Black Mark


King Jehoram of Judah was a black mark on his family – the royal line of David. Jehoram means ‘Yahweh is exalted’ which is the exact opposite of what happened in his life.  God is not mocked, though: we will reap what we sow in this life and Jehoram received his due…

1 Then Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king. 2 Jehoram’s brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael and Shephatiah. All these were sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.

4 When Jehoram established himself firmly over his father’s kingdom, he put all his brothers to the sword along with some of the officials of Israel. 5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 6 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 7 Nevertheless, because of the covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever.

8 In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king.

10 Libnah revolted at the same time, because Jehoram had forsaken the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 11 He had also built high places on the hills of Judah and had caused the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves and had led Judah astray.

12 Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet, which said:

“This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: ‘You have not followed the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah. 13 But you have followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. You have also murdered your own brothers, members of your own family, men who were better than you. 14 So now the Lord is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.’”

16 The Lord aroused against Jehoram the hostility of the Philistines and of the Arabs who lived near the Cushites. 17 They attacked Judah, invaded it and carried off all the goods found in the king’s palace, together with his sons and wives. Not a son was left to him except Ahaziah, the youngest.

18 After all this, the Lord afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels. 19 In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain. His people made no funeral fire in his honor, as they had for his predecessors.

20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
2Chronicles 21:1-2, 4-8, 10-20

We see this time and time again. Parents who follow the Lord and lay a foundation of faithfulness for their children find disappointment or turn over in their graves as their children turn away from the Lord and go their own ways. Perhaps more than anyone in the stories of the kings, Jehoram is a black mark on his family – the royal line of David.

Jehoram means ‘Yahweh is exalted’ in Hebrew. Holy Wow… I’m not sure Jehoram could get much further away from his namesake…

Jehoram killed all his brothers and some of the officials of Israel immediately. You have to wonder if he was aligned with his Father-in-law’s allegiances in the north. Was he trying to make it easier for an alliance with the northern kingdom? He was certainly making it difficult for his successors to be a threat.

Enter Elijah, who brought the message of the Lord forward to Jehoram. Basically, because his head had been so firmly up his own bum, he would be inflicted with a bowel disease which would kill him. Irony.

One of the themes of my readings in Kings, Chronicles, and the prophets is that God is not mocked. We will reap what we sow in this life. Jehoram is an example.

Another important reality is that no one held a funeral in Jehoram’s honour, no one regretted his passing, and he was not seen as fit to be buried with the Kings of Judah. Jehoram was a black mark on the family of God.  How would people feel about you passing on?  How would you be remembered?

Hopefully you’re not a Jehoram. Rather, hopefully you are set on exalting Yahweh with your life. We can all set our paths to live up to the Hebrew name of Jehoram: Yahweh is exalted. Go God’s way. Trust in the Lord in all things. And don’t make your life about you. Make it about serving God and serving people around you.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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