Today: [2 Kings Chapter Ten] The Tenth King of Israel. Jehu was the tenth king of Israel and under his reign Baal worship is finally extinguished. Jehu was a mighty warrior who killed Ahab, executed Jezebel and wiped out Baal worship in both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. However he stopped short of putting an end to the worship of the golden calf in Bethel. As a result God began to withdraw his protection from the borders of the north and eventually the entirety of the northern tribes were taken captive and disappear from history. We can learn much from Jehu’s obedience in this chapter but should take heed to the cost of his disobedience as well.
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[2Ki 10:1-36 KJV] 1 And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab’s [children], saying, 2 Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master’s sons [are] with you, and [there are] with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armour; 3 Look even out the best and meetest of your master’s sons, and set [him] on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house. 4 But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand? 5 And he that [was] over the house, and he that [was] over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up [of the children], sent to Jehu, saying, We [are] thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou [that which is] good in thine eyes. 6 Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye [be] mine, and [if] ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master’s sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king’s sons, [being] seventy persons, [were] with the great men of the city, which brought them up. 7 And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him [them] to Jezreel. 8 And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king’s sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning. 9 And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye [be] righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these? 10 Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done [that] which he spake by his servant Elijah. 11 So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.
In the previous chapter Jehu is anointed king of the northern tribes by a young prophet, believed to be Jonah sent by Elisha. He immediately goes out and assassinates Joram the current king and then kills the king of Judah as well. He is determined to stamp out Baal worship in both the southern and northern kingdoms and to annihilate the line of Ahab as was spoken by both the prophets Elijah and Elisha.
Jehu’s name means “Jehovah is He” which is a protest against the idolatry in the land indicating that his parents were godly people. After vacating the throne of Israel by assassination Jehu now turns his attention to the remaining line of Ahab. After Joram’s death Ahab has seventy sons yet remaining that were brought up by the elders in Jezreel. These are the same elders that murdered Naboth at Jezebel’s command in order that Ahab might steal his vineyard. Jehu writes a letter to them and tells them to choose a king from among Ahab’s sons and prepare for battle. The elders are terrified at this because they see only the day before that Jehu has already killed two kings in personal combat. They write back to Jehu and say “we have no king” and offer to do his bidding. Jehu instructs that the sons of Ahab be executed. The elders comply and their heads are displayed in two heaps at the gates of the city. Jehu taunts the elders upon his entry to Jezreel that they are now righteous men because though he had killed two ungodly kings they have now kills 70 princes.
All of these acts by Jehu are determined by him because of prophecies from both Elijah and Elisha. 1 Tim. 1:18 says that we are not to be passive over prophetic words given over our lives but we are to “war a good warfare” with them. Jehu is a perfect example of this. Too often we see the prophetic word from a passive standpoint. We receive a word not as instructions from God as to what our assignment is but rather what God will do for us. This non-committal attitude is evinced by the careless attitude the church has toward the subjectiveness of the prophetic. Jehu was anything but passive and as a result Baal worship is exterminated from the land.
12 And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. [And] as he [was] at the shearing house in the way, 13 Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who [are] ye? And they answered, We [are] the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen. 14 And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, [even] two and forty men; neither left he any of them. 15 And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab [coming] to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart [is] with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give [me] thine hand. And he gave [him] his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot. 16 And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot. 17 And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the LORD, which he spake to Elijah. 18 And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; [but] Jehu shall serve him much. 19 Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice [to do] to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did [it] in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal. 20 And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed [it]. 21 And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another. 22 And he said unto him that [was] over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments. 23 And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but the worshippers of Baal only. 24 And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, [If] any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, [he that letteth him go], his life [shall be] for the life of him.
After cutting off the remaining seed of Ahab in Jezreel Jehu meets Jehonadab along the way and invites him to join with him in his zeal for God. Here again is a different attitude than what we see today. Today someone may receive a prophetic word and go about to align their lives with it. However often when they share the word with others even their close associates the response is tepid and high handed. “Well – the Lord quickened it to you …. Good luck with that!” is usually the character of the response. Johonadab was of a different spirit. He saw the hand of God on Jehu and joined with him, ready to contend with him for the promises of God. The return to Samaria and under a ruse feign to be worshippers of Baal and set up a great festival that all professing Baal worshippers are urged to attend. The set up the pomp and ceremony of the event and as things get underway Jehu orders his men to make sure there are not servants of the Lord in the midst because he intends to wipe out the entire company.
25 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, [and] slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast [them] out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. 26 And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. 27 And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. 28 Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. 29 Howbeit [from] the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, [to wit], the golden calves that [were] in Bethel, and that [were] in Dan. 30 And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing [that which is] right in mine eyes, [and] hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that [was] in mine heart, thy children of the fourth [generation] shall sit on the throne of Israel. 31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. 32 In those days the LORD began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel; 33 From Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which [is] by the river Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan. 34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 35 And Jehu slept with his fathers: and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead. 36 And the time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria [was] twenty and eight years.
Jehu totally exterminated the line of Ahab and all the Baal worshippers in the Northern Kingdom. He wiped out all of the Baal worshippers from the Southern King Ahaziah’s house who had travelled to Jezreel to fellowship with the idolatrous north. He completely destroyed Baal worship in the north and was commended by God through the prophets for doing so. His obedience was great however he declined to tear down the altar to the golden calf at Bethel. You will remember this was set up by the first northern king because he didn’t want the northern tribes going to Jerusalem to worship. Jehu continues to pursue this policy fearing that if the northern tribes go to the temple in Jerusalem they will defect to Judah. This sets up the continuance of a centuries long schism in Judaism right down to Jesus’ day and a visceral hatred between the cities of Samaria in the north and Judah in the south. Because of this the Lord began to “cut Israel short” allowing the Syrian king Hazael to encroach on their borders. Jehu was the tenth king over the northern tribes. Ten is the number of judgment. Every one of these ten kings was an idolater and though Jehu obeyed in many things he refused to tear down the offensive altars at Bethel and Dan. God’s spirit will not always strive with man thence the northern kingdom begins to erode. Eventually the tribes of the north will be taken into Babylon and breed themselves out of existence completely extinguishing by their disobedience the light of their destiny in God.
The lesson for us is the importance of the prophetic and the sincerity with which we should receive the words of God. Jehu received the words of Elijah and Elisha and warred mightily to see them come to pass. Yet he opted out at a point where he thought he had the discretion to do so. The result of that seemingly small disobedience eventually cost the nation greatly. Jehu was mighty to punish the disobedience of others but lax in his own obedience. Paul put it this way:
[2Co 10:6 KJV] 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
So before we impose upon others what God has instructed us to do – let us examine ourselves lest we become a castaway from God’s promise ourselves and miss out on what He has for us.
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