2 Kings 10
The Reign of Jehu
This chapter continues the story of the Lord working through Jehu to fulfill his word given through Elijah that Ahab’s line or house would be destroyed. It also shows Jehu ridding Israel, the northern kingdom, of Baal worship.
Forcing A Decision (10:1-5)
Jehu was intent on following the Lord’s instruction to eliminate the line of Ahab. He wrote the guardians of Ahab’s sons telling them to fight for them. These people were the leaders of the city of Samaria. They were rulers, elders and guardians of the sons. The intent was to force them to declare their allegiance. They could side with the House of Ahab or with Jehu.
The leaders thought that if Jehu could slaughter two kings, he could slaughter them. So they refused to fight. They sent Jehu a message of surrender and willingness to serve him.
A Test of Loyalty (10:6-11)
Jehu tested their loyalty by requiring them to kill Ahab’s 70 sons and behead them. Jehu then proceeded to kill all others who were allied with Ahab, his great men, his close friends and his priests. He wiped out his whole house.
Jehu’s Theology (10:10)
Every word of the Lord will come to pass regarding Ahab would come to pass. That word was spoken through the Lord’s servant, Elijah, and fulfilled by Jehu. This is emphasized by location. The message is delivered between to stacks of bloody heads. This is the point of this whole story.
Jehu Destroys The House of Ahaziah (10:12-14)
Because Ahaziah had married into Ahab’s house, his house was also destroyed. The Queen Mother, his mother, was Athaliah, the grand daughter of Omri. Omri was Ahab’s father and the first of that line to rule in Israel.
Support From A Radical Believer (10:15-17)
Jehonadab appears as a mysterious figure here, for we do not know who he is. Jeremiah 35:6-7 refers to him and his family as radical believers. Jehonadab instructed them to live in tents, not own things and not drink wine. His descendants in Jeremiah’s time still obeyed those commands. The Lord held them up as an example in contrast to the rest of Israel who did not obey the Lord’s commands.
Jehu treated him with respect, greeting him and not challenging him. He is glad of his support. He demonstrates for him his zeal for the Lord.
Killing the Prophets of Baal (10:18-27)
Further demonstrating his zeal for the Lord, Jehu kills all of the priests of Baal in Israel. They were likely supporters of the House of Ahab, which supported them through the years. So, it was two birds with one stone.
His plan was ingenious. He called for a great sacrifice to Baal and demanded all of the priests attend. It appeared that he was signaling and even greater following of Baal under his kingship than under Ahab’s. But he deceived them.
Jehu got them all in one room. He posted soldiers to keep them from escaping. He tricked them into wearing robes or vestments so they would not be confused with servants of the Lord. Then he killed them all. He destroyed the temple. He desecrated the sacred stone. As a final desecration, the Israelites used it as a latrine.
So the worship of Baal is completely destroyed in Israel. You would not have foreseen this while Ahab and his clan ruled. They seemed invincible. Then the Lord raised up a new man and empowered him to overthrow the king and the pagan worship system in one fell swoop.
Here are a couple of thoughts about this story. Jehu was not a perfect man. Yet God used him to accomplish his perfect will. He can do that. He is God.
Judgment is a messy affair. It demonstrates God’s wrath against sin. It shows us how much God hates idolatry. Think about that when you put other things before your devotion to God. He hates it. 1 Corinthians 10:14 tells us to flee from idolatry. Examine your life. What do you put before God? What do you invest your time in? Where does your energy go, your effort? Repent if it is not the kingdom of God and devote yourself to him.
Now skip ahead for a moment to verse 30.
Jehu’s Reward (10:30)
Jehu’s devotion and zeal was rewarded with sons on the throne. He is like a miniature David in this respect.
Jehu’s Failure & God’s Judgment (10:28-29, 31-33)
The writer sums up Jehu’s reign as he has with all the kings. He had a great commendation. He destroyed Baal worship in Israel. That was a huge thing. It was a huge work for the Lord. He had zeal for the Lord. He was fired up.
But one thing he did not do was destroy the golden calves. He continued in that sin. Why would he do that, with his zeal for the Lord? He may have assumed it was ok because it had been done for so long. It was tradition. He associated it with true worship, but it was not. It confused worship of God with Canaanite religion, where the head god was referred to as a bull, having strength and virility. Even Baal was occasionally portrayed as a bull. We must always examine what we do and what our churches do against scripture to make sure we worship God as he wants to be worshipped. Jesus, always in harmony with the Father, said God seeks those who will worship in spirit and in truth. Our doctrine must be pure. Our practice must be pure. The Bible, God’s word, sets the standard for both.
In continued judgment of the worship of the golden calves, God stripped away more territory. Moab and Edom were already lost. Syria was again a forceful enemy. Syrian then took away all of the territory of Israel east of the Jordan.
In doing this, God continued to keep his covenant. Once again we look at the curses of Deuteronomy 28. God said through Moses:
However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his command and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…” (15). One of those curses is set out in verse 25: The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies.”
Just as God did in judgment of Solomon’s idolatries, God acts against the idolatry and unholy worship of Israel by continuing to reduce its size. Hazael of Syria is God’s instrument of judgment, just as Jehu was. Elijah told them that in advance.
But still they did not repent.
He had a long reign of 28 years. He son succeeded him, as the Lord had said.