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Jehoram Rules in Judah

21 When Jehoshaphat died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Jehoram became the next king.

Jehoram’s brothers—the other sons of Jehoshaphat—were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Judah.[a] Their father had given each of them valuable gifts of silver, gold, and costly items, and also some of Judah’s fortified towns. However, he designated Jehoram as the next king because he was the oldest. But when Jehoram had become solidly established as king, he killed all his brothers and some of the other leaders of Judah.

Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. But Jehoram followed the example of the kings of Israel and was as wicked as King Ahab, for he had married one of Ahab’s daughters. So Jehoram did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. But the Lord did not want to destroy David’s dynasty, for he had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would continue to rule, shining like a lamp forever.

During Jehoram’s reign, the Edomites revolted against Judah and crowned their own king. So Jehoram went out with his full army and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he went out at night and attacked them[b] under cover of darkness. 10 Even so, Edom has been independent from Judah to this day. The town of Libnah also revolted about that same time. All this happened because Jehoram had abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 11 He had built pagan shrines in the hill country of Judah and had led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to give themselves to pagan gods and to go astray.

12 Then Elijah the prophet wrote Jehoram this letter:

“This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: You have not followed the good example of your father, Jehoshaphat, or your grandfather King Asa of Judah. 13 Instead, you have been as evil as the kings of Israel. You have led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship idols, just as King Ahab did in Israel. And you have even killed your own brothers, men who were better than you. 14 So now the Lord is about to strike you, your people, your children, your wives, and all that is yours with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will suffer with a severe intestinal disease that will get worse each day until your bowels come out.”

16 Then the Lord stirred up the Philistines and the Arabs, who lived near the Ethiopians,[c] to attack Jehoram. 17 They marched against Judah, broke down its defenses, and carried away everything of value in the royal palace, including the king’s sons and his wives. Only his youngest son, Ahaziah,[d] was spared.

18 After all this, the Lord struck Jehoram with an incurable intestinal disease. 19 The disease grew worse and worse, and at the end of two years it caused his bowels to come out, and he died in agony. His people did not build a great funeral fire to honor him as they had done for his ancestors.

20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.

Ahaziah Rules in Judah

22 Then the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, their next king, since the marauding bands who came with the Arabs[e] had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram reigned as king of Judah.

Ahaziah was twenty-two[f] years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri. Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin.

Following their evil advice, Ahaziah joined Joram,[g] the son of King Ahab of Israel, in his war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans[h] wounded Joram in the battle, he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he had received at Ramoth.[i] Because Joram was wounded, King Ahaziah[j] of Judah went to Jezreel to visit him.

But God had decided that this visit would be Ahaziah’s downfall. While he was there, Ahaziah went out with Joram to meet Jehu grandson of Nimshi,[k] whom the Lord had appointed to destroy the dynasty of Ahab.

While Jehu was executing judgment against the family of Ahab, he happened to meet some of Judah’s officials and Ahaziah’s relatives[l] who were traveling with Ahaziah. So Jehu killed them all. Then Jehu’s men searched for Ahaziah, and they found him hiding in the city of Samaria. They brought him to Jehu, who killed him. Ahaziah was given a decent burial because the people said, “He was the grandson of Jehoshaphat—a man who sought the Lord with all his heart.” But none of the surviving members of Ahaziah’s family was capable of ruling the kingdom.

Queen Athaliah Rules in Judah

10 When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of Judah’s royal family. 11 But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba,[m] the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom. In this way, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the priest and sister of Ahaziah, hid the child so that Athaliah could not murder him. 12 Joash remained hidden in the Temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land.

Footnotes

  1. 21:2 Masoretic Text reads of Israel; also in 21:4. The author of Chronicles sees Judah as representative of the true Israel. (Some Hebrew manuscripts, Greek and Syriac versions, and Latin Vulgate read of Judah.)
  2. 21:9 Or he went out and escaped. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  3. 21:16 Hebrew the Cushites.
  4. 21:17 Hebrew Jehoahaz, a variant spelling of Ahaziah; compare 22:1.
  5. 22:1 Or marauding bands of Arabs.
  6. 22:2 As in some Greek manuscripts and Syriac version (see also 2 Kgs 8:26); Hebrew reads forty-two.
  7. 22:5a Hebrew Jehoram, a variant spelling of Joram; also in 22:6, 7.
  8. 22:5b As in two Hebrew manuscripts and Latin Vulgate (see also 2 Kgs 8:28); Masoretic Text reads the archers.
  9. 22:6a Hebrew Ramah, a variant spelling of Ramoth.
  10. 22:6b As in some Hebrew manuscripts, Greek and Syriac versions, and Latin Vulgate (see also 2 Kgs 8:29); most Hebrew manuscripts read Azariah.
  11. 22:7 Hebrew descendant of Nimshi; compare 2 Kgs 9:2, 14.
  12. 22:8 As in Greek version (see also 2 Kgs 10:13); Hebrew reads and sons of the brothers of Ahaziah.
  13. 22:11 As in parallel text at 2 Kgs 11:2; Hebrew lacks Ahaziah’s sister and reads Jehoshabeath [a variant spelling of Jehosheba].

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