Through the Bible Day by Day
And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's children, saying,
THE DOOM OF THE HOUSE OF AHAB
What an iconoclast was this Jehu! Before his strong hand the whole structure of Baal-worship received its death-blow. And as we meet Elijah’s name in this chapter, connecting him with these events, we turn back to the story of Horeb, with its solemn words: “And it shall come to pass that him that escapeth from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.” God has many nets, and if the fish escape one set of meshes, they will be caught by another-none shall finally escape. “Everyone shall give an account of himself to God.” See 2Ki_10:10.
It is a searching thought! Because men escape one judgment, they count themselves immune; but it is not so. He that escapes Hazael shall meet Jehu. “As if a man did flee from a lion and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him,” Amo_5:19. “There shall fall unto the earth nothing… which the Lord spake,” 2Ki_10:10. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation,” and trifle with such a God, whose love is as searching as His chastening wrath? Jer_16:16-17.
And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing house in the way,
WIPING OUT BAAL-WORSHIP
For the well-being of the race it is sometimes necessary to cut off evil-doers, lest they spread such a contagion of evil as to involve the whole body politic. The actual brethren of Ahaziah were slain by the Arabians, 2Ch_22:1. Jehu’s work seems to have been complemented by an invasion of the Bedouins: the men mentioned here were probably, as the margin suggests, cousins or acquaintances. “Brethren” is a wide word, covering many degrees of blood-relationship.
Jehonadab was head of a remarkable tribe, and himself a man of unusual strength of character. The influence of his example and precepts left its mark on following generations, 1Ch_2:55; Jer_35:1-19. Jehu evidently respected Jehonadab’s good opinion, and was careful to advertise his own zeal for Jehovah. But the really good man has no need to parade his excellencies; and certainly Jehu could not count that his manner of going to work would be acceptable to the Most High. He might have achieved the same results by less objectionable methods. We must, of course, remember that this Baal-worship was very licentious, and that every Israelite who entered that temple did so in direct defiance of repeated warnings from Elijah and others.
And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal.
JEHU’S OWN FAILURE
Jehu was earnest enough in uprooting all traces of Baal-worship, but he permitted the worship of the calves and was careless in the matter of personal religion, 2Ki_10:31. How much easier it is to see and rebuke the sins of others, than to take heed to our own ways! It is comparatively easy to detect and destroy the sinner, without personally yielding to the claims of God ourselves. The judge who administers the law may be a transgressor of it, and all the more keen in inflicting penalty as if to satisfy his own uneasy conscience. And we who utter God’s solemn warnings against sin must not yield in thought to the sins that we denounce in act.
The Israelites were short in their duty to God, and God cut them short in territory, in wealth, and in power. Hazael thus fulfilled Elisha’s anticipations, 2Ki_8:12. Those eastern tribes that were attracted by the fatness of the land and settled there first, were the first to suffer. Those who choose for this life only, are the first to deteriorate and perish. It was so with Lot!