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21. The Lord Cleans House

October 13, 2010

 

Text:    II Kings 8:7-15; II Kings 9:1-10:35 

Outline:           I.     Hazael Becomes King of Aram               II Kings 8:7-15

                              II.    Jehu Becomes King of Israel                  II Kings 9:1-10:35 

Context/Discussion/Comments: 

                II Kings is the major text.  It is a time of turmoil in the nations of Aram, Israel, and Judah.  Royal families are being eliminated.  Intermarriage between the houses of Ahab and Jehoshaphat did not result in unity.  King Jehoram of Israel was influenced toward God by Elijah and Elisha and King Ahaziah [Judah] was influenced away from God by Ahab’s sons and daughters.  We are at the end of Elisha’s recorded ministry and the number of God’s prophets living is Israel has grown significantly.  They are tolerated but also ignored.  Refer to Lessons 14 and 15 for background on Israel’s and Judah’s kings at this time.  Historically, this lesson takes place between 841-836 BC.

                 Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, is old and ill.  Elisha goes to Damascus and Hazael, Ben-Hadad’s right hand man, is told to meet Elisha with a gift and ask Elisha if he will recover.  He does and Elisha tells Hazael to give Ben-Hadad hope but, in fact, he will die.  Hazael is stunned that Elisha knows of his plans.  Elisha weeps because he also knows the destruction that Hazael will do to Israel.  Elisha also tells him that he will become king.  [Note; Elijah was originally instructed to anoint Hazael king of Aram in I Kings 19:16.]  Hazael tells Ben-Hadad that he will recover but the next day Hazael kills him and becomes king of Aram.

                 Elisha summons one of the prophets, gives him oil, and tells him to go to Ramoth Gilead and find Jehu.  He is to meet with him secretly, anoint him king of Israel, and return immediately. [Note; this too was to be done by Elijah.  I Kings 19:17.]  The prophet does as he was instructed.  Jehu is also instructed to destroy the house of Ahab and take revenge for the blood of the prophets by Jezebel.  The other officers want to know what the “mad man” [prophet] had said.  After prodding, Jehu says he was anointed king and all his men pledged their allegiance to him.  Jehu conspires against Jehoram [also called Joram], swears his men to secrecy, and brings Israel’s army back to Jezreel.  Jehoram sends messengers to meet Jehu to ask if there is peace [Why else would Jehu vacant the fight at Ramoth Gilead?] but they do not return.  Jehoram, although he is ill, goes himself and Ahaziah, king of Judah goes with him to ask the same question.  Jehu responds that there is no peace because of Ahab and Jezebel’s witchcraft and idolatry.  Jehoram senses trouble and flees but Jehu’s arrow kills him at Naboth’s vineyard, fulfilling the Lord’s prophecy.  Jehu pursues Ahaziah but only wounds him.  Ahaziah dies in Meggido and is buried in Jerusalem. 

                 Jehu next visits Jezebel and commands her eunuchs to throw her out the window.  They do and Jezebel is trampled to death by the horses.  Jehu relaxes in the palace and by the time he orders her remains removed, the dogs have done the job as the Lord prophesied through Elijah.

                 Jehu has control of Jezreel but not Samaria so Jehu writes to the guardians of Ahab’s 70 “sons”, asks them to choose a king, and fight for him.  They are afraid since Jehu has already killed Jehoram and Ahaziah.  Jehu writes a second letter asking them to pledge their allegiance to him by sending the heads of all 70 of Ahab’s “sons” to Jezreel.  They comply and Jehu declares once again that the Lord has fulfilled his prophecy through Elijah.

                 Jehu is traveling to Samaria and meets relatives of Ahaziah, king of Judah.  They were on their way to meet with Jezebel [she was already dead].  Jehu realizes they are descendents of Ahaziah and slaughters all of them, a total of 42 men.  Jehu proceeds to Samaria to kill any and all remaining family members of Ahab.   

                 Jehu announces he will serve Baal and summons all the prophets for a great sacrifice.  They all gather in the temple, led by Jehu, to sacrifice.  However, Jehu commands his men to kill them all, to burn the temple, and destroy the altar.  Jehu has destroyed Baal worship, claiming to be loyal to God.  However, he began worshipping the golden calves of Jeroboam at Bethel and Dan.  The Lord commended Jehu for his obedience but he also reduced the size of Israel through Hazael, king of Aram, because he chose to worship idols.

                 This scripture tells the story of how the loving Lord God cleaned house of all the evil people that had infiltrated His Chosen People and had turned them away from Him.  The king  of Aram is in position to punish Israel for their idolatry and remind them of their original covenant with God.  Jehu has rid Israel of Baal worship but he still worshipped idols.  Jehu was granted mercy for turning his back on God.  Ahaziah, king of Judah,  and his house was also destroyed by Jehu.  We shall see that God keeps His promises and gives His grace to Judah by protecting one of King David’s offspring so he may continue the line of Judah on the throne until the Messiah, Jesus Christ, God’s Son arrives on earth.  Therefore, we see God as a God of hope

Lessons/Applications: 

  1. The Lord sometimes uses the evil hearts of men to carry out His Sovereign Will.  Destruction comes to all who refuse to worship the Lord God.  If it doesn’t happen on earth, it will surly happen in eternity.  The Lord is just and punishes sin.  He did it with Israel, He will do it with His Church, and He will do it with each of us who believe in Him as Savior and Lord.  He disciplines those whom He loves.
  2. Be sure of this:

 

The Lord keeps His Promises.

Listen to Him,  

Be faithful to Him, 

Obey Him,

and 

 Receive His Commendation.

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