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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 10

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

And 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], saying,

And Ahab had seventy sons. — By several wives. God had threatened to root out his house, yet he promised himself the establishment of his house; and thereupon so followed the work of generation that he left seventy sons behind him.

In Samaria. — The chief city, where they were for safety and for noble education.

Verse 2

Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master’s sons [are] with you, and [there are] with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armour;

Now as soon as this letter cometh to you. — A concise and stately kind of writing, much like that of the king of Syria to the king of Israel. 2 Kings 5:6 So the Hebrews note of Esau, in his meeting with Jacob, Genesis 33:4-15 that he uttereth his mind in few words, whenas Jacob is more full and fuse in his expressions. But ornamentum epistolae est ornamentis carere, saith a master of rhetoric, Politian. Plainness is the greatest grace of an epistle.

Verse 3

Look even out the best and meetest of your master’s sons, and set [him] on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house.

Look even out the best, … — All this Jehu speaketh ironice, or, at least, tentative: that he might feel their pulses and find how they stood affected.

Verse 4

But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand?

But they were exceedingly afraid. — Such was their pusillanimity and perfidy, that they yield upon a little entreaty, and betray their trust. But God had an overruling hand in it, for the rooting out of Ahab’s progeny.

Behold, two kings, …: how then shall we stand? — Say we the same of God’s irresistible power. Ten thousand kings cannot stand before him; and how should we?

Verse 5

And he that [was] over the house, and he that [was] over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up [of the children], sent to Jehu, saying, We [are] thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou [that which is] good in thine eyes.

We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us, … — Surely it is meet to be said thus unto God, and to him alone. "Be not ye the servants of men" in St Paul’s sense. 1 Corinthians 7:23

Verse 6

Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye [be] mine, and [if] ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master’s sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king’s sons, [being] seventy persons, [were] with the great men of the city, which brought them up.

Then he wrote a letter the second time. — Not with black, but with blood; like that letter of Mithridates, king of Pontus, written to the ruin of fourscore thousand Romans trading in his dominions. But it was just in God, that as Ahab and Jezebel, by a letter sent to the elders of Jezreel, shed the blood of Naboth and his sons; so they should have the blood of all their sons shed by a letter sent from Jezreel to the elders of Samaria. God loveth to retaliate.

Take ye the heads of the men. — This was but policy to root out all Ahab’s seed, that there might be no avenger. The poet could say,

“ Nηπιος ος κατερα κτεινας, παιδας υπολειπει . ” - Arist., Rhet., lib. i. cap. 15.

Verse 7

And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him [them] to Jezreel.

And put their heads in baskets.Apposite ad culpam Achab, saith A Lapide: this was suitable to Ahab’s sin. He had sent for baskets of grapes out of Naboth’s vineyard at Jezreel; and now the heads of his sons are brought thither in baskets. Oh, doleful burden!

Verse 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.

Lay ye them in two heaps.a Here some hard hearted Hannibal would have cried out, O formosum spectaculum! Oh, brave sight! Or, O rem regiam! as another, when he had slain three hundred. I am ready to say as one did on a like occasion -

Tu quibus ista legas incertum est, Lector, ocellis:

Ipse quidem siccis scribere vix potui. ”

a The world is like this heap of heads, that had never a heart amongst them.

Verse 9

And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye [be] righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these?

And said to all the people. — Who were got together to see this rueful spectacle; he therefore taketh that opportunity to make his apology; alleging for his defenee the prophecy of Elijah, which he had now fulfilled, and God’s decree, which he had executed. He justifieth also hereby those that had slain the seventy young princes at his command, upon the same account; and freeth the rest of the people from their fears, when he saith, Ye be righteous; that is, I pronounce you innocent; think not that I intend any harm to you, …, for they, seeing his severity against Ahab’s family and familiars, might fear, as the Romans did concerning Sulla, that there would be των φονων ουτ αριθμος, ουθ ορος ; no end or measure of his bloodshed. Plutarch.

Verse 10

Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done [that] which he spake by his servant Elijah.

Know now.Non meo instinctu, sod Dei impulsu factum, that it is not my doings, but the Lord’s; neither is it to be accounted cruelty in me, but zeal and justice, since by my default (see that it do not by yours.)

There shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the Lord … concerning the house of Ahab. — Think the same of any other of God’s threatenings, which shall surely have their accomplishment, Zephaniah 3:5 neither is his forbearance any quittance.

Verse 11

So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.

So Jehu slew all. — Neither was this cruelty, but zeal and justice; because according to God’s will, which is the rule of righteousness. There cannot be a better or more noble act, than to do justice upon obstinate malefactors. Cic., pro Rabir. It was therefore without good reason that the Roman laws forbade the common executioner, as accursed, to dwell within the city, or to draw breath therein. Doth not God truss up notoriously wicked men sometimes with his own bare hand? and are not his angels executioners of his judgments, as on the Sodomites, Sennacherib, …?

And his priests. — His household chaplains: and had not Baal’s priests now some cause to be afraid of Jehu?

Until he left none remaining. — This had been well done, but that he had ill aims; and so there was malum opus in bona materia. Works materially good, may never prove so formally and eventually.

Verse 12

And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. [And] as he [was] at the shearing house in the way,

And as he was at the shearing house. — Or, Slaughter house. Heb., Bethhekedi of the shepherds; locus ligaminis.

Verse 13

Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who [are] ye? And they answered, We [are] the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen.

And Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah. — That is, his nephews and near kindred: for his brethren were all carried away by the Arabians. 2 Chronicles 21:17

Verse 14

And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, [even] two and forty men; neither left he any of them.

And slew them at the pit. — Because they also were of the house of Ahab, 2 Chronicles 22:8 and lest they should revenge the death of Ahaziah. See on 2 Kings 10:6 .

Neither left he any of them. — See on 2 Kings 10:11 .

Verse 15

And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab [coming] to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart [is] with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give [me] thine hand. And he gave [him] his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot.

He lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab. — A Kenite of Jethro’s stock, 1 Chronicles 2:55 famous for his piety and holy life, and highly esteemed of the people. See Jeremiah 35:6 . Josephus saith, that he was of Jehu’s old acquaintance. Whether he were or not, now he desires his approbation, and therefore takes him along.

Is thine heart right, as my heart is? — Here he prefers himself before Jonadab; whereas sincerity is better conceited of another, suspicious of itself. See John 21:15 .

And Jehonadab answered, It is. — Heb., It is and it is; i.e., Assuredly it is.

Verse 16

And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot.

Come with me, and see my zeal. — It is good policy to join friendship with the religious: as his counsel was to agree to Gregories Austin, if he were humble. Act. and Mon., p. 107. [Sic.(?) Gregory the First’s letter to Austin, Act. and Mon., 131.] But why should Jehu so desire that his zeal Sincere zeal desireth not to be seen of any save him who seeth in secret. should be noted and noticed? Hypocrisy is very ostentatious. Drones make more noise than bees, though they make neither honey nor wax. It is reported of Mr John Fox, that as he was going along London streets, a woman of his acquaintance met with him; and as they discoursed together, she pulled out a Bible, telling him that she was going to hear a sermon; whereupon he said to her, If you will be advised by me, go home again. But, said she, when shall I then go? To whom he answered, When you tell no one of it.

Verse 17

And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the LORD, which he spake to Elijah.

He slew all that remained. — See on 2 Kings 10:11 .

Verse 18

And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; [but] Jehu shall serve him much.

But Jehu shall serve him much. — This he spake, that he might the better get together all Baal’s priests and worshippers. When a man for a little space only seemeth to allow a fault, that shortly after he may the better manifest his dislike by effecting some good, this is not to do evil that good may come thereof; but to do good in a prudent manner. Thus Solomon seemed to intend the dividing of the child, for the finding out of the true mother. And thus Constantius, father of Constantine the Great, that he might discern which of his courtiers were true and hearty Christians, proclaimed, that such as would not sacrifice to the heathen idols should be turned out of their offices, and those that would do so, should still enjoy them. This he pretended, but did the clean contrary; and gave this for a reason, How can any be faithful to me that, for preferment’s sake, turn from the living God to worship dumb idols? Euseb., De Vit. Const., lib. i. cap. 9, 10.

Verse 19

Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice [to do] to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did [it] in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal.

All the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests. — Baal had his prophets, his priests, and his servants, as Jehovah had. His priests also had their vestments; 2 Kings 10:22 Faciunt et vespae favos: simiae imitantur homines.

Verse 20

And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed [it].

Proclaim a solemn assembly. — See on 2 Kings 10:18 .

Verse 21

And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another.

And all the worshippers of Baal came. — It was wonder they should; since they could not but have heard of the slaughter of Ahab’s priests in Jezreel; but they were infatuated, and so fitted for destruction. With like boldness the Egyptians rushed into the Red Sea. Exodus 14:23

And the house of Baal was full from one end to another. — Or, So full that they stood mouth to mouth; their mouths did even almost touch. Ab ore ad os, vel ab ora ad oram. - Vat. It was wont to be so in our holy meetings, till the devil divided us, and made so many separatists among us, who run into by-corners. Hebrews 10:25

Verse 22

And he said unto him that [was] over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments.

Bring forth vestments. — See on 2 Kings 10:19 .

Verse 23

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

And Jehonabad the son of Rechab. — His presence might well have made the Baalites suspect a plot; for they knew him an utter enemy to their idolatry, and saw him now in great favour with Jehu; but they were besotted, as was before noted, and went on without fear or wit, as an ox to the slaughter, and as a fool to the stocks.

Search and look that there be here with you none. — This search also might well have made them suspect somewhat, were it not that in all those idolatrous services, the first care was to avoid the profane. Procul hinc, procul este profani, said the crier.

Verse 24

And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, 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.

To offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. — They would needs symbolise with the true servants of God in an apish imitation of all. See on ver. 2 Kings 10:19 ; 2 Kings 10:22 .

Verse 25

And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, [and] slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast [them] out, and went to the city of the house of Baal.

Go in, and slay them. — This was lawful and warrantable; for idolaters were to die by the law. But the poor Protestants in France have been oft served in like sort by the Guises and other bloody persecutors, against all right and reason.

And went to the city of the house of Baal. — That is, To a certain city near to Samaria, where Baal had a choice temple, saith Vatablus.

Verse 26

And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them.

And they brought forth the images, and burned them. — So they did here in King Edward VI’s reign; and the same day Musselburgh field in Scotland was won by the English.

Verse 27

And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day.

And brake down the house of Baal. — So Theodosius pulled down the idol temples, which Constantine had shut only, but Julian opened them again; and our Henry VIII demolished the abbeys and monasteries, using these words, Corvorum nidi sunt penitus disturbandi, ne iterum ad cohabitandum convolent: Those crows’ nests are to be utterly destroyed, that they be no more frequented and re-inhabited.

And made it a draught house. — Or, Jakes or out house. Here the Masorites put a more cleanly word in their Keri in the margin; as if they would prompt to the Holy Ghost a more mannerly speech. Dr Rich. Hebrew Text Note So they do in Deuteronomy 28:30 Jeremiah 3:2 . Less marvel, then, if they deal so with the words of Rabshakeh, Isaiah 36:12 .

Verse 28

Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.

Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. — This was well, but not all; his golden calves made an end of him, though he made an end of Baal’s worship. Many will follow God in such duties as will suit with them and their designs, but no further. The rusty hand of a dial, at some time of the day, seemeth to go right.

Verse 29

Howbeit [from] the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, [to wit], the golden calves that [were] in Bethel, and that [were] in Dan.

Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam … Jehu departed not. — Because if he had, it might have cost him his kingdom, to the settling whereof he had a hawk’s eye in all his reformations. Principes regionem potius quam religionem quaerunt, saith Chemnitius. It is said Turk. Hist., fol. 515. that Selymus, the great Turk, and Hismael, the Persian, did, under the colour and zeal of their religion, as they would have it, both pretend just causes of war; although their evil dissembled ambitious desires plainly declared unto the world, that they both shot at one and the same mark: namely, by confirming their power and strength, to extend the bounds of their great empires.

Verse 30

And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing [that which is] right in mine eyes, [and] hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that [was] in mine heart, thy children of the fourth [generation] shall sit on the throne of Israel.

And the Lord said unto Jehu,sc., By some prophet, but by whom, it skilleth not.

Because thou hast done well. — Well in its kind, for the matter not amiss; but for the motive, manner, and end, no whit well. To speak properly, Bonum non fit nisi ex integra causa, malum ex quolibet defectu.

The children of the fourth generation. — This was a favour not vouchsafed to any other king of Israel, since the division of the kingdom. God will not be indebted to any man; nor shall those that do or suffer aught for him, complain of a hard bargain.

Verse 31

But 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, which made Israel to sin.

With all his heart. — He had a dispensatory conscience, a rotten heart, and that was his ruin. A man may recover of a fever, and die of a dropsy; so he that leaveth some gross sin, yet huggeth a less, is an undone person.

For he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam. — No, though the Lord had made him such large promises, as 2 Kings 10:30 , compare 2 Corinthians 7:1 . Nevertheless he may as well deserve - as did Galba, and our Richard III - to be reckoned in the rank of bad men, but good princes.

Verse 32

In those days the LORD began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel;

The Lord began to cut Israel short. — By turning in the Syrians upon them, to waste their country.

And Hazael smote them. — Exercising those inhuman cruelties upon them foretold by Elisha, 2 Kings 8:12 and that in Jehu’s lifetime, res Israelis fuerunt accisae, notwithstanding all his might. 2 Kings 10:34 For his calf worship, his puissance was turned into pusillanimity, and his glory into shame. The like befell Henry IV of France, after that he turned Papist.

Verse 33

From Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which [is] by the river Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan.

All the land of Gilead. — A rich and fruitful country: not Ramothgilead only, lately recovered by Joram; but all that region beyond Jordan, held by the Syrians for about sixty years after. 2 Kings 14:25

Verse 34

Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

Are they not written? — See on 1 Kings 14:10 .

Verse 35

And Jehu slept with his fathers: and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead.

And Jehoahaz his son reigned. — By right of succession, as did after him Joash, Jeroboam, and Zachariah, by God’s appointment. Zuinghus held that all kingdoms now-a-days were elective, none properly successive and hereditary; wherein we deny not that he erred in facto, ut loquuntur, saith learned Rivet.

Verse 36

And the time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria [was] twenty and eight years.

Was twenty and eight years. — This was a longer time than any of his predecessors had reigned; his successors of his family reigned seventy-six years, which yet God calleth a little while, Hosea 1:4 and threateneth to break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel, Hosea 1:5 or, from Propter vallem Iezrehelis the valley of Jezreel; that is, for the slaughter of Ahab’s house there made by Jehu, as Junius readeth and senseth it.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/2-kings-10.html. 1865-1868.
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