Jehoram: The Tale of a Wasted Life

Kevin DeYoung

READ : 2 Chronicles 21:4-20

He passed away, to no one’s regret . . . (v. 20 NIV)

What will it say on your tombstone? Groucho Marx’s says politely “Excuse me, I can’t get up.” Mel Blanc, the voice of Porky Pig, has “That’s all folks” on his grave marker. And then there’s the one that says ruefully, “I told you I was sick.” These epitaphs are playful. Jehoram’s is pathetic.

Jehoram was a terrible king, news he received in a letter from a prophet (vv. 12-15). To paraphrase: “Dear Jehoram. You are a lousy king. You are a disobedient, prostituting, murderous villain. Too bad you killed your brothers; they were much better than you. Therefore, the Lord is going to punish you, your people, your family, and everything you own. Yours truly, Elijah. P.S. You will have dysentery for the rest of your life.”

Jehoram’s life is a tragic example of the deceitfulness of sin. He went his own way and everything he touched turned to ashes, unraveling the accomplishments of his fathers.

When he died, there was no fire in his honor and no burial in the tomb of the kings, only this biting epitaph: “He passed away, to no one’s regret” (v. 20). Jehoram had privilege, power, and prestige, and he squandered it all. He is the prodigal son that never came home. Learn from his story. —Kevin DeYoung


Father, help us leave a holy legacy, for your glory. Amen.