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Jehoram Joram

JEHORAM JORAM (יְהוֹרָ֥ם, יֹֽורָם whom Jehovah has exalted, LXX ̓Ιωράμ, G2732, Josephus ̓Ιωραμος). This is the name of the ninth king of Israel who reigned for twelve years shortly after the middle of the 9th cent. b.c. and of the seventh king of the Davidic dynasty in Judah who reigned eight years, all synchronously with Jehoram of Israel. The varying methods of counting regnal years, and, other chronological problems render precise dates and precisely adjusted lengths of reign impossible apart from some general theory and assessment of the whole of the chronology of the kings of Judah and Israel. There is not as yet any universally accepted chronology though the chief systems are not far apart. See articles on Chronology of the Old Testament. Holding in mind that Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, allied his family with the house of Omri by marrying his son, Jehoram, to a daughter of Ahab, son of Omri, and of his wife Jezebel, a Phoen. princess, the following text completes the picture of the relations familial and diplomatic between these two Jehorams: “In the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, began to reign. He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife” (2 Kings 8:16-18). This wife of the Davidic Jehoram became a “second Jezebel,” as she is sometimes called, being responsible not only for introducing vile paganism to the house of David, but also for the murder, in her old age, of all male members of the line of David save one (see Joash, Athaliah).

Jehoram the son of Ahab.

Owing to the fact that a number of stories in connection with the marvelous deeds of Elijah and Elisha refer to “the king” of Israel without mentioning his name and, inasmuch as the pecise chronological connections of the Elijah-Elisha narratives are seldom clarified, it is hard to know for certain just how many of those in which “the king” figures in some way are related to King Jehoram of Israel. Elijah must have survived at least until the sixth year of Jehoram’s reign (cf. 2 Chron 21:12), while Elisha began his remarkable ministry during Jehoram’s reign. The seven years of famine foretold to the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 8:1) and which must be the same as that referred to at 4:38 (note the “had said” of 8:1), would have begun no later than the fifth or sixth year of Jehoram since King Jehoram seems still to have been alive seven years later. Likely, then, the many exploits of Elisha detailed in 2 Kings 3-9 took place during Jehoram of Israel’s reign. If ever a Jewish king was witness to miracles enough to encourage faith, Jehoram was he.

Throughout his reign the two Jewish kingdoms were allied. Upon his accession almost at once he was joined by Judah under Jehoshaphat and Edom (tributary to Judah) in a war against the Moabites in an effort to recover the submission of Moab, under its King Mesha (q.v.). The combined expedition came to near disaster from want of water near the frontier of Edom and Moab. It was Jehoshaphat’s truly pious reliance on genuine prophecy that saved them all, for Elisha (q.v.) was brought forward from the ranks and through his function as prophet a life-saving miracle brought both water and military victory (3:4-27). This alliance ended with the destruction of the house of Ahab by Jehoram’s successor, Jehu. After that, enmity between the two Heb. kingdoms was renewed.

Jehoram was the last king of the line of Omri. His mother Jezebel and he both were killed by the rampaging Jehu who also exterminated all members of the family and all officials of the Baal cult (2 Kings 9; 10). The two long chapters devoted to the extermination of the house of Ahab indicates what a terrible peril they were to the ongoing of the messianic nation and thereby the divinely revealed Mosaic faith. Through the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel the line of Ahab may have passed into the ancestral line of the Lord Jesus Christ (viz. Matt 1:8); at least the NT records (Matt 1; Luke 3) are capable of this interpretation.

Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat.

Scripture portions relating to this man are chiefly an entire ch. in Chronicles (2 Chron 21), but only four vv. in Kings (2 Kings 8:16-19). Except for a few months when his son Ahaziah reigned after him, his reign corresponds with the last eight years of the reign of the northern Jehoram. His life and reign make up one of the saddest and most to be regretted pages of the history of the Davidic dynasty.

His personal and domestic life were tragically wrong. His wife, Athaliah, brought with her the corruption of the Baalism (fertility cult religion) of her mother’s Phoen. ancestors (viz. Jezebel). As a result, Jehoram “walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done; for the daughter of Ahab was his wife” (2 Chron 21:6). Less than a year after his decease his widow, the unspeakable Athaliah, engineered the assassination of all Jehoram’s offspring save one grandson (2 Kings 11:1ff.). We can hardly doubt that it was she who had previously engineered the assassination of his six brothers and other “princes of Israel” (2 Chron 21:4, cf. v. 1). The motive may have been either to gain their wealth with which the prosperous father Jehoshaphat had richly endowed them, or because they opposed his ruinous political and religious policies. At any rate, the direct line of the reigning family was in consequence reduced to one male descendant (2 Chron 21:16, 17) during his reign, as it was again shortly after his death when the bloodthirsty Athaliah, his mother, superintended the slaughter of all Jehoram’s grandsons except Joash (q.v.). Everything recorded of this man indicates complete religious and moral apostasy, even worse than that of the Baal-worshiping heathen of his time. Apostates usually find themselves in complete reaction against the holy faith and practice of the Biblical religion.

What horrible consequences from a bad marriage arranged by an otherwise wise and godly parent!

Note: The report of Elijah’s letter at this late point of time and addressed to a king of Judah is of great significance. It shows that Elijah’s attention was not confined to the affairs of the northern kingdom only, but looked beyond its borders, and sought to check the progress of idolatry in Judah. It proves also that Elijah was still upon the earth after the death of Jehoshaphat. Hence it may certainly be inferred that the account of the translation of Elijah in 1 Kings is out of chronological order and that Elisha, Eliajh’s prophetic successor, began his public ministry long before Elijah’s translation.