XXI Jehoram succeeds, ver. 1-3. His wickedness, ver. 4-7. Edom and Libnah revolt and Jehoram is still more wicked, ver. 8-11. The prophecy of Elijah against him, ver. 12-15. The success of his enemies, ver. 16, 17. His sickness and death, ver. 18-20.
Verse 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,
Verse 1. Because he was so by right: or
2. 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.
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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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, 1 Kings xxii, 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Verse 17. His wives - Whom also they slew, chap. xxii, 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.
Verse 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 lifetime wish his death, but afterwards did not repent of those desires.