2 Chronicles 21


Jehoram succeeds his father Jehoshaphat; and commences his

reign with the murder of his brethren, and of several of

the princes of Israel, 1-5.

He walks in the way of Ahab, whose bad daughter, Athaliah,

he had married, 6.

God remembers his covenant with David, and does not destroy

the nation, 7.

The Edomites revolt, 8-10.

Jehoram restores the high places in the mountains of Judah,

and greatly corrupts the morals of the people, 11.

A letter comes to him from Elijah, 12-15.

The Philistines and Arabians come up against him, pillage his

house, and take away his wives, with all his sons except

Jehoahaz, 16, 17.

He is smitten with an incurable disease in his bowels; of

which, in two years, he dies miserably, after a profligate

reign of eight years, 18-20.


Verse 2. And he had brethren-the sons of Jehoshaphat, king of

Israel.] Jehoshaphat certainly was not king of Israel, but king of

Judah. Yisrael must be a corruption in the text, for

Yehudah; which is the reading of the Syriac, Arabic,

Septuagint, and Vulgate: the Chaldee, only agrees with the Hebrew

text. And the reading of the versions is supported by thirty-eight

of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS. The word Judah should

therefore be restored to the text.

Verse 3. The kingdom gave he to Jehoram] He made him co-partner

with himself in the kingdom about three years before his death; so

that he reigned only five years after the death of his father

Jehoshaphat. See the notes on 2Ki 8:16, &c.; and on the same,

2Ch 1:17, where an attempt is made to settle this disturbed


Verse 4. Slew all his brethren] What a truly diabolic thing is

the lust of power! it destroys all the charities of life, and

renders those who are under its influence the truest resemblants

of the arch fiend. That he might sit the more secure upon his

throne, this execrable man imbrues his hands in the blood of his

own brothers! There are more instances of this species of cruelty

among bad Asiatic kings than among any other class of men. The

history of every country abounds in proofs; even that of our own

is not the least barren.

Verse 6. He had the daughter of Ahab to wife] This was Athaliah,

daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, who was famous for her impieties and

cruelty, as was her most profligate mother. It is likely that she

was the principal cause of Jehoram's cruelty and profaneness.

Verse 7. To give a light to him] To give him a descendant.

Verse 8. In his days the Edomites revolted] See on 2Ki 8:21.

Verse 11. To commit fornication] That is, to serve idols. The

Israelites were considered as joined to Jehovah as a woman is

joined to her husband: when she associates with other men, this

is adultery; when they served other gods, this was called by the

same name, it was adultery against Jehovah. This is frequently the

only meaning of the terms adultery and fornication in the


Verse 12. There came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet]

From 2Ki 2:11, it is evident that Elijah had been translated in

the reign of Jehoshaphat, the father of Jehoram. How then could he

send a letter to the son? Some say he sent it from heaven by an

angel; others, that by the spirit of prophecy he foresaw this

defection of Jehoram, and left the letter with Elisha, to be sent

to him when this defection should take place; others say that

Elijah is put here for Elisha; and others, that this Elijah was

not the same that was translated, but another prophet of the same

name. There are others who think that, as Elijah was still in the

body, for he did not die, but was translated, he sent this

letter from that secret place in which he was hidden by the

Almighty. All the versions have Elijah, and all the MSS. the same

reading. Dr. Kennicott contends that Elisha was the writer; for

Elijah had been taken up to heaven thirteen years before the

time of this writing. Our margin says, the letter was written

before his assumption, and refers to 2Ki 2:1.

These are all conjectures; and I could add another to their

number, but still we should be where we were. I should adopt the

conjecture relative to Elisha, were not every Hebrew MS., and all

the Oriental versions, against it; to which may be added, that the

author of this book does not once mention Elisha in any part of

his work. It is certainly a possible case that this writing might

have been a prediction of Jehoram's impiety and miserable death,

delivered in the time of the prophet, and which was now laid

before this wicked king for the first time: and by it the prophet,

though not among mortals, still continued to speak. I can see no

solid reason against this opinion.

Verse 14. Will the Lord smite] "The WORD of the Lord will send a

great mortality."-Targum.

Verse 15. Until thy bowels fall out] This must have been

occasioned by a violent inflammation: by the same death perished

Antiochus Epiphanes, and Herod Agrippa.

Verse 16. The Philistines, and-the Arabians] We have no other

account of this war. Though it was a predatory war, yet it appears

to have been completely ruinous and destructive. What a general

curse fell upon this bad king; in his body, soul, substance,

family, and government!

Verse 17. Save Jehoahaz the youngest] This person had at least

three names, Jehoahaz, Ahaziah, (2Ch 22:1,) and

Azariah, (2Ch 22:6.)

Verse 18. The Lord smote him] "And after all these things the

WORD Of the Lord smote his bowels," &c.-Targum.

Verse 19. After the end of two years, his bowels fell out] The

Targum seems to intimate that he had a constipation and

inflammation in his bowels; and that at last his bowels gushed


No burning] "His people made no burning of aromatic woods for

him, as they had done for his forefathers."-Targum. See on

2Ch 16:14.

Verse 20. Departed without being desired.] He was hated while he

lived, and neglected when he died; visibly cursed of God, and

necessarily execrated by the people whom he had lived only to

corrupt and oppress. No annalist is mentioned as having taken the

pains to write any account of his vile life. This summary mention

of him consigns him to the execration of posterity, and holds in

the view of every prudent governor, the rock on which he split and

wrecked the state.

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