What action did Jehu take against the remaining members of Ahab’s house?
[A] Jehu wrote letters to the rulers of Samaria, Jezreel, and to the guardians of Ahab’s sons (male descendants). In the letters he challenged the guardians of Ahab’s sons to select the fittest of Ahab’s sons, set him on the throne, and fight it out with him. When they considered the fate of Joram and Ahaziah, the guardians of Ahab’s sons decided to cooperate with Jehu (2 Kings 10:1-5).
[B] Jehu wrote a second letter to the guardians stating that if they were indeed on his side they were to deliver the heads of Ahab’s sons to him in Jezreel. The guardians slew Ahab’s sons, put their heads in baskets, and delivered them to Jehu in Jezreel. Jehu ordered that the heads be placed in two heaps at the entrance of the gate to the city (the traditional seat of judgment) where Jehu told the people that God’s Word against Ahab’s house had been fulfilled. In addition, Jehu slew anyone associated with Ahab’s reign, including “all of his great men and his acquaintances and his priests, until he left him without a survivor” (2 Kings 10:6-11 and also 2 Kings 10:15-17).
[C] While en route to Samaria, Jehu encountered a group of Ahaziah’s relatives who, apparently, had not yet heard about the events that had transpired. Jehu had all forty-two of these men put to death (2 Kings 10:12-14).
How did Jehu destroy the worship of Baal in Israel?
Jehu devised a clever plan to destroy the worship and worshipers of Baal. He feigned allegiance to Baal and ordered that all devotees of Baal (prophets, worshipers, and priests) gather for a solemn assembly. He ordered that everyone be provided with garments for the worship of Baal.
Once everyone was assembled and the ceremony began, Jehu ordered his men (eighty of them) to kill every worshiper of Baal. In addition, they ransacked the house of Baal “and made it a latrine [cesspool, thus degrading the house of Baal and making the site ritually unclean] to this day” (2 Kings 10:18-28). Jehonadab assisted Jehu with the task of eradicating the Baal worshipers and destroying the house of Baal (see 2 Kings 10:15-17, 23). “Thus Jehu eradicated Baal out of Israel” (2 Kings 10:28).
How does the Scripture appraise Jehu’s reign?
[A] While Jehu is commended with eradicating the worship of Baal from Israel (2 Kings 10:28), he failed to forsake the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan (2 Kings 10:29). He “was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord” (2 Kings 10:31).
[B] Because he fulfilled his commission to abolish the house of Ahab, God promised Jehu that his descendants would sit on the throne of Israel for four generations (2 Kings 10:30). This promise was fulfilled in the reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoash (Joash), Jeroboam II, and Zechariah. (see 2 Kings 15:12)
Practical Considerations: True reformation must begin with the individual.
The words of an old hymn state, “Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me.” According to 2 Kings 10:16 Jehu invited Jehonadab to “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” According to 2 Kings 10:31 however, “Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord.” Somehow Jehu’s outward expressions of zeal had no deep foundation in his inward being. He did right things on the outside but was not right on the inside. He destroyed sinful things on the outside while allowing them to remain on the inside. Revival must not only begin with me, it must begin in me.
Why did Jehu stop short of removing the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan?
Jehu, the man who “eradicated Baal out of Israel” (2 Kings 10:28) certainly could have removed and destroyed the golden calves as well. Perhaps he stopped short of doing so for the same reasons for which Jeroboam erected them, namely to insure that the northern kingdom have its own worship centers lest the people travel to Jerusalem to worship. While it was politically expedient for Jehu to destroy the house of Ahab, it was not politically expedient for him to remove the golden calves.
Practical Considerations: Half reforms are always unsatisfactory.
Jehu is to be commended for destroying the evil house of Ahab and eradicating Baal out of Israel. He failed however, to remove and abolish the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. Jehu destroyed Baalism but failed to depart from the sins of Jeroboam. Such half reforms are unsatisfactory. See Practical Considerations Item 6 on page 8 of these notes.
What did the Lord allow to happen to Israel during Jehu’s twenty-eight year reign?
Because of their sin, “the Lord began to cut off portions from Israel” (2 Kings 10:32-33). God used Hazael to so chastise His people. See 1 Kings 19:15-17 and 2 Kings 8:12-13.