Jehu Cleans House
2 Kings 10:17 And when [Jehu] came to Samaria, he killed all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed them, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke to Elijah.
In today’s reading, the house of Ahab is liquidated by a fellow named Jehu, one of the most colorful characters in the Bible. A military man, he is the leader of a bunch of rough and rowdy warriors. Ruthless, reckless, wild, yet extremely shrewd, Jehu rises quickly to claim the throne of the Northern Kingdom by going on a killing spree—knocking off Ahab's son King Joram and then the rest of Ahab’s family. Along the way, he assassinates the idolatrous Southern King, Ahaziah and many of his like-minded relatives. Finally, he deceives many Baal worshipers into buying into his little maneuver and slaughters an untold number of them (see 2 Kings 10:18-28).
Tragically, however, despite his obvious zeal in eradicating Ahab’s dynasty, Jehu failed to renounce Jeroboam’s system of calf worship in Bethel and Dan (2 Kings 10:29-31). He went a long way, but not far enough. The same judgment was pronounced over him as every other Northern King who preceded and followed. Yet, God did use Jehu to fulfill His threat against King Ahab and his descendants.
The story of Jehu demonstrates a major characteristic of this period in the history of Ancient Israel: it is among the most violent for its bloody overthrows and assassinations. Consider that a very large number of the Northern Kings meet an untimely end. A few of the Southern Kings also die violently. The 2 books of Kings are noted for their very clear retribution theology: acts of rebellion lead to punishment.
The Israelite kings could never complain they hadn’t been warned. The amazing thing is just how stubborn they were in refusing to listen to God’s warnings through His servants the prophets. They had plenty of opportunities to see God’s hand: (1) in the miracles performed by men like Elijah and Elisha, (2) in the prophecies they and other prophets uttered that came true, and (3) in the punishment God meted out upon wicked leaders in the past. Perhaps a partial explanation for their sheer foolishness is the belief that they would be exempt from punishment and “beat the rap,” so to speak.
This is the same attitude among the ungodly in our country today. They speak boldly and brazenly against God’s standards for the nation, for the family, and for the church. Activists boast shamelessly about their wicked lifestyles, demanding that people “celebrate” this behavior instead of censure it. Hypocrisy abounds, especially among neo-Marxists, critical race ideologues, left-wing propagandists, the BLM movement, advocates of transgender ideology, pro-abortionists, thoroughly corrupt government bureaucrats, and the mainstream media. They condemn others for the very things they themselves do! They think that “the law” applies to others but not to them. The tragic thing is that many church officials cave and wind up aligning themselves with these attitudes rather standing up for truth. This is sadly similar to Jeremiah’s day: "An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31).