Chapter 8 of Second Kings ends with an account of the subsequent kings of Israel and Judah. Both Jehoram son of Joram, king of Israel and Ahaziah, the king of Judah ruled and did evil in The Lord’s sight. Both were like Ahab and both were related to him. Jehoram was married to Ahab’s daughter. Ahaziah was also related by marriage to Ahab’s line. Both of these men chose to enter into Ahab’s relations both in name and sin. Even though Ahaziah was sinning in Judah, the Lord remembered His promise to David and chose not to destroy Judah for Salvation’s sake. Chapter 8 verses 28-29 talk about Ahaziah.
“He went with Joram the son of Ahab to make war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth-gilead, and the Syrians wounded Joram. 29 And King Joram returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.”
There was no reason for Ahaziah to leave the fighting with his uncle. But he did. He left the fighting to others so that he could check on how things were with Joram. Chapter 9 continues the narrative about the war against Syria and Hazael. God would not let Ahab’s descendants continue to lead His people further down the path to destruction. God’s Son would bring salvation to the world through Judah and so He appointed someone to destroy Ahab’s line. Verses 1-10 read,
“Then Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, “Tie up your garments, and take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. 2 And when you arrive, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. And go in and have him rise from among his fellows, and lead him to an inner chamber. 3 Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, ‘Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee; do not linger.”
4 So the young man, the servant of the prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. 5 And when he came, behold, the commanders of the army were in council. And he said, “I have a word for you, O commander.” And Jehu said, “To which of us all?” And he said, “To you, O commander.” 6 So he arose and went into the house. And the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. 7 And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord. 8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. 9 And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah. 10 And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled.”
Elisha’s acolyte did as Elisha told him and gave Jehu God’s word. God did not forget the horrible things Jezebel had done to His prophets, He did not forget the evil she had worked and He didn’t forget that she had taught her children to be as evil as she was. Vengeance is God’s. He chose Jehu to carry it out for Him.
Children of God never have to be concerned about payback. We trust God. We know who He is. We understand He is Sovereign and Just and Faithful. God raised up Jehu to avenge the blood of the prophets and He raised up Jesus Christ, our Lord to avenge the blood of the martyrs and all the Christ followers who suffer for His name’ sake. Knowing this can actually help us love them more. Romans 12:17-21 says it like this,
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Jehu was anointed as king while the king still reigned. It called for action on his part and choices on the part of the people. Verses 11-13 read,
“When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they said to him, “Is all well? Why did this mad fellow come to you?” And he said to them, “You know the fellow and his talk.” 12 And they said, “That is not true; tell us now.” And he said, “Thus and so he spoke to me, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.’” 13 Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”
The men had a choice to believe God and follow Jehu or to continue following Joram. The men all trusted God enough to know it was He who appointed their king. God had anointed Jehu and so they proclaimed him their king. But now they had to make it official and had to follow through with Jehu’s calling. He would not have to visit the battlefield to obey God. Sovereign God had worked it out so that the kings of Judah and Israel were not with their people fighting Hazael. Verses 14-16 say,
“Thus Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram with all Israel had been on guard at Ramoth-gilead against Hazael king of Syria, 15 but King Joram had returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) So Jehu said, “If this is your decision, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.” 16 Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to visit Joram.”
God had vowed to protect Judah but Joram and Ahazia would have to pay for their evil and for their choice to become part of Ahab’s family. Neither Joram, Ahazia, nor anyone else in Jezreel or Ramoth-gilead knew about Jehu’s anointing yet. Verses 17-22 read,
“Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he saw the company of Jehu as he came and said, “I see a company.” And Joram said, “Take a horseman and send to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’” 18 So a man on horseback went to meet him and said, “Thus says the king, ‘Is it peace?’” And Jehu said, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.” And the watchman reported, saying, “The messenger reached them, but he is not coming back.” 19 Then he sent out a second horseman, who came to them and said, “Thus the king has said, ‘Is it peace?’” And Jehu answered, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.” 20 Again the watchman reported, “He reached them, but he is not coming back. And the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.”
21 Joram said, “Make ready.” And they made ready his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu, and met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
Both Joram and Ahazia should have been on the frontlines with their people. But they were cowards who cared about themselves above all else. Joram was wounded but not so badly he couldn’t ride a chariot, which takes considerable strength and skill to maneuver. Joram did not need his nephew to visit him while he “recovered.” They were both away from the war, not protecting and fighting for their people because they were selfish cowards. As each messenger went to find out what was happening, Jehu gave them the choice to follow him. Their king’s actions were not theirs. Their allegiance was theirs to give. Each messenger asked if the war had ended. Jehu said, “nope but the war is not yours, follow me.” Jehu offered peace to the king’s messengers but he didn’t offer it to Joram. Verse 22-26 describe what happened next.
“And when Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” He answered, “What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?” 23 Then Joram reined about and fled, saying to Ahaziah, “Treachery, O Ahaziah!” 24 And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart, and he sank in his chariot. 25 Jehu said to Bidkar his aide, “Take him up and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. For remember, when you and I rode side by side behind Ahab his father, how the Lord made this pronouncement against him: 26 ‘As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons—declares the Lord—I will repay you on this plot of ground.’ Now therefore take him up and throw him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the Lord.”
Jehu told Joram exactly why he was about to die and that the war was the direct result of his sin and his choice to continue Jezebel and Ahab’s evil. When Joram heard that he reeled around and fled like the coward he was. But Jehu’s arrow went straight to his heart and he died. And just as The Lord had said Ahab’s line would be destroyed. But this was just the beginning. Verses 27-29 describe Ahaziah’s death.
“When Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled in the direction of Beth-haggan. And Jehu pursued him and said, “Shoot him also.” And they shot him in the chariot at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo and died there. 28 His servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his fathers in the city of David.
29 In the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab, Ahaziah began to reign over Judah.”
Ahaziah bolted just like Joram had, but his pusillanimity did not save him. He was buried like a king only because of the goodness of his ancestors and the promise of God to protect Judah. Jehu did not stop God’s mission with the two kings, there were many more people to punish before he was finished. Verses 30-37 reads,
“When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it. And she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out of the window. 31 And as Jehu entered the gate, she said, “Is it peace, you Zimri, murderer of your master?” 32 And he lifted up his face to the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 He said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down. And some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled on her. 34 Then he went in and ate and drank. And he said, “See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king's daughter.” 35 But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. 36 When they came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite: ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel, 37 and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.’”
Jezebel called Jehu Zimri as an accusation and a curse. Zimri had murdered King Elah and his family and become king for seven days because the army elected Omri king. Zimri died by his own hand when he set fire to the palace (1 Kings 16:9-20). It would be similar to someone being called Judas today. It was a way of saying traitor or betrayer. But Jehu didn’t fall for her taunts and he didn’t fall for her beauty. He looked around the room and asked who was with him. He got his answer as a few of the eunuchs, her servants were happy to throw her out her window. No one was too upset by her death. They ate a meal before Jehu said, “She was cursed but she was royalty so we need to bury her.” But when they went to bury her there was nothing left to bury, the dogs had eaten her. Jehu still was not done, there were many more in Ahab’s family to kill before God’s mission for Jehu was complete. We will read about that in the next chapter.
You have a choice who you will follow. You can follow the King of kings, Jesus or the prince of the power of the air, Satan. Like Joram’s messengers or Jezebel’s eunuchs, many people follow the prince of this world blindly. They don’t know they have a choice or the choice has not yet been given to them. But we know and we can give them that choice.
“Is it peace?” While we are on this earth, it is not peace, it is war with the devil and each must choose a side. Those who think they have not chosen or are even unaware of the sides have chosen Satan. Part of our commission as soldiers in God’s great conquering army is to give them the choice and let them become followers of Christ. Remember you are a soldier and a warrior. 2 Timothy 2:3-4
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”
You have your orders. Ephesians 6:10-20 reads,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Emphasis added).
Choose your side. Obey your orders. Give others the choice which they may not know they have.