2 Chronicles 21:1b-22:1 – Jehoram
SummaryThe Chronicler deems Jehoram's alliance with Ahab in the north as responsible for the series of disasters that accompany his reign: defeat in war, plague, and personal illness culminating in an early death.
AnalysisIn some ways, the reigns of Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah comprise a single episode in Chronicles that provide a tragic sequel to Jehoshaphat's disastrous alliance with the north. All three are related to Ahab and adopt the Baalism promulgated by Ahab and Jezebel. All three die horrible deaths and are denied burial in the royal cemetery.
Jehoram is the first king, though not the last, to be thoroughly condemned by the Chronicler. The concentric ordering of the material, after a long digression culminating in the fratricide of Jehoram's brothers (vv. 1-4), emphasizes rebellion and judgment: a letter from Elijah announcing divine judgment anchors the center of the text (vv. 12-15), which is flanked by the rebellions of Edom and Libnah (vv. 8-11) and the Philistines and Arabs (vv. 16-17). Surrounding these rebellions are the Chronicler's own judgment of Jehoram (vv. 6-7) and those of God and the people (vv. 18-19). Typical accession formulas enclose the whole (vv. 5, 20).
Theologically more interesting, however, is the Chronicler's alteration of 2 Kings 8:19, "Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah, for the sake of his servant David, since he had promised to give a lamp to him and to his descendants forever." The Chronicler states that God would not destroy the house of David, and then inserts "because of the covenant that he had made with David" (2 Chronicles 21:7). These significant alterations proclaim the Chronicler's firm belief that the covenant with David is a divine promise that even Jehoram's sin cannot nullify.