It’s been a long time since anyone was anointed as king, but here we read about Elisha sends one of his young prophets to anoint Jehu as king of Israel.
“The take the flask and pour the oil on his head and declare, ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run; don’t delay!” 2 Kings 9:3
The young prophet anoints Jehu with a mission: destroy the entire house of Ahab, including a horrible death for Jezebel, for all their treachery.
When Jehu went out to his fellow officers, one of them asked him, “Is everything all right? Why did this maniac come to you?” 2 Kings 9:11
It’s interesting to note that Jehu is one of the officers, not “the” officer. Also, the disdain they have for the company of prophets is evident by referring to the “maniac” that bolted in and bolted out. It had to look kinda crazy!
The message was clear and the officers fell in line behind Jehu to prosecute the words of the prophet. So, even though they mocked the maniac, they took his words seriously–in a big way.
First task, kill Joram and Ahaziah, king of Israel and Judah. Both were following the ways of Ahab reaching back for decades into the past, all very far from serving the Lord. Jehu is certainly inspired by the Holy Spirit.
When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”
“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel around?” 2 Kings 9:22
Joram and Ahaziah got the message! The ran like crazy, but Jehu’s arrow was precise and Joram was shot between the shoulders, piercing this heart–dead. Ahaziah must have been quicker, because the chase took a while, but he was wounded in the flight and died in Megiddo.
Next on the todo list: Jezebel. I have to think by this time Jezebel is pretty old. She hears about Jehu, so she fixes her hair and puts on eye makeup to appeal to him, but Jehu has nothing to do with her, he didn’t come for a conversation.
“Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot. 2 Kings 9:33
There Jezebel was devoured by animals, nothing left but her skull and hands.
Chapter 10 provides a summary of the demise of Ahab’s family. First the 70 royal princes are killed, their heads delivered in baskets the set in “two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning” (2 Kings 10:8). Jehu killed all of the house of Ahab–left no survivor.
Jehu came upon Jehonadab and added him to his ranks to “see my zeal for the Lord” (2 Kings 10:16). Their task: destroy the prophets of Baal. Their method: pretend to have a huge Baal Worship event at the temple–everyone must come! After hearing what Jehu has done, I’m sure they were eager to do whatever he had to tell them, so yes, they all came.
Then he sent word throughout Israel, and all the servants of Baal came; not one stayed away. They crowded into the temple of Baal until is was full from one end to the other. 2 Kings 10:21
Jehu made quite a spectacle of the entire affair, making sacrifices and probably leading the worship team! They were all oblivious to the plot that was about to unfold.
So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit–the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. 2 Kings 10:28-29
The Lord blessed Jehu by assuring him his “descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation” (2 Kings 10:30). But Jehu didn’t keep the law of the Lord, he did not turn away from the idols of Jeroboam. For 28 years he ruled as king of Israel.
We’re still only in the first half of 2 Kings and the wayward ways of Israel and Judah are so far from the plan that the Lord set in motion with Moses. This is God’s chosen people. No longer slaves in Egypt or lost in the desert. They are in the Promised Land, free to choose, and choose they did.
I can’t help but wonder about the choices we make from our place of comfort and freedom. How will our history be written? These we read about were not stupid people. I imagine they were charismatic and intelligent leaders of their time, yet when we look back, all that’s recorded is failure after failure. Lord help us to keep you the center of our lives!