Class Notes: 1/9/2013
God's response to the satanic attack is to use Jehu to destroy Ahab's dynasty in both kingdoms
In our study of the enmity between the serpent and his seed and the woman and her seed Gen 3:15; last time we saw the judgment God brought on the dynasty of Ahab because of their locked in negative volition and leading the people into the worship of Baal.
Last time we closed with the death of Jezebel at the hand of Jehu who had been anointed for the specific purpose of terminating the entire dynasty of Ahab. 2Kings 9:7-10;
The termination of the dynasty of Ahab involved the execution of 70 royal sons who were his direct descendants. This group obviously included Jehoram's sons plus grandsons from his sons and possibly some daughters.
The divine mandate, "Strike the house of Ahab your master … for the whole house of Ahab shall perish … and I will cut off from Ahab every male person," delegated to Jehu the power to execute the entire lot of these young men and boys.
However, the way that Jehu accomplished this mission showed that he wanted to do this in such a way that he would appear as not being directly involved in the slaughter so Jehu set them up. He may have done it this way because as the general of Israel's army and their uncle he was well known. He therefore wrote letters to the heirs' elders and guardians offering them a proposal:
2Kings 10:1; Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria (Jehoram's sons, their sons, and possibly the sons of some of Jehoram's unnamed daughters). And Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of Jezreel, the elders, and to the guardians of the children of Ahab, saying,
v 2 "And now, when this letter comes to you, since your master's sons are with you, as well as the chariots and horses and a fortified city and the weapons,
v 3 select the best and fittest of your master's sons, and set him on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house."
The implication is that you guys pick a king whom you believe is the best qualified among Ahab's heirs to lead Israel and then prepare to defend him against me. The further implication is that the contest will only be between Jehu and the son the elders select and all other sons will be spared.
But Jehu really never intended to do this because he knew that the elders and guardians would be forced to capitulate which they promptly did.
2Kings 10:4; But they feared greatly and said, "Behold, the two kings ( Jehoram and Ahaziah) did not stand before him; how then can we stand?"
v 5 And the one who was over the household, and the one who was over the city, the elders, and the guardians of the children, sent word to Jehu, saying, "We are your servants, all that you say to us we will do, we will not make any man king; do what is good in your sight."
If these leaders of Israel and protectors of the children had made a choice of one of Ahab's line to become king then this act would have aligned them all with the selected son. They knew that Jehu would easily defeat him and they, having selected him, they would also be terminated so they decided to simply let Jehu have his way with them.
2 Kings 10:6; Then Jehu wrote a letter to them a second time saying, "If you are on my side, and you will listen to my voice, take the heads of the men, your master's sons, and come to me at Jezreel tomorrow about this time." Now the king's sons, seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who were rearing them.
Imagine the shock these men felt on the arrival of this letter. They were the protectors, guardians, and, in essence, foster parents of these men and boys. They had been instrumental in their education and training and were their mentors. Now they were placed in a position of executing them all and then delivering their heads to Jehu in Jezreel by the next day.
The resultant bloodbath was not what the Lord had commanded. Jehu was assigned the duty of taking out the descendants of Ahab, not the elders and guardians. Jehu delegated the task to others who felt forced to comply.
These men were cowards. They should have refused and thereby forced Jehu to do it. Instead they murdered these seventy men and boys, and sent their heads to Jehu, and in hopes of preserving their own lives.
A principle arises from this: Those who are in positions of authority often assume their power allows them to make unilateral decisions without reference to legitimate rules of engagement.
This assumption is usually permissive of the lust pattern's craving for power that is also prone to incorporate other lust patterns. Crusader arrogance is a common result and it is often accompanied by self-righteous arrogance.
Left unrestrained these can lead a person to accommodate the lust to murder followed by the three arrogant skills of self self-deception, self-absorption, and self-justification;
Jehu self-justified his actions with the rationale that he had to delegate the slaughter of the royal sons so order could be restored and he could govern without fear of a reprisal.
He deceived himself into believing that the mandate to assassinate could be transferred to others. He also moved into self-absorption. He intended to remove any who might be a threat to his rule of the Northern Kingdom and the royal sons of Ahab were such a threat.
2Kings 10:8; When the messenger came and told him, saying, "They have brought the heads of the king's sons," Jehu said, "Put them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until morning."
The phrase "entrance of the gate" is important in understanding why Jehu gave this order. The word "gate" is the Hebrew noun: "sha'ar " that refers to the main gate of the city.
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), Volume 2: pages 945-946:
Sha'ar: Gate. Refers to the whole gate complex and to the open area on either side of it. It was the means of controlled access to a walled city. Depending on its size a city had varying numbers of gates, but always one main gate which often consisted of an outer and an inner gate.
The city gate was extremely important in the life of the people, for social, administrative, and business intercourse took place there. Here kings as well as city elders sat to administer justice (Deut 21:19;).
The square in front of the gate was the most natural congregating place, and it was here that the prophets frequently spoke to the people (2Kings 7:1;) and to kings (1Kings 22:10;).
Legal transactions took place here (Gen 23:10,18;), and it served as a marketplace as well (2 Kings 7:1;).The process of administration of justice was frequently referred to as "at the gate."
For the people of Jezreel, the elders of the city, the priests, and other officials to get the clear message that Jehu's ascendancy to the throne of Israel was secure and unchallenged then the obvious place to display the heads of the sons of Ahab was at the gate of the city's main entrance:
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament. John Walvoord, and Roy B. Zuck Victor Books, 1985, page 557: In the ancient Near East the practice of piling the heads of conquered subjects at the city gate was an effective way of demonstrating subjugation.
These men and boys had grown up in the city and were well known as the children of King Ahab and his son King Jehoram so most of the heads were probably easily recognizable to the people of Jezreel.
To those who saw them the sight of the frozen death-stare on their ashen faces was both shocking and frightening. Who had done such a thing and why? Jehu provided a duplicitous answer that he thought would defer blame from himself to the teachers of the now deceased royal line.
2Kings 10:9; Now it came about in the morning, that he went out and stood, and said to all the people, "You are innocent; behold, I conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these?"
Jehu 's first statement is designed to give comfort to the people by assuring them they were not being considered as suspects for the murder of the royal line. He admits that he is indeed the one who took out King Jehoram.
Having acknowledged this he implies the virtue of honesty that he then relies upon with his next statement. He claims not only to have had nothing to do with the slaughter of the princes but also claims that he has no idea who did.
The truth is that it was by his very order that the elders and guardians had carried out the bloody deed. But by pretending he was both innocent and ignorant he hoped to prevent anyone still loyal to the crown from leading an opposition against his coup.
He then appeals to the divine decrees suggesting that the ghastly circumstance may be explained under the rationale of, que, serà, serà: what will be, will be.
2Kings 10:10; "Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the Lord ( idiom for "nothing shall remain unfulfilled" ), which the Lord spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for the Lord has done what He spoke through His servant Elijah (1Kings 21:17-29;)."
It is true that the Lord did decree the end of the house of Ahab. However, He did not intend ruthlessness gruesome brutality camouflaged by projection, duplicity, and deceit.
Further, the Lord mentioned nothing about taking out the elders, guardians, priests, and officials, the very ones that Jehu had manipulated into carrying out the mass murder of the royal line.
However, after having identified himself with the Lord and the prophet Elijah, Jehu was able to create for himself the authority to take out the only ones who knew the truth about his treacherous scheme.
2 Kings 10:11; So Jehu killed all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men and his acquaintances and his priests, until he left Ahab without a survivor.
There was nothing in the divine directive to kill anyone outside the house of Ahab. The elders, guardians, officials, and cabinet members were not included in God's mandate so Jehu went beyond his legitimate authority by including them in his purge.
Jehu only possessed legitimate authority to be used for the specifically stated mission however he used the power he had in an unnecessary effort to secure his position and gain political advantage.
The Lord had ordered him to execute the house of Ahab and he should have done so himself without regard to public opinion. The Lord would have handled any adverse public reaction. Jehu is just another proof of the principle: Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.
Once Jehu had secured his holdings in Jezreel he and his men then rode off to Samaria to secure the capital.
2 Kings 10:12 - Then Jehu arose and departed, and went to Samaria. On the way while he was at Beth-eked of the shepherds,
v13 Jehu met the relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and said, "Who are you?" And they answered, "We are the relatives of Ahaziah; and we have come down to greet the sons of the king and the sons of the queen mother."
v14 And he said, "Take them alive." So they took them alive and killed them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two men; and he left none of them.
On the way from Jezreel to Samaria, Jehu meets up with a group of 42 men who are described in the KJV as being the as the "brothers of Ahaziah." The NIV and NASV give a better translation of "relatives." because these could not have been Ahaziah's brothers.
We have already seen 2Chron 21:14; where Elijah prophesied that the Lord would "strike your (Jehoram's) … sons …with a great calamity." This prophecy was fulfilled in verse 17 when they were taken hostage by the invading Philistine-Arabian coalition army and then, in 2Chron 22;1, were slain. The only survivor was the 22-year-old Ahaziah.
So these relatives were a combination of the children of Ahaziah's six slain uncles and their children and possibly half-brothers from among the wives of Jehoram's concubines and their children. 2Chron 21:1-4;
They explained their presence on the road north to Jezreel as a mission to go visit the "sons of the king and the sons of the queen mother." They had no idea that Jehu had carried out a coup and that he had assassinated both King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah.
They apparently knew that Jehoram had retired to Jezreel because of injuries sustained in the Battle of Ramoth-gilead and that Ahaziah had gone to check on him. But beyond this they knew nothing more, therefore meeting Jehu on the road to Samaria caused them no concern.
He was their uncle and a well known veteran of the Israeli army. Jehu however had been away from Judah a long time and therefore did not recognize his nephews who had grown from boys to men, so he asked who they were.
The nephews immediately told him they were the relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah, on their way to visit their Uncle Jehoram and Cousin Ahaziah.
Jehu immediately realized that because of his brother Jehoram's marriage to Athaliah that not only were these men his nephews but they posed another unresolved threat to the stability of his newly established regime so he wanted them dead.
Turning to his men he ordered them to capture the entire party and he had them executed in the pit of Beth-eked, a house for shearing sheep, on the highway to Samaria.
On this occasion Jehu's men slaughtered the remnants of the royal line of Ahab in Judah. All that were left alive were the small children of Ahaziah who for the moment remained safe in the palace in Jerusalem.
Next on Jehu's agenda were the reversionists who had taken up the worship of Baal. Here his subterfuge was put to good use since the job of identifying every worshiper of Baal would be extremely difficult.
Jehu's plan was ingenious and required using the insidious device of advancing a hidden agenda behind a rhetorical veil to in order to conceal his true objective. His rhetorical veil is presented in 2Kings 10:18; Then Jehu gathered all the people and said to them, "Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much."
Jehu's objective is to convince the people that he is also a follower of Baal. In order to identify those who followed Baal as opposed to those who followed the Lord he first identified himself as a follower of Baal.
When creating a rhetorical veil regardless of weather a statement of truth, a lie, or some combination of the two is used the purpose is to conceal the truth while advancing a hidden agenda. In this case it is a lie, although Jehu is really more of a instrument of the Lord rather than a serious follower.
He took on the task of eliminating the house of Ahab not because he was all that bothered about its behavior but because the end result was that he would ascend to the throne of Israel.
The position of rulership in a monarchy is referred to as "the throne." This phrase is a metonymy, a figure of speech that replaces the name of one thing with the name of something else closely associated with it.
"The throne" represents the power of the one who sits upon it but with the idea that the throne is what imputes the power. The throne bestows great privileges and prestige to the one it supports. Consequently, the throne becomes a symbol of government and represents the system that grants power and authority to its occupant.
"The throne" in a client nation that is a monarchy grants power and authority delegated by God. It was God's directive will that the united monarchy be ruled by a member of the tribe of Judah and the line of David and those who so ruled were considered to be God's representatives on the earth.
It was God's permissive will that allowed the united monarchy to be divided into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. When the rulers in the Northern and Southern Kingdoms accepted and then participated in the worship of Baal it was His overruling will that decreed to remove both kings from their thrones.
The man God appointed the task was Jehu, tribe of Judah, line of David, but not the line of Christ. Jehu was the right man for this crisis. He was a highly successful military leader with distinguished service in both battles of Ramoth-gilead.
He was born in Judah but became associated with Israel during the reign of Ahab. He served under both King Ahab and his son King Jehoram. He was well-known in both kingdoms and he had the name, the intelligence, the power, and the disposition needed to rid the land of the Baal cult.
Jehu had all the assets necessary to become a great leader of Israel. But unfortunately his primary objective was not to selflessly serve the Lord but rather promote himself. The Lord gave Jehu the power and authority to remove the house of Ahab and Jezebel.
But Jehu was not in it for the glory of the Lord. He was in it for the power and authority that came with the throne. Therefore, all his calculations were designed to solidify his regime that that was unnecessary because the Lord had already done that by anointing him.
Since the prophet Elisha's protégé made it known at Ramoth-gilead that Jehu was king of Israel, then once he had removed the Baal cult and its followers from the land the Lord would have made it known to the people that Jehu was His anointed and the one the people were to follow.
Jehu, however, was convinced that he had to manage the change of regimes himself and he therefore went into human-viewpoint function. His plan is to win the approval of the followers of the Lord after he eliminates the followers of Baal.
Jehu is about to do the right thing in a wrong way.
2Kings 10:19; "And now, summon all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests; let no one be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal; whoever is missing shall not live." But Jehu did it in cunning, in order that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal.
v20 And Jehu said, "Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal." And they proclaimed it.
Jehu convinced the followers of Baal that he was one of them. He then confirmed their confidence by proclaiming as his first official act a national festival to honor Baal. He summoned all the worshipers and priests of Baal to Samaria to participate in a special sacrifice at the National Cathedral.
The Temple rituals included the burning of incense, offering animal sacrifices, ecstatic dances where participants slashed themselves with knives, and on occasion a human sacrifice.
According to verse 21, once everyone arrived they had a full house. At this point Jehu takes advantage of the fact that the worshipers wore a special robe while in the temple.
2Kings 10:22; And he said to the one who was in charge of the wardrobe, "Bring out garments for all the worshipers of Baal." So he brought out garments for them.
v.23 And Jehu went into the house of Baal with Jehonadab the son of Rechab and he said to the worshipers of Baal, "Search and see that there may be here with you none of the servants of the Lord, but only the worshipers of Baal."
On the road to Samaria, Jehu had met a man named Jehonadab the leader of the Rechobites who were a sect of the Kenite tribe that had joined with Israel that led a monastic nomadic lifestyle and were a group of nationalistic religious zealots.
Jehonadab's support of Jehu's campaign to eradicate the Baal cult from Israel in an indication that Jehu's purge was supported by the conservatives in Israel who were fed up with the Ahab-Jezebel progressivism that had resulted in the decline of the nation.
Jehu invited him to ride in his chariot down to Samaria. Once there, Jehu accomplished the task of accumulating all of Baal's devotees into one small geographic location.
His intent is to kill them all. They think they have arrived to see their new king perform a sacrifice to Baal with all them as witnesses, but Jehu has used their own tradition of wearing special robes to mark all of them for execution.
He got them all decked out in their ritual robes and made sure that no worshipers of the Lord God were present. He is now all set to execute all who are involved in the Baal cult.
Once done he will be hailed by the Jews who remained loyal to the Lord. His entire plan is predicated on self-promotion. The mechanics he uses are simply the process and procedure for getting there.
The delegated power and authority invested in him by the anointing performed by Elisha's protégé gives Jehu permission to proceed. He is following orders, that is the right thing to do. But he does so with ulterior motives, which means it will be accomplished in the wrong way.
2Kings 10:24; Then they (the worshipers of Baal) went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed for himself eighty men outside, and he had said, "The one who permits any of the men whom I bring into your hands to escape shall give up his life in exchange for theirs."
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