Second Kings 10 Commentary
You may want to check the estimated portion of land that the LORD promised Abraham. It is far much bigger and includes much of what is Saudi Arabia today. Under Joshua, Israel could only occupy a far much smaller subset of the bigger promise. The occupation was largely on paper as much of the land still remained in enemy hands.
King David united the nation and Solomon increased its influence and extent, but it was still the same very small subset of the promise. Jehu has become king over one of the two pieces of the original united kingdom that we saw under David and Solomon
It is under Jehu that we see the disappearance of the Trans-Jordan tribes during a conquest mounted by Aram. This is a huge turning point in the fortunes of the nation. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead and Bashan all disappear. It is a low point. But we know Israel has lived with a rope around its neck from the moment Jeroboam set up golden calves at Bethel and Dan. He had declared them as Israel’s new gods who brought them out of Egypt. It is this sin that other kings down the line have perpetuated, including Jehu.
This chapter started with bloodshed as the house of Ahab is exterminated completely – all in accordance with the word of the LORD through the prophet Elijah. Ahab’s fate and that of the entire nation laid in the hands of the word of the LORD. If only Israel stopped to have a look at the Torah! Hazael’s military campaign wasn’t one of peace. Don’t think of conquest here as one where national flags and administrations change peacefully. It was the kind that made the great prophet Elisha weep as the LORD showed him a movie of these events.
We should not be bothered too much by the killings here. Jehu was killing corpses. A man without God is a corpse. Israel has lived without God for such a very long time. They have spurned chance after chance to reconnect to the life-giver. So they have remained lifeless in the sight of their Maker. It is a matter of getting rid of deadwood. However, the death of the righteous is precious in the eyes of the LORD. They actually don’t die; they simply transition. The story of Elijah’s transitioning on wings of fire gives us a good picture.
Of special interest may be the LORD’s judgments. These are always moments for individuals and the world to see and return to the Creator God in repentance. Rather than the terrifying picture of a tough Headmaster pacing up and down the corridors, the wrath of the LORD has the objective of restoration. After the destruction of Baal worship at the national level, will the hearts of the people seek the LORD? Will the enabling environment created by Jehu lead to the real worship of the one true God?
And for Jehu, are these works of righteousness enough to lead him to the true worship of the LORD? It appears Jehu is just fulfilling a task list without any real connection with the Task Master. He hasn’t kept the law of the LORD with all his heart. Sad.
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