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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
2 Kings 10

 

 

Verses 1-36

AHAB'S SONS KILLED

(vv.1-11)

Ahab had 70 sons in Samaria and Jehu was purposed to put them to death also. He chose the method of demanding by letter that the rulers and elders of Israel should choose one of Ahab's son as king to fight against Jehu (vv.1-3). The rulers were terrified by this proposal, for they knew Jehu would easily defeat them. They decided therefore to be the servants of Jehu and sent word to him that they would not make anyone king, but would submit to his authority (vv.4-5). Jehu took full advantage of this situation and wrote to them again, telling them to bring the heads of the sons of Ahab to him the next day. Thus Jehu was spared the work of killing them himself, for the rulers cut off the heads of these 70 sons and brought them in baskets to Jehu (vv.6-7).

Jehu gave orders to lay the heads in two heaps until morning (v.8), at the entrance of the gate. This was the most public place in the city, where all who entered or left the city would see them. Jehu did not shrink from causing such a display. One would think at least that the heads should have been buried, but Jehu went out in the morning and said to the people, "You are righteous. Indeed I conspired against my master and killed him; but who killed all these?" (v.9).

The answer was that they were killed because of Jehu's word, but Jehu implicated the people in this slaughter in order to unite them all under his authority. But he added what was certainly true, that nothing would fail of all that the Lord spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for He had already done what He had spoken by Elijah.

Not only Ahab's relatives were included in the purge of Jehu, but the great men in Ahab's government and other close associates and idolatrous priests (v.11).

AHAZIAH'S BROTHERS KILLED

(vv.12-14)

Jehu then, going to Samaria, met 42 men whom he asked who they were. They were the brothers of Ahaziah, the king of Judah, who had recently been killed, and they were coming to greet others of their family (v.13). Though they were not the direct descendants of Ahab, yet since Ahaziah was the grandson of Ahab, Jehu considered all of these identified with Ahab's sin and commanded that all 42 of these be taken and killed.

THE REST OF AHAB'S FAMILY KILLED

(vv.15-17)

Jehu intended to be altogether thorough in his judging the house of Ahab. On the way to Samaria he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab who was coming to meet Jehu. Jehonadab is spoken of in Jeremiah 35:6 as commanding his sons not to drink wine, not to build houses, not to sow seed or plant a vineyard, but to dwell in tents. The reason for this is evident. He recognised that the condition of Israel under Ahab was obnoxious to God and he wanted to separate himself and his family from such a condition. His sons honoured him, though this record in Jeremiah is some years later, when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Israel (Jeremiah 35:11).

Jehu questioned Jehonadab, who responded favourably to him, evidently because he knew that Jehu was carrying out the Word of the Lord against the evil of Israel. Jehu invited him into his chariot, telling him, "Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord" (v.15). Jehu was not exactly a humble man! - and actually his zeal was not altogether for the Lord, for it had a great deal of self mixed with it.

At Samaria Jehu finished the work of destroying all the family of Ahab (v.17). The number this involved was very large indeed, but it did not include Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, who was as wicked as her mother Jezebel. We may wonder why Jehu did not seek her out to kill her after he had killed her son and her mother. Of course she was at Jerusalem, not Samaria.

BAAL WORSHIPERS KILLED

(vv.18-28)

However, Jehu was not yet finished his work of destruction. He called the people together and told them, "Ahab served Baal a little, Jehu will serve him much" (v.18). Therefore he ordered that all the prophets, servants and priests of Baal should come to a solemn assembly that promised a great sacrifice for Baal. The people had no idea that Jehu was acting deceptively so as to have all Baal worshipers gathered together in order to destroy them (v.19).

When the notice was sent out, the worshipers of Baal came from every direction to fill the temple of Baal (v.21). To be sure there were only Baal worshipers there, Jehu ordered them to wear vestments (v.22). Then he and Jehonadab went in to tell these people to search among them to be sure there were no servants of the Lord there, but only worshipers of Baal (v.23). These worshipers began to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, but were interrupted by an invasion of 80 of Jehu's guards and captains, who slaughtered them with their swords. Also, they destroyed the idolatrous pillars by fire, then tore down the temple of Baal. Not only the people, but every detail of their idol worship must be destroyed. Thus Jehu destroyed the worship of Baal from Israel. His zeal was certainly unquestioned!

JEHU'S HALF-WAY OBEDIENCE

(vv.29-36)

Jehu's zeal for the Lord stopped short of abolishing the idolatrous worship of the golden calves in Bethel and Dan which had been introduced by Jereboam the son of Nebat (v.29). Yet the Lord did commend Jehu for having destroyed the worship and the worshipers of Baal and the house of Ahab. Because of this the Lord promised that the sons of Jehu would reign over Israel for the fourth generation (v.30). We might have expected that Jehu would be so thankful for God's grace toward him that he would have sought from that time to diligently obey God's Word. But he paid no attention to the law of God.

We hear no more of Jehu's exploits, but rather that the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel through the attacks of Hazael, king of Syria (v.32). Jehu was a determined warrior, but he evidently could not stand up to Hazael. Why not? Because his protection of idolatry in Israel rendered him weak before the onslaughts of the outside enemy. Thus Hazael conquered all Israel's land from Jordan eastward (v.33).

Verse 34 tells us that the rest of the acts of Jehu are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. This is not the scripture Book of Chronicles, which deals more with Judah than with Israel, and in this very little is said about Jehu. But at the death of Jehu he was buried in Samaria, and Jehoahaz his son took the throne. Jehu had reigned for 28 years, plenty of time for him to repent and bow to the Word of God, but he was not so inclined.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/2-kings-10.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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