II Kings 10

 

 

The revolution initiated by the destruction of Joram and Jezebel is here traced through

its second and its third stages. The immediate question, after Joram’s death, was —

Would any member of his family rise up as a claimant of the throne, and dispute the

succession with Jehu? Ahab had seventy male descendants, all of them resident in

Samaria:  would there be any one among their number bold enough to come forward

and assert his hereditary fight? Jehu regarded this as the most pressing and imminent

danger, wherefore his first step was to challenge such action, and either precipitate it

or crush it. In vs. 1-11 is related the action taken by him, so far as the descendants

of Ahab were concerned, and his success in ridding himself of all rivals possessed

of so strong a claim. Vs. 12-14 relate his dealings with another body of Ahab’s

relations, belonging to the neighboring kingdom of Judah. In vs. 15-28 an account

is given of the still more bloody and more sweeping measures by which he cowed

the party opposed to him, and firmly established his dynasty in the Israelite kingdom.

 

 

            The Destruction of the Seventy Sons of Ahab (vs. 1-11)

 

1  And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria.”  By “sons” we must understand

male descendants.”  Most of the seventy were probably his grandsons (v. 3); some

may have been great-grandsons. They lived in Samaria; since Samaria was the

principal residence of the court, Jezreel being simply a country palace — the

Versailles,” as it has been called, or “Windsor” of the Israelite kings. “And Jehu

wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel,” -  Jezreel

 is almost certainly a corrupt reading. The “rulers of Jezreel would be at Jezreel;

and, if Jehu wished to communicate with them, he would not need to “write.” Had

any chance taken them to Samaria — a very improbable circumstance — they

would have had no authority there, and to address them would have been

useless. Jehu’s letters were, no doubt, addressed to the rulers of Samaria.

Most probably the original word was “Israel” (larcy), which is easily

corrupted into “Jezreel” (la[rzy). The rulers of Samaria, the capitol, might

well be called “the rulers of Israel.”  - to the elders” - not distinct persons

from the “rulers,” but the same under another name (see I Kings 21:8) – “and

to them that brought up Ahab’s children — i.e. the tutors, or governors,

under whose charge they were placed — saying,”

 

2  Now as soon as this letter cometh to you,” -  In the East at this

time, and in most parts of it to the present day, letters can only be sent by

special messengers. There is no public post. Kings and private individuals

must equally find persons who will undertake to carry and deliver their

dispatches. Even the post organized by Darius Hystaspis was not one that

went daily, but only one kept ready for the king to use when he had

occasion for it – “seeing your master’s sons are with you,” - “Your master’s

sonsmust mean Joram’s sons; by which we learn that, unlike his brother Ahaziah

(ch. 1:17), Joram had male offspring who survived him, and were now with the

rest of Ahab’s descendants, at Samaria -  “and there are with you chariots

and horses, a fenced city also, and armom;” - The main chariot force of the

country, and the chief arsenal, containing both armor and arms, were naturally at

Samaria, the capitol, and might thus be regarded as at the disposition of the

Samaritan municipality. Jehu scornfully challenges them to make use of their

resources against him. He is quite ready for a contest. Let them do their worst.

 

3  Look even out the best and meetest of your master’s sons, and set

him on his father’s throne,” -  “Choose,” i.e., “among the sons of Joram the

strongest, the boldest, and the ablest, and make him king in his father’s room;

take him for your leader against me; do not hesitate and beat about the bush;

but at once make up your minds, and let me know what I have to expect.”

and fight for your master’s house.”  There had been a civil war before

the dynasty of Omri succeeded in settling itself on the throne (I Kings 16:21-22).

Jehu believes, or affects to believe, that there will now be another. He does not

deprecate it, but invites it. Probably he felt tolerably confident that the garrison

of Samaria, even if called upon by the municipality, would not venture to take

up arms against the army of Ramoth-Gilead, which had declared itself in his

favor. Still, supposing that it did, he was not fearful of the result.

 

4  But they wore exceedingly afraid.,” -  They were men of peace,

not men of war — accustomed to discharge the duties of judges and

magistrates, not of commandants and generals. They could not count on

the obedience even of the troops in Samaria, much less on that of any

others who might be in garrison elsewhere. They would naturally have

been afraid of taking up arms under almost any circumstances. What,

however, caused them now such excessive fear was probably the tone

which Jehu had adopted — his “scornful challenge,” as it has been called.

He evidently entertained no fear himself. He dared them to do that which

he pretended to recommend them to do. They must have felt that he was

laughing at them in his sleeve -  “and said, Behold, two kings stood not

before him: how then shall we stand?”  The kings intended are Joram and

Ahaziah, who had confronted Jehu, and had met their deaths. What were

they that they should succeed where “two kings” had failed? The argument

was fallacious, and a mere cloak for cowardice. The two kings had been

taken by surprise, and treacherously murdered. Their fate could prove

nothing concerning the probable issue of a civil war, had the “princes”

ventured to commence it. It must be admitted, however, that the chance of

success was but slight.

 

5  And he that was ever the house i.e. the officer in charge of the royal

palace (see I Kings 4:6) — and he that was over the city,” -  There would

be a single “governor of the city” — not the commandant of the garrison, but

the chief civil ruler nearly corresponding to a modern “mayor” (see Ibid. ch. 22:26).

the elders also, (the “governor” of a town was assisted by a council of elders)

 and the bringers up of the children, sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy

servants, and will do sit that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king:”

Jehu’s letter had the effect which he intended, of making the authorities of

Samaria declare themselves. They might, perhaps, have temporized, have sent

an ambiguous answer, or have sent no answer at all, and have let their action

be guided by the course of events. But, taken aback by Jehu’s directness and

plainness of speech, it did not occur to them to be diplomatic; they felt driven

into a corner, and compelled to make their choice at once. Either they must

resist Jehu in arms or they must submit to him. If they submitted, they had best

(they thought) do it with a good grace. Accordingly, his letter produced a reply,

more favorable than he can possibly have expected — “They were his servants,”

or “his slaves,” ready to do all his pleasure; they would not set up a king, or in any

way dispute his succession; they submitted themselves wholly to his will.

do thou [they said] that which is good in thine eyes.” -  i.e. “take what steps

thou pleasest to confirm thyself in the kingdom.”

 

6  Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying,” - The reply of

the Samaritan authorities gave Jehu an opportunity, of which he was not slow to

take advantage. They might have been contented with their negative response,

“We will not make any man king;” but they had gone beyond it — they had

departed from the line of neutrality, and had placed themselves unreservedly

on Jehu’s side. “We are thy servants,” they had said, “and will do all that

 thou shalt bid us.” It is always rash to promise absolute obedience to a

human being. To volunteer such a promise, when it is not even asked, is the

height of folly – “If ye be mine,” — as they had said they were, when they

called themselves his “slaves” — “and if ye will hearken unto my voice

i.e., obey me, do as I require — take ye the heads of the men your

master’s sons, and come to me to Jezreel” - The Samaritan authorities

were ordered to bring the heads with them, that they might be seen and counted.

In the East generally, the heads of rebels and pretenders, by whatever death

they may have died, are cut off, brought to the sovereign, and then exposed in

some public place, in order that the public at large may be certified that the men

are really dead (compare I Samuel 31:9) – “by tomorrow this time.”  As

Jezreel was not more than about twenty miles from Samaria, the order could be

executed by that time. It necessitated, however, very prompt measures, and gave

the authorities but little time for consideration. “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,” -  Having committed themselves by

their answer to Jehu’s first letter, the Samaritan great men seemed to themselves

to have no choice, on receiving his second letter, but to allow themselves to

become  the tools and agents of his policy. They accordingly put the seventy

princes to death without any hesitation, though they can scarcely have done so

without reluctance -  “and put their heads in baskets,” - Thus concealing their

bloody deed as long as they could. In the Assyrian sculptures, those who slay

the king’s enemies carry the heads openly in their hands, as though glorying in

what they have done -  “and sent him them to Jezreel.”  Jehu had bidden

them to bring the heads to him; but this was a degradation to which they did not

feel bound to submit. They therefore sent the heads by trusty messengers.

 

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.” Thus all

who entered into the town or quitted it would see them, and, being struck

by the ghastly spectacle, would make inquiry and learn the truth. “The

gate was also a general place of assembly for the gossips of the town and

others, who would soon spread the news, and bring together a crowd of

persons, curious to see so unusual a sight.

 

9  And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and

said to all the people, Ye be righteous:” -  Not an ironical reproach to those

who had brought the heads — “Ye consider yourselves righteous, yet this

bloodshed rests upon you;” much less a serious declaration that now at last the

sins of idolatrous Israel were atoned for; but an argument ad captandum, (to

draw and please the rabble) addressed to the crowd of spectators whom the

unwonted spectacle had brought together, “Ye are just persons, and capable

of pronouncing a just judgment; judge, then, if I am the wicked person which

men generally consider me” - “behold, I conspired against my master, and

slew him: but who slew all these?”  I confess to one murder; but here are

seventy murders. And who is guilty of them? Not I, or my party, but the trusted

adherents of the Ahabite dynasty, the rulers placed by them over the capitol, and

the governors to whom they had entrusted the royal children. Does not this show

that all parties are weary of the Ahabites and of their system? Does it not clear me

of any private or selfish motive, and indicate the desire of the whole nation for a

change, civil and religions — a change which shall entirely subvert the new

religion introduced by Jezebel, and fall back upon the lines of that maintained

by Elijah and Elisha?

 

10  Know now that there shall fall unto the earth i.e. “perish,” “come

to naught” — nothing of the word of the Lord, which the Lord spake

concerning the house of Ahab” -  As the accomplishment had gone so far,

it was safe to predict, or at any rate Jehu felt emboldened to predict, that the

entire prophecy of Elijah would be fulfilled to the letter.  The whole house of

Ahab would perish — it would be made like the house of Jeroboam the son

of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah (I  Kings 21:23),

and its adherents would share its fate  -  “for the Lord hath done that which

He spake by his servant Elijah; i.e. “has requited Ahab in the portion of

Jezreel; has caused dogs to eat the flesh of Jezebel; and has begun the destruction

of his house. The inchoate fulfillment of prophecy was always felt to be the

strongest possible argument for its ultimate complete fulfillment.

 

(Dear Reader, at this juncture, I would like to say how ironical that earlier

tonight, this being Jan. 26, 2011 – that while working on Psalm 58 – this web

site – that Charles Haddon Spurgeon made two comment that are very applicable

to the above and very instructive to the secular, godless society of which the

United States of America is gravitating – a la – gun control, abortion, abolishing

the death penalty, criminal individual rights, ad naseum – they are as follows and

I plan to repeat them three times for emphasis.  They are mouthfuls in few words –

at first hard to grasp – thus their repetition:

 

  • There is nothing in Scripture of that sympathy with God's enemies

      which modern traitors are so fond of  parading as the finest species

      of benevolence.

 

  • There is nothing in Scripture of that sympathy with God's enemies

       which modern traitors are so fond of parading as the finest species

       of benevolence.

 

  • There is nothing in Scripture of that sympathy with God's enemies

      which modern traitors are so fond of parading as the finest species

      of benevolence.   

                                                      Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

The above is taken from the context below:  CY – 2011)

 

“The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance:” (Psalm 58:10)

- He will have no hand in meting out, neither will he rejoice in the spirit of revenge,

but his righteous soul shall acquiesce in the judgments of God, and he

shall rejoice to see justice triumphant. There is nothing in Scripture of that

sympathy with God's enemies which modern traitors are so fond of

 parading as the finest species of benevolence. (I wish that this statement

could be paraded before the world on the nightly newscast – CY – 2011)

We shall at the last say, "Amen, "to the condemnation of the wicked, and feel

no disposition to question the ways of God with the impenitent. Remember how

John, the loving disciple, puts it. "And after these things I heard a great voice

of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation and glory, and honor,

and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are His judgments:

for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her

fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And

again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever."

(Revelation 19:1-3) – (I was just getting ready to make the following remark

before realizing that Mr. Spurgeon cites John in the above passage and that is:

Sometime in the last few years I read where that the term “Alleluia” is used in

the Bible, it is always in reference to the Destruction of the Wicked – I will

leave it to the reader to verify or disprove this as it is beyond my scope at

this time – If so, it is quite interesting! – CY  - 2011) –

 

(As a footnote to the above – here is another profound thought of Mr. Spurgeon

taken from the same passage – Treasury of David on Psalm 58:8:

 

  • Every unregenerate man is an abortion.
  • Every unregenerate man is an abortion.
  • Every unregenerate man is an abortion.

                                          Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

(The above in red was taken from the context below on Psalm 58:8.

 

“As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away:” As the

snail makes its own way by its slime, and so dissolves as it goes, or as its

shell is often found empty, as though the inhabitant had melted away, so

shall the malicious eat out their own strength while they proceed upon their

malevolent designs, and shall themselves disappear. To destroy himself by

envy and chagrin is the portion of the ill disposed - “like the untimely birth

of a woman, that they may not see the sun.”  Solemn is this curse, but how

surely does it fall on many graceless wretches! They are as if they had never

 been. Their character is shapeless, hideous, revolting. They are fitter to be hidden

away in an unknown grave than to be reckoned among men. Their life comes

never to ripeness, their aims are abortive, their only achievement is to have

 brought misery to others, and horror to themselves. Such men as Herod,

Judas, Alva, Bonner, had it not been better for them if they had never been born?

(Matthew 26:24) - Better for the mothers who bore them? Better for the lands

they cursed? Better for the earth in which their putrid carcasses are hidden from

the sun? Every unregenerate man is an abortion. He misses the true form of

God made manhood; he corrupts in the darkness of sin; he never sees or shall

see the light of God in purity, in heaven.

 

Now back to the commentary on II Kings 10  - CY – 2011)    

 

11  So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and

all his great men, and his kinsfolks;” - Encouraged by his past success,

having killed Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Jezebel, having secured the adhesion of the

chief men in Samaria, and effected the destruction of all those who might naturally

have claimed the succession and involved him in civil war, Jehu proceeded to

greater lengths. He “slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel

the princesses probably, as well as the princes — and further put to death all

the leading partisans of the dethroned dynasty, the “great men,” perhaps

even those who had worked his bloody will at Samaria, and the intimate

friends and supporters of the house — the μy[iD;yum], as they are here called

not relatives, but “intimate acquaintances” -  “and his priests,” - This

expression causes a difficulty, since the destruction of the Baal-priests is

related subsequently (vs. 19-25). It has been suggested to understand by

μyinh}Ko, not” priests,” but “high state officers” — a meaning which

the word is thought to have in II Samuel 8:18 and I Kings 4:5. But

this signification of ˆheKo is scarcely an ascertained one. Perhaps the same

persons are intended as in v. 19, the present notice of their death being a

mere summary, and the narrative of vs. 19-25 a full statement of the

circumstances“until he left him none remaining.” - i.e. until the entire

Ahabite faction was blotted out.

 

 

            The Massacre of the Brethren of Ahaziah (vs. 12-14)

 

12  And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria.”  Having arranged

matters at Jezreel as his interests required, and secured the adhesion of the Samaritan

great men,” Jehu now set out for the capitol.  The narrative from this point to v. 17

is of events that happened to him while he was upon his road. “And as he was at

the shearing-house in the way,” -  Between Jezreel and Samaria was a station

where the shepherds of the district were accustomed to shear their flocks. The

custom gave name to the place, which became known as Beth-Eked, “the house

of binding,” from the practice of tying the sheep’s four feet together before

shearing them.

 

13  Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah King of Judah,” -  The

actual “brethren” of Ahaziah had been carried off and slain by the Arabians

in one of their raids into Palestine, as we learn from II Chronicles 21:17;

22:1; the youths here mentioned were their sons (Ibid. 22:8), and therefore

Ahaziah’s nephews – “and said, Who are ye?”  Travelers in a foreign country

were always liable to be questioned, and were expected to give an account of

themselves (see Genesis 42:7-13). The princes were thus not surprised at the

inquiry, and readily answered it. “And they answered, We are the brethren of

Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king,” -  There is

something abnormal and needing explanation in this visit.  Forty-two princes,

with their retinues, do not, under ordinary circumstances, start off on a sudden

from one capital, on a complimentary visit to their cousins at another. It has

been conjectured that at the first report of disturbances in the kingdom of the

ten tribes, they had been sent off by Athaliah to render any assistance that they

could to the house of Ahab in its troubles.  In this case their answer must be

regarded as insincere. Falling in with an armed force stronger than their own,

they pretended ignorance of the revolution that had taken place, and sought

to pass off their hostile purpose under the pretence of a visit of compliment. But

the pretence did not deceive Jehu – “and the children of the queen.”  The

queen-mother, Jezebel, is probably intended. Her rank entitled her to special

mention.

 

14  And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew

them” -  The Brevity of the narrative leaves many points of it obscure. It is

impossible to say why the order was given, “Take them alive,” when,

immediately afterwards, they were massacred. Perhaps Jehu at first intended to

spare their lives, but afterwards thought that it would be safer to have them put

out of his way. It must be borne in mind that they were descendants of Ahab –

at the pit of the shearing-house;” -  rather, at the well of Beth-Eked.

Probably the bodies were thrown into the well (compare Jeremiah 41:7) –

even two and forty men;” -  It is this number which makes the idea of a visit

of compliment incredible – “neither left he any of them.”

 

 

Jehonadab the Son of Rechab Associated by Jehu in His Acts (vs. 15-17)

 

15  And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son

of Rechab,” -  Between Beth-Eked and Samaria Jehu fell in with the great Kenite

chief, Jehonadab, the founder of the remarkable tribe and sect of the Rechabites

(Jeremiah 35:6-19). [From v. 19, I gather that the descendants of Jehonadab

are still living today – CY – 2011) - Jehonadab is mentioned only here and in the

passage just just quoted; but it is evident that he was an important personage. His

tribe, the Kenites, was probably of Arab origin, and certainly of Arab habits. It

attached itself to the Israelites during their wanderings in the Sinaitic desert, and

was given a settlement in “the wilderness of Judah,” on the conquest of Palestine

(Judges 1:16).  Jehonadab seems to have been of an ascetic turn, and to have laid

down for his tribe a rule of life stricter and more severe than any known previously.

He required them not merely to dwell in tents, and, unless under the compulsion of

war, never to enter cities, but also to abstain wholly from the use of wine, and to

have neither house, nor field, nor vineyard (Jeremiah 35:8-10). It is indicative of

much strength of character that so strict a rule was accepted, adopted, and acted

upon for centuries. On the present occasion, Jehu, it would seem, desired the

sanction of Jehonadab to the proceedings upon which he was about to enter, as

calculated to legitimate them in the eyes of some who might otherwise have regarded

them with disapproval. Jehonadab had, no doubt, the influence which is always

wielded by an ascetic in Oriental countries – “coming to meet him:” -  This

expression tells us nothing of Jehonadab’s intent. The meeting may have been merely

a chance one - “and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my

heart is with thy heart?” -  literally, he blessed him; but the word used (barak)

has frequently the sense of “to salute” (see I Samuel 13:10; 25:14; ch. 4:29). Jehu’s

inquiry was made to assure himself of Jehonadab’s sympathy, on which no doubt

he counted, but whereof he was glad to receive a positive promise. Jehonadab

must have been known as a zealous servant of Jehovah, and might therefore be

assumed to be hostile to the house of Ahab. “And Jehonadab answered, It

is.” Unhesitatingly, without a moment’s pause, without the shadow of a

doubt, the Kenite chief cast in his lot with the revolutionist. Heart and soul

he would join him in an anti-Ahab policy. “If it be, Give me thine hand.”

The Hebrews did not clench agreements, like the Greeks and Romans, by

grasping each other’s hands. Jehu merely means to say, “If this is so, if

thou art heart and. soul with me in the matter, put out thy hand, and I will

take thee into my chariot.” Jehu intended at once to do honor to the Kenite

chief, and to strengthen his own position by being seen to be so familiar

with him. “And he i.e. Jehonadabgave him i.e. Jehu — his hand;

and he took him up to him into the chariot.”  There was always room in a

chariot for at least three or four persons — the charioteer and the owner of

the chariot in front, and one or two guards behind.

 

16  And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.”

Jehonadab must have understood that some further measures were about

to be taken against the family and adherents of Ahab. He evidently

approved of all that Jehu had already done, and was willing to give his

countenance to further severities. He probably did not know exactly what

Jehu designed; but he must have been able to make a tolerably shrewd

guess at what was impending. “So they made him ride in his chariot.”

 

17  And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab

in Samria, till he had destroyed him,” -  Seventy male descendants of Ahab had

been already destroyed in Samaria (vs. 1-7). It seems unlikely that the city can have

contained any other members of his house excepting females. Did Jehu now destroy

the daughters of Ahab resident in Samaria, with their families? The masculine form

used — μyria;c]Nh" — does not disprove this – “according to the saying of the

Lord, which he spake to Elijah.”

 

 

                        Jehu Destroys the Worshippers of Baal

                                                   and

                      Puts an End to the Baal-worship (vs. 18-28)

 

18  And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab

served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much.”   Hitherto the revolution

had borne the appearance of a mere dynastic change, like those introduced by

Baasha, Zimri and Omri (I Kings 15:27-29; 16:9-12; 16:17-19), and had had none

of the characteristics of a religious reformation. Probably, as yet, no suspicion had

touched the public mind that Jehu would be a less zealous worshipper of Baal than

his predecessor. The outburst against Jezebel’s whoredoms and “witchcrafts”

(ch. 9:22) would be known to few, and might not have been understood as a

condemnation of the entire Baalistic system. The “zeal for Jehovah” whispered in

the ear of Jehonadab (v. 16) had been hitherto kept secret. Thus there was nothing

to prevent the multitude from giving implicit credence to the proclamation now made,

and looking to see the new reign inaugurated by a magnificent and prolonged festival

in honor of the two great Phoenician deities, Baal the sun-god, and Ashtoreth or

Astarte the famous “Dea Syra” Such festivals were frequently held in Phoenicia and

the rest of Syria, often lasting over many days, and constituting a time of excitement,

feasting, and profligate enjoyment, which possessed immense attraction for the great

mass of Asiatics.

 

19  Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and

all his priests:” -  In Phoenicia, it would seem, as in Egypt and among the Jews,

prophets” and “priests” were distinct classes of persons.  The Egyptians called the

priest ab, the prophet neter hen, literally, “servant of God.” They held the priest in

the greater honor. In Phoenicia, on the contrary, judging from the scanty notices that

we possess, prophets appear to have taken precedence of priests, and to have had

the more important functions assigned to them (see I Kings 18:19-40; 22:6) – “let

none be wanting: — literally, let not a man fail — for I have a great sacrifice

to do to Baal;” -  Like the other gods of the heathen, Baal and Ashtoreth were

worshipped chiefly by sacrifice. The sacrifice was sometimes human, but more

commonly a sacrificial animal, such as a bull, a ram, or a he-goat. In the greater

festivals several hundreds of victims were offered; and their flesh was served up at

the banquets by which the festivals were accompanied – “whosoever shall be

wanting, he shall not live.”  His absence would be regarded as an act of

contumacy verging on rebellion, and so as deserving of capital punishment. “But

Jehu did it in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers

of Baal.”  Subtiltywas characteristic of Jehu, who always preferred to gain his

ends by cunning rather than in a straightforward way. Idolaters were by the Law

liable to death, and Jehu would have had a perfect right to crush the Baal-worship

throughout the land, by sending his emissaries everywhere, with orders to slay all

whom they found engaged in it. But to draw some thousands of his subjects by

false pretences into a trap, and then to kill them in it for doing what he had himself

invited them to do, was an act that was wholly unjustifiable, and that savored, not

of the wisdom which is from above, but of that bastard wisdom which is “earthly,

sensual, devilish” (James 3:15). Jehu’s religious reformation did not succeed, and

it was conducted in such a way that it did not deserve to succeed. A little more

honest boldness, and a little less frequent resort to subterfuge and craft, might have

had a different result, and have been better both for himself and for his people.

 

20  And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal.”  The word

translated “solemn assembly” is the same which is applied to the great feasts of 

Jehovah among the Israelites in Leviticus 23:36; Numbers 29:35; Deuteronomy 16:8;

II Chronicles 7:9; Nehemiah 8:18; Isaiah 1:13; Joel 1:14; 2:15; and Amos 5:21.

Originally, it signified a time of repression, or abstention from worldly business;

but it had probably grown to mean a day when worldly business was suspended

for the sake of a religious gathering. Such gatherings had no doubt been held from

time to time in honor of Baal; and Jehu’s proclamation consequently excited no

distrust.  “And they proclaimed it.”  No opposition was made to the king’s wish.

No Jehovist party showed itself. The “solemn assembly” was proclaimed for

some day in the near future, when all the people had been apprised of it.

 

21   “And Jehu sent through all Israel:” -  i.e. through the whole of

his own kingdom, from Dan on the north to Bethel on the south – “and all

the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that

came not.”  Duty and inclination for once coincided. The king’s command

made it incumbent on them, they would argue, to attend; and attendance

would, they supposed, result in a time of excitement and enjoyment, which

they were not disposed to miss. The death-penalty threatened for nonattendance

(v. 19) was scarcely needed to induce them all to come. “And they came into

the house of Baal;” -  Ahab had erected a temple to Baal in Samaria shortly

after his marriage with Jezebel (I Kings 16:32). Like the other temples of the time,

in Judaea, in Egypt, and in Phoenicia, it was not a mere “house,” but contained

vast courts and corridors fitted for the reception of immense numbers – “and the

house of Baal was full from one end to another.” -  literally, from brim to brim.

 

22  And he said unto him that was over the vestry,” -  The word

translated “vestry” (hj;T;l]m,) occurs only in this place; but its meaning is

sufficiently ascertained, first, from the context, and secondly, from the

cognate Ethiopic altah, which means “a linen garment.” Linen garments

were regarded as especially pure, and were generally affected by the priests

of ancient religions, and preferred by the worshippers. Heathen temples

had almost always “vestries” or “wardrobes” attached to them, where

garments considered suitable were laid up in store. “Bring forth vestments

for all the worshippers of Baal.”  It may be doubted whether “all the

worshippers of Baal” could have been supplied with robes out of the temple

vestry, which would ordinarily contain only vestments for the priests. But Jehu may

have had the supply kept up from the robe-room of the palace, which would be

practically inexhaustible. The gift of garments to all comers, which was certainly

not usual, must have been intended to render the festival as attractive as possible.

And he brought them forth vestments.”  The keeper of the wardrobe

obeyed the order given him, and supplied vestments to all the worshippers.

 

23  And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of

Baal,” -  Keeping up the pretence that he was a devotee of Baal, anxious to

serve him much” (v. 18), Jehu himself entered the edifice, together with

Jehonadab the son of Rechab, whom he wished to have as a witness to his “zeal

for the Lord” (v. 16). Having entered, he addressed the multitude, or the chief

authorities among them, requiring that they should exercise extreme vigilance, and

make it quite certain that none but true followers of Baal were present. (From

experience in the 21st century, this should not be too hard since Jesus said,

by their fruits ye shall know them” [Matthew 7:20]  - social intercourse

should have done the job -  CY – 2011) -  “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.”  Jehu’s real object was

undoubtedly to save the lives of any “servants of Jehovah” who might incautiously

have mixed themselves up with the Baal-worshippers, out of curiosity, or to have

their share in the general holiday. That he should have thought such a thing possible

or even probable indicates the general laxity of the time, and the want of any

sharp line of demarcation between the adherents of the two religions. (Does

this not sound familiar? – CY – 2011)  He cleverly masked his desire for the safety

of his own religionists under a show of keen anxiety that the coming ceremonies

should not be profaned by the presence of scoffers or indifferent persons. His

requirement was in the spirit of that warning which the heathen commonly gave

before entering upon the more sacred rites of their religion — “Proculeste, profani.”

(stand aside ye unsanctified).

 

24  And when they went in” - — rather, when they had gone in; i.e. when the

whole multitude of Baal-worshippers, priests and people, had entered within the

precincts of the temple — “to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings,” -  The priests

officiate, but the offerings are regarded as conjointly made by priest and people.

Jehu appointed four score men without,” -  Josephus says (‘Ant. Jud.,’ 9:6. § 6)

that they were the most trusty men of his body guard, which is likely enough. They

were no doubt also known to Jehu as attached to the worship of Jehovah.

(Remember that Obadiah was a high ranking official in Ahab’s court – I Kings 18 –

and see comments at end of notes on that chapter on vs. 3-4 – this web site - CY –

2011) -“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.”  (compare

I Kings 20:39). Jailers were commonly put to death if a prisoner committed to their

charge escaped them (see Acts 12:19; 16:27).

 

25  And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the

burnt offering,” -  It has been concluded from this that Jehu  offered the sacrifices

with his own hand, as though he were the most zealous of Baal’s adorers; but

the conclusion does not follow necessarily from the expression used. The suffix

wO in wOtLOk"K] may be used indefinitely, “when one finished,” or “when they

finished;” or Jehu may be said to have made the offerings, because he furnished the

victims, not because he immolated them with his own hand.  Throughout heathendom,

wherever there were priests, it was the duty of the priests to slay the victims offered -

that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains i.e., the officers in command

of the guard — Go in, and slay them; let none come forth.”  We must suppose

that some guarded the doors, while others advanced into the crowd and struck right

and left. The unarmed multitude seems to have made no resistance. “And they

smote them with the edge of the sword i.e. cut them down unsparingly,

smote and slew till none were left alive — and the guard and the captains cast

them out,” -  This is generally understood to mean that all the bodies were thrown

by the guards out of the temple but perhaps no more is meant than that the guard

and the officers thrust the bodies out of their way, as they pressed forward to enter

the sanctuary which contained the sacred images - “and went to the city of the

house of Baal.”  They made their way into the inner sanctuary where Baal was

enthroned, surrounded by the images of his fellow-gods.  It is to be remembered

that the assembled multitude occupied the court or courts of the temple, within

which, in a commanding position, was the “house” or “sanctuary” — perhaps

reserved for the priests only.

 

26  And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and

burned them.”  The Phoenicians acknowledged several deities besides Baal, as

Ashtoreth, Melkarth, Dagon, Adonis or Tammuz, El, Sadyk, Esmun, and the

Kabiri. The “pillars brought forth” may have represented some of these deities,

who might all of them be “contemplar” deities with Baal; or they may have

beenBaalim,” i.e. forms and aspects of Baal, each the object of some

special cult.  It was a special feature of the Phoenician worship to represent the

gods which appear to have been conical stones, or obelisks, destitute

of any shaping into the semblance of humanity.  They were probably made of

wood.

 

27  And they brake down the image of Baal,” -  rather, they brake

in pieces the pillar of Baal. The representation of Baal, the main stele of

the temple, being of stone or metal, could not be destroyed by fire, and was

therefore broken to pieces (compare ch. 23:14) – “and brake down the

house of Baal i.e. partially ruined it, but still left portions of it standing,

as a memorial of the sin and of its punishment — a solemn warning, one

would have thought, to the people of the capital — and made it a

draught-house unto this day; made it, i.e., a depository for all the filth

of the town.  (compare Ezra 6:11; Daniel 2:5; 3:29; and for the word “draught”

in this sense, see Matthew 15:17. Such a use was the greatest possible desecration.

 

28  Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.”  The measures taken

were effectual; the worship of Baal was put down, and is not said to have

been revived in the kingdom of the ten tribes. Moloch-worship seems to

have taken its place (ch. 17:17).

 

 

                                    Jehus Shortcomings (vs. 29-31)

 

29   “Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made

Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them,” -  It was a crucial

test of Jehu’s faithfulness to Jehovah; would he maintain the calf-worship

of Jeroboam or not? With whatever intent the worship had been set up by

its author, the curse of God had been pronounced against it by the chief

prophet of the time (I Kings 13:2), and his word had been attired as

from heaven by two miracles (Ibid. vs. 4-5). Jehu ought to have

known that the calf-worship, if not as hateful to God as the Baal-worship,

at any rate was hateful, was a standing act of rebellion against Jehovah, and

laid the nation under His displeasure. But, while his own interests were

entirely detached from the one, they were, or at least would seem to him to

be, bound up with the other. The calf-worship was thought to be essential

to the maintenance of the divided kingdom. Abolish it, and all Israel would

return to the house of David” (Ibid. ch. 12:26-30). Jehu was not

prepared to risk this result. His “zeal for Jehovah” did not reach so far.

Thus his “reformation of religion” was but a half-reformation, a partial

turning to Jehovah, which brought no permanent blessing upon the nation.

to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan.”

The erection of the calves (Ibid. v. 29) was the initial sin, their worship the

persistent one. (On the nature of the calf-worship, see the comment on

1 Kings 12:28)

 

30  And the Lord said unto Jehu — scarcely by direct revelation, rather by

the mouth of a prophet, most probably of Elisha - because thou hast done well in

executing that which is right in mine eyes,” -  In making himself the executor

of God’s will with respect to the house of Ahab, and utterly destroying it, as he had

been commanded (ch. 9:7), Jehu had “done well;” he had also done well

in putting down the worship of Baal, and slaying the idolaters, for the

destruction of idolaters was distinctly commanded in the Law (Exodus 22:20; 32:27;

Numbers 25:5). These acts of his are praised; but nothing is said of his motives in

doing them. They were probably to a great extent selfish – “and hath done unto

the house of Ahab all that was in mine heart (see ch. 9:26-37; here – vs. 1-7,

11,14) - thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of

Israel.”  External obedience was suitably rewarded by an external, earthly honor

the honor of having his dynasty settled upon the throne during five generations,

and for a period of above a hundred years. No other Israelite dynasty held the

throne longer than three generations, or for so much as fifty years. The “children”

or descendants of Jehu who sat upon the throne after him were Jehoahaz,

his son, Jehoash or Joash, his grandson, Jeroboam II., his great-grandson,

and Zachariah, son of Jeroboam II., his great-great-grandson

(Compare a like honor to Phinehas - Numbers 25:6-13)

 

32  But Jehu took no heed to walk in the Law of the Lord God

of Israel with all his heart:” -  The character of Jehu is not difficult to

understand, if we take it as a whole, and consider the general impression left

upon us by the biblical account. He is exactly one of those men whom we are

compelled to recognize, not for what is good or great in themselves, but as

instruments for destroying evil, and preparing the way for good; such as Augustus

Caesar at Rome, Sultan Mahmoud II. in Turkey, or one closer at hand in

the revolutions of our own time and neighborhood. A destiny, long kept in

view by himself or others — inscrutable secrecy and reserve in carrying out

his plans — a union of cold, remorseless tenacity with occasional bursts of

furious, wayward, almost fanatical zeal; — this is Jehu, as he is set before

us in the historical narrative, the worst type of a son of Jacob — the

supplanter’...without the noble and princely qualities of Israel; the most

unlovely and the most coldly commended of all the heroes of his country”

This estimate is lower than that formed by others; but it is not far from the truth.

“For he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.”

 

 

            Jehus Wars, Length of Reign, and Successor (vs. 32-36)

 

32  In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short:” -  It is certainly not

stated in direct terms that the ill success of Jehu’s foreign wars was a punishment

on him for his continued maintenance of the calf idolatry; but the juxtaposition of

vs. 31 and 32 naturally raises the idea, and constitutes a strong presumption that it

was in the writer’s mind. The “theocracy” under the kings was carried on mainly,

as the writer of Chronicles clearly saw, by the bestowal of worldly prosperity and

military success on good kings, and the accumulation of misfortunes and military

disasters on bad ones (see II Chronicles 12:5-12; 13:4-18; 14:2-15; 15:2-15;

17:3-5). By “cutting Israel short” — literally, “cutting off in Israel” — is probably

meant the conquest of certain portions of the territory. Hazael resumed the war

which Benhadad had so long waged, and gained numerous successes – “and

Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel.” -  or, along their whole

 frontier. The frontier intended is, of course, that on the north and east, where

the Israelite territory was conterminous with that of Syria.

 

33  From Jordan eastward,” -  The territory west of the Jordan was

not attacked at this time. Hazael’s expeditious were directed against the

trans-Jordanic region, the seats of the three tribes of Reuben, Gad, and

Manasseh. This tract was far easier of access than the other, and was more

tempting, being the richest part of Palestine. The region comprised – “all the

land of Gilead,” i.e. the more southern region, reaching from the borders

of Moab on the south to the Hieromax or Sheriat-el-Mandhur upon the

north, the proper land of  the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and [a portion

of] the Manassites,” -  — together with Bashan, the more northern region,

which belonged wholly to Manasseh — from Aroer (now Arair), which is

by the river Arnon — the Wady-el-Mojeb, which was the boundary

between Israel and Moab (Numbers 21:13, 24), both in the earlier and

(Isaiah 16:2) in the later times — even Gilead and Bashan. There is

other evidence, besides this, that Hazael was one of the most warlike of the

Syrian kings. We find him, on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser II.,

mentioned as a stubborn adversary of the Assyrian arms. In the seventeenth

campaign of Shalmaneser, a great battle was fought between the two

monarchs. Hazael brought into the field more than twelve hundred

chariots, but was defeated, and obliged to retreat, his camp falling into the

hands of the enemy (‘Records of the Past,’ vol. 5. p. 84). Four years later

Shalmaneser invaded Hazael’s territory, and took, according to his own

account (ibid., p. 35), four cities or fortresses belonging to him. He does

not claim, however, to have made him a tributary; and By his later annals it

is evident that he avoided further contest, preferring to turn his arms in

other directions. (On Hazael’s campaign in Philistia, and designs against

Jerusalem, see the comment upon ch. 12:17-18,)

 

34   “Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might,” –

This last phrase is remarkable, considering that Jehu’s wars, after he became king,

seem to have been entirely unsuccessful ones, that he lost a large portion of his

dominions to Syria, and (as appears by the Black Obelisk) paid tribute to the

Assyrians (‘Records of the Past,’ vol. 5. p. 41).  “Might” has been ascribed by

the writer of Kings only to Baasha and Omri among previous Israelite monarchs,

and only to Asa and Jehoshaphat among previous Jewish ones. “All his might” has

only been used of Asa.  We must probably understand, that, although defeated,

Jehu gained much distinction, by his personal prowess and other military qualities,

in the Syrian wars, and was reckoned “a mighty man of valor” in spite of the ill

success of his wars – “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.”

Twenty-eight years was a long reign for an Israelite king, only exceeded by

one other king in the entire list, viz. Jeroboam II., who is said in ch.14:23 to have

reigned forty-one years. The kings of Judah were longer lived.

 

 

                                    ADDITIONAL NOTES

 

            The Fear of Man Contrasted with the Fear of God (vs. 1-7)

 

The fear of man is a stronger motive with the wicked and the worldly than is the fear

of God.  Revolutions subject to severe trial most of those who occupy high stations

at the time of their occurrence. Such persons have to determine, at very short notice

for the most part, the line which they Will pursue, the side which they will embrace,

and the lengths to which they will go in their support of it. In making their choice

they are apt to think less of what they ought to do than of what their worldly

interests require them to do. They “are in a strait betwixt two” — on the one

hand is the fear of man, on the other the fear of God. The one ought to prevail;

the other commonly does prevail. Let us consider a little why this is so.

 

  • REASONS WHY THE FEAR OF GOD IS WEAK.

 

ü      The wicked and worldly, who form, alas! the vast mass of

      mankind, do not generally even so much as realize the existence

      of God. They may not be absolute atheists, but practically they

      do not have God in their thoughts.  (Psalm 10:4)

 

ü      Those who believe in God and have some fear of Him view Him as

                        distant, and His vengeance as a thing that may come or may not. He

                        is merciful, and may be propitiated; he is compassionate, and may

                        not be “extreme to mark what is done amiss.” Men hope that He will

                        forget their misdeeds, or forgive them for His Son’s sake, or accept a

                        tardy repentance as compensating for them and blotting them out.

 

ü      Some view God as altogether benevolent and beneficent, and

      therefore as incapable of punishing men, forgetting that, if He is kind,

      He is also just, and, if He is forgiving, He is also jealous. They take

      their idea of God (Psalm 50:21), not from what is revealed concerning

      Him in Scripture, but from their own imaginations respecting Him —

      imaginations which are echoes of their wishes.  (I recommend

      The Wrath of God by Arthur Pink - # 4 – this web site – CY –

      2011)

 

  • REASONS WHY THE FEAR OF MAN IS STRONG.

 

ü      Man is visibly present, and has a power to injure and punish which

                        cannot be doubted.

 

ü      Man’s vengeance falls heavily and speedily. It is rarely delayed; and

      it is often of great severity.

 

ü      It consists of pains and penalties, which are more easily realized than

                        those which God threatens. We know very well what is meant by the

                        death of the body, but what the death of the soul may mean is obscure

                        to us.

 

ü      If we offend men, it is very unlikely that they will forgive us. Most

      men regard clemency as a weakness, and exact the uttermost

      farthing from those who, they think, have injured them. Under

      these circumstances, the fear of man prevails. The rulers of Samaria,

      challenged by Jehu either to raise the standard of revolt against him,

      or definitely to embrace his cause, and mark their adhesion to it by

      imbuing their hands in blood, must have balanced in their minds for

      a time the two alternatives — should they consent to slay, without

      offence alleged, seventy persons obnoxious to the powers that were,

      undeterred by fear of Divine vengeance, to escape the anger of Jehu?

      or should they brave his anger, and refuse to engage in the

                        massacre required of them, out of regard for the Law of God

                        (Exodus 20:13), and through fear of the vengeance denounced by

                        God upon such as contravened it (Genesis 9:6)? They yielded to

                        the lower, but more immediate, fear, and submitted themselves to

                        be mere tools in Jehu’s hands, because they feared man rather than

                        God. Having made up their minds that their forces were insufficient

                        to contend with those of Jehu, they put themselves at his disposal,

                        and consented to do all that he required of them. So, constantly, in

                        civil struggles, parties have put before them the alternative of following

                        conscience and embroiling themselves with the civil authorities, or of

                        defying those authorities, keeping their conscience clear, and observing

                        the strict Law of God in the matters whereon they have to exercise a

                        choice. Sometimes, as in the case of the Girondists, the better

                        part is taken — duty, truth, virtue, are preferred to expediency, and

                        martyrdom, a glorious martyrdom, is for the most part the consequence;

                        but generally the result is different — expediency carries the day, and

                        the sad spectacle is seen of men sacrificing their principles to their

                        immediate interest, and consenting to wade through crime if they may

                        preserve their worthless lives by so doing.  (Thought for the day:

                        Never sacrifice principle for temporary gain. – CY – 2011)

 

 

 The Wicked’s Small Regard for their Helpers and Confederates (vs. 8-11)

 

Jehu had made the authorities of Samaria his tools. He had required of them the

performance of a wicked and bloody act, such as despotism has rarely exacted from

its instruments.  Seventy persons to be slain in the course of a few hours — for no

offence, for no state necessity except to smooth the path of a usurper! And the

seventy persons for the most part boys and youths, some probably infants, and these

defenseless ones entrusted to the care and protection of those who were now called

upon to take their lives! It was a tremendous burden to cast on men not previously

his partisans, not bound to him by any interchange of good offices and benefits —

rather, under the circumstances, his natural opponents and adversaries. Yet they

took the burden on themselves; they accepted the miserable task assigned to them —

they accepted it, and carried it out. No doubt they thought that by so doing they

had bound the king to them, made him their debtor, and laid him under an

obligation which he would not be slow to acknowledge. But the deed once done,

the deaths once accomplished, and immediately the instigator of the crime turns

against his accomplices. “Ye are righteous,” he says to the crowd which has

gathered together to gaze at the heads of the victims — “ye can discern aright;

now judge between me and these murderers. I slew my master — I killed one

man, political necessity compelling me but who slew all these?” He holds

up his friends and allies, without the least compunction, to the popular

odium. He entirely conceals the fact that he himself has been at the root of

the whole matter, has conceived the massacre, and commanded it (v. 6).

He contrasts the terrible deed of blood, which has horrified all who have

heard of it, with his own comparatively small crime, and claims to have his

light offence condoned, overshadowed as it is by the heinous deed of the

Samaritans. We do not know whether by his speech he provoked any

popular outbreak. At the least, he turned the tide of popular disfavor from

himself to his confederates, and left them to answer, as best they might, the

serious question, “Who slew all these?” It is worth the preacher’s while to

impress on men the frequency of such conduct on the part of the persons

who conceive evil designs, but must have tools to execute them. There is

no solidarity among those who are confederates in wickedness. We hear of

honor among thieves;” but it is often “conspicuous by its absence.”

Monarchs engaged in plots denounce and disgrace their agents, when the

plots fail, even sometimes permitting their execution; ministers are

conveniently oblivious of the services rendered by those who win elections

by intimidation and bribery; even “head-centers” are apt to look coldly on

the work done by “ratteners” or “moonlighters” and, instead of

commending and rewarding them, are rather anxious to disclaim all

complicity in their actions. If the poor tools knew beforehand how little

benefit they would derive from their wicked violence, what small thanks

they would get from those who set them on, and how ready these last

would be, on any difficulty arising, to leave them in the lurch, they would

scarcely lend themselves to the purposes of their instigators. It is one of the

weaknesses of the kingdom of evil that its agents do not keep faith one

with another. It would weaken the kingdom still more if the conviction

were general that this is so, and that the subordinate agents who work out

an end have little to look for in the way of reward or encouragement from

their employers.

 

 

                                    Jehu and Jehonadab

            Man of the World and the Recluse Ascetic (vs. 15-23)

 

Worldly policy often finds it advisable to call to its aid the sanctions of religion, and

the support of those who stand high in popular estimation as religionists of more

than ordinary strictness and sanctity. It is comparatively seldom in the East that a

political revolution is effected without the assistance of a dervish or a mullah of

high reputation for strictness of life, who throws over a questionable movement

the halo of his reputed holiness. In the present instance we have, on the one hand:

 

  • JEHU, THE MAN OF THE WORLD, versed in the ways of courts,

            experienced in affairs both civil and military, a good general, popular with

            his brother-officers, prompt in action, decided, not overburdened with

            scruples, and at the same time subtle, inclined to gain his ends by cunning

            and artifice rather than by force. Circumstances have brought him to the

            front, and put the direction of a politico-religious movement into his hands;

            but the situation is not without its risks and dangers. Jehu, if he does not

            absolutely require, cannot but welcome, and feel his position strengthened

            by, any spiritual support. From the time that he took action, he had not

            received, and he did not dare to invite, the cooperation of Elisha. He

            could not expect that Elisha would approve the proceedings on which he

            was bent, involving, as they did, a large amount of falsehood and

            dissimulation.  All the more, therefore, must he have rejoiced when help

            appeared from another quarter — help on which it is scarcely possible

            that he can have reckoned. Over against Jehu stands:

 

  • JEHONADAB THE SON OF RECHAB, a chief whose position is

            abnormal and peculiar. The tribe of the Rechabites, whose sheikh he was,

            was a branch of the Kenites, Midianitish Arabs apparently, settled at the

            time of the Exodus in the Sinaitic peninsula. The Kenites, or some of them,

            had accompanied the Israelites during a large part of their wanderings in

            the wilderness, and had been of great assistance to them (Numbers

            10:29-32; I Samuel 15:6); in return for which they were allowed to

            settle in Southern Judaea (Judges 1:16) and other parts of the Holy

            Land (Judges 4:11). They retained, however, their nomadic habits, and

            were a wandering people, like our gypsies, in the midst of the settled

            inhabitants of Palestine. When the Rechabite tribe fell under the

            chieftainship of Jehonadab, he appears to have bound them down by

            stricter rules than they had previously observed, and to have required of

            them an austerity of life whereof there have been few examples in the

            history of nations (Jeremiah 35:6-7). They were to dwell in tents, avoid

            cities, drink no wine, and cultivate no land. Jehonadab must himself have

            been a recluse and an ascetic, or he would never have instituted such a

            rule.” He had probably the same sort of reputation as now attaches to a

            Mohammedan santon or fakir, and represented to the mind of his tribe,

            and even to numbers among the Israelites, the strict devout religionist, whose

            accession to a party or a cause stamped it at once with a high moral and

            religious character. Jehu needed Jehonadab; but there was not much to

            attract Jehonadab to Jehu. He would seem to have lent Jehu his

            countenance simply from a regard for the honor of Jehovah, and a

            detestation of the Baal-worship. But he would, perhaps, have done

            Jehovah more honor had he held himself aloof from the crafty schemer

            who disgraced the cause of true religion by lies and treachery.

 

 

                        Half-heartedness Punished by God as Severely

                     as Actual Apostasy from True Religion – (vs. 29-33)

 

The temper of the Laodiceans is no uncommon one (Revelation 3:14-22).  Men

may even think that they have a “zeal for the Lord” (v. 16), and yet show by their

acts that it is a very half-hearted zeal — a zeal that goes a certain length, and

then stops suddenly. There is no reason to doubt that Jehu honestly disliked, nay,

perhaps detested, the religion of Baal. It was an effeminate, sensual,

weakening, debasing system, which a rough soldier might well view with

abhorrence. Jehu was honest and earnest in his opposition to it, as he showed

by the measures which he took to put it down. They were no half-measures —

they stamped out the religion, for the time at any rate (v. 28). But with this

destructive process his zeal terminated. He did not go on to consider what he

could do to reintroduce and stimulate the true worship of Jehovah. Had his

thoughts moved in this direction, he would have been brought face to face with

the calf-worship, and would have had to consider seriously the question of its

maintenance or abolition. But this question probably never presented itself to his

mind. He was not possessed by any real love of God, or desire to worship

Him in spirit and in truth. Had he been, he would have called in the advice

and help of Elisha, and taken counsel with him as to what was best to be done.

But this is exactly what he does not do. He comes into no contact with Elisha.

After delivering his one great attack upon Baalism, he rests upon his oars, and

is “neither cold nor hot” (Revelation 3:15). Consequently, punishment falls

upon him.  Hazael smites him in all his coasts (v. 32).  While the apostate Ahab

and his dynasty had maintained the kingdom, on the whole, without serious loss

or diminution of power, Jehu loses province after province to Syria, is

deprived of all his trans-Jordanic territories, and induced to submit to the

indignity of paying tribute to Assyria. God punishes his lukewarmness as

severely — may we not say more severely than Ahab’s open rebellion?

 

 

 

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