2 KINGS CHAPTER 10.
The Reign of Jehu.
THE RELATIVES OF AHAB SLAIN. ó V. 1. And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria, all his male descendants. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, to the prefect of the royal palace, the captain of the city, and the magistrates, and to them that brought up Ahabís children, their educators, or tutors, saying, v. 2. Now, as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your masterís sons are with you, all the princes of the royal blood being in Samaria at that time, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armor, all the power by which they might expect to uphold the dynasty of Ahab, v. 3. look even out the best and meetest of your masterís sons, the ablest among the sons of Joram, and set him on his fatherís throne, and fight for your masterís house. This was a satirical and scornful challenge and at the same time a stratagem intended to find out the attitude of the most powerful men in Samaria over against the rule of Jehu. V. 4. But they, noting the object of the letter, were exceedingly afraid and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him, chap. 9, 24-27, how, then, shall we stand? V. 5. And he that was over the house, the prefect of the royal palace, and he that was over the city, the captain of the garrison, the elders also, the magistrates, and the bringers up of the children, all the tutors of the royal family, sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants and will do all that thou shalt bid us, thus submitting unconditionally. We will not make any king; do thou that which is good in thine eyes. V. 6. Then he, feeling it to be an important matter to be acknowledged by all the people as soon as possible, wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be mine, if they had chosen, his part and stood on his side, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men, your masterís sons, and come to me to Jezreel by tomorrow this time. He expected them to do homage to him, but only in such a manner as to convince all the people that the pretenders to the crown, without exception, were dead, and that the most influential men of the kingdom had entirely broken with the house of Ahab. Now, the kingís sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up, they were in their care, in their power. V. 7. And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the kingís sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel, a gruesome proof of their allegiance to Jehu. V. 8. And there came a messenger and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the kingís sons, of all the male descendants of Ahab, of all the royal princes. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning, it being the custom of the times to display the heads of the vanquished in the sight of all men. V. 9. And it came to pass in the morning that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be righteous, as just men they could pass a correct judgment; behold, I conspired against my master and slew him; but who slew all these? It was another trick to place himself in the most advantageous light by carefully concealing the main point, namely, that the men had been put to death by his command. V. 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. Even if some of the people felt inclined to blame him for the wholesale slaughter, they were to remember that nothing but the divine ordinance, the sentence of the Lord, had been carried out, 1 Kings 21, 19. 21. 29. V. 11. So Jehu, encouraged by his success up to this point, and feeling sure that the people would raise no objection, slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel and all his great men, all the most powerful officers of the fallen dynasty, and his kinsfolks, his nearest friends and adherents, and his priests, all those who remained of the heathen priests at his court, until he left him none remaining. V. 12. And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria, where he no longer feared any opposition. And as he was at the shearing-house in the way, probably a place of assembly for the shepherds of the entire district, v. 13. Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah, king of Judab, and said, Who are ye? And they, in total ignorance of what had happened at Jezreel, answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah, in this connection his cousins and other near relatives; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen, to pay their respects, to make a friendly visit at the court. V. 14. And he said, to his companions, the members of his guard, Take them alive. And they took them alive, captured them in spite of any show of resistance, and slew them at the pit of the shearing-house, at the cistern, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them. Since they were friendly to the house of Ahab, he feared that they might resist his royal authority, and therefore he chose the simplest and most effective method to get rid of them. It was the judgment of God upon idolatrous people.
THE BAAL-WORSHIP D1SCONTINUED. ó V.15. And when he was departed thence, after the slaughter of the forty-two relatives of Ahaziah, he lighted on Jehonadab, the son of Rechab, coming to meet him, Jer. 35, 1-19, whether by accident or on purpose is not indicated. And he saluted him and said to him, Is thine heart right, zealous, upright, fully agreeing in feeling and in purpose, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, it is. The two were of the same opinion concerning the necessity of eradicating idolatry in the land. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand. And he took him up to him into the chariot, thus honoring him highly before all the people. V. 16. And he, Jehu, said, Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord. So they made him ride In his chariot, not by force, of course, but by friendly persuasion and invitation. V. 17. And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, all the relatives living in this city, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the Lord which He spake to Elijah, 1 Kings 21, 21. V. 18. And Jehu gathered all the people together and said unto them, hiding his real purpose under a pretense of zeal for idolatrous worship, Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu shall serve him much, this statement being intended to disarm all suspicion. V. 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, every one of the prophets and priests of Baal who would be missing, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtlety, as a stratagem, to the intent that he might destroy the worshipers of Baal, by lulling them into security and then slaying them. V. 20. And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it, inviting all the people of the country to partake in this great meeting. V. 21. And Jehu sent through all Israel. And all the worshipers ofí Baal came, believing that they would receive full recognition from Jehu, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal, eager to take part in this solemn assembly; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another. Men regarded Jehuís entire conspiracy as a mere military revolution, and not as a reformation of the Church. V. 22. And he said unto him that was over the vestry, the man in charge of the vestments of the Baal-worship, Bring forth vestments for all the worshipers of Baal, to render them all the more conspicuous in the great assembly. And he brought them forth vestments. V. 23. And Jehu went, and Jehonadab, the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshipers of Baal, Search and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the Lord but the worshipers of Baal only, for he wanted no servant of Jehovah to be killed by mistake. V. 24. And when they, the servants of Baal, 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, they were answerable with their very lives for the destruction of the idolaters. V. 25. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, when the preparations for the customary sacrifices were completed, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in and slay them; let none come forth. The members of the royal guard here attended to the duties enjoined upon them by the king of being executioners. And they smote them with the edge of the sword, with a relentless punishment; and the guard and the captains cast them out, throwing the corpses aside as they pressed forward, and went to the city of the house of Baal, they entered the temple proper, the sanctuary of Baal. V. 26. And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, the idolatrous statues, and burned them. V. 27. And they brake down the image of Baal, his own picture, which was probably of stone, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught-house unto this day, the turning of the temple into a public place of this kind making it forever unclean and abominable. V. 28. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel, removing the worst idolatry from the midst of the northern kingdom. It was a judgment of God, a type of the last great punishment which will come upon the idolatrous world.
THE REIGN OF JEHU. ó V. 29. Howbeit, in spite of this excellent showing, 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; he did not abolish the steer-worship, his knowledge of the true God not extending to that point. V. 30. And the Lord said unto Jehu, most likely by a prophet, 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, accomplishing thereby a deed which is here readily recognized and acknowledged, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. V. 31. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the Law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart; his zeal for the Lord had not been an expression of unmixed devotion, but had largely been influenced by his own personal ambition; for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. V. 32. In those days, in consequence of the prevalent idolatry, the Lord began to cut Israel short, to cut off parts, by permitting hostile nations to take possession of remote districts. And Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel, his raids being carried out with boldness and meeting with success: v. 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, the river which formed the southern boundary, even Gilead and Bashan, all the territory of the two and one half tribes east of Jordan. V. 34. Now, the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might, his political and military exploits, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? V. 35. And Jehu slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz, his son, reigned in his stead. V. 36. And the time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty and eight years. Even if a person has performed important services in the kingdom of God, all this will be overlooked and forgotten if he afterward opposes the will and the Word of God. By denying or ignoring better knowledge the guilt is merely increased.