Today: [2 Chronicles Twenty-One] Jehoshaphat’s Legacy. After the death of Jehoshaphat his son Jerhoram is appointed in his stead. Jehoshaphat goes to great lengths to assure a peaceful transition of power – but his successor Jehoram nonetheless murders his brothers to secure his kingdom. Jehoram further institutes forced idolatry and sin upon the people and passionately styles his rule after that of the now deceased Ahab in the north.
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[2Ch 21:1-20 KJV] 1 Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead. 2 And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these [were] the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. 3 And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he [was] the firstborn. 4 Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and [divers] also of the princes of Israel. 5 Jehoram [was] thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 6 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought [that which was] evil in the eyes of the LORD. 7 Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.
Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and his son Jehoram reigns in his stead. Jehoshaphat is the most remarkable king to come after David other than Solomon himself. However he had a weakness in his character regarding the northern kingdom. He made an alliance with king Ahab even though king Ahab was a very wicked king along with his wife Jezebel. He also went into a failed ship building business with Ahazariah who was described as doing “very wickedly”. In both cases the prophets came out and warned him yet he persisted.
During the course of his involvement with king Ahab his son Jehoram was allowed to marry one of Ahab daughters by his wife Jezebel. This is very interesting because the line of Jesus comes through the children born to him because after becoming king he murdered all of his brothers. When we study the kings of Judah with respect to the bloodline of Christ we see the absolute miraculous protection of the lineage of Christ by God. The enemy cannot read minds or foretell the future but it is apparent that Satan himself had an interest in contaminating and destroying the line of David.
Jehoram reigns 8 years in Judah and walks in the ways of Ahab and Jezebel now dead. Jehu reigns in the north during this time and stamped out the line of Ahab and Jezebel with great ferocity and yet the southern king willingly styles his reign after Ahab. Here is the bitter harvest of Jehoshaphat’s compromise with the northern kings. He allowed himself to be flattered by them and manipulated by them and apparent had a weakness for their lifestyles. While never becoming an idolater himself his son Jehoram was looking on and when his father allowed him to marry into the line of Jezebel his commitment to idolatry and sinful conduct was brought to the full. If children are going to follow our example it is usually in the things we do wrong and the little compromises that we think don’t matter. One writer said that what we allow in moderation our children will take to excess. In Jehoshaphat’s case it resulted in the murder of all of his children and the loss of his legacy. All of Jehoshaphat’s reforms and godliness did not survive one single generation because of the little foxes of sin that spoiled the vine of his bloodline.
8 In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king. 9 Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots. 10 So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time [also] did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers. 11 Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah [thereto]. 12 And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, 13 But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, [which were] better than thyself: 14 Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods:
Jehoram was one of the few kings in Judah that were known to have been addressed by either Elijah or Elisha. Elijah writes a letter to Jehoram and warns him regarding his character and his despising of the things of God. Jehoram had restored the high places and the pagan altars. He had forcibly with threat compelled the people of the southern kingdom to return to the altars of Baal and to commit ritual sexual perversion there. All the while he was contending with the Edomites that previously had by put to tribute. The Edomites were descended from Esau and had served Judah for decades but now revolt under Jehoram’s oppression. Even after Jehoram’s death down through the centuries to Ezra’s day when he was writing this account he notes that Jehoram’s sin caused irrevocable loss to the people of God.
The prophet Elijah’s letter spells out exactly the reason why consequences will now come upon Jehoram and upon the people as well. It is interesting to note that not only Jehoram but his family and the people of Judah will be punished. If the people were compelled by force to commit pagan sacrifice why would they be punished? T he expectation is not only that Jehoram could repent (which he does not) but the people could rebel (but they did not). Therefore they share Jehoram’s fate. There are times in our lives that people make ungodly decisions that are close to us in relationships and we have a decision to make. Do we rebel or do we simply let thing go for the sake of avoiding conflict? In so doing then whatever consequences the choices of those family members face will also be our fate as well. There are times to rise up even risking disharmony in the family lest a worse consequence be faced because we chose not to resist the ungodly choices of our loved ones.
15 And thou [shalt have] great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day. 16 Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that [were] near the Ethiopians: 17 And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king’s house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons. 18 And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. 19 And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers. 20 Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.
The prophet Elijah in his letter warns the king that because of his intransigent idolatry and because he murdered his fathers sons that he will suffer sickness in his body and invasion from the Philistines, the Arabians and the Ethiopians. They came to Jerusalem and while they apparently left the temple untouched they carried away all of the wealth of the kings house and also took his wives and his sons also all except Jehoahaz the youngsest of his children. In all of this an incurable disease came upon him and over the course of two years he dies an agonizing death. After his demise there was no honor given to him or state funeral conducted for him for he was without honor. However he was buried with his fathers in mount Zion although not in the sepulchers of the kings but in a common grave.
Because Jehoram despises his father Jehoshaphat his reign is brief and his legacy is shameful. However in condemning Jehoram we have to remember that it was the little compromises that Jehoshaphat indulged in that set the stage for the murder, idolatry and intrigues that came after in Jehoram’s life. Jehoshaphat bears responsibility in the matter of Jehoram because he exposed his son to the idolatry of the north and further allowed his son to marry into the line of Ahab. Perhaps Jehoshaphat though he could have a good influence on Ahab and bring him back to God but that was not the case. As a result of his foolishness the line of David is reduced down to one remaining son with the DNA of Jezebel herself in his bones who kingdom in the aftermath of Jehoram’s horrible death is anything but secure.
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