“He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab.” 2 Kings 8:18
Jehoram’s life seemed to have been defined by the woman whom he married. He followed the ways of Ahab, for he married the notorious king’s daughter. The marriage might have been more political than anything; the king’s life nonetheless was impacted by his wife. The man couldn’t have helped it, could he?
It all started out as a mere marriage and it went a lot farther beyond that. There is more in marriage than meets the eye, really. Jehoram might have had every intention to honor the Lord in everything he did as a king, but there was a strong force pulling him toward the opposite direction. Ahab’s daughter was there by the king’s side, making sure that the king of Judah did things her way.
Ahab’s daughter had learned her lessons well from her parents through observation, she had a clear idea how a king should conduct himself, and she might have become the main force behind the throne.
Had Jehoram married a godly woman, his legacy as a king would have turned out quite differently than what it did.
We may consider marriage quite a personal thing since it’s an affair between a man and a woman, and as long as the parties involved are fine with the whole thing, outsiders should keep their opinion to themselves. I think this is quite a modern idea and it doesn’t seem to be working very well. Marriage as an institution appears to be breaking up at a very rapid pace, and what’s to blame for its failure is we try to keep it strictly personal.
Marriage is a communal thing, and it should involve all members of both families - the bride and the groom, and most importantly, it should involve the Lord.
Apart from my in-laws blessings, my romance with my future wife wouldn’t have worked. Even though it took a little longer, we also procured the blessings from my family as well. Kathy’s father, with his wife and sister in tow, flew over the Pacific to perform the wedding for us, and with the blessings of our families and friends, the marriage started out on solid footing. The marriage might have started with two, but it extended to both families, and to an entire community. That is precisely the reason why it was such a thrilling experience for Kathy and me to travel to Austin to ask a family for the hand of a pretty young lady for my youngest son.
Were there eligible ladies for Jehoram in Judah? Indeed there were many, yet the king was eager to make a connection with Ahab’s family. The marriage might have started as political, but it extended much farther, for a political union could easily turn into a personal one as well. We lose control over ourselves when our lives become intertwined with others in such an intimate way.