Scripture reading – 2 Kings 10

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History Matters

An excellent motivation for studying Biblical history is that it affirms the universal sinful nature of humanity, while the Scriptures reveal the sovereignty of God in human affairs. People, leaders, and nations ignore the sovereignty of God to their peril.

Events in our chronological study of the Scriptures are moving rapidly, and the historical intrigue in the rise and fall of kings is undoubtedly commanding. Please permit me to review the historical context that preceded today’s study of 2 Kings 10.

Jezebel, the wicked wife of Ahab

Review of 2 Kings 9

Elisha obeyed the LORD and ordered a prophet to anoint Jehu as Israel’s king (2 Kings 9:1-6). Because the LORD had determined to remove the lineage of the evil king Ahab forever, He commanded Jehu to “smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel” (2 Kings 9:7-8).

Jehu obeyed and “drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot” (1 Kings 9:24). He also killed Ahaziah, king of Judah (2 Kings 9:27). Then Jehu went to the palace in Jezreel and ordered Jezebel, the wicked wife of Ahab, to be cast out a window of the palace. She fell to her death (9:32-33), and as foretold, the dogs ate her flesh and fulfilled Elijah’s prophecy (1 Kings 21:23).

2 Kings 10

Jehu Secured Israel’s Throne (2 Kings 10:1-14)

To secure the throne of Israel, Jehu ordered the execution of Ahab’s lineage (10:1-7). We read, “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” (10:1). Numbered among the seventy were no doubt grandsons of Ahab.

Jehu made a pretense of encouraging the people to crown Ahab’s heir to the throne (10:3-4) while he plotted to execute any who might lay claim to the throne of Israel. The leaders of Samaria realized the ruse and refused to be a party to the crowning of a king after Jehu was himself anointed king of Israel. Jehu then ordered the beheadings of Ahab’s lineage (10:6), and the men “took the king’s sons…and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel” (10:7).

The Elimination of All Worshipped and Served Baal (2 Kings 10:18-27).

As a warning to any who might challenge his reign, Jehu ordered the heads of Ahab’s sons to be stacked “in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning” (10:8). Jehu then asked, “Who slew all these?” as though he had nothing to do with the beheadings. He then asserted, “The LORD hath done that which he spake by His servant Elijah” (10:10).

Jehu continued his eradication of those loyal to Ahab’s household (10:11). He also ordered the deaths of forty-two men who came seeking Ahaziah and claimed kinship to the deceased king of Judah whom Jehu had slain (9:27; 10:12-14).

The Elimination of All Who Worshipped and Served Baal (2 Kings 10:18-27).

King Ahab and Jezebel had introduced the worship of Baal, and many in Israel were devoted followers of the pagan god. Jehu, therefore, determined to kill all who worshipped and sacrificed to Baal. He deceived the followers of Baal and proposed he would be more devoted to Baal than Ahab and Jezebel (10:18-19). With eighty armed men stationed outside the pagan temple, Jehu gathered the worshippers of Baal (10:20-23) and, at the time appointed, ordered all slain and the images of Baal destroyed (10:24-28).

Jehu’s Failure (2 Kings 10:28-30)

Jehu failed to eradicate “the golden calves” that were established by Jeroboam, and he “departed not from after them” (10:29). Nevertheless, Jehu did a great thing when he removed the worship of Baal from Israel and the LORD acknowledged he obeyed His command and exterminated Ahab’s household.

For his obedience, Jehu was promised his lineage would succeed him on the throne of Israel for four generations (10:30). His son Jehoahaz, grandson Joash, great-grandson Jeroboam, and great-great-grandson Zechariah would all reign as kings in Israel.

The Decline of Israel (2 Kings 10:31-36)

Though Jehu obeyed the LORD in much and reigned for 28 years, he failed to “walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart” (10:31). Tragically, his reign marked the beginning of the end of Israel as a nation. Hazael, king of Syria, began to invade the borders of Israel (10:32), and the lands and territories of Israel were diminished (10:33). Jehu died and was buried in Samaria, and true to God’s promise, his son Jehoahaz “reigned in his stead” (10:35).

When the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2).

Closing thoughts –

We have witnessed the rise and fall of kings in Israel. Jehu’s bloody reign and failure to purge Israel of idolatry marked the beginning of the end for Israel. Without the LORD’s blessing and protection, Israel would fall to her enemies, and Assyria would take away the northern tribes into captivity.

King Solomon observed in a proverb, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2).

As I look around at our nation and world, I find the wicked are in authority, and chaos and sorrow abound. Yet, history teaches us that God is sovereign, and we can trust Him!

Nahum 1:7 – “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; And he knoweth them that trust in him.”

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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