King Jehoshaphat sends missionaries to instruct the people (2 Chr 17:7-17:9)

“In the third year of his reign King Jehoshaphat sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. With them were the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah. With these Levites were the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught in Judah, having the book of the law of Yahweh with them. They went around through all the cities of Judah. They taught among the people.”

This was a special mission of what we might call evangelization today. King Jehoshaphat sent his officials and Levites out to teach the people about the law of Yahweh in the major cities of Judah. This was a different approach than that of his father, King Asa, who wanted everyone killed who was not a Yahweh worshipper. There were 5 officials named, 9 Levites, and 2 priests. Of the 5 officials, this is the only mention of (1) Ben-hail. Although there are 12 different people with the name of (2) Obadiah including the prophetic book of the same name, this Obadiah only appears here. There was a (3) Zechariah who was a son of King Jehoshaphat, one who was king of Israel (743 BCE) and a later prophet of the 6th century BCE, but this Zechariah is not one of these, unless possibly the son of the king. Although there are 10 biblical people with the name of (4) Nethanel, this one could be the trumpet blower or the son of Obed-edom. I wonder if this (5) Micaiah is the same prophet who King Jehoshaphat wanted later in this chapter. As for the 9 Levites, (1) Shemaiah was a common name among Levites, but this one is only mentioned here. This (2) Nethaniah might be one of the sons of Asaph or his descendents. (3) Zebadiah was a common name, but this one is not mentioned elsewhere. (4) Asahel was the name of a nephew of David who died, but this is not him. (5) Shemiramoth was at the time of David, but this is a different Shemiramoth. (6) Jehonathan is only mentioned here. (7) Adonijah was the name of a son of David, but this is not him. There was a later prophet with the name of (8) Tobijah. (9)Tob-adonijah appears only here. The 2 priests were Elishama and Jehoram. (1) Elishama was the name of a son of David, but this one is a priest. (2) Jehoram is a complicated name since two kings had that same name, one was the son of King Jehoshaphat who ruled from (848-840 BCE) and that other was the king of Israel (852-842 BCE). This priest could possibly be the son of King Jehoshaphat.

Jehu prepares to usurp power (2 Kings 9:14-9:16)

“Thus Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi conspired against King Jehoram. King Jehoram with all Israel had been on guard at Ramoth-gilead against King Hazael of Aram. However, King Jehoram had returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Arameans had inflicted on him, when he fought against King Hazael of Aram. Jehu said. ‘If this is your wish, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.’ Then Jehu mounted his chariot. He went to Jezreel, where King Jehoram was laying ill. King Ahaziah of Judah had come down to visit King Jehoram.”

Jehu conspired to take over the kingship from King Jehoram. The king had been at Ramoth-gilead until he was wounded in a battle with King Hazael of the Arameans. Then King Jehoram went to Jezreel to recuperate from his wounds. Jehu told the people at Ramoth-gilead that no one was to go to Jezreel to tell King Jehoram of what was happening here. Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went to Jezreel, where King Jehoram of Israel and his nephew King Ahaziah of Judah were.

King Ahaziah dies (2 Kings 1:17-1:18)

“King Ahaziah died according to the word of Yahweh which Elijah had spoken. His brother Jehoram succeeded him in the second year of King Jehoram son of King Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, because King Ahaziah had no son. Now the rest of the acts of King Ahaziah that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?”

Thus it came to pass that King Ahaziah died just as Yahweh via Elijah had said. His brother Jehoram, who had the same name as the king of Judah, became king. Thus we have two kings named Jehoram, living at the same time, but one is king of Judah and the other is the king of Israel. So now we have to be more careful when we use the name Jehoram. In case you are interested and want more information about Ahaziah, you can refer to the missing “The Book of the Annals of the King of Israel.”