King Jehoram Leads Judah Astray
Open Your Bible
2 Chronicles 21:2-20, 2 Chronicles 22:1-12, Deuteronomy 10:12-14
I recently watched a movie where a rather conniving cousin almost thwarted a would-be king. It was a holiday romance with a royal twist: a riddle that needed to be solved to ensure the rightful heir was installed on the throne. The riddle was solved by a precocious young woman who, you guessed it, marries the new king.
But on the way to their happily ever after, they did stumble. Lies that had been told for generations came to light, and for a while, it seemed that there was no unwinding what had been done. Deception threatened their happiness in multiple ways, but a clue hidden in the riddle unlocked the victory for the true king.
This section of 2 Chronicles shares some ideas with that plot: a series of familial murders threatened to keep a rightful king (Joash) from the throne until a precocious princess stepped in to save the day.
The stories of Jehoram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, and Joash are hard to read. Jehoram inherited the throne but killed all his brothers to ensure it would be his. He was a terrible king who didn’t honor the Lord. He “built high places in the hills of Judah, and he caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, and he led Judah astray” (2Chronicles 21:11). The Lord sent the prophet Elijah to tell Jehoram that he would die of a horrible intestinal illness. Then his son Ahaziah became king, and he led the people toward idols and away from the Lord. After his death, Ahaziah’s mother, Athaliah, took over and killed all of Ahaziah’s heirs to prevent them from stealing the throne from her.
Except that Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and hid him in the temple for six years. Like Moses in the reed basket, a baby was saved to carry the promise forward. Jesus was saved when His family fled to Egypt, and Herod sought to kill all the baby boys under two years old.
So goes the family of Jehoram, and so goes Israel. Israel kept forgetting God, worshiping idols, and breaking God’s law. And while God showed His judgment to them and they suffered through exile, God left a remnant of hope through the line of David. A good king—a forever king—King Jesus was promised. Through all the mess, tragedy, and epic family drama, God kept His promise to Israel and established His forever kingdom through their True King.
This devotional was updated on March 22, 2023 at 11:04 a.m. An earlier version of this devotional incorrectly identified Jehoshabeath as Ahaziah’s daughter.