in Second Kings 1.
Second Kings 3:1 brings us to the next king of Israel: “Ahab’s son Joram began to rule over Israel in the eighteenth year of King Jehoshaphat’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twelve years.” Ahaziah didn’t have a son, which is why his brother ended up succeeding him.
We see Jehoshaphat ruling Judah during the time of Ahaziah’s kingship of Israel as well as the first years of Joram’s reign. Upon Jehoshaphat’s death, his no-good son Jehoram came into power and ruled eight years, leaving behind such a terrible legacy that “No one was sorry when he died” (II Chronicles 21:30b).
Jehoram is followed by his son Ahaziah, not to be confused with the other Ahaziah, ruler of Israel. We’ll get back to Joram and Israel, but for the moment, let’s stick with Judah.
“Ahaziah son of Jehoram began to rule over Judah in the twelfth year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab, king of Israel. Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel.
Ahaziah followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done, for he was related by marriage to the family of Ahab” (II Kings 8:25-27). Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and one of whom it could truly be said, “Like mother, like daughter.”
In Israel, we have the bad king Joram in power; in Judah, we have another bad king, Ahaziah, on the throne. The two joined forces and set up a scenario that was going to rock both kingdoms.
“Ahaziah joined Joram son of Ahab, the king of Israel, in his war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans wounded King Joram in the battle, he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he had received at Ramoth. Because Joram was wounded, King Ahaziah of Judah went to Jezreel to visit him” (II Kings 8:28-29).
While Ahaziah is visiting Joram, Elisha (Elijah has already been taken into heaven – see Second Kings 2:1-18) obeys God’s instructions and tells a young prophet to go “to Ramoth-gilead, and find Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. Call him into a private room away from his friends, and pour the oil over his head. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you to be the king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run for your life!” (II Kings 9:1b-3). Which is exactly what the young man did.
And you just thought things were getting confusing! Now a “son of Jehoshaphat,” former king of Judah, has been anointed “king over Israel.”
While Elijah was hiding out in a cave, terrified of Jezebel, the Lord commanded him to “anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet” (I Kings 19:16). Elisha, carrying on God’s work, sent a prophet to repeat the anointing of Jehu and to let him know that his time had finally come.
Would Jehu have made it to the throne had he not waited on the right time? I don’t think so. What are you waiting on? And meanwhile, what are you doing for the Kingdom?
“Day: a period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.” (Ambrose Bierce)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates