In following up the commission Jehu had received from the Lord for the destruction of Ahab's house, we are told in this chapter how he caused 70 of his sons to be beheaded. He destroyeth, the worshippers of Baal. But yet himself, the close of the chapter relates, departed not from the sins of Jeroboam.
Reader! do not fail to connect with this view of the slaughter of Ahab's sons (or grandsons more likely) that solemn denunciation of God in the second commandment. Exodus 20:5. And recollect also, that as sin is the sad inheritance entailed upon our whole nature from the first wretched transgressor; so punishment is also connected with it. Romans 5:12. Oh! sweet is it to behold our inheritance in another Adam from the opposite holiness of his nature. Precious Jesus! how much more hath the grace of God, and the gift by grace which is by thee, abounded unto many. Romans 5:15-17.
We may learn wisdom from men of the world, for our Lord tells us, that the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. Oh! that we might learn from hence how vain and unprofitable all opposition to the Lord is, when neither the great, nor the mighty, among the kings of the earth can stand before him. See that striking Ps 2; Luke 16:8.
It is well worthy the Reader's observation, that those very elders of Samaria had been the same time-serving creatures at the command of Jezebel respecting the murder of Naboth, when she sent letters in Ahab's name to procure Naboth's death, And as the punishment of the house of Ahab, the murder of Naboth is again and again mentioned as among the causes; who but would wish to connect in the review of the whole the awful finger of God. See 1 Kings 21:1-15.
While we read in this account how Jehu waded through blood, I pray the reader to keep in view that he acted as the instrument of the Lord. The commission was from heaven. And when we take into the account how Ahab by his idolatry had been ruining the souls as well as the bodies of Israel, surely such daring impiety called for more than ordinary vengeance!
As these were of the family of Ahab, no doubt they were partakers of his idolatry, and justly therefore involved in the punishment.
The honorable testimony the Holy Ghost hath given of this man in another part of sacred scripture, demands our attention. The prophet Jeremiah speaks of him in great commendation as the honored father of the house of the Rechabites at a period distant from this above 300 years. And when we behold him coming out of his retirement to thank Jehu for his services to the Lord; it may serve to leach us that in the worst of times the Lord hath a seed that serve him in the earth, See Jeremiah 35:19.
Poor Jehu did not, it is plain, know the real motives of his heart when he said this; for the Holy Ghost tells us in 2 Kings 10:29, that Jehu himself was an idolator. Reader! oh! that the blessed Spirit may teach us the truth of that solemn scripture; that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Jeremiah 17:9. Blessed Jesus! how very precious art thou to my soul in the view of this. Cleanse, Lord, the thoughts of my heart, and wash it in thy blood.
Jehu, as the Lord's minister in the destruction of idols, is graciously upheld in this service. And, hence all the worshippers of Baal were blinded to their own destruction. But, Reader! do observe, for it is a sweet part of this history, how the Lord overruled this event for the preservation of his hidden ones. There were seven thousand of the seed of the faithful in Israel in Elijah's time, as the Lord told him, though he, poor man, thought himself the only one. And no doubt there were many at this time when Jehu accomplished the Lord's purpose upon Baal. Reader! let it serve to teach us that the Lord knoweth how to preserve his people in times of visitation. His chambers of safety are opened for them when shut to others. And mark this; when God hides his people he surely manifests himself. 1 Kings 19:18.
What a sad account is this! Though Jehu had grace to destroy Baal, he had not virtue to resist the golden calves of idolatry. Alas! what is man in his highest attainments! Oh! dearest Lord Jesus, where shall we look for perfection but to thee! Be thou my righteousness, wisdom, sanctification; for in thee I have all things.
Jehu had done right in God's eyes in destroying the idols, and his reward was suited to it in temporal mercies to him and his children to the fourth generation. Here is nothing said in all this of any gracious act in the mind of Jehu, or of any gracious blessing from the Lord in consequence. Very evident, it is, from Jehu's following the sins of Jeroboam, that no act of grace had passed upon his heart. Many are blessed in the gifts of common providences, which are not made partakers of a saving change of heart. The Lord may, and the Lord doth bestow the nether springs of his bounty on the men of the earth. His upper springs of grace springs belong to his children.
Here begins the melancholy history of Israel, leading to the Babylonish captivity. For though it was more than 300 years before that event took place, yet Israel's glory from this time began to grow dim. Idolatry prevailed: and the Lord visited their iniquities. This Elijah had foretold concerning Hazael. See 2 Kings 8:12-13.
Here is but a shot account of Jehu. He reigned 28 years, but how little is said of him. We are told in general of his might, but nothing of his love to God. Alas! what is the sum total, in the lives of thousands, more than this! Oh! Lord! so teach me to number my days as to apply my heart unto wisdom. Psalms 90:12.
READER! let us pause a moment over the perusal of this chapter, and, in the character of Jehu, mark the possibility of possessing great gifts, and great appearances of zeal for God's service, without any real possession of vital godliness. A man may cry out, as Jehu did, Come, see my zeal for the Lord; but if that zeal be truly put to the test, it will be as Solomon saith; as the fining pot for silver and the furnace for gold, so is a man to his praise. Let a man profess what he will, void of regeneration, yet all his performances spring from himself. A pool of water, when the rain descends plentifully, will swell and look large, but having no source, when the sun and the drought come on, it dries up. Oh! blessed Jesus! let all my zeal for thee and thy glory, arise from that well of water which thou hast promised, and which is from thyself, springing up unto everlasting life.
In the total overthrow of Ahab's family, mark, I beseech you, the sure termination of the ungodly. The Lord hath said in his covenant engagements, that he will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate him! Reader! do not forget; the same promise which becomes sure to the believer, because of the faithfulness of God, makes his threatenings to the unbeliever, equally sure and certain. The Lord is not slack (saith an apostle) concerning his promise, as some men count slackness. The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. Precious Jesus! where, in that tremendous day, would my soul find shelter, had I not thy righteousness to justify, and thy garment of salvation to cover me. Let a throne of grace witness for me, that now, even now I plead this, under all the accusations of conscience, the deceitfulness of a corrupt heart, the charges of Satan, and the threatnings of the broken law of God. And in that hour, when God shall arise to shake terribly the earth, then shall I plead it with full assurance of faith; nothing fearing any condemning sentence from my Judge, while standing secure in the justifying righteousness of God my Saviour, and triumphing in the covenant promises of my Father's sovereign grace. Lord Jesus! let the view of the treachery and deceitfulness of man's heart, as in the instance of Jehu, lead me to be everlastingly suspecting my own. And let a perfect conviction that thou, and thou only, art the righteousness of thy people, make me more and more earnest to know thee, to love thee, to live to thee, to walk in thee, to act faith upon thee, and to rejoice in thee as my portion, in time and to all eternity. Precious, precious Lord Jesus! even so, Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany