In this article we will be examining “the Disastrous Consequences of Jehoshaphat’s Unholy Alliance. ” Nowadays, whether in business or in marriage; unholy alliances are very common among Christians and many of these unholy alliances often produce very disastrous consequences. But what are those disastrous consequences? Let us examine them in detail.
King Jehoshaphat took over the rule of the Kingdom of Judah after the death of His father Asa. The Holy Bible says: Jehoshaphat was a man of God who walked in complete obedience to God’s Commandments and Because of his wholehearted obedience; God blessed him with great wealth and honour.
3The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals 4but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel. 5The Lord established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. 6His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.(2 Chronicles 17, 3 – 6).
Furthermore, Jehoshaphat also tried to turn the hearts of the people of Judah towards the God of Israel by taking the following initiatives:
- He appointed Judges throughout the land of Judah
- In the third year of his reign, he sent Officials, Priests and Levites throughout the land to teach people from the Law of God.
- He encouraged the people to seek the LORD and Worship Him only.
- He also got rid of all the Asherah Poles from the land.
However, like many great men of God in history, Jehoshaphat also occasionally committed great mistakes. Entering into a marriage alliance with King Ahab of Israel was one such mistake.
Of course, Jehoshaphat arranged this marriage alliance between his son Jehoram and Ahab’s daughter Athaliah with very good intentions and clear motives; however, the alliance did not produce the desired results as it was completely against the Will and purpose of God Almighty.
As you know, through this marriage; Jehoshaphat allied with one of the most wicked kings in the history of Israel. Ahab was someone who lived in neck-deep idolatry and evil. He did only what was evil in the eyes of the LORD.
29In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. 31He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.(1 Kings, 16, 29-33)
In fact, Jehoshaphat aligned with Ahab in marriage with the following goals:
- Uniting the two kingdoms of Israel which used to be one until the time of King Solomon.
- Get help from Ahab in case of any war with his enemies.
However, Ahab was a man completely controlled by Satan and his intentions were quite opposite to that of Jehoshaphat. You will find more evidence of it in 2 Chronicles – 18 and 19.
Next, let us examine the evil consequences of the above Alliance between these two kings.
1. King Jehoshaphat had to Get Involved in an Unnecessary War.
Jehoshaphat visited Ahab a few years after he became the king of Judah and wicked Ahab organized a Red-Carpet welcome and a great dinner in his honor. Jehoshaphat was so pleased with the grant welcome that he was willing to do anything for Ahab.
Soon, Ahab decides to exploit this sincerity and goodwill of King Jehoshaphat for an evil purpose and asks Jehoshaphat to join him in attacking Ramoth Gilead. See the verses below:
3Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” 4But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 18, 3-4)
King Jehoshaphat, though he was a man of God, agrees to help Ahab without seeking God’s will and he set out with him to attack Ramoth Gilead.
But before entering the battlefield Ahab devices another plan; he tricks Jehoshaphat into wearing his royal robes while Ahab disguises himself as an ordinary soldier. Ahab did this with an evil intention and this exposed Jehoshaphat to the attention of the enemy army. The enemy mistook him for Ahab and turned to kill him but by God’s grace he escaped from the battlefield.
Here we see the wickedness of Ahab in full action. As the word says: “The enemy comes to steal and to kill and to destroy”. Definitely, Ahab came into Jehoshaphat’s life to destroy him. But he did not succeed in destroying him, on the contrary, Ahab got killed by the army of Ramoth-Gilead.
2. Jehoram puts to sword all his Brothers.
As per the Holy Scriptures, King Jehoshaphat ruled in Judah for 25 years and then he rested with his fathers. And his son Jehoram took over as the king of Judah as he was the first born.
1Then Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king. 2Jehoram’s brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael and Shephatiah. All these were sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. a 3Their father had given them many gifts of silver and gold and articles of value, as well as fortified cities in Judah, but he had given the kingdom to Jehoram because he was his firstborn son.(2 Chronicles, 21, 1-3)
However, Jehoram did not walk in the ways of his father Jehoshaphat, instead, he followed the ways of Ahab’s house and did evil in the eyes of the LORD.
Moreover, Jehoram, in order to secure his throne, decides to put to death all his brothers which turned out to be a very tragic event for the family of Jehoshaphat and this whole tragedy happened just because of the evil influence of his wife Athaliah – Ahab’s daughter. The verses below have more details.
4When Jehoram established himself firmly over his father’s kingdom, he put all his brothers to the sword along with some of the officials of Israel. 5Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 6He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. (2 Chronicles 21, 4-6)
As you see from the above verses, Jehoram put to death all his brothers which clearly was another evil consequence of Jehoshaphat’s unholy alliance with wicked Ahab. Even after Jehoshaphat’s death, the satanic spirit from Ahab’s household kept hunting the royal family of Judah and it didn’t end there.
3. Philistines and Arabs carry off Jehoram’s sons, their wives and officials.
As we read earlier, Jehoram did evil in the eyes of the LORD by leading the people of Judah to worship the idols of Ahab’s household and the Prophet Elijah sends a letter warning and rebuking him for his evil way of life. The following verses tell the whole story.
12Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet, which said: “This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: ‘You have not followed the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah. 13But you have followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. You have also murdered your own brothers, members of your own family, men who were better than you. 14So now the Lord is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. 15You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.’ ”( 2 Chronicles 21, 12-15)
Later, in order to punish the household of Jehoram, The LORD aroused the hostility of Philistines and Arabs who attacked Judah and carried off his Sons, their wives and officials except Ahaziah the youngest.
Later, Jehoram became seriously ill and died and his reign lasted only eight years. If he had walked as his Father Jehoshaphat did, he would have ruled in Jerusalem for a much longer period. Unfortunately, due to the influence of his evil wife, Jehoram walked in the ways of Ahab’s household and brought LORD’s punishment up on himself and his family. This is still another tragedy that struck the household of King Jehoshaphat as result of his alliance with Ahab and it didn’t end there.
4. Ahaziah killed by Jehu son of Nimshi.
After the death of Jehoram, Ahaziah, his only remaining son became the king of Judah. But he too walked in the ways of Ahab’s family. His mother Athaliah (Ahab’s daughter) encouraged him to act wickedly and Ahab’s family members became his advisors and he followed their evil instructions.
3He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly. 4He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father’s death they became his advisers, to his undoing. ( 2chronicles 22, 3-4)
He also went with Joram, son of Ahab to fight against Hazael, king of Aram. During this war – Joram was very badly wounded and he stayed in Jezreel in order to recover from his injury. One day Ahaziah heads to Jezreel to visit Joram and misfortune strikes him there. The evil paths that he had taken led him to his final destructive destiny.
The LORD Almighty anointed Jehu, son of Nimshi and sent him to punish the house of Ahab. While executing judgement up on the household of Ahab; At Jezreel Jehu and his men finds Ahaziah too and they put him also to death right there. Thus, Ahaziah’s wicked reign of David’s kingdom came to an end but the tyranny of Athaliah (Ahab’s daughter) on Jehoshaphat’s family still continued.
5. Judah’s Royal Family Members annihilated by Athaliah.
After the death of Ahaziah, his mother Athaliah, the evil seed of Ahab, took control of the Kingdom of Judah and she puts to death all of Judah’s royal family members except Joash the youngest son of Ahaziah.
In fact, Athaliah did not want to spare even Joash, (despite being her grandson)But Jehosheba, (Ahaziah’s sister) the daughter of King Jehoram and (wife of priest Jehoiada) hid the child from Athaliah and thus saved his life.
From the above events that unfolded in the Royal family of Judah, we could very well conclude that; Satan had planted Athaliah in Jehoshaphat’s family with the intention of eliminating the blood-line of Jesus Christ who was born as a descendant of David.
If Athaliah had succeeded in killing Joash (the only surviving member of the Royal family) David’s bloodline would have come to a complete end and that would have created very serious problems for the continuation of the Royal Family. However, the LORD Almighty was watching over David’s throne and He kept HIS promise to David by saving the life of Joash. Please Remember: The LORD Almighty had promised David that:
“Your house and Your Kingdom will endure forever before Me”
13He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me b ; your throne will be established forever.’ ”(2Samuel, 7, 13-16).
6. Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest was put to death by Joash.
After the death of Ahaziah, his mother Athaliah, daughter of Ahab took control of Judah and she ruled in Jerusalem for seven years. Now we see the Holy Kingdom of David is being ruled by the house of Ahab. However, God Almighty did not allow Ahab’s wicked family to rule over Judah for long.
On the seventh year of Athaliah’s rule, Jehoiada the priest with the help of his fellow priests, Levites and the men of Judah, assassinated Athaliah and proclaimed Joash as the King of Judah.
11Jehoiada and his sons brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; they presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him and shouted, “Long live the king!”( 2 Chronicles, 23, 11)
But even after the death of Athaliah the evil spirit of Jezebel did not leave the kingdom of David; it continued wreaking havoc in the royal family of Judah.
As you read above, King Joash was crowned as the King of Judah at the age of seven and he ruled in Judah with the help of Jehoiada the priest and he did what was just and right in the eyes of The LORD all the years that Jehoiada lived. But after the death of Jehoiada, the priest, Joash abandoned the God of Israel and started walking according to the ways of Ahab; worshipping Asherah Poles and Idols.
17After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. 18They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. 19Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.(2 Chronicles, 24, 17-19)
Though the LORD Almighty sent prophets repeatedly to warn the king and the people of Judah; they would not listen. Finally, the Spirit of the LORD came up on Zechariah (Son of Jehoiada – the Priest) and he stood before the people and said:
20“This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’” ( 2 Chronicles, 24, 20)
However, the King and the people of Judah did not heed the warning of Zechariah. Instead, they plotted against him and stoned him to death by the order of King Joash.
21But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. 22King Joash did not remember the kindness Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as he lay dying, “May the Lord see this and call you to account.” (2 Chronicles, 24, 21-22)
Yes, as the above verse says; Joash did not remember the kindness of Zechariah’s father Jehoiada, the priest who had saved his life from the hands of Athaliah. So, here we find the spirit of Jezebel relentlessly attacking the people of God and leading astray the Royal family of Judah; and it’s all because of an ungodly decision of a “Man of God” called Jehoshaphat.
Lessons for Christians:
As I had written earlier, King Jehoshaphat was a man of God who lived a godly life. But this godly man at some point in his life, made some ungodly decisions that were very detrimental to his political as well as spiritual life.
If someone like King Jehoshaphat could make those mistakes, definitely we also could make those mistakes especially in this 21st century in which there are millions of ways to get spiritually corrupted.
As you know, nowadays, the Gospel is spreading very fast and at the same time spiritual corruption and moral decay are also deepening in the society more than ever before. So, we need to be more vigilant in order to be free from those corruptions. Anyway, you might know more about these things than I know. So, let us return to the main question of this part:
What Christians can learn from the monumental mistakes that King Jehoshaphat had committed?
Firstly, as believers, we are not supposed to make Marital, Business or Social Alliances with unbelievers. Because, these alliances will have certain inherent weaknesses in them that might create conflicts among the partners.
For e.g. The Spiritual, Moral and Social Values of an unbeliever might be completely different from that of a believer. An unbeliever might be living by many of the Business and Personal principles that the Holy Bible abhors. So how can you as a believer, walk with such a person without agreeing to his ideals or compromising your ideals?
As you know, it is not a sin to enter into partnerships with unbelievers but those partnerships always have the potential to lead believers into sin because of the underlying differences in Values and Principles. That is why the Holy Bible admonishes us to avoid such relationships.
Secondly, when making decisions regarding partnerships or alliances with unbelievers, we need to seek the will of God first, and then, make decisions accordingly.
In Jehoshaphat’s case, it was not God’s will for him to enter into an alliance with Ahab and go to war with Ramoth-Gilead. Here what we see is – Jehoshaphat enquiring of the LORD after agreeing to Ahab’s plan and not before that; of course, this was really an unwise behaviour.
Nowadays, it is also very common among believers to make decisions first and later seek the will of God. In many cases, those decisions won’t be withdrawn even if they are not according to the will of God. And eventually, like in Jehoshaphat’s case, those decisions will lead to pain and distress.
Thirdly, if certain unavoidable circumstances lead you into an alliance with unbelievers, please pray for the salvation of the people that you are in alliance with. Because, prayer can make a huge difference in any relationship. Your fervent prayer will not only guard your faith but also will lead others to Christ.
Lastly, if you are already part of any alliance that is not according to God’s Will, do not feel guilty or disappointed about it. Instead, commit everything into the hands of the LORD Almighty and walk faithfully before Him without compromising or disobeying His Commandments.
God Almighty has a time for everything and in His time, He will bring the necessary changes in your relationship through which you will be blessed and God’s name glorified. If we examine the life of King Jehoshaphat, we could find that; though he stumbled in a few occasions, he still walked faithfully before the God of Israel and the following verses testify to this.
3There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.” (2 Chronicles 19, 3)
32He followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. (2 Chronicles 20, 32)