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We read:

12 And a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet, saying,

Thus says the Lord God of your father David:

Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, 13 but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot like the harlotry of the house of Ahab, and also have killed your brothers, those of your father’s household, who were better than yourself, 14 behold, the Lord will strike your people with a serious affliction—your children, your wives, and all your possessions; 15 and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines, until your intestines come out by reason of the sickness, day by day.

16 Moreover the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabians who were near the Ethiopians. 17 And they came up into Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions that were found in the king’s house, and also his sons and his wives, so that there was not a son left to him except Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.

18 After all this the Lord struck him in his intestines with an incurable disease.

19 Then it happened in the course of time, after the end of two years, that his intestines came out because of his sickness; so he died in severe pain. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning for his fathers.

20 He was thirty-two years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem eight years and, to no one’s sorrow, departed. However they buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

My question is how do we interpret the disease Jehoram had? Was it merely supernatural and unique? Or was it something that we know of today like "colorectal carcinoma"?

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  • This? - “ Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It's characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in one or more joints, most often in the big toe.” Source: (Mayo Clinic)
    – Cork88
    Jan 27 at 22:00
  • 1
    Oops - sorry, my mistake - had a senor's moment.
    – Dottard
    Jan 27 at 22:02
  • @Dottard Haha, NP Dottard.
    – Cork88
    Jan 27 at 22:31

1 Answer 1

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One possibility is given by Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament:

Trusen (Sitten, Gebr. und Krankh. der alten Hebrer, S. 212f.) holds this disease to have been a violent dysentery (diarrhoea), "being an inflammation of the nervous tissue (Nervenhaut) of the whole great intestine, which causes the overlying mucous membrane to decay and peel off, which then falls out often in tube-shape, so that the intestines appear to fall from the body."

The account does not give any specific details and is therefore difficult to identify with current medical knowledge. A similar problem exists with the Bible's leprosy. While it is similar to Hansen's Disease, Biblical leprosy also affected buildings which Hansen's does not.

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