“Elisha said, ‘As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you’” (v. 14).
As we continue our study of the Old Testament Historical Books, let us comment on some of the difficulties we encounter when we read 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Sometimes, a king in Israel had the same name as a king in Judah. For example, today’s passage talks about King Jehoram in Israel, who was not the King Jehoram who reigned in Judah (2 Kings 1:17; 3:1). We must pay close attention to keep our kings straight as we study the narrative. Further complicating matters, sometimes we find apparent chronological problems in these books. For instance, 2 Kings 3:1 says King Jehoram of Israel came to power while King Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah, but 1:17 says King Jehoram of Judah was in power when Jehoram of Israel (the same names make things more confusing) became king. The practice of co-regency solves most of these chronological issues. Ancient kings commonly had their sons rule alongside them for a time to prepare their sons for kingship. King Jehoram of Israel ascended the throne during the co-regency of Jehoshaphat and his son Jehoram in Judah.
King Jehoram of Israel came to power around the year 850 BC and immediately had to deal with Moab’s rebellion. The Moabites no longer wanted to send tribute to Israel as they had done during King Ahab’s reign. Jehoram was better than his father, Ahab, for he put away the “pillar of Baal.” Still, he was evil, for he continued in the idolatry of Jeroboam I (3:1–5; see 1 Kings 12:25–33). To defeat Moab’s rebellion, Jehoram of Israel enlisted the help of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, who had been friendly with Israel since the days of King Ahab (2 Kings 3:6–8; see 1 Kings 22:1–40). Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet to guide them with a word from the Lord, so King Jehoram sent for Elisha. Elisha condemned Jehoram and his family for their sins, but eventually he inquired of the Lord. The Lord replied to Jehoram through Elisha, but only because He had regard for King Jehoshaphat of Judah, so wicked were Jehoram and his predecessors (2 Kings 3:9–14). There is a parallel here with our experience. In ourselves, we are sinners, and God has regard for us because of the final King of Judah, the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 7:25).
The Lord handed the Moabites over to the Israelites, but the Israelites did not utterly defeat Moab. After Moab’s king sacrificed his son, the Moabites fought back fiercely, and Israel retreated. God saved Israel, but they did not recapture Moab (2 Kings 3:15–27).
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
Our only hope is that our holy Creator shows regard for us because of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In ourselves, we are not deserving of the Lord’s blessing. In fact, we deserve only God’s wrath. But if we approach our Creator through Jesus Christ, we can have confidence that He will bless us. Out of love for us, God satisfied His wrath against us by offering Jesus, the willing substitute, in our place. Let us meditate on that great truth this day.