Jehoshaphat has been a king of some wisdom.  He has done much of what God has desired of him, and his mistakes were not the sum of his life.  His people could witness some blessing with his success, and some evidence of what god does not want.  Some of his sons may have desired the good, but one turned to the bad.

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.  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.  2 Chronicles 21:1-4

The firstborn has been the traditional heir, even though most of the good kings were not firstborn.  Jehoram takes no chances and eliminates any younger competition.  He has chosen the path of Cain.

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.  2 Chronicles 21:5-10

If you’re going to do evil, then copy the masters of evil.  The kings of Israel were the pattern of rebellion, and Ahab was their king.  His daughter was also of Jezebel, likely a princess of darkness.  The result of their fall into darkness was the rebellion of subject nations.  Beyond idolatry, he forced Judah to join his false beliefs. 

Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.  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,  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.  2 Chronicles 21:11-15

God can speak for himself, and he does so through his prophet.  A specific punishment is spelled out.  To the godless this may seem like an empty threat, as they are incapable of true belief.  But when these words are fulfilled, they bring their own belief.

Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians:  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.  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.  2 Chronicles 21:16-20

My experience with warfare was long ago.  But no one will forget the fear that comes when an enemy is close to or actually breaking into your defensive lines.  Someone is in your area with violent capabilities, and the night belongs to fear.  Stories of units that were overrun are hard to read from history or from current events.  For Jehoram the violation of his house and family would have been considerably grievous.  http://www.g2mil.com/lost_vietnam.htm


To this nightmare the fulfillment of disease was added.  I may not have had the same disease, but I did have a serious disease of the same system.  We take for granted the function of digestion until it stops working.  I required surgery that did not go well, and I did not get relief from the medical answers then.  I did get something that Jehoram did not receive.  Prayer brought a visitation of the Lord to my hospital room, and I was healed immediately that night.  I walked to the nurse’s station and asked for some food to eat.  The medical staff was amazed at my recovery, but I knew the source of it.  I had assurance of the source of my hope. 

Had Jehoram shown repentance, he could have had mercy from God, as so many before and since have found.  The darkness that he chose ruled his life and his death instead of the prosperity that God would offer to his people.