21 1Jehoshaphat died and was buried in the family cemetery in the City of David. Jehoram his son was the next king. King Jehoram 2Jehoram’s brothers were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah—the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. 3Their father had lavished them with gifts—silver, gold, and other valuables, plus the fortress cities in Judah. But Jehoram was his firstborn son and he gave him the kingdom of Judah. 4But when Jehoram had taken over his father’s kingdom and had secured his position, he killed all his brothers along with some of the government officials. 5Jehoram was thirty–two years old when he became king and ruled in Jerusalem for eight years. 6He imitated Israel’s kings and married into the Ahab dynasty. God considered him an evil man. 7But despite that, because of his covenant with David, God was not yet ready to destroy the descendants of David; he had, after all, promised to keep a light burning for David and his sons. 8During Jehoram’s reign, Edom revolted from Judah’s rule and set up their own king. 9Jehoram responded by setting out with his officers and chariots. Edom surrounded him, but in the middle of the night he and his charioteers broke through the lines and hit Edom hard. 10Edom continues in revolt against Judah right up to the present. Even little Libnah revolted at that time. The evidence accumulated: Since Jehoram had abandoned God, the God of his ancestors, God was abandoning him. 11He even went so far as to build pagan sacred shrines in the mountains of Judah. He brazenly led Jerusalem away from God, seducing the whole country. 12One day he got a letter from Elijah the prophet. It read, “From God, the God of your ancestor David—a message: Because you have not kept to the ways of Jehoshaphat your father and Asa your grandfather, kings of Judah, 13but have taken up with the ways of the kings of Israel in the north, leading Judah and Jerusalem away from God, going step by step down the apostate path of Ahab and his crew—why, you even killed your own brothers, all of them better men than you!—14God is going to afflict your people, your wives, your sons, and everything you have with a terrible plague. 15And you are going to come down with a terrible disease of the colon, painful and humiliating.” 16The trouble started with an invasion. God incited the Philistines and the Arabs who lived near the Ethiopians to attack Jehoram. 17They came to the borders of Judah, forced their way in, and plundered the place—robbing the royal palace of everything in it including his wives and sons. One son, his youngest, Ahaziah, was left behind. 18The terrible and fatal disease in his colon followed. After about two years he was totally incontinent and died writhing in pain. 19His people didn’t honor him by lighting a great bonfire, as was customary with his ancestors. 20He was thirty–two years old when he became king and reigned for eight years in Jerusalem. There were no tears shed when he died—it was good riddance!—and they buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About