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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Jehu

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After Jezebel of Phoenicia had married King Ahab of Israel, she set about establishing her Phoenician Baalism as Israel’s official religion. God foretold through the prophet Elijah that Jehu would be his instrument to wipe out their dynasty and their Baalism (1 Kings 19:15-18; see BAAL).

Some years later, when Ahab’s son had become king and Jehu had risen in rank to become Israel’s army commander, a prophet anointed Jehu and declared him the new king (2 Kings 9:1-10). At that time Syria was attacking Israel, and Jehu was commanding Israel’s army on its eastern border at Ramoth-gilead. However, he did not hesitate to leave the battle and head west for Jezreel, where the Israelite king Jehoram (or Joram) was recovering from wounds received in battle (2 Kings 8:28-29; 2 Kings 9:1-2; 2 Kings 9:14; 2 Kings 9:16).

Joram’s mother Jezebel was with him at Jezreel; so was Judah’s king Ahaziah, who was a grandson of Ahab and Jezebel and a nephew of Joram. Swiftly and mercilessly Jehu killed them all (2 Kings 9:17-37). He ordered the execution of seventy other descendants of Ahab, and displayed their heads as a warning that the wrath of God would fall on any who opposed him (2 Kings 10:1-11). He also killed some relatives of Ahaziah whom he happened to meet (2 Kings 19:12-14). The climax of his anti-Baal activity was the cold-blooded massacre of any others he suspected of being Baal worshippers (2 Kings 10:15-27).

In wiping out the dynasty of Ahab, Jehu was driven more by his desire for power than by his devotion to God; for he himself still worshipped at the idol shrines that Jeroboam had earlier set up (2 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 10:31). In spite of this he received God’s reward for ridding Israel of Jezebel’s Baalism. In fulfilment of God’s promise, his dynasty lasted longer than any other in Israel. But people never forgot his butchery, and his dynasty was doomed to end, as it had begun, with violence (2 Kings 10:30; Hosea 1:4).

Jehu’s massacre of all the chief administrators left Israel’s government weak and unstable (2 Kings 10:11). His withdrawal from the eastern border left Israel open to attack from the Syrians (2 Kings 9:4-5; 2 Kings 9:14-16). Hazael of Syria quickly overran most of Israel’s eastern territory, and continued to trouble Israel throughout Jehu’s reign (2 Kings 10:32-35; cf. 2 Kings 8:12; 1 Kings 19:17).

Another man named Jehu was a prophet who announced God’s judgment upon an earlier Israelite king, Baasha (1 Kings 16:1; 1 Kings 16:7; 1 Kings 16:12). Later this same prophet brought God’s message to the Judean king Jehoshaphat. He also wrote the court record of Jehoshaphat’s reign (2 Chronicles 19:2; 2 Chronicles 20:34).


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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Jehu'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bbd/j/jehu.html. 2004.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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