Jehoram became king of Judah after the death of his father, good king Jehoshaphat. We are sad to find out that the son was nothing like the father. His first recorded action was the murder of all his brothers and a number of the princes of Judah.
Jehoram followed the bad pattern of the kings of Israel. The daughter of Ahab, one of the evil kings to the north, was his wife. Despite his wretched behavior, Jehoram was in the line of the kings descending from David that would lead to the Messiah. The Lord preserved that line because of His promise to David and not because of anything good in Jehoram.
Jehoram had problems with neighboring nations. These were a direct result of his unfaithfulness to the Lord. He built up false places of worship in Judah against the Law of the Lord. He led the nation away from the God of his father. The great prophet, Elijah, sent him a letter predicting a plague upon his house and disease upon the king himself that would lead to his death. These afflictions were not random. They were the Lord’s direct judgments against him.
In the space of only two years the words that Elijah had written against Jehoram came to pass. We hear these words from the Chronicler regarding his death: “He departed with no one’s regret.”
What possible benefit can come to us from considering the account of such a bad king? Bad kings help good kings to shine. Jehoshaphat looks like a hero when compared to his son, but Jesus shines far more brightly than both men.
A truly righteous king leads His people toward the Lord, and not away from Him. The true servant of the Lord teaches others to love his brothers in the faith, not to kill them. It is safe for everyone in the kingdom of God to follow Jesus. He leads us in the way of life. That could not be said about Jehoram. Jehoram’s disobedience brought great trouble upon Judah, but the obedience of Jesus has become the foundation of a resurrection kingdom extending to all the nations of the world.