Title: Cleaning Up After Ahab: Jehu and Joash
Feedback: This could probably be trimmed down a bit. It also felt kind of heavy with the emphasis on judgment early on
God will finally execute judgment on the household of Ahab.
- 1 Kings 19:16-18
- 16 Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet.
- 17 Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha!
- 18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”
- 1 Kings 21:19, 22-24
- 19 Give him this message: ‘This is what the LORD says: Wasn’t it enough that you killed Naboth? Must you rob him, too? Because you have done this, dogs will lick your blood at the very place where they licked the blood of Naboth!’
- 22 I am going to destroy your family as I did the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the family of Baasha son of Ahijah, for you have made me very angry and have led Israel into sin.’
- 23 And regarding Jezebel, the LORD says, ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body at the plot of land in Jezreel.’
- 24 The members of Ahab’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures.”
2 Kings 9
1 Meanwhile, Elisha the prophet had summoned a member of the group of prophets. “Get ready to travel,” he told him, “and take this flask of olive oil with you. Go to Ramoth-gilead,
2 and find Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. Call him into a private room away from his friends,
3 and pour the oil over his head. Say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: I anoint you to be the king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run for your life!”
4 So the young prophet did as he was told and went to Ramoth-gilead. 5 When he arrived there, he found Jehu sitting around with the other army officers. “I have a message for you, Commander,” he said.
“For which one of us?” Jehu asked.
“For you, Commander,” he replied.
6 So Jehu left the others and went into the house. Then the young prophet poured the oil over Jehu’s head and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I anoint you king over the LORD’s people, Israel.
7 You are to destroy the family of Ahab, your master. In this way, I will avenge the murder of my prophets and all the LORD’s servants who were killed by Jezebel.
8 The entire family of Ahab must be wiped out. I will destroy every one of his male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel.
9 I will destroy the family of Ahab as I destroyed the families of Jeroboam son of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahijah.
10 Dogs will eat Ahab’s wife Jezebel at the plot of land in Jezreel, and no one will bury her.” Then the young prophet opened the door and ran.
11 Jehu went back to his fellow officers, and one of them asked him, “What did that madman want? Is everything all right?”
“You know how a man like that babbles on,” Jehu replied.
12 “You’re hiding something,” they said. “Tell us.”
So Jehu told them, “He said to me, ‘This is what the LORD says: I have anointed you to be king over Israel.’ ”
13 Then they quickly spread out their cloaks on the bare steps and blew the ram’s horn, shouting, “Jehu is king!”
14 So Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi, led a conspiracy against King Joram. (Now Joram had been with the army at Ramoth-gilead, defending Israel against the forces of King Hazael of Aram.
15 But King Joram was wounded in the fighting and returned to Jezreel to recover from his wounds.) So Jehu told the men with him, “If you want me to be king, don’t let anyone leave town and go to Jezreel to report what we have done.”
16 Then Jehu got into a chariot and rode to Jezreel to find King Joram, who was lying there wounded. King Ahaziah of Judah was there, too, for he had gone to visit him. 17 The watchman on the tower of Jezreel saw Jehu and his company approaching, so he shouted to Joram, “I see a company of troops coming!”
“Send out a rider to ask if they are coming in peace,” King Joram ordered.
18 So a horseman went out to meet Jehu and said, “The king wants to know if you are coming in peace.”
Jehu replied, “What do you know about peace? Fall in behind me!”
The watchman called out to the king, “The messenger has met them, but he’s not returning.”
19 So the king sent out a second horseman. He rode up to them and said, “The king wants to know if you come in peace.”
Again Jehu answered, “What do you know about peace? Fall in behind me!”
20 The watchman exclaimed, “The messenger has met them, but he isn’t returning either! It must be Jehu son of Nimshi, for he’s driving like a madman.”
21 “Quick! Get my chariot ready!” King Joram commanded.
Then King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah rode out in their chariots to meet Jehu. They met him at the plot of land that had belonged to Naboth of Jezreel.
22 King Joram demanded, “Do you come in peace, Jehu?”
Jehu replied, “How can there be peace as long as the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother, Jezebel, are all around us?”
23 Then King Joram turned the horses around* and fled, shouting to King Ahaziah, “Treason, Ahaziah!”
24 But Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart, and he sank down dead in his chariot.
25 Jehu said to Bidkar, his officer, “Throw him into the plot of land that belonged to Naboth of Jezreel. Do you remember when you and I were riding along behind his father, Ahab? The LORD pronounced this message against him:
26 ‘I solemnly swear that I will repay him here on this plot of land, says the LORD, for the murder of Naboth and his sons that I saw yesterday.’ So throw him out on Naboth’s property, just as the LORD said.”
27 When King Ahaziah of Judah saw what was happening, he fled along the road to Beth-haggan. Jehu rode after him, shouting, “Shoot him, too!” So they shot Ahaziah in his chariot at the Ascent of Gur, near Ibleam. He was able to go on as far as Megiddo, but he died there. 28 His servants took him by chariot to Jerusalem, where they buried him with his ancestors in the City of David.
29 Ahaziah had become king over Judah in the eleventh year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab.
30 When Jezebel, the queen mother, heard that Jehu had come to Jezreel, she painted her eyelids and fixed her hair and sat at a window.
31 When Jehu entered the gate of the palace, she shouted at him, “Have you come in peace, you murderer? You’re just like Zimri, who murdered his master!”*
32 Jehu looked up and saw her at the window and shouted, “Who is on my side?” And two or three eunuchs looked out at him.
33 “Throw her down!” Jehu yelled. So they threw her out the window, and her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. And Jehu trampled her body under his horses’ hooves.
34 Then Jehu went into the palace and ate and drank. Afterward he said, “Someone go and bury this cursed woman, for she is the daughter of a king.”
35 But when they went out to bury her, they found only her skull, her feet, and her hands.
36 When they returned and told Jehu, he stated, “This fulfills the message from the LORD, which he spoke through his servant Elijah from Tishbe: ‘At the plot of land in Jezreel, dogs will eat Jezebel’s body.
37 Her remains will be scattered like dung on the plot of land in Jezreel, so that no one will be able to recognize her.’ ”
Next Jehu goes to work on all of Ahab’s other sons, the potential heirs to the kingdom…
1 Ahab had seventy sons living in the city of Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the elders and officials of the city, and to the guardians of King Ahab’s sons. He said,
2 “The king’s sons are with you, and you have at your disposal chariots, horses, a fortified city, and weapons. As soon as you receive this letter,
3 select the best qualified of your master’s sons to be your king, and prepare to fight for Ahab’s dynasty.”
4 But they were paralyzed with fear and said, “We’ve seen that two kings couldn’t stand against this man! What can we do?”
5 So the palace and city administrators, together with the elders and the guardians of the king’s sons, sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants and will do anything you tell us. We will not make anyone king; do whatever you think is best.”
6 Jehu responded with a second letter: “If you are on my side and are going to obey me, bring the heads of your master’s sons to me at Jezreel by this time tomorrow.” Now the seventy sons of the king were being cared for by the leaders of Samaria, where they had been raised since childhood. 7 When the letter arrived, the leaders killed all seventy of the king’s sons. They placed their heads in baskets and presented them to Jehu at Jezreel.
8 A messenger went to Jehu and said, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.”
So Jehu ordered, “Pile them in two heaps at the entrance of the city gate, and leave them there until morning.”
9 In the morning he went out and spoke to the crowd that had gathered around them. “You are not to blame,” he told them. “I am the one who conspired against my master and killed him. But who killed all these? 10 You can be sure that the message of the LORD that was spoken concerning Ahab’s family will not fail. The LORD declared through his servant Elijah that this would happen.”
Now that all of Ahab’s descendents are dead, he has fulfilled his commission that he was given at his anointing. But he’s not done yet…
11 Then Jehu killed all who were left of Ahab’s relatives living in Jezreel and all his important officials, his personal friends, and his priests. So Ahab was left without a single survivor.
Then he meets some relatives of King Ahaziah who were going to visit Jezebel and Joram…
12 Then Jehu set out for Samaria. Along the way, while he was at Beth-eked of the Shepherds, 13 he met some relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. “Who are you?” he asked them.
And they replied, “We are relatives of King Ahaziah. We are going to visit the sons of King Ahab and the sons of the queen mother.”
14 “Take them alive!” Jehu shouted to his men. And they captured all forty-two of them and killed them at the well of Beth-eked. None of them escaped.
15 When Jehu left there, he met Jehonadab son of Recab, who was coming to meet him. After they had greeted each other, Jehu said to him, “Are you as loyal to me as I am to you?”
“Yes, I am,” Jehonadab replied.
“If you are,” Jehu said, “then give me your hand.” So Jehonadab put out his hand, and Jehu helped him into the chariot.
16 Then Jehu said, “Now come with me, and see how devoted I am to the LORD.” So Jehonadab rode along with him.
At this point you’ve got to wonder if Jehu is over the line. Is this devotion to the Lord? Or is he securing his own position?
17 When Jehu arrived in Samaria, he killed everyone who was left there from Ahab’s family, just as the LORD had promised through Elijah.
Then, Jehu goes to work on the Baal priests…
18 Then Jehu called a meeting of all the people of the city and said to them, “Ahab’s worship of Baal was nothing compared to the way I will worship him!
19 Therefore, summon all the prophets and worshipers of Baal, and call together all his priests. See to it that every one of them comes, for I am going to offer a great sacrifice to Baal. Anyone who fails to come will be put to death.” But Jehu’s cunning plan was to destroy all the worshipers of Baal.
20 Then Jehu ordered, “Prepare a solemn assembly to worship Baal!” So they did.
21 He sent messengers throughout all Israel summoning those who worshiped Baal. They all came—not a single one remained behind—and they filled the temple of Baal from one end to the other.
22 And Jehu instructed the keeper of the wardrobe, “Be sure that every worshiper of Baal wears one of these robes.” So robes were given to them.
23 Then Jehu went into the temple of Baal with Jehonadab son of Recab. Jehu said to the worshipers of Baal, “Make sure no one who worships the LORD is here—only those who worship Baal.”
24 So they were all inside the temple to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty of his men outside the building and had warned them, “If you let anyone escape, you will pay for it with your own life.”
25 As soon as Jehu had finished sacrificing the burnt offering, he commanded his guards and officers, “Go in and kill all of them. Don’t let a single one escape!” So they killed them all with their swords, and the guards and officers dragged their bodies outside.* Then Jehu’s men went into the innermost fortress of the temple of Baal.
26 They dragged out the sacred pillar* used in the worship of Baal and burned it.
27 They smashed the sacred pillar and wrecked the temple of Baal, converting it into a public toilet, as it remains to this day.
28 In this way, Jehu destroyed every trace of Baal worship from Israel.
This was a major blow to Baal worship. From this point forward Baal worship in Israel tended to go underground in sort of a syncretism with worship of Yahweh—a practice that Hosea would denounce.
Now we see God’s verdict on the reign of Jehu…
29 He did not, however, destroy the gold calves at Bethel and Dan, with which Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to sin.
30 Nonetheless the LORD said to Jehu, “You have done well in following my instructions to destroy the family of Ahab. Therefore, your descendants will be kings of Israel down to the fourth generation.”
So he gives him a relatively long reign: 28 years (841–814 BC), and inaugurates a dynasty that would last a total of 5 generations and about 100 years.
31 But Jehu did not obey the Law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit.
So God begins to reduce the footprint of Israel, in spite of Jehu’s attempts to buy help from Assyria:
Jehu attempted to buy some help from Assyria by paying tribute to Shalmaneser III. That event is pictured on the Black Obelisk in a relief from the campaign of 841 BC. An inscription names “Jehu, son of Omri,” as the one kneeling before Shalmaneser.
32 At about that time the LORD began to cut down the size of Israel’s territory. King Hazael conquered several sections of the country…
Lessons from the life of Jehu
- God will judge. God is a God of justice who will punish evil. And he is especially upset about guys like Ahab and Joram, who were supposed to lead his people toward God, but instead led them in the opposite direction, committing great injustice along the way.
Q: What points would you make to someone who was having trouble coming to grips with the justice and judgment of God?
Q: What problems might someone develop in their spiritual lives if they failed to understand the justice of God?
- But he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
- Ezek 33:11 – As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?
- Hosea 1:4 – I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.
Q: On the other hand, what problems might develop if you overemphasize the justice of God at the expense of His love and mercy?
- One the one hand, Jehu went too far (savagery). But on the other hand he didn’t go far enough (eliminating Jeroboam’s golden calves). I think this portrays some of the self-seeking undertones of his reforms. He eliminated the people who would have threatened his reign. But he also kept the calves, which he should have eliminated. But if he had removed those, people would have had to go to Judah to worship, which was exactly why Jeroboam had set them up in the first place. So it’s not enough to go halfway in devotion to God. We’ve got to go the whole way, completely trusting him.
(Consider summarizing this depending on how long the teaching has gone at this point…)
1 When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of the royal family.
2 But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah, so the child was not murdered.
3 Joash remained hidden in the Temple of the LORD for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land.
After six years in hiding the bring out Joash to be king…
12 Then Jehoiada brought out Joash, the king’s son, placed the crown on his head, and presented him with a copy of God’s laws. They anointed him and proclaimed him king, and everyone clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”
Athaliah objects but is executed…
14b …When Athaliah saw all this, she tore her clothes in despair and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”
17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people that they would be the LORD’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people.
18 And all the people of the land went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols to pieces, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
Jehoiada the priest stationed guards at the Temple of the LORD.
21 Joash was seven years old when he became king.
He implemented several reforms, including repairs to the temple. Jehoiada the priest was a great advisor and had a powerful influence throughout Joash’s life
He did well until the end of his life. After the death of Jehoiada we seem Joash slip into compromise. He plunders the temple to try to pay off Hazael to keep him from attacking Judah. Finally he was assassinated by his new advisors—the ones who he accumulated after the death of Jehoiada.
One important lesson we learn from the life of Joash is the importance of good advisors. But also, in our role in helping other people spiritually, we need to make sure to cultivate deep convictions so that they continue to follow God when we’re not around anymore.
“Second Chronicles 24:15–27 informs us that when godly Jehoiada died (at the age of 130), the king began to backslide and actually went into idolatry. Unfortunately, this leader’s faith was tied to another leader and not to the Lord directly. God sent prophets to warn the king, but he would not listen. One of these prophets was Zechariah, the son of the high priest Jehoiada and Joash’s cousin (2 Chron. 22:11); instead of listening to him, Joash commanded him to be stoned in the temple court. Jesus referred to this murder in Matt. 23:34–35.” (Wiersbe)
 Walter A. Elwell and Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale reference library, 678 (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001).