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SECTION LXXII.

THE REIGN OY JEHORAM KING OF JUDAH.

From 2 Chronicles, Chap. xxi. AND Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat reigned in Judah after his father.

And 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.

And 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 first-born.

Now 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.

Howbeit, 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.

In his days the Edomites revolted from under the . dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king.

Then 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.

So 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. Moreover, he made high places in the mountains of

Judah,

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Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit idolatry, and compelled Judah thereto.

And 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.

But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem like the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself;

Behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods.

And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day.

Moreover, the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians.

And 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.

And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease.

And 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.

Thirty 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

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him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. In order to connect the history of Judah, it will be necessary to read over again, before we proceed, the Section which contains the latter part of the reign of king Jehoshaphat *.

Jehoram had borne a share in the government with his father for four years before the death of Jehoshaphat. We have already read, that he was married to Ahab's daughter; and now we are informed of the unhappy consequences of this improper alliance; for we may conclude that it was at the instigation of Athaliah, that Jehoram slew his brethren, and introduced the worship of Baal again into Jerusalem.

It was natural to expect, that the judgments of God would follow this wickedness; and accordingly we find the Edomites refused to pay the usual tribute, and set up a king of their own. This revolt completed the prediction of Isaac, that Esau's posterity should shake off the yoke of Jacob; which they did so effectually, that the Jews entirely lost their dominion of them. Libnah also threw off its allegiance, and the Philistines and Arabians ravaged the country, plundered the king's palace, and even carried away his wives and children.

It is not easy to account for Elijah’s sending a writing to Jehoram. It is supposed that the word Elisha, should be put instead of Elijah. This wicked king was permitted to reign but a short time, and his death was evidently a judgment for his sins, since the manner of it agreed exactly with the prophet's prediction.

The gracious care of God for perpetuating the kingdom of Judah and the house of David, in remembrance

* Section Ixvi.

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of

of his covenant, was remarkably displayed. It certainly 'was for David's sake that such wicked things were endured. For many generations, his name, by a succession of monarchs descended from him, was kept up bright and illustrious, as a lamp is kept burning by a constant supply of fresh oil ; and we shall read, that even when the king and people of Judah had so highly provoked the LORD, that he suffered them to be carried

away

from their own land, the name of David was still honoured, by promises of future and everlasting glory, through a prince descended from him: and his family was preserved, and his tribe had the pre-eminence, till the coming of the Messiah.

We are told that Jehoram died without being desired; by which we may understand, that he was hated by his people, who neither wished for his life, nor lamented his death. It appears that the people had fallen into the custom of burning dead bodies, like some of the heathen.

SECTION LXXIII.

THE REIGH OF AHAZIAH (CALLED ALSO* AZARIAN

AND + JEHOAHAZ) KING OF JUDAH.

From 2 Chron. Chap. xxii.

AND the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah Jehoram's youngest son king in his stead. For the band of men that came with the Arabians to the canıp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.

Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began

9 Chron. xxii. 6.

† Cbron. xxi. 17, and xxv. 23.

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to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.

He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly.

Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellors after the death of his father to his destruction.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. The history of king Ahaziah is so interwoven with that of Jehoram king of Israel, that it is difficult to separate them. He is said to have been forty-two years old when he began to reign ; but this he could not be, according to his father's age; it is therefore supposed by the learned, that there is some error in transcribing this passage, and that he was only twenty-two years old.

Notwithstanding Jehoram's life was preserved by the particular Providence of God, when all his brethren were slain, he suffered himself to be influenced by bad counsel and example to do wickedly. One would have Bupposed that the heavy judgments which had so lately been inflicted on his father, would have made some impression on the mind of Ahaziah; but he seems to have been a confirmed idolater, and to have been educated in an habitual defiance and hatred of the LORD, from his very infancy.

We must pow return to the history of the kings of Israel.

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