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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 21

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 21

2 Chronicles 21:1 "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."

Jehoram was the wicked son of Jehoshaphat, who married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Jehoshaphat was buried in Jerusalem. We will quickly find that Jehoram was the opposite of Jehoshaphat.

2 Chronicles 21:2 "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."

There will be very little written of these brothers of Jehoram, because he murdered them.

2 Chronicles 21:3 "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."

It was the custom of the land for the eldest son to become king in his father’s stead. There was great wealth in the land that God had given them from their victory over the Ammonites and the Moabites. It appears, that Jehoshaphat gave them cities for their own, and gave them silver and gold, so they would have a nice living.

2 Chronicles 21:4 "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."

We can see, in this one verse, the extent of Jehoram’s wickedness. He had no human kindness at all. We must remember, that he had married Athaliah, one of the most wicked women in the Bible. I believe she was even worse than her mother, Jezebel. She might have helped influence Jehoram to do such a wicked thing as murdering his own brothers.

2 Chronicles 21:5 "Jehoram [was] thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem."

He had a very short reign of just 8 years.

2 Chronicles 21:6 "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."

This Scripture does indicate that he chose to go the way of his evil wife. He was just as evil as Ahab and Jezebel. He was evil in the sight of the LORD. This should be an encouragement to Christian parents whose children have gone bad. It is not always the influence they were raised in that causes them to go bad. In this case, he married an evil woman.

2 Chronicles 21:7 "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."

The only thing that saved Jehoram from total destruction was the promise God had made to David. Jehoram deserved to die. God had promised that the descendents of David would reign as king of Judah forever. This, of course, was fulfilled in Jesus.

2 Chronicles 21:8 "In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king."

The Edomites had been paying tribute to Judah. They found a time when they knew that God was not pleased with the king, and revolted against Judah. They chose themselves a king to lead them.

2 Chronicles 21:9 "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."

This army that went forth was there in physical strength. He had to fight his own battles, because the LORD was not with him. He was strong enough, that he smote Edom.

2 Chronicles 21:10 "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."

They revolted, because they knew that he would not get help from the LORD. They were fighting just a man, and not God. They would no longer pay tribute to Jehoram.

2 Chronicles 21:11 "Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah [thereto]."

The fornication, spoken of here, is spiritual adultery. They worshipped false gods in the high places. It appears, that not only did Jehoram do this, but he caused the inhabitants to do this, also, for fear of losing their lives, if they did not.

2 Chronicles 21:12 "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,"

The reason Elijah did not come in person, was that he was the prophet to Israel. This still did not stop him from sending a written warning to Jehoram. God had spared Jehoram a short time in honor of his father, Jehoshaphat, and his grandfather, Asa. Now, he would be punished on his own, because he refused to worship God and obey Him.

2 Chronicles 21:13 "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:"

Now, we see the charges against him. First of all, he was not seeking the LORD with all his heart, as his father did. He had picked up the evil habits of Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter. He had even introduced the false gods of Israel into the land of Judah. He viciously killed his brothers, who were more like his father than he was.

2 Chronicles 21:14 "Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods:"

A plague can be anything from war to disease, or a Virus Pandemic. It is speaking of a punishment that God sends on these evil people. I really believe that A.I.D.S. is a plague on our society for the evil that exists. God is the only One who can stop the epidemic.

2 Chronicles 21:15 "And thou [shalt have] great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day."

There are two other times in the Bible, when the bowels of a person are affected by their sins. Judas Iscariot was one, and another was Herod. This was diarrhea so bad they passed their bowels. This type of diarrhea will kill you.

2 Chronicles 21:16 "Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that [were] near the Ethiopians:"

While the people of Judah were still sick, God stirred up the Ethiopans, Arabians, and the Philistines against them.

2 Chronicles 21:17 "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."

God was not on the side of Judah at this time, because of their great sin. They were easy prey. The enemy came in, and took all of valuable things out of the kings house and out of his sons’ homes. The only son that escaped, was a son whose name was Jehoahaz. Athaliah, his wicked wife was not taken. Jehoahaz is called Ahaziah, or Azariah, in other Scriptures.

2 Chronicles 21:18 "And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease."

This is speaking of Jehoram. His disease was so bad that it was incurable, and he died. This was an appropriate way for this evil king to die.

2 Chronicles 21:19 "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."

This disease was a plague from God, so there was no cure that man had for it. Jehoram suffered with this disease of the bowels for two years, and died when his bowels fell out of his body. He was not loved of the people, and they did not mourn his death, as they would have a king who did right.

2 Chronicles 21:20 "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."

He was buried at the age of forty in the city of David, Jerusalem. He was not given an honorable burial, and was not buried with his father, Jehoshaphat. His was a reign of sin. He died as he lived, without honor.

2 Chronicles 21 Questions

1. Who reigned in Jehoshaphat’s place?

2. Who had Jehoram married?

3. What were her parents’ names?

4. Jehoram is the opposite of ______________.

5. Who were the sons of Jehoshaphat?

6. What had Jehoshaphat given the other sons, besides Jehoram?

7. What did Jehoram do to all of his brothers?

8. How old was Jehoram, when he began to reign?

9. How many years did he reign?

10. Jehoram followed in whose ways?

11. Why did God not destroy Judah for these sins?

12. Who revolted from the rule of Judah at this time?

13. Jehoram built high places, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit ____________.

14. How did Elijah contact Jehoram?

15. What was the message God sent him through Elijah?

16. What were the charges against him?

17. What can a plague be?

18. What does the author believe is a modern plague?

19. What was the terrible disease that came upon them?

20. The LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the ___________.

21. What happened to Jehoram’s sons?

22. Which was the only survivor of his sons?

23. What are some other names for Jehoahaz?

24. What happened to Jehoram?

25. How old was he, when he died?

Verses 1-3

2Ch 21:1-3

Introduction

JEHORAM; WICKED SON-IN-LAW OF AHAB; RULES JUDAH

JEHORAM (949-942 B.C.)

"This chapter is a commentary on the man who married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and who walked in their ways (2 Chronicles 21:6). It describes his viciousness and his apostasy (2 Chronicles 21:1-11), and God’s condemnation of him through the prophet Elijah, and the failures both national and personal that overwhelmed him as a result (2 Chronicles 21:12-20)."

His evil wife was Athaliah who in time also became a ruler of Judah. She attempted to destroy completely the house of David and almost, but not quite, succeeded in doing so. She was, in many respects, a carbon copy of her evil mother Jezebel. Athaliah was never accepted by Judah, and her name was never included in the list of Judah’s legitimate rulers.

2 Chronicles 21:1-3

THE DEATH OF JEHOSHAPHAT AND SUCCESSION OF JEHORAM

"And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead. And he had brethren, the sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephaliah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. And their father gave them great girls, of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fortified cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram, because he was the first-born."

"Azariah ... Azariah" (2 Chronicles 21:2). "These names are written differently in the Hebrew: Azarjah and Azarjahu." It is not clear why the translators rendered the two names alike. On the strange identification of Jehoshaphat as king of Israel (2 Chronicles 21:2), this designation was correct, because Judah was indeed the true Israel; and those northern tribes who called themselves Israel were no longer part of God’s true Israel.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 21:1. Slept with his fathers is explained at 1 Kings 2:10. The city of David was a burg or department in Jerusalem of great importance. It was called Mount Zion also, and was the location of David’s house.

2 Chronicles 21:2. All of these brethren of Jehoram were younger than he, hence not regularly entitled to the throne.

2 Chronicles 21:3. Their father gave them; refers to a time before the date of 2 Chronicles 21:1. The statement is made to show us that the younger brothers of Jehoram had not been encouraged by their father to expect the kingdom, although they were given much consideration otherwise. They received large bounties of precious metal, also the possession of fenced or walled cities. But the seniority of Jehoram entitled him to the throne, and his father had appointed him as his successor before he died.

Verses 4-7

2Ch 21:4-7

2 Chronicles 21:4-7

JEHORAM’S VICIOUS MURDER OF ALL HIS BROTHERS

"Now when Jehoram was risen up over the kingdom of his father, and had strengthened himself, he slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel. Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab; for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah. Howbeit Jehovah would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a lamp to him and to his children alway."

"Jehovah would not destroy the house of David" (2 Chronicles 21:7). The very mention of such a thing in this paragraph is a mark of the diabolical threat that existed at this moment in the history of the Chosen People. In these events, Satan was moving swiftly and methodically toward that very goal: the total destruction of the house of David. And when Jehoram’s evil mother Athaliah was finally able to seize power for herself, she all but accomplished it.

We cannot leave this without mentioning the disaster that always results from contracting a marriage with an evil partner. Jehoshaphat is credited with being a good king; but he was incredibly stupid in arranging a marriage for his first-born son and presumptive heir to the throne of Judah with the wicked Jezebel II, whose name was Athaliah.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 21:4. Jehoram was a wicked man, and was unreasonably suspicious of his younger brothers. There was no indication that they expected to reign, for their father had settled the matter before he died. When a man makes a distribution of his possessions personally while living, it indicates he does not want some other arrangement made after his death. As far as we can learn, these brothers had accepted their father’s settlement, content with the favors that had been bestowed upon them. Notwithstanding, and utterly regardless of all the considerations set forth in the preceding verse, Jehoram was evil-minded toward his brothers and determined to remove them from his presence. These innocent victims were murdered soon after the new king took the throne.

2 Chronicles 21:5. Reigned in Jerusalem is an expression used frequently. It is to keep us clear as to which city was the capital of Judah. This is important from the fact that other cities have, from time to time, been the headquarters of the people of God; but one only, Jerusalem, was the capital of the original kingdom.

2 Chronicles 21:6. Walked . . . ways . . . kings of Israel. Such a comparison was sufficient to classify any man, for every king of Israel (the 10 tribes) was an idolater and otherwise a wicked man. But while all of them were wicked, some were worse than others, and among the very worst ones was Ahab. For he had the daughter of Ahab to wife; the writer accounts for the wickedness of Jehoram by this fact. That is significant, and let us get a view of the great danger connected with the marriage between God’s people and those who are not. Serious difficulties are always likely to result.

2 Chronicles 21:7. House of Davd means the family of David. The throne passed from father to son on down through the generations, unless an exception was made due to some serious fault of the heir. The Lord had promised David that his descendants should come upon the throne of Judah in their proper order, and thus the sins of Jehoram were overlooked and he was permitted to retain his seat.

Verses 8-10

2Ch 21:8-10

2 Chronicles 21:8-10

JEHORAM PROMPTLY LOST EDOM AND LIBNAH

"In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves. Then Jehoram passed over with his captains, and all his chariots with him; and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites that compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots. So Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day: then did Libnah revolt at the same time from under his hand, because he had forsaken Jehovah, the God of his fathers."

"What appears to have happened here is that Jehoram and his army went to teach the Edomites a lesson, but found out that the Edomites had surrounded him and his chariots." The consequent loss of two subject peoples, the Edomites from east of Jordan, and those of Libnah from the area of the Philistines, was directly due to the wickedness of Jehoram and were the result of the judgment of God upon him.

Part of this chapter is parallel to 2 Kings 8:17-24, and our comments on some of these events are found in the Commentary on Second Kings.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 21:8. The revolt of the Edomites fulfilled the prediction made by Isaac to Esau, recorded in Genesis 27:40. After Jacob had stolen the blessing of his father from Esau, the latter begged for something in the form of a blessing. Isaac then made the prediction, "When thou shalt have the dominion, thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck." The Edomites were descendants from Esau, and their revolt in the days of Jehoram fulfilled the prediction made by the aged patriarch, Isaac.

2 Chronicles 21:9-10. It was natural that the king of Judah would try to overcome the rebellion of the Edomites, so he attacked their forces near him and slew many of them; the revolt, however, could not be put down. And the success of the Edomites encouraged the city of Libnah, a royal one of the Canaanites, to rebel against Jehoram. This revolt also was allowed to succeed, because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers.

Verses 11-15

2Ch 21:11-15

2 Chronicles 21:11-15

THAT WRITING FROM ELIJAH REGARDING JEHORAM

"Moreover he made high places in the montains of Judah, and made the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot, and led Judah astray. And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith Jehovah, the 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, but hast walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot, like as the house of Ahab did, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, who were better than thyself: behold, Jehovah will smite with a great plague thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy substance; and thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of thy sickness, day by day."

Some scholars have argued that Elijah was already deceased at the times of Jehoram and that he could not have written the letter mentioned here; but this criticism is groundless for two reasons: (1) Elijah might indeed still have been living, a rather attractive argument for this having been cited by Myers. That Elijah did indeed write this `document’ and that it was sent during Elijah’s lifetime was flatly declared by Josephus. William Whiston, who translated the works of Josephus, however, insisted that Elijah had died four years previously to the times indicated here, and that the simplest explanation is that some copier inadvertently substituted the name Elijah for that of Elisha. (2) The passage does not indicate that the "document" (as the word is translated by Myers) was written during Elijah’s lifetime. Furthermore, the Chronicler gives five other examples of prophets predicting disaster to kings before the event (2 Chronicles 12:5; 2 Chronicles 16:7; 2 Chronicles 19:2; 2 Chronicles 24:20; and 2 Chronicles 26:16). In this light, we find no difficulty whatever in what is written here.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 21:11. We have seen already (1 Kings 3:2) that the high places were not always such bad things, yet were in an unfavored class. And when built by a man like Jehoram, were always used for evil purposes. In the literal sense, fornication means unlawful intimacy between the sexes. The evil is used to illustrate the unlawful religious intimacy between the people of the Lord and any other god. The people of Judah were encouraged by the wickedness of Jehoram to commit both fleshly and spiritual fornication. In fact, the two kinds seemed to go together, as in the case of the men of Benjamin (Numbers 25) an outstanding instance. Revelation 2:14 expressly connects fornication with the idolatry of this occasion. The reader is advised to see the remarks made on this subject at Numbers 25, in the first volume of this Commentary.

2 Chronicles 21:12-13. Elijah was a national prophet but not one of the writers of the Bible. The writing he did was on special occasions such as the present one to Jehoram. The ways of Jehoshaphat and Asa, kings of Judah, are contrasted with those of the kings of Israel (the 10 tribes). That was because the latter were, without exception, idolaters. Go a whoring means to go lusting, and is spoken here with reference to spiritual uncleanness. See the comments at 2 Chronicles 21:11. The closing statement verifies the comments made about the brethren of Jehoram at 2 Chronicles 21:3-4.

2 Chronicles 21:14-15. The throne continued in the line of David’s house in spite of the wickedness of Jehoram. But God did not let him escape all personal punishment, for he was to be smitten miraculously as will be noticed later on; his own family also was to be plagued.

Verses 16-17

2Ch 21:16-17

2 Chronicles 21:16-17

THE FULFILMENT OF ELIJAH’S PROPHECY

"And Jehovah stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians that are beside the Ethiopians: and they came up against Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was 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."

It was retribution in kind for this evil ruler. He who had murdered all of his fathers sons except himself experienced the same deprivation. His wives also were carried away. It was a pity that they did not take his mother Athaliah also. His terrible sickness would fulfill Elijah’s prophecy, and that came at once.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 21:16-17. Many misfortunes can come to a royal family without changing the occupation of the throne. Among the things brought against Jehoram was the enmity of such heathen nations as the Philistines and Arabians that were located in the same general territory as the Ethiopians. They could not overthrow the throne, but were suffered to confiscate the treasures that were then accumulated in the king’s palace. Besides taking these valuables, they had kidnapped his wives and all of his sons except Jehoahaz (also spelled Ahaziah). He was the youngest son and not entitled to the throne according to the law of inheritance. However, he was to receive it because of the absence of the oldest brother as explained here.

Verses 18-20

2Ch 21:18-20

2 Chronicles 21:18-20

PROPHECY OF SICKNESS AND DEATH FULFILLED

"And after all this Jehovah smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass, in process of time, at the end of two years, that his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness, and he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers. Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years: and he departed without being desired; and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings."

Despite those titles, power, and pelf

The wretch concentrated all in self,

Living shall forfeit fair renown.

And, doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust from which he sprung,

Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

--Sir Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 21:18-19. This affliction was predicted in 2 Chronicles 21:15, hence it was brought on by a miracle. It was a fatal disease but not swift in its progress, for he lingered on for two years. It was a decaying form of disease, so that in the last stages his bowels were expelled from his body in the process of regular discharges and resulted in his death. Made no burning refers to the burning of incense and sweet odors that was practiced often in connection with the burial of noted persons. (Ch. 16:14; 1 Samuel 31:12.)

2 Chronicles 21:20. This is a summing up of the life of Jehoram. Without being desired is translated by Moffatt, "with no one to regret him." Being a descendant of David, he was buried in the city of David. His personal corruptions were so great that he was not buried in the sepulchres allotted to the other kings.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 21". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-21.html.
 
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