We get an abbreviated peek at the reign of Jehoram of Juda. He was of the line of David but a son-in-law to Ahab. He followed Ahab’s example.
It gets a bit confusing in here because there are kings named Jehoram who ruled in both Israel and Judah. Joram of Israel is also named Jehoram. They are brother-in-laws. Talk about a confusing family gathering!
The Jehoram we are looking at today is Jehoshaphat’s son. When I look up his information in Gotquestions.org I am told that he reigned for 4 years with his father, then 8 years on his own after that. As I’m having trouble with my timeline, I’m going to accept theirs. They are after all the bible scholars and I am NOT.
Jehoshaphat was a good king so how did his son go so wrong? He even worked with him for four years and still he kept nothing of his father’s lessons. He was more influenced by his in-laws than his own family.
Jehoshaphat had spent the end of his years making an alliance with Israel and Ahab. This apparently set the tone for his son’s actions. We saw this in earlier stories from the end of 1 Kings.
Today we see Jehoram’s rule after his father passes. During Jehoshaphat’s reign Edom was ruled by Judah and the king appointed a ruler over them. Edom revolted under Jehoram’s rule and set up their own king as their ruler.
We stumble into the ‘name issue’ in the account of what happened in confronting Edom. This story is also told in 2 Chronicles 21. In that account we are told that “Jehoram passed over with his commanders and all his chariots, and he rose by night and struck the Edomites who had surrounded him and his chariot commanders” (2 Chronicles 21:9). In our reading our main character, Jehoram king of Judah, is referred to by that name only in the opening and identification of ‘whose who’ for tracing the line of kings. From verse 21 on he is referred to as Joram. BOTH men in power at this time share the same proper name and popular renditions of it. And being Edom was a Judean problem, we can be fairly certain that the Joram mentioned in our reading is the king of Judah.
Jehoram/Joram failed to put down the rebellion. He snuck in by night with his chariots but somehow they got surrounded. They were able to extricate themselves but it wasn’t through the help of his foot soldiers. They ran off! The ONLY reason he made it out alive was because of God’s promise to David. He was walking in the ways of Ahab but God still honored His word to David and protected Jehoram. Why not just bump him off and get one of his brothers to be king? Because he KILLED them ALL when he took the throne after his father’s death (2 Chronicles 21:4).
Since Edom’s revolt was so successful Libnah decided to follow suit. We don’t get a full story of this but I’m going to guess that it didn’t get put down any better than Edom’s revolt did.
We will see later more of Jehoram/Joram’s actions and how God addressed his sins. We will even see that his burial, which is briefly touched on here, ends with him buried but not truly “with” his fathers. He was buried in the city of David but not in the tomb of the kings. Even his own people didn’t like him.
This is a legacy more in keeping with the kings of Israel than those of Judah. He set up high places which his father and grandfather had taken down. He murdered all the king’s sons so none could challenge him as king. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord. Even with the house of the Lord standing beside in his own ‘backyard’ he found a way to act as though He didn’t matter. He DID reap his ‘reward’ for his behavior. We don’t see it in our story today but we will see it later. God is NOT mocked.
Father God, it blows my mind to see the difference one generation makes. Did something go wrong with his ‘training’ in his youth? Did his father not ‘train him up in the way he should go’? He certainly didn’t follow his father’s example. Was he an exception to the rule? Did he turn back to You in the very end of his life? I PRAY there are no ‘pitfalls’ I have walked in where my children would be an exception too. My greatest prayer is that my children return or turn to You. Jehoram ‘wobbles my boat’ of faith. Please strengthen my ‘anchor.’ I will NOT give in to Satan’s schemes and threats! I place my children and grandchildren once again in YOUR hands. I trust You with ALL my heart. You know what is best and what is Your perfect will. Sorry I keep snatching them back.