The predicted punishment of King Jehoram (2 Chr 21:11-21:15)

“Moreover King Jehoram made high places in the hill country of Judah. He led the inhabitants of Jerusalem into unfaithfulness. He made Judah go astray. A letter came to him from the prophet Elijah, saying.

‘Thus says Yahweh,

The God of your father David.

Because you have not walked in the ways

Of your father King Jehoshaphat

Or in the ways of King Asa of Judah,

But have walked in the way of the kings of Israel,

You will be punished.

You have led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem

Into unfaithfulness,

As the house of Ahab led Israel into unfaithfulness.

You also have killed your brothers,

Members of your father’s house,

Who were better than you.

See! Yahweh will bring a great plague on your people,

Your children, your wives, and all your possessions.

You yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, Until your bowels come out,

Day after day,

Because of the disease.’”

This section was not found in 2 Kings. In fact, the insertion of the letter from the prophet Elijah seems like an anachronism. This was an attempt to condemn King Jehoram with a major prophet. There was no other mention of Elijah in the 2 books of Chronicles. In fact, he had been taken up to heaven during the reign of King Ahaziah of Israel, the father of King Jehoram of Israel. Most of Elijah’s dealings were with the northern kingdom of Israel and King Ahab, not with Judah. Nevertheless, the condemnation is clear. King Jehoram has not walked in the ways of his ancestor King David, nor his father or grandfather, King Asa and King Jehoshaphat, but like the kings of Israel and his father-in-law. He has led Judah and Jerusalem astray.   Note that they are considered separate. There is not mention of Benjamin anymore. He had built those high places in the countryside instead of protecting the Temple in Jerusalem. He had killed his 6 brothers, his father’s children. He and his people would suffer a plague. This seems to be a common punishment. He himself will have a disease of the bowels.

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