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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 10

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-11

Second Kings - Chapter 10

Destruction of Ahab’s Family-2 Kings 10:1-11

It is to be recalled that Jehu had embarked on a mission of fulfill­ment of the Lord’s word, as spoken by Elijah, in recompense of Ahab and Jezebel’s evil, especially in regard to Naboth’s murder (1 Kings 21:17-29; 2 Kings 9:1-10). His deeds were ruthless and cruel, and certainly not approved by the Lord, but God allowed them, according to Jehu’s evil inclination, in fulfillment of His word. More will be said of this later.

Samaria was the capital of the kingdom, and it lay some forty miles southwest of Jezreel. The kings had a palace in Jezreel, which appears to have been a kind of resort, or get-away refuge, for the family. This is where they came for relaxation, which explains the presence of Joram there during his recuperation and at the time of his assassination. Most of the family remained in Samaria, as well as the servants and Counselors of the king. Jehu still had these to contend with. So he sent them a challenge, to choose the man of Ahab’s descendants felt to be most capable and crown him king. They had some advantages with them, as the army and chariots and the strongly fortified city of Samaria.

But the elders and great men of Ahab’s court were seized with cow­ardly fear of Jehu. They reasoned that their king and the king of Judah had fallen already to Jehu’s insurgent army, and it was unlikely they would be able to stand against him either. Thus they stated their willing­ness to surrender themselves into Jehu’s hand. They said they would become his servants and stood ready to do whatever he should com­mand them.

Now the hard, callous heart of Jehu is really exposed, for he sent word again to Samaria that if these are really ready to join his battle they should take the h-:ads of the royal family and come to him by the next day. And the craven spinelessness of those who should have been loyal to their charges also appears in the persons of the late king’s Counselors and governors of the affairs of the royal family. Seventy sons (including grandsons and other very close relatives) of Ahab were in Samaria, possibly feeling secure for the present moment. But their supposed friends betrayed them, caught them and beheaded all seventy. The heads were put in baskets and sent to Jehu at Jezreel.

The messengers bearing their gory baskets did not wait until the next day, but came with the heads of the slaughtered princes that night. Jehu told them to lay the heads in two heaps, on either side, of the chief gate into Jezreel until morning. At that time, when people began to come into and go out of the city, Jehu addressed them in sarcasm. "Are you not righteous! you who slew your helpless charges out of craven fear! True, I slew my evil master, the king, but what have you done?"

Jehu then knew that the throne was almost secure for him. He

recalled to the people the prophecy of Elijah concerning the utter decimation of the house of Ahab Nothing, he said, would fail of all that had been prophesied by the man of God. And of course they were learning what men should always know, that God cannot be successfully defied, His word is sure (Lu 21:33). Jehu proceeded to kill all the great men of Ahab’s government and all his kinfolk, the false priests, leaving none of them alive.

Verses 12-17

Princes of Judah Slain - Verses 12-17

With Samaria capitulated to him Jehu set out for the city. On the way he encountered a delegation of forty-two men on their way to Jezreel to visit with Joram and Jezebel, unaware of the insurrection underway. They were princes of Judah, some of whom were probably related to the family of Ahab by the infamous marriage of Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, with Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah. Jehu commanded that they be taken alive. They were near a place called Beth-eked, translated "shearing house" in the King James Version of the Bible.

When Jehu learned who these he met were he had them seized alive and brought to the pit at Beth-eked, where the shepherds kept the sheep awaiting their turn for shearing. There he commanded that they all be slain, so all forty-two were killed and their bodies cast into the sheep pit. Here is another example of the bloody extravagance of the brutal Jehu. These princes paid the penalty of being allied with those under God’s judgment (Ecclesiastes 7:17).

Going on from this encounter Jehu next met with a very interesting character, Jehonadab, the son of Rechab (For more information about this man and his family read Jeremiah, chapter 35.) Jehonadab was a descendant of the Kenites, the people of Jethro and Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law and brother-in-law. Moses had invited them to accompany Israel to the Promised Land when they were in the wilderness (Numbers 10:29-32), and though it is not said there that they did accompany the Israelites, they are found among them at later times (see Judges 4:11). These people chiefly kept to themselves and did not enter the mainstream of Israelite life. However there is indication that they were worshippers of the Lord. So it would seem also from the consultation between Jehu and Jehonadab.

The words of Jehu in accosting Jehonadab are to ascertain whether Jehonadab was favorable toward Jehu’s revolution. In other words, "Do our hearts match, in one accord in this matter." When Jehonadab answered affirmatively Jehu asked him to give his hand on it, which he did. The handshake then, as now was indicative of

fellowship and help (see Acts 3:7). Jehonadab was taken into Jehu’s chariot with the invitation to come with him and see his zeal for the Lord. What he meant was his zeal for accomplishing the prediction of the Lord relative to Ahab’s family by Elijah. Jehonadab accompanied Jehu to Samaria, where they proceeded to totally exterminate all who had been a part of Ahab’s kingdom rule.

Verses 18-28

Baal Worshippers Slain - Verses 18-28

Jehu continued his devious and deceitful ways, and the Lord allowed it, to bring His judgment on the wicked kingdom of Israel. With the connivance of Jehonadab they came before the people and proclaimed their intent to establish the worship of Baal more strongly than it had been practiced in the heyday of Jezebel and Ahab He called for all the prophets, servants, and priests of Baal to come to him. Jehu announced a great sacrifice to Baal, at which he required the presence of all his worshippers, on pain of death to any who neglected to attend. In this way he expected to destroy all the people who worshipped the false god.

A solemn assembly was proclaimed and the message was sent throughout Israel that all who worshipped must attend. With penalty of death prescribed for failure to present themselves all Baal’s worshippers came to the Baal temple in Samaria and packed the house. Jehu took precautions that there be no worshippers, of the Lord among them and required that the vestments of the Baal worship be put upon all those gathered. The people of the Lord had no business being there, and should there have been he might have expected to receive the judgment of the false worshippers at the hand of the new king (Ephesians 5:11).

Then Jehu and Jehonadab stationed eighty men around the false temple, with the charge to let none escape alive. If these should allow any of the Baal-worshippers to escape, he was to forfeit his own life by the act. Jehu went through the formality of making a burnt offering to Baal. Then on a given signal the eighty executioners were set to their work. So the Baal worshippers were slaughtered to a man. The Baal images were brought out, piled up, and burned. The great image of Baal was broken down along with his temple. The temple itself was reconstituted a draught house, or made a public latrine (Proverbs 11:19).

Verses 29-36

Jehu’s Evil Reign - Verses 29-36

"The sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin!"

These awful words are a repetitious refrain with reference to every one of the kings of the northern kingdom after Jeroboam. What an awful legacy and memorial Jeroboam left behind him! Not one worshipper of the Lord among the many kings who sat on the throne of the kingdom of Israel from Jeroboam onward. Not even Jehu, who so perfectly understood the will of the Lord in exterminating the family of Ahab and the Baal worship, would worship the Lord. It would seem that he, surely, would have so recognized the Lord as to promote His worship. Likely he called himself worshipping the Lord in the restoration of the calf worship, but so did Jeroboam himself think. But God was highly displeased with that set-up.

Yet the Lord pronounced a special blessing on Jehu and his dynasty. Because he fulfilled the Lord’s will in chastising the wickedness of Israel the Lord promised that his dynasty would continue for four generations. It did, and thus became the longest-lasting dynasty of all those in the northern kingdom. His line ran from Jehu through Jehoahaz, Joash, Jeroboam II, and ended in Zechariah, who was assassinated to end it. But Jehu’s sad epitaph still is, "Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin." He revived the worship of the calves at Bethel in the south and Dan in the north.

The Lord chastised Jehu and Israel, for they knew to do good and did it not (James 4:17). All the territory east of the Jordan River was lost to Hazael the king of Damascus. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half ­Manasseh were cut off from Israel, from the city of Aroer on the bank of the Arnon, at Reuben’s southern border north through Gilead to Bashan. Jehu reigned long, twenty-eight years, but in the end Israel was weakened by these severe losses in spite of his great valor and leadership ability. He was buried with honor in the capital city of Samaria, and was succeeded by his son, Jehoahaz. Eventually the sins of Jehu and his bloody deeds were avenged by the Lord also. This occurred in the assassination of his great-great grandson, Zechariah, foretold in the long reign of his great grandson, Jeroboam II (see Hosea 1:4,).

Learn these lessons: 1) those who serve the world and self are usually prone to follow the course of least resistance; 2) evil associations beget evil consequences; 3) the giving of one’s hand in a matter should be as binding as word of the mouth; 4) zeal, though commendable, may be carried to excessive deeds; 5) deceit is never right for God’s children though used to accomplish an apparently good purpose; 6) men continually, knowingly, walk contrary to the will of God, inviting His certain judgment.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-kings-10.html. 1985.
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