2 Kings 8:16-29 – Jehoram and Ahaziah of Judah


2 Kings 8:16-29


Jehoram of Judah (850-843) is strongly censured for his alliance with Ahab of Israel cemented with his marriage to one of Ahab’s daughters. The reign of Ahaziah (843), his son, is similarly condemned for these foreign alliances with the Omrides.


Jehoram of Judah (also called by the shortened form, Joram, vv. 21, 23, 24; not to be confused with Jehoram of Israel, 3:1-8, who is also called Joram in 8:16) reigned during a politically disastrous time in the southern kingdom. Two examples appear in our text:
•    Verses 20-22a recount the revolt of Edom, a serious financial loss to Judah. In a failed effort to regain his losses, Jehoram’s infantry deserted the king who just barely escaped with his life.
•    Verse 22b states that Libnah, a town on the Philistine border in the vicinity of Lachish (see also 19:8), also broke away from Judah’s control at this time.

Jehoram and his son, Ahaziah, shared the severe condemnation of the Deuteronomistic editors that they followed the ways of the house of Ahab (vv. 18, 27). The editors even suggest that their evil was due to the complicated family ties they shared with the northern royal family. Jehoram secured a political alliance with Israel by marrying one of Ahab’s daughters, probably Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, which means that Ahaziah’s grandfather was Ahab and his great-grandfather was the powerful Israelite ruler Omri.