2 Kings 10:1. Seventy sons, whose end was destruction, like the sons of Gideon, of Saul, and of David. The sure way to build up a house is equity, not polygamy.—Jehu wrote letters. God gave him a high martial spirit to avenge the blood of his saints. Elevation to a great mind inspires dignity of sentiment, and majesty of style.
2 Kings 10:9. Who slew all these? He was careful to associate the citizens, as well as the soldiers, in the total excision of Ahab’s house. It is rarely wise for kings to interfere with religion.
2 Kings 10:13. We are the brethren of Ahaziah, brothers, cousins, and kinsmen of the king, going to the grand fête on the recovery of king Jehoram. What an inquisition for innocent blood! Where can we find a parallel, except in the blood of the nobles and clergy of France, for the blood of the protestants visited on the third and fourth generation during the revolution of 1789.
2 Kings 10:15. Jehonadab, prince of his pastoral tribe, a faithful man to the religion of his ancient fathers, now rejoicing that the wicked were put down. Jehu honoured him as a prince, by taking him into his chariot. All men spontaneously hailed Jehu as the spark which ignites the powder.
2 Kings 10:22. Vestments. This last stroke fell on the priests; they were known by their robes.
2 Kings 10:23. Look that there be none of the servants of the Lord. There was a great enmity between the worshippers of Baal, and the servants of the Lord. Besides, Baal had no doubt his mysteries, as well as his worshippers, which might readily be distinguished by the favours they wore at festivals in honour of their gods.
2 Kings 10:27. A draught-house, a desecrated ruin, yet the grove stood.
2 Kings 10:32. The Lord began to cut Israel short; for Hazael conquered the north of Galilee, and all the coasts east of Jordan to the Ammonites. Hazael raised the kingdom of Damascus to greater power than it had ever known before.
This chapter opens with the God of vengeance riding gloriously in his car. Jehu, emboldened by the fall of two kings, and of Jezebel, whose judgment long slumbered; Jehu finding Jezreel the grand arsenal in his power, next summoned Samaria, the capital, and the strongest place in the kingdom, to surrender, and with an irony more intimidating than the appearance of arms. This place having unconditionally surrendered also, all the other cities submitted without delay. So with a slight carnage rather than a fight, he found the sceptre of Israel invested in his hands.
In the test of homage required of the elders of Samaria, we have a terrible trait of the characters of divine justice: it was to bring the heads of Ahab’s seventy sons, which they piled in two heaps before the throne of justice in the gate of Jezreel; for the eastern nations have always made a vast parade of the heads of persons who may have fallen either by popular fury, or by the hand of justice. Probably when he first gave that order in haste, he had not the immediate recollection of Naboth and his sons being falsely accused at the bar, and instantly stoned in that city. But when he saw the heads, all came to remembrance, and the whole city could not avoid acknowledging the hand of God. In passing the gates that morning, and making his remarks on the fall of Ahab’s sons, scarcely had he reached the pool where they washed, and the house where the sheep had been shorn, before he saw forty gentlemen approach in splendid dresses, little suspecting that they were coming as sheep to the slaughter. On interrogation, they pleaded privilege from dignity of birth. We are the brethren, said they, of Ahaziah, late king of Israel, and we are going to congratulate his brother Jehoram on his recovery from his wound. They were then told of the revolution, of the fall of their family, and of the mortal wound of Ahaziah king of Judah. Scarcely had their ears time to tingle, before they heard their own sentence, and saw the glittering weapons uplifted to begin the carnage. Thus more than a hundred persons of Ahab’s house that day lay bleeding in Jezreel; and all the rest were exterminated perhaps in the course of the day. Surely God set a net for the feet of this family; not one of them escaped. How then can the wicked enjoy their sins, and secretly say the punishment shall never come.
Jehu having now purged the throne, next purged the altar. On arriving at Samaria he resolved to execute the letter of the law on all the prophets and priests of Baal; and as his religious sentiments were not yet known, he judged it the easiest way to bring them forward by proclamation for a great sacrifice, to make them fall in the very place where they had violated the Lord’s covenant, and where they had perpetrated crimes which cannot be named. And though the artifice employed was an abuse of zeal; yet it ought to be recollected, that the people who so fell had most deeply participated in all the innocent blood which had been shed by Jezebel. Poor deluded multitude, little did they dream of the vengeance about to burst. The altar began to smoke, the temple was crowded, and all the multitude were about to enjoy the frantic dances and pleasures of the feast. But ah, that day the sword alone was doomed to feast; they themselves were to be the victims; and their temple, long the sanctuary of guilt, was to be their funeral pile. The cloud of smoke went up to heaven; the hill on which this house stood was converted into a burning beacon, to warn the whole land no more to apostatize from the God of their fathers. Oh that the multitude of giddy and forgetful people who forsake God, and riot in pleasure, would recollect that one day the supper of the great God shall come, and perhaps when as little expected as this crowd, shut up within the doors of their idol temple, expected the sword to violate their sanctuary.
While Jehu was proceeding with the army from Jezreel to Samaria, he was met with congratulation by Jehonadab. This early token of homage to the Lord’s king was a prudent measure for the safety of his tribe and family. Jehu, on being assured of his loyalty, took him by the hand, and invited him to a seat in his chariot, that he might see his zeal for the Lord. Let us learn of this man to pay an early homage to the Lord Christ; let us approach him with a heart humble and contrite, that he may make it right by his grace. No man’s heart is right in his sight, till it be filled with love, animated with holy zeal, and emulous to offer him the earliest homage of praise.
Jehu invited this man to see his zeal, and surely Elijah did not excel him in prompt and terrible measures for the extermination of idolatry. But Elijah’s zeal was distinguished by devotion and justice: Jehu’s by dissimulation and carnage. Elijah acted solely for God, and that his country might enjoy every covenant mercy. Jehu acted both for God and himself; and as soon as he saw the house of Ahab all dead, he neither removed the calves nor cherished the pure worship of the Lord. Learn, christian, to cleanse thy heart of every idol. Thy bosom sins, thy pleasing and profitable sins are to thee, what the calves were to Israel; and thy soul can never prosper while iniquity is indulged. Political considerations protected the calves. Thus the vain fear, lest the Israelites should become attached to the house of Judah by worshipping at Jerusalem, caused the whole nation ultimately to be lost.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany