On verses 1-17: Having assassinated Joram king of Israel and Jezebel the queen mother, Jehu continues his mission to eliminate the remaining sons in Ahab’s house. Instead of a sneak attack, Jehu issues a formal challenge to the high officials in Israel’s capital city as well as those in charge of Ahab’s sons. Jehu challenges them to put one of Ahab’s sons on Ahab’s throne and to fight Jehu and his troops. Fearing that they are no match for Jehu, Israel’s high officials surrender to Jehu and express their willingness to do whatever Jehu wants them to do. So further to Jehu’s command, Israel’s high officials slaughter 70 sons of Ahab and place their heads in baskets. Jehu then announces that the word of the Lord which Elijah spoke against the house of Ahab has been fulfilled (v10). Jehu then goes on a killing rampage:
– First, Jehu kills Ahab’s chief officials, close friends and priests in Jezreel (v11).
– Then on his way to Samaria, Jehu slaughters 42 unsuspecting relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah who had gone to visit King Joram and Jezebel, not knowing that Jehu had already killed them (v12-14). Jehu also invites Jehonadab to get into his chariot and says to him, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” (v16)
– Then, upon arriving in Samaria, Jehu kills what is left of Ahab’s relatives (v17).
As you’re reading about Jehu’s killing rampage, keep in mind that God never commanded Jehu to touch Ahaziah’s relatives, who were descendants of King David. Elijah’s prophecy only talked about eliminating the house of Ahab but never mentioned anything about hurting the house of David, whom God was committed to protecting. Yet in verses 12-17 Jehu oversteps the boundaries of his God-given mission, kills many more people and causes much more destruction, loss and heartbreak than God ever intended. (In fact, it is probably Jehu’s murder of the 42 relatives of Azariah that God condemns in Hosea 1:4-5).
What can we learn from this?
1. When we overstep the boundaries that God has given to us, it causes unnecessary loss, destruction and heartbreak.
2. It’s crucial not not just to know the word of God but also to have a close relationship with the Holy Spirit. Jehu knew the word of God in part, since he kept quoting to Elijah’s prophecy against the house of Ahab. But what Jehu lacked was a close relationship with the Holy Spirit. As a result, he ended up missing God’s will and murdering people that God never intended him to touch. Jehu even attributed these unwarranted murders to his “zeal for the Lord”, when it fact it was his lack of understanding of God’s will and his lack of closeness with the Holy Spirit that caused him to commit such atrocities. Compare this to King David who had a close relationship with the Holy Spirit and who was conscience stricken even when he cut the corner of his enemy King Saul’s robe.
It goes to show that we need to know God’s Word well and foster a close relationship with the Holy Spirit. We want to be people who are strong in the Word and strong in the Spirit, so that we can truly walk in God’s will for our lives and make the impact that God intended us to make. When you’re strong in the Word and in the Holy Spirit, your experience with one will inform and guide your experience with the other and keep you from going in the wrong direction.
Heavenly Father, I pray I wouldn’t miss the mark like Jehu and overstep the boundaries You set for me. I pray that I would be strong in Your Word and also close to Your Holy Spirit so that I can know when You are truly working and what You are truly saying. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!