Jehoram of Judah
|Rulers of Judah|
According to 2 Kings 8:16, Jehoram became king of Judah in the fifth year of Jehoram of Israel, when his father Jehoshaphat was (still) king of Judah, indicating a co-regency. The author of Kings also speaks of both Jehoram of Israel and Jehoram of Judah in the same passage, which can be confusing. Jehoram took the throne at the age of 32 and reigned for eight years. (2 Chronicles 21:5) To secure his position Jehoram killed all his brothers. (2 Chronicles 21:2-4)
William F. Albright has dated his reign to 849 BC – 842 BC. Edwin Thiele placed a coregency of Jehoram with his father Jehoshaphat, starting in 853/852 BC, with the beginning of his sole reign occurring in 848/847 and his death in 841/840 BC. As explained in the Rehoboam article, Thiele's chronology for the first kings of Judah contained an internal inconsistency that later scholars corrected by dating these kings one year earlier, so that Jehoram's dates are taken as one year earlier in the present article: coregency beginning in 854/853, sole reign commencing in 849/848, and death in 842/841 BC.
Jehoram formed an alliance with the Kingdom of Israel by marrying Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab. Despite this alliance with the stronger northern kingdom, Jehoram's rule of Judah was shaky. Edom revolted, and when Jehoram marched against this people, his army fled before the Edomites, and he was forced to acknowledge their independence. The town of Libnah revolted during his reign, according to 2 Chronicles 21:10, because he "had abandoned Yahweh, God of his fathers."
2 Chronicles relates that a raid consisting of Philistines, Arabs and Ethiopians looted the king's house, and carried off all of his family except for his youngest son Jehoahaz. During this time the king received a letter of warning from Elijah (2 Chronicles 21:12-15). After this, Jehoram suffered a painful inflammation of the abdomen, and he died two years later when his bowels fell out. (2 Chronicles 21:16-19)
The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri (in the fall) and that of Israel in Nisan (in the spring). Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore often allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Jehoram, the Scriptural data allow the narrowing of the first year of his sole reign to some time between Nisan 1 of 848 BC and the day before Tishri 1 of the same BC year. For calculation purposes, this should be taken as the Judean year beginning in Tishri of 849/848 BC, or more simply 849 BC. His death occurred at some time between Nisan 1 and the day before Tishri 1 of 841 BC, i.e. in 842/841 BC according to the Judean calendar. For calculation purposes this can be written in the simpler form 842 BC, even though Jehoram's death occurred in the next BC year. This potential confusion is because of expressing dates in a January-based (Roman) calendar; a better notation would be something like 842t, the "t" standing for Tishri, indicating that the year crossed over into the two years 842 and 841 of the modern calendar.
Dates in the present article are one year earlier than those given in the third edition of Thiele's Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, thereby correcting an internal consistency that Thiele never resolved, as explained in the Rehoboam article.
Thiele showed that for the reign of Jehoram, Judah adopted Israel's non-accession method of counting the years of reign, meaning that the first partial year of the king's reign was counted as his first full year, in contrast to the "accession" method previously in use whereby the first partial year was counted as year "zero," and "year one" was assigned to the first full year of reign. Thiele attributed this change to the rapprochement between Judah and Israel, whereby Jehoshaphat, Jehoram's father, made common cause with Ahab at the battle of Ramoth-Gilead, and chose a daughter for his son from the house of Ahab (1 Kings 22:1-38, 2 Kings 8:18). This convention was followed in Judah for the next three monarchs: Ahaziah, Athaliah, and Jehoash, returning to Judah's original accession reckoning in the time of Amaziah. These changes can be inferred from a careful comparison of the textual data in the Scripture, but because the Scriptural texts do not state explicitly whether the reckoning was by accession or non-accession counting, nor do they indicate explicitly when a change was made in the method, many have criticized Thiele's chronology as being entirely arbitrary in its assignment of accession and non-accession reckoning. The arbitrariness, however, apparently rested with the ancient kings and their court recorders, not with Thiele. The official records of Tiglath-Pileser III show that he switched (arbitrarily) to non-accession reckoning for his reign, in contrast with the accession method used for previous kings of Assyria. Tiglath-Pileser left no record explaining to modern historians which kind of method he was using, nor that he was switching from the method used by his predecessors; all of this is determined by a careful comparison of the relevant texts by Assyriologists, the same as Thiele did for the regnal data of Judah and Israel.
Jehoram of Judah
|King of Judah
Coregent with Jehoshaphat: 854–849 BC
Sole reign: 849 BC – 842 BC
- Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 0-8254-3825-X, 9780825438257. 97, 99-101.
- A proposal for this kind of notation was advocated by Rodger C. Young, "When Did Solomon Die?" Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 46 (2003) 591. Young used a small "n" after the year when designating a Nisan-based year, such as was used in the northern kingdom. Unaware of Young's previous work but also seeing the need for an unambiguous notation, Daiqing Yuan proposed an identical convention to remove ambiguity and to be consistent with the chronological methods used by the ancient scribes, except that Yuan capitalized the "n" and the "t" (Daiqing Apollos Yuan, "A Proposed Chronology for Judges," unpublished ThM. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX, 2006, v).
- Thiele, Mysterious Numbers" 58.
- Hayim Tadmor, The Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III, King of Assyria (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994) 232, n.3.