What Did King Jehu Do in the Bible?
Knowing that King Joram had been retreated to Jezreel to recover from battle, Jehu swiftly ordered his men to surround the city to prevent Joram from learning of his (Jehu’s) anointing. Ironically, though not coincidentally, Ahaziah, the king of Judah and a descendent of Ahab, was in Jezreel visiting Joram at the time.
There, Jehu earned his reputation for decisive action and violence, killing King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah in short order (2 Kings 9:14-29).
Joram’s body was then thrown into the field of Naboth in Jezreel, fulfilling what Elijah had spoken over Ahab when he murdered Naboth and stole his vineyard (1 Kings 21:22).
Ahaziah’s body was returned to Jerusalem, where it was buried with the kings of Judah (2 Kings 9:28).
And if you thought Jezebel, Ahab’s queen, had escaped God’s judgment, think again.
Shortly after Joram’s death, Jehu had Jezebel thrown from her balcony in the palace in Jezreel. By the time Jehu’s men went to bury the body, the Bible tells us, “they found nothing more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.” (2 Kings 9:35). As prophesied by Elijah, the body of Jezebel had been eaten by the dogs (1 Kings 21:23-24).
From here, Jehu’s campaign against the house of Ahab was both swift and surgical.
Seventy sons of Ahab were sought out and destroyed by Jehu’s forces, all who had allied themselves to Ahab were struck down, and forty-two relatives of Ahaziah were also killed, removing the sin and stain of Ahab’s family from Israel forever (2 Kings 10:1-17).
Of course, Jehu’s reform did not stop with the house of Ahab.
In a shrewd act of political maneuvering, Jehu assembled the prophets, priests, and worshippers of Baal, promising that as Ahab had served Baal, he (Jehu) would worship Baal even more. Once he had gathered the prophets in the temple of Baal, Jehu proceeded to slaughter the prophets and priests of Baal, leaving none alive (2 Kings 10:18-25).
Jehu’s men then razed the temple of Baal, burning the sacred pillars and idols. Thus, Jehu “eradicated Baal out of Israel” (2 Kings 10:28).
For his faithfulness, four generations of Jehu’s sons would sit on the throne of Israel (2 Kings 10:30). However, the Bible tells us that, “Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel sin” (2 Kings 10:31).
Jehu was blessed by God for his obedience, however, his neglect in removing the high places at Bethel proved costly, as the size of Israel gradually decreased and portions of the land God had promised to His people were surrendered to Hazael of Syria and other foreign leaders in the years that followed (2 Kings 10:32-33).
Jehu would reign for twenty-eight years in Israel (841-813 B.C.) and be succeeded by his son Jehoahaz (2 Kings 10:35-36).
The story of Jehu may seem like an odd, R-rated saga made for cable television, however, there are several important lessons we can learn from Israel’s kingslayer and zealous reformer. Here are 4 lessons we can learn from Jehu:
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