Fausset's Bible Dictionary


("exalted by Jehovah"), JEHORAM or JORAM.

1. Son of Ahab, king of Israel. Succeeded his brother Ahaziah who had no son, 896 B.C., and died 884 B.C. Jehoram, king of Judah, had two accessions recorded in Scripture, and an earlier one not recorded, but conjectured by Usher;

(1) probably when Jehoshaphat went from his kingdom to Ramoth Gilead battle in his 17th year (2Ki_3:1);

(2) when he retired from the administration, making his son joint king, in his 23rd year (2Ki_8:16 margin);

(3) at Jehoshaphat's death, in his 25th year. (2Ch_21:1; 1Ki_22:50 margin)

Thus, the accession of Jehoram king of Israel in Jehoshaphat's 18th year synchronized with

(1) the second year after the first accession (2Ki_1:17), and

(2) the fifth year before the second accession, of Jehoram king of Judah (2Ki_8:16).

For the last year of his reign he synchronized with Ahaziah, Joram's son, slain along with him by Jehu (2 Kings 9). There was a close alliance between Judah and Israel, begun by Ahab his father with Jehoshaphat and continued by himself. With Judah (whose territory Moab had invaded, 2 Chronicles 20, and so provoked Jehoshaphat) and Edom as allies, Jehoram warred against Mesha, who had since Ahaziah's reign (2Ki_1:1) withheld the yearly tribute due to Israel, "100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams" (Keil) (2 Kings 3; Isa_16:1). The allies would have perished for want of water in their route S. of the Dead Sea, then northwards through Edom and the rocky valley Ahsy which separates Edom from Moab, but for Elisha who had a regard for Jehoshaphat, and brought water to fill the wady Ahsy miraculously from God; the water was collected for use in (Jer_14:3) the ditches made by his direction. (See DIBON; ELISHA.)

Rain fell probably in the eastern mountains of Edom far away from Israel, so that they perceived neither the wind which precedes the rain nor the rain itself; and this at the time of the morning "meat offering" to mark the return of God's favor in connection with sacrifice and prayer to Him. The reddish earth of the ditches colored the water, gleaming in the rising sun, and seemed blood to Moab, who supposed it to indicate a desperate conflict between the three kings. Edom's late attempt at rebellion (2Ch_21:8) made the Moabites' supposition probable; and remembering how their own joint expedition against Judah with Ammon and Edom (20) had ended in mutual slaughter, they naturally imagined the same issue to the confederacy against themselves. After smiting the cities, telling the trees, stopping the wells, and marring the land, the allies pressed the king of Moab sore in his last stronghold Kir Haraseth, the citadel of Moab (Isa_15:1), now Kerak, on a steep chalk rock above the deep valley, wady Kerak, which runs westward into the Dead Sea.

Failing to break through the besiegers to the king of Edom, from whom he expected least resistance, he offered his firstborn son a burnt offering to Chemosh. (See CHEMOSH.) So there ensued "great wrath against Israel"; Israel's driving him to such an extremity brought on Israel some of the guilt of the human sacrifice offered. Their conscience and superstitious feelings were so roused (probably a divine sign visibly accompanying this feeling) that they gave up the siege and the subjugation of Moab. The Dibon stone records probably the victories of Mesha subsequent to this, though the allies' circuitous route S.E. of the Dead Sea, instead of directly E. across Jordan, may have resulted from Mesha's successes already in the latter quarter. Jehoram fell into Jeroboam's sin of worshipping Jehovah under the calf symbol, which every Israelite king regarded as a political necessity, but not into his father's and mother's Baal idolatry; nay, he removed Baal's statue (2Ki_3:2-3).

Jehoshaphat's influence produced a compromise on both sides, to the spiritual good of neither, as always happens in compromises between the world and the church. Baal worship outlived such half hearted religious efforts. How could it be otherwise, when Jezebel lived throughout his reign, as whole-hearted for false gods as her son was half hearted for the true God! (2Ki_9:30; 2Ki_10:18 ff; 2Ki_3:13). However, Jehoram's removal of Baal's statue seems to have drawn Elisha to him, so that the prophet was able to offer the Shunammite woman to speak to the king in her behalf (2Ki_4:13). As Elisha spoke so sternly to him in 2Ki_3:14, the removal of the Baal statue may have been subsequent to, and the consequence of, Jehoram's witnessing the deliverance of himself and his two allies, wrought through Jehovah's prophet in chapter 3.

The king's want of faith, yet mixed with recognition of God's exclusive omnipotence, appears in his answer to the Syrian king's command that he should heal Naaman of his leprosy, "Am I God to kill and to make alive, that this man," etc. (2Ki_5:7; Deu_32:39); his unbelief ignored the existence of God's prophet in Israel. The miraculous cure deepened his respect for Elisha. The prophet again and again saved Jehoram by warning him of the position of the Syrian camp (2Ki_6:8-12; compare Luk_12:3). Blinding, and then leading the Syrian hosts sent to surround him in Dothan, into the midst of Samaria, he checked Jehoram who would have smitten them ("wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword?" Surely not. Much less those taken not in open battle, but by a device, combined with mental blindness sent by God), and caused him instead to set bread and water, "great provision" (2Ki_6:22-23), before them, and then to send them home, the effect being that love melted the enemy's heart, and Syrian "bands" (i.e. flying bodies), reverencing God's power, for long ceased to harass Israel (Rom_12:20).

Abatement of the divine scourge, apparently, brought with it carnal security to Jehoram. Then followed a divinely sent regular war. Benhadad besieged Samaria; a terrible famine ensued. The tale of a mother who had slain her child for food, and complained of another mother having hidden hers contrary to agreement, roused Jehoram to rend his clothes; then appeared the hair sackcloth of mourning penitence "within" (mibaait), a bore sign without the real repentance of heart, as his threat of murdering Elisha proves, Rom_12:31. The prophet probably had advised holding out, and promised deliverance if they humbly sought Jehovah (Jon_3:6). Jehoram thought that by his sackcloth he had done his part; when God's help did not yet come, Jehoram vented his impatience on the prophet, as if Elisha's zeal for Jehovah against Baal was the cause of the calamity. (See ELISHA.)

Elisha, by deferring the entrance of the executioner, gave time for Jehoram's better feelings to work. He stayed the execution in person, then complained despairingly of the evil as "from Jehovah," as if it were vain to "wait still further for Jehovah." Elisha's prophecy of immediate plenty, and its fulfillment to the letter (2 Kings 7), restored the friendly relations between Jehoram and him (2Ki_8:4). Jehoram's conversation with Gehazi about Elisha's great works and his raising the dead lad, and the Shunammite woman's return at that very time, occurred probably while the prophet was at Damascus prophesying to Hazael his coming kingship (2 Kings 8). Similarly Herod was curious about our Lord's miracles, and heard John Baptist gladly (Luk_9:9; Luk_23:8; Mar_6:14; Mar_6:20). A fascination draws bad men, in spite of themselves, toward God's servants, though it be only to hear their own condemnation. The revolution in Syria seemed an opportunity to effect his father's project, to recover Ramoth Gilead.

Jehoram accordingly, in concert with Ahaziah of Judah, his nephew, seized it. Jehoram was wounded, and returned to Jezreel to be healed. Jehu his captain was left at Ramoth Gilead to continue the war with Hazael. But Jehu, with characteristic haste, immediately after Elisha had anointed him, set out for Jezreel and with an arrow slew Jehoram and threw his body on the very plot of ground which by falsehood and murder Ahab had dispossessed Naboth of, fulfilling Elijah's prophecy (1Ki_21:19; 1Ki_21:22). Lord A. C. Hervey considers the seven years' famine (2Ki_8:1) foretold to the Shunammite to be the same as that in 2Ki_4:38. It ended on the same year as Jehoram died, after 12 years' reign, therefore it must have begun in his sixth year. As the Shunammite's child must have been at least three years old when raised again, Elisha's acquaintance with her must have been four or five years sooner, bringing us to Jehoram's second year; so that Elisha's presence with the three allied kings (2 Kings 3) must have been in Jehoram's first year.

Lord Hervey thinks Elijah was not translated until the sixth year of Jehoram, whereas Elisha began ministering in the first year of Jehoram. Thus Elijah's writing to Jehoram of Judah (2Ch_21:12) was addressed to him in Elijah's lifetime. He did not begin reigning until the fifth year of Jehoram of Israel (2Ki_8:16), thus 2Ki_1:17 will belong to the narrative in 2 Kings 2. He thinks the 25 distinct years assigned to Jehoshaphat a mistake, that 22 is the real number, three being added for the three last years of Asa his father, when incapacitated by disease in the feet he devolved the kingly duties on Jehoshaphat (2Ch_16:12). Three years were then added, to Ahab's reign to make the whole number of years of the kings of Israel tally with the whole number of the years of the kings of Judah, unduly lengthened by the three added to Jehoshaphat's reign.

2. JEHORAM, son of Jehoshaphat, succeeded at the age of 32 and reigned 892 to 884 B.C. Married Athaliah, Ahab's daughter, the reflex of her wicked mother Jezebel; he yielded himself up to the evil influences of his wife instead of following the example of his pious father. His first act as a king was to murder his six brothers, though his father had provided for them independently of him so as to avert collision (2Ch_21:1-4); also several "princes of Israel." Not only did he set up idolatrous high places, but "caused Jerusalem to commit fornication and compelled Judah thereto" (2Ch_21:11). Elisha's prophetic writing threatened him with great plagues to his people, children, wives, and goods, and disease of the bowels so that they should fall out, because of his apostasy and murder of his brethren who were "better than himself" (2 Chronicles 12-15, 18-19). (ELIJAH.)

All this came to pass. Edom, heretofore tributary to Jehoshaphat, made a king over themselves (1Ki_22:47; 2Ki_3:9; 2Sa_8:14) and revolted; and only by a night surprise did Jehoram extricate himself at Zair (2Ki_8:20-22, for which the copyist in 2Ch_21:9 has "with his princes"), in Edom, from "the Edomites who compassed him in." Libnah a fenced city (2Ki_19:8) also revolted, probably as being given by Jehoshaphat (2Ch_21:3) to one of those sons whom Jehoram had murdered. The great reason was God's anger" because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers." Then those surrounding peoples, upon whom the fear of the Lord had been in Jehoshaphat's days so that they made no war, nay even gave presents and tribute to him, as the Philistines and the Arabians (2Ch_17:10-11) near the Ethiopians, now were stirred up by the Lord against Jehoram.

They carried away his substance from his house, his sons, and wives, so that there was never a son left him save Jehoahaz (Ahaziah) the youngest (God for the sake of His covenant with David still leaving" a light to him and to his sons for ever": 2Ch_21:7; 2Sa_7:12-13; Psa_132:17), a retribution in kind for the murder of his father's sons. An incurable disease of the bowels after two years' agony caused his death. He died "without being desired," i.e. unregretted (Jer_22:18). No burning of incense was made for him, and his body though buried in the city of David was excluded from the sepulchres of the kings. The undesigned propriety of the same names appearing as they would naturally do in the allied royal houses of Judah and Israel, e.g. Jehoram and Ahaziah, confirms the truth of the sacred history.

3. A priest in the time of Jehoshaphat (2Ch_17:8).


Taken from: Fausset's Bible Dictionary by Andrew Robert Fausset (1821-1910)