Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
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.
21:2 Azariah - Two sons called by the same name, though doubtless distinguished by some additional title: which is not mentioned here, because it did not concern succeeding ages to know it. Of Israel - So he is called either, Because he was so by right: or Because he was king not only of Judah and Benjamin, but of a great number of Israelites, who had come and settled in his kingdom.
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 firstborn.
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.
21:4 Strengthened himself - He hardened his heart, as that word sometimes signifies. Princes - The chief of those Israelites, who out of love to God and the true religion, had forsaken their estates in the kingdom of Israel, and were now incorporated with the kingdom of Judah: because he thought these would be most zealous for that religion which he was resolved to oppose.
Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD.
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.
21:10 Libnah - Libnah seems to have set up for a free state. And the reason is here given, both why God permitted it, and why they did it, because Jehoram was become an idolater. While he adhered to God, they adhered to him; but when he cast God off, they cast him off. Whether this would justify them in their revolt or no, it justified God's providence which suffered it.
Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.
21:11 High places - Not to the Lord, but to Baals or false gods. And caused - Not only by his counsel and example, but by force, by threats, and penalties.
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,
21:12 From Elijah - By this it appears, that Jehoram came to the throne before Elijah's translation. It is true, we find Elisha attending Jehoshaphat; but that might be, while Elijah was yet on earth: for we read of Jehoram's coming to the crown, before we read of Elijah's translation, 1Kings 22:50. We may suppose, the time of his departure was at hand, so that he could not go in person to Jehoram. But he left this writing, probably with Elisha, to be sent the first opportunity. The message is sent in the name of the Lord God of David his father, upbraiding him with his relation to David, as that which was no more his honour, but an aggravation of his degeneracy.
But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of 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.
21:15 People - Because the generality of them sinned, in complying with his wicked and idolatrous commands. Wives - Whose lives shall go for the lives of thy brethren, ver.4.
Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians:
21:16 Philistines - A people fully subdued and dispirited: but God now raises their spirits and courage to do his work. Ethiopians - A people in Arabia, so called, either for their likeness in complexion to the Ethiopians, or because the one of these people were a colony of the other.
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.
21:17 His wives - Whom also they slew, chap.22:1, except Ahaziah and Athaliah; who possibly were hidden in some secret place. Left him - Blood for blood. He had slain all his brethren; they slay all his sons, but one. And he had not escaped, had be not been of the house of David; which must not be extirpated, like that of Ahab: because a blessing was in it; no less a blessing than that of the Messiah.
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 him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings.
21:20 Desired - This is an emphatical expression, because it is usual with men to desire the deaths of some persons, whom afterward they lament, and heartily wish they were alive again. But for this ungodly and unhappy prince, his people did not only in his life time wish his death, but afterwards did not repent of those desires.