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Icons of the Bible: Jehoram (Hebrew: יְהוֹרָם Yəhōrām; also Joram)

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Icons of the Bible: Jehoram (Hebrew: יְהוֹרָם Yəhōrām; also Joram)
Icons of the Bible: Jehoram (Hebrew: יְהוֹרָם Yəhōrām; also Joram)

Icons of the Bible

Who was King Jehoram / Joram in the Bible?

There are two kings in the Bible referred to as King Jehoram/Joram. The first was the son of King Jehoshaphat, and he ruled in the southern kingdom of Judah from 853 to 841 BC. The other King Jehoram was the son of the wicked King Ahab, and he ruled in the northern kingdom of Israel from 852 to 841 BC . The name Joram is a shortened form of Jehoram. Complicating matters is the fact that both Jehorams were brothers-in-law to each other.

Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat was 32 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for four years with his father and another eight years on his own in Judah (2 Kings 8:16–17)—a total of twelve years. Although Jehoshaphat had been a good and godly king, Jehoram did not follow in his father’s footsteps. He married Athaliah, daughter of King Ahab (and sister of Ahab’s son Joram), and he became an evil ruler. But, in spite of King Jehoram’s wickedness, God kept his covenant with David and refrained from destroying Judah (2 Kings 8:19).

Sadly, God’s mercy had no effect on Jehoram’s behavior. He led his kingdom into idolatry and lewdness, and he caused both Edom and Libnah to revolt against Judah (2 Chronicles 21:8, 11). So God sent word through the prophet Elijah that, because Jehoram had led the people into sin, there would be a devastating attack on Jehoram’s house and Jehoram himself would be struck with an incurable bowel disease (verses 14–15). As part of God’s judgment, the Philistines and Arabs “attacked Judah, invaded it and carried off all the goods found in the king’s palace, together with his sons and wives. Not a son was left to him except Ahaziah, the youngest” (verse 17). The disease killed Jehoram in a gruesome and agonizing manner at the age of 40. The people did not mourn this wicked king (verses 18–20).

The other Jehoram (or Joram), son of Ahab, took the throne of Israel in the second year of his brother-in-law’s reign in Judah, and he was just as corrupt. He certainly had a poor example in his father. Ahab had turned the people to idolatry, leading them away from the true God of their fathers to the worship of his wife Jezebel’s god, Baal. Ahab had famously clashed with the Elijah on many occasions, and his wicked rule had led to God’s punishment over the whole land in the form of a years-long drought. The consequences of Ahab’s choices carried into his son’s reign. Ahab had previously taken control of Moab and forced the people to pay tribute, but, when Joram took the throne, Moab rebelled, forcing Joram into war (2 Kings 3:4–5).

King Joram called for help in the battle from King Jehoshaphat of Judah and the king of Edom, and the combined armies set out on a march through the wilderness toward Moab (2 Kings 3:8). Along the way, they ran out of water. Jehoshaphat made inquiries and discovered that Elisha, a prophet of God and Elijah’s successor, was nearby. Elisha was brought before the kings, and Joram asked for help from God. Elisha wanted to refuse Joram, but he agreed to help for Jehoshaphat’s sake (verse 14). Through God’s power, Elisha filled a dry stream bed with water for the troops, and he also promised that God would deliver Moab into their hands (verses 15–18). The prophecy came true, and Moab fled before Israel (verses 20–27).

In spite of this miracle and the victories in subsequent battles God granted, King Joram continued in his evil ways. Although he had brought Baal worship to an end in Israel, “he clung to the sins of Jeroboam” (2 Kings 3:3), and his demise was sure. Joram was injured in a battle with the Aramians (2 Kings 9:15). God charged Jehoshaphat’s son Jehu to destroy the entire house of Ahab (2 Kings 9:6–10). Jehu obeyed, and, after confronting Joram, he shot Joram between the shoulders with an arrow (verse 24). Unfortunately, Jehu stopped obeying God after he had wiped out Ahab’s family. King Jehu became yet another deficient ruler who continued leading the people of Israel into sin (verse 31)." from the article: Who was King Jehoram / Joram in the Bible?

The Name Joram: Summary

MeaningYah Is Exalted, The Lord ExaltsEtymologyFrom (1) יה (yah), the name of the Lord, and (2) the verb רום (rum), to be high.Related names• Via יה (yah): See the 'browse by form' menu for a long list of yah-names.• Via רום (rum): Abiram, Abram, Adoniram, Ahiram, Amram, Aram, Aramean, Aram-maacah, Aram-naharaim, Aram-zobah, Arimathea, Armageddon, Armoni, Arumah, Beth-haram, En-rimmon, Gath-rimmon, Hadadrimmon, Hadoram, Hiram, Huram-abi, Jarmuth, Jehoram, Jeremai, Jeremiah, Jeremoth, Jerimoth, Jorim, Malchiram, Meremoth, Paddan-aram, Ram, Ramah, Ramathaim-zophim, Ramath-lehi, Ramath-mizpeh, Ramoth, Ramoth-negev, Rephan, Reumah, Rimmon, Rimmon-methoar, Rimmono, Rimmon-perez, Romamti-ezer, Rome, Rumah, Shemiramoth, Tabrimmon

\The Name Joram in the Bible

There are four people named Joram in the Bible, two kings, one prince and one grandfather of a high official:

  • The grandfather called Joram is the grandfather of Shelomoth, who was in charge of all the treasuries and gifts that king David and his military commanders had dedicated to YHWH (1 Chronicles 26:25)

  • The prince called Joram is a son of Toi, king of Hamath. The latter sent his son to bring gifts and homage to king David after he had defeated the army of Hadadezer, the son of king Rehob of Zobah, who had also fought against Toi (2 Samuel 8:10). David dedicated all these gifts to YHWH, as he did with all the other spoils of his wars. The Chronicler calls this Joram Hadoram (1 Chronicles 18:10).

  • A king named Joram is the son and successor of king Jehoshaphat of Judah. He is called Joram in 2 Kings 8:21-24 and 1 Chronicles 3:11, and Jehoram (יהורם) in 1 Kings 22:50, 2 Kings 1:17 to 8:16, 8:25-29, 12:18, and 2 Chronicles 21-22. Since this Joram is an ancestor of Christ, the evangelist Matthew mentions him in his genealogy through David's son Solomon (spelled Ιωραμ, Ioram; MATTHEW 1:8).

  • The other king called Joram is the son and successor of king Ahab of Israel, who was killed by Jehu. He is called Joram in 2 Kings 8 and 9:14, 9:16 and 9:29, Jehoram in 2 Kings 3 and 9:15 and 9:17-24. In 2 Chronicles 22:5-7 these two verses are used simultaneously.

Etymology of the Name Joram

The name Joram is a contracted version of the name Jehoram (like Pete and Peter, or Bill and William), and means the same. Both consist of two elements, the first one being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh. The second part of our name comes from the verb רום (rum) meaning to be high:." from the article: The Name Joram: Summary

Lessons from the Life of Jehoram

Thirty and two years old was he [Jehoram] when he began to reign, etc. This is a short fragment of a king's history - the history of Jehoram. Brief as it is, it contains many practical truths.

I.THAT PIETY IS NOT NECESSARILY HEREDITARY. Parents, as a rule, transmit their physical and intellectual qualities to their children, but not their moral characters. Jehoram was a bad man and a wicked king, but he was the son of Jehoshaphat, who was a man of distinguished piety, and reigned wisely and beneficently over Israel for twenty-five years. Of him it was said that "the more his riches and honor increased the more his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord" (2 Chronicles 17:5, 6). He caused the altars and places of idolatry to be destroyed, and the knowledge of the Lord to be diffused throughout the kingdom, and the places of ecclesiastical and judicial authority to be well rifled (2 Chronicles 17:9). But how different was his son! One of the first acts of his government was to put to death his six brothers, and several of the leading men of the empire. It is here said that "he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as din the house of Ahab: He regulated his conduct by the infamous "house of Ahab," and not by the religions house of his father. He was in truth a murderer, an idolater, and a persecutor. But whilst piety is not necessarily hereditary - not necessarily, because children are moral agents - what then? Are parents to do nothing to impart all that is good in their character to their children? Undoubtedly, no! They are commanded to "train up a child in the way it should go" when it is young. And where their power is rightly employed, there is, if not invariable, yet general, success. Where the children of godly parents turn out to be profligate and corrupt, as a rule some defect may be found in the parental conduct. How often eminent ministers of the gospel, and in the main good men, are guilty of neglecting, to a greater or less extent, the parental oversight and religions training of their children. Even in the life of Jehoshaphat we detect at least two parental defects.

1.Inpermitting his son to form unholyalliances. This good man, Jehoshaphat, formed a league with Ahab against Syria, contrary to the counsel of Micaiah (2 Chronicles 18.). For this the Prophet Jehu censured him severely. In consequence of this alliance his son married the daughter of this infamous Ahab, and the matrimonial connection with such a woman, idolatrous, corrupt, and the daughter of Jezebel, had, no doubt, a powerful influence in deteriorating his moral character.

2.Ingranting his son too great an indulgence. He raised him to the throne during his own lifetime. He took him into royal partnership too soon, and thus supplied him with abundant means to foster his vanity and ambition. Ah, me! how many parents ruin their children forever by over indulgence!

II. THAT IMMORAL KINGS ARE NATIONAL CURSES. What evils this man brought upon his country. It is said that "in his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves. So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents," etc. Through him the kingdom of Judah lost Edom, which "revolted" and became the determined enemy of Judah ever afterwards (Psalm 137:7), Libnah, too, "revolted at the same time," This was a city in the south-western part of Judah assigned to the priests, and a city of refuge. But these revolts are but specimens of the tremendous evils that this immoral man Brought upon the kingdom. It has always been so. Wicked kings, in all ages, have been the greatest curses that have afflicted the human race. God said to Israel of old, "I gave thee a king in mine anger" (Hosea 13:11). And the gift, on the whole, it must be confessed, has been a curse to mankind; and that because few men who have attained the position have been divinely royal in intellect, in heart, in thoughts, in aims, in sympathies. What does Heaven say of wicked kings? "As a roaring lion, and a raging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people." When will the world have true kings? - such a king as is described in the Book of Proverbs, as one "that sitteth in the throne of judgment," and who "scattereth away all evil with his eyes"? He is one who sees justice done. He does not rule for the interest of a class, but for the good of all. His laws are equitable. Partialities and predilections which govern plebeian souls have no sway over him,." from the article: Lessons from the Life of Jehoram

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