To help us stay on track, let’s do another recap of the kings we’ve covered so far: David ruled an undivided kingdom of Israel and passed this rule on to his son Solomon. Solomon’s son Rehoboam followed the foolish advice of his peers and ended up losing the biggest portion of the kingdom, ruling only over Judah, which consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
In Judah, Rehoboam’s throne was inherited by his son Abijah, who was followed by his son Asa. Asa had a long stretch as king and was then succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat who was succeeded by his son Jehoram.
In rapid succession, kings came and went in Israel – some related to each other and others with zero connections: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri (who only lasted seven days), Omri and Ahab. Ahab’s son Ahaziah followed next and then Ahaziah’s brother Joram.
Only in Judah did the kingly lineage continue directly from the house of David. Why was this? Because God “had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would continue to rule, shining like a lamp forever” (II Chronicles 21:7b).
Before we tackle Israel and Joram, let’s take a look at the terrible king Jehoram: “Jehoram son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah began to rule over Judah in the fifth year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab, king of Israel” (II Kings 8:16). Remember, “when Jehoram had become solidly established as king, he killed all his brothers and some of the other leaders of Judah” (II Chronicles 21:4, NLT).
Angered by Jehoram’s abandonment of the righteous ways of his predecessors Jehoshaphat and Asa, the Lord prompted the prophet Elijah to write Jehoram this letter:
“This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: You have not followed the good example of your father, Jehoshaphat, or your grandfather King Asa of Judah. Instead, you have been as evil as the kings of Israel. You have led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship idols, just as King Ahab did in Israel. And you have even killed your own brothers, men who were better than you. So now the Lord is about to strike you, your people, your children, your wives, and all that is yours with a heavy blow. You yourself will suffer with a severe intestinal disease that will get worse each day until your bowels come out” (II Chronicles 21:12b-15).
Ewww! Not exactly good news, huh? But with such a warning in place, Jehoram assuredly had time to mend his ways. He simply chose not to.
So what happened next? Having already gone through major problems with the Edomites, Jehoram was in for more trouble. “The Lord stirred up the Philistines and the Arabs, who lived near the Ethiopians, to attack Jehoram. They marched against Judah, broke down its defenses, and carried away everything of value in the royal palace, including the king’s sons and his wives. Only his youngest son, Ahaziah, was spared” (II Chronicles 21:16-17). (Note: don’t confuse this Ahaziah with the Ahaziah who was ruler of Israel.)
Just as the Lord had forewarned, Jehoram lost “everything of value… Only his youngest son, Ahaziah, was spared.” But that was only part of what God had told him would happen.
“After all this, the Lord struck Jehoram with the severe intestinal disease. The disease grew worse and worse, and at the end of two years it caused his bowels to come out, and he died in agony” (II Chronicles 21:18-19a).
Second Chronicles 21 closes with a sad final commentary about Jehoram’s life: “No one was sorry when he died” (verse 30b). Mean, nasty Jehoram had no mourners at his funeral.
While there is time, make an impact in this world with the love of Jesus. “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” (Pericles)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates