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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 10

Verse 1

2 Kings 10:1. Sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel From the context some have thought, that the letters were sent to the rulers of Samaria; and this they think the more probable, as the LXX render it Samaria, and not Jezreel. Le Clerc conjectures, that the rulers of Jezreel, who had the care of Ahab's children, might have been fled with them to Samaria. In the Vulgate it is read, to the nobles, or chief men of the city; a reading which Houbigant follows, and thinks is confirmed by the 5th verse. See his note, and Pilkington's Remarks.

Verse 6

2 Kings 10:6. Take ye the heads, &c.— Besides the accomplishment of the divine decree, Jehu had a further design in requesting this cruel service of the rulers, and elders, and great men of the nation; namely, hereby to involve them in the same crime and conspiracy with himself. For by prevailing with them to murder Ahab's kinsmen in this manner, he bound them so closely to his interest, that if any of the inferior people had been inclined to oppose his designs, they were by this means deprived of any man of distinction to head them; and not only so, but by this expedient Jehu thought that he might, in a great measure, lessen, if not entirely remove, the odium of his own cruel and perfidious conduct; for this is the meaning of his appeal to the people, 2 Kings 10:9. Ye be righteous, &c. as if he had said, "I own, indeed, that I was a great instrument in taking off the late king; but am I more culpable than are the friends, the counsellors, the officers of Ahab? I pretend not to conceal my fault; but the approbation which the principal men of the nation have given it, in taking up arms against the house of Ahab, and the wonderful success which has attended this enterprize of mine, do they not afford a certain proof that God has raised me up to execute his decree in this respect, and ought you not to acknowledge, in this case, the interposition of his hand?" See Calmet.

Verse 15

2 Kings 10:15. Jehonadab, the son of Rechab See the notes on Jeremiah 35:0 and Bedford's Script. Chronol. l. vi. c. 2. To give the hand, signifies to promise. When, therefore, we are told, that Jehu asked Jehonadab to give him his hand, we are not to suppose it was that he might assist him in getting up into the chariot, but that Jehonadab would give him an assurance that he would assist him in the prosecution of his designs. See Pilkington's Remarks, and Ezra 10:19.

Verse 21

2 Kings 10:21. So that there was not a man left that came not It may be asked, how all the worshippers of Baal could be induced, after Jehu's conduct, to assemble together? To which it may be replied, that as Jehu was a person of known indifference in matters of religion, (see the note on 2 Kings 10:31.) who in this respect had always conformed to the humours of the court, and in the reign of king Ahab had been a strenuous worshipper of Baal; the people could not tell, when they read his proclamation of a great feast to Baal, but that he had returned in good earnest to the religion which he once embraced, and only deserted for a while in complacency to others. But whether they deluded themselves into this persuasion or not, they knew by experience that Jehu was a man of a fierce and bloody temper, who would not fail to put his threats in execution; and therefore reading in the same proclamation, Whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live, 2Ki 10:19 they found themselves reduced to this sad dilemma, either to go or die; and therefore they thought it the wisest method to run the hazard, and throw themselves upon his mercy; having this at least to plead for themselves, that they were not disobedient to his commands. See Calmet and Poole.

Verse 22

2 Kings 10:22. Bring forth vestments It was the custom of almost all idolaters, to be very curious about the external pomp of their ceremonies, wherein, indeed, the chief part of their worship consisted. All the priests of Baal were clothed in fine linen, and their chief priest, no doubt, had some particular ornaments to distinguish them. Baal and Astarte were Phoenician deities; and therefore, as Silius Italicus, lib. 1: in his description of the feasts of Hercules, has given us an account in what manner the Phoenician priests, when in their offices, were habited, we have reason thence to suppose that the dress of the prices of Baal was much of the same kind. The worshippers of Baal, in the text, probably do not mean all the people in general, because they wore no distinct garments in their worship, either of GOD or Baal, but the priests and ministers only. These were the great support of the present idolatry; and therefore Jehu might conclude, that if he did but once destroy them, all the common worshippers would fall away of course. However, taking the words servants and worshippers (2 Kings 10:19; 2 Kings 10:21.) in their utmost latitude, the temple of Baal, which was built in the capital city, and near the royal palace, and, being the chief in its kind, was designed for the use of the king and queen, and particularly for such great and high solemnities, might be large and capacious enough to contain them all. For, beside the principal building, there might be several outward courts, as there were to the temple at Jerusalem, where the people stood while they worshipped, as they did in the temple-service; and these, together with the temple itself, might afford sufficient space for all the idolaters of that kind, both ministers and people, that were then in the whole kingdom: for, since the days of Ahab, by the ministry of Elijah, Elisha, and the rest of the prophets, as well as by the slaughter which Hazael in his wars against Israel had made among many of them, the number of Baal's worshippers had been greatly diminished. See Patrick and Poole.

Verse 25

2 Kings 10:25. And the captains cast them out And the captains were dismissed. Houbigant.

REFLECTIONS.—Jehu with indefatigable diligence pursues his blow; and as he drives to Samaria,

1. He meets Jehonadab the son of Rechab, a man of eminent piety, coming to congratulate him on his accession, and to encourage him to perfect what he had begun. Jehu with all respect salutes him, and inquires if Jehonadab as heartily espoused his cause, as he reverenced and respected him. On receiving the warmest assurances of his good wishes, Jehu invites him into his chariot, that he may be convinced of his zeal in the Lord's cause; and by the presence of so good a man, no doubt, concludes to gain the greater reputation to himself. Note; (1.) It is a question that we need often put to ourselves and each other, Is thine heart right? upright and sincere in God's service. All profession of zeal without that, is but hypocrisy and design. (2.) Whenever there appears an outward fair profession of zeal for God, a good man cannot but charitably wish success, and countenance the work. Hearts must be left to God's searching. (3.) They who boast much of their zeal give cause to suspect their sincerity. (4.) Many will appear to serve God, as long as their own interest is advanced thereby, whose zeal quickly cools when they can no longer serve themselves.

2. Having destroyed at Samaria all Ahab's friends and family, as he had done at Jezreel, he contrives how at a stroke to cut off the worshippers of Baal from the land. The design was good, but the lie which paved the way was evil. Professing an uncommon zeal for the worship of Baal, which during Joram's reign; who had removed the image of Baal, might have been less public and solemn, he convokes all the priests, and perhaps also all the zealous worshippers of Baal, to Samaria, to partake of a great sacrifice which he intends to their God, threatening death to the man who should be found wanting. This collected a vast concourse, the gates of Baal's temple are open, the house thronged, and all the worshippers dressed for the solemn service: and now pretending zeal for the purity of the sacrifice, lest any servants of Jehovah should have mingled with them, he orders strict search to be made. All things being ready, guards are placed at the avenues, that not a man may escape: every soul is massacred in the temple, the building laid in ruins, the images burnt, and the worship of Baal for the time utterly exterminated. Note; (1.) The wisdom of the serpent may be lawfully used in the cause of God, provided none of the poison of the serpent mingles therewith. (2.) The executioners of God's vengeance, more terrible than Jehu's guards, will shortly without mercy execute their commission on every servant of iniquity. (3.) God's curse, though long oppressed, will rise victorious at the last; and when Jesus shall have cast the wicked into hell, then shall he reign over his saints gloriously.

Verse 31

2 Kings 10:31. But Jehu took no heed, &c.— Jehu indeed made great ostentation of his zeal for the Lord; and it must be acknowledged, that for his performance of the divine commands in this respect, he received commendations from God: yet he was still a bad man, though he did well in executing that which was right in the sight of the Lord, as to the abolition of the worship of Baal; for, his obstinate persistance in the sin of Jeroboam may be justly alleged against him as an argument of his false-heartedness in all his other actions. The reasons why he continued in this kind of idolatry were much the same with him, as they were with the first institutor of it; namely, lest, by permitting his subjects to go to the place appointed for divine worship, he might open a door for their return to the obedience of the house of David; and not only so, but disoblige likewise a great part of the nobility of the nation, who by this time had been long accustomed, and were warmly affected, to the worship of the golden calves. Herein, however, he made a clear discovery of his folly and his sin, in not daring to trust God with the preservation of that kingdom which he had so freely bestowed upon him. The truth is, Jehu was a bold, wicked, furious, and implacable man; but a man of this complexion, considering the work he was to be set about, was a proper instrument to be employed; and so far is it from tending to the reproach, that it is infinitely to the glory of God, that he can make use of such boisterous and unruly passions of mankind for the accomplishment of his just designs; Psalms 76:10. This he plainly did in the case of Jehu: for, after the Lord had settled him in the possession of a kingdom, and found that he still persisted in his political idolatry, he brought down the king of Assyria upon him, who smote the coasts of Israel, and quite wasted all that part of his kingdom which lay beyond the river Jordan. See the next verses, and Poole.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/2-kings-10.html. 1801-1803.