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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
Jehoram's sole reign now began. (See 2 Kings 8:16 note). His eight years 2 Chronicles 21:5 must be counted from the time of his association, in his father's 23rd year.
2And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.
3And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn.
Jehoshaphat departed from Rehoboam's policy (2 Chronicles 11:23 note), actually making over to his sons the "fenced cities" in which they dwelt. This, it is probable, provoked the jealousy of Jehoram, and induced him to put them to death 2 Chronicles 21:4.
Because he was the firstborn - Compare Deuteronomy 21:15-17. Exceptions to this rule in the northern and southern kingdoms are Solomon, where divine appointment superseded the natural order, Abijah 2 Chronicles 11:22 note), and Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:30 note).
4Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel.
The execution of several "princes of Israel" (i. e. of Judah; see 2 Chronicles 20:34 note) implies that Jehoram's brothers found supporters among the chief men of the country, and that Jehoram's sole sovereignty was not established without a struggle.
5Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
6And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD.
7Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.
8In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king.
9Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of the chariots.
10So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers.
11Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.
See 2 Kings 8:18. The writer of Kings only tells us in general terms that Jehoram "did evil in the sight of the Lord," and "walked in the way of the house of Ahab." Here, in 2 Chronicles 21:11, 2 Chronicles 21:13, we have particulars of his idolatry. Jehoram, it seems, seduced by the evil influence of his wife - Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab - permitted the introduction of Baal-worship, idolatrous altars in various high places, groves (Asherahs), images, and pillars; the people were not only allowed, but compelled to take part in the new rites. "To commit fornication" is a common metaphor, signifying idolatry or spiritual unfaithfulness (compare the 2 Kings 9:22 note).
12And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,
This is the only notice which we have of Elijah in Chronicles. As a prophet of the northern kingdom, he engaged but slightly the attention of the historian of the southern one. The notice shows that Elijah did not confine his attention to the affairs of his own state, but strove to check the progress of idolatry in Judah. And it proves that he was alive after the death of Jehoshaphat 2 Chronicles 21:13; a fact bearing
(1) upon the chronological order of 2 Kings 2:1 (see the note), and
(2) showing that Elisha, who prophesied in the time of Jehoshaphat. 2 Kings 3:11-19 commenced his public ministry before his master's translation.
13But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself:
14Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods:
The fulfillment of the threat is given in 2 Chronicles 21:16-17.
15And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.
16Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians:
The Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians - Probably Joktanian Arabs from the neighborhood of the Cushites. Southern Arabia was originally occupied by Cushites, or Ethiopians Genesis 10:7, whose descendants still exist in a remnant of the Himyaritic Arabs.
17And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king's house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.
Jehoahaz - The writer of Chronicles calls him indifferently Jeboahaz and Abaziah, which are equivalent names (2 Kings 8:24 note).
18And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease.
19And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers.
20Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.
Not in the sepulchres of the kings - Compare the similar treatment of Joash 2 Chronicles 24:25 and Ahaz 2 Chronicles 28:27.