“And after all this the Lord struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease. In the course of time, at the end of two years, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great agony.” -2 Chronicles 21:18-19
Crohn’s disease is known for causing fistulas between the bowels and other organs, including sometimes the skin. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything else that could cause his bowels to “come out”. The etiology must not have been infectious, or at least not transmissible, since the text singles out Jehoram himself as having the disease. He died at the age of 40, and so the time of onset of the disease was probably about right–it usually starts between the ages of 15-35. Since it wouldn’t have become so severe as to kill him immediately, it makes sense that he may not have died until age 40. Additionally, Jewish ancestry is a risk factor for Crohn’s disease. Anyone else have any other plausible ideas for King Jehoram’s differential diagnosis?