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17. And when he came to Samaria, 1 he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the LORD, 2 which he spake to Elijah.
18. And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, 3 Ahab served Baal a little ; but Jehu shall serve him much.
19. Now therefore call unto me all the 4 prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests ; let none be wanting : for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal.
20. And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it.
21. And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the 5 house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another.
22. And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments. 1 2 Chron. 22: 8. 2 1 Kings 21: 20, 22. 3 1 Kings 16:31, 32. * 1 Kings 22:6. 5 1 Kings 16:32.
17. He slew all that remained unto Ahab. That is, all the remaining members of Ahab's house. — Keil. The saying of the Lord, which he spake to Elijah. Some 16 years before (1 Kings 21: 17-24).
Queen Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, was the only survivor of his house, except the young Joash, who was absorbed in the house of David. She usurped the kingdom of Judah in place of her slain son Ahaziah, and reigned six years, when she was slain. Thus the house of Ahab became extinct in both kingdoms, and the two nations, relieved of this great incubus of crime and idolatry, thrilled with the hope of a brighter future. - P.
III. Second Exhibition of Zeal, - Destroying the Prophets of Baal. — Vers. 18-28. 18. Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much. This was true after a manner, for Baal never before had such a sacrifice; but it was a black lie, uttered to deceive the priests of Baal so that Jehu could get them together in his power. His divine commission doubtless authorized him to cut off the worshippers of Baal, but not by guile. - Whedon. The treachery was contrary to God's law, and Jehu had power sufficient without being driven to such a resort.
19. Call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests. It appears from this passage that the prophets and priests of Baal were not identical. The former would correspond to the dervishes, the latter to the mollahs, of Mahometan countries. By the “servants" of Baal are meant the ordinary worshippers. — Cook.
20. Proclaim a solemn assembly. A great religious meeting, as if he were intending to inaugurate the worship of Baal on a grand scale, after its decline during the last reign.
21. And all the worshippers of Baal came ... into the house of Baal. They might be easily convened into one spacious temple, since their number had been greatly diminished both by the influential ministrations of Elijah and Elisha, and also from the late king Joram's neglect and discontinuance of the worship. - 7., F. and B. And only the more pronounced and leading worshippers would come. The house of Baal was full. The temple of Baal at Samaria, built by Ahab (1 Kings 16: 32), in imitation of the temple at Jerusalem. It was a large edifice, for there were no less than 450 priests connected with it. Probably it was, like the temple at Jerusalem, a collection of buildings, having, in addition to the house of worship, rooms for instruction, and dwellings for the families of the priests. — Todd. In order to understand how such numbers could find room, we must remember that the ancient temples had vast courts around them, which could contain many thousands. — Cook.
22. The vestry. The place where vestments or garments were kept for the priests and worshippers. Such a room was provided in every temple (Ezek. 42: 14). Cook thinks that it must refer to “the robe-chamber of the royal palace, from which the king gave a festal garment to each worshipper. Dresses were among the gifts continually bestowed on persons as marks of royal favor.” Vestments for all the worshippers. So that those who were to slay them would immediately recognize them by their dress. This expression
23. And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but the worshippers of Baal only.
24. And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him.
25. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal.
26. And they brought forth the 2 images out of the house of Baal, and burned them.
27. And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, 3 and made it a draught house unto this day. 28. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.
11 Kings 20:39. ? 1 Kings 14:23. 3 Ezra 6:11. Dan. 2:5; 3: 29. shows that either it was customary for all the people to wear special garments while worshipping, unlike the custom under all other religions, or else, which is more probable, these worshippers were composed chiefly, if not wholly, of priests of Baal, officiating in various parts of the country. These men would naturally flock to the solemn assembly in greatest numbers; and it may lessen our pity for them, to remember that they were not the poor deluded people, but the deceivers and imposters who led the people astray. - Todd.
23. Look that there be .. none ... but the worshippers of Baal only. The presence of persons belonging to another religion was usually regarded by the ancients as a profanation of the rites. By the Greeks it is said to have been punished by death. Cook.
24. Fourscore men. The temple probably had but one or two entrances; and therefore eighty armed men could easily prevent the unarmed and panic-stricken multitude from escaping. - Todd. Life . . . for : . . life. This seems severe, but it was the common rule and custom (1 Kings 20 : 39; Ex. 21:23).
25. He had made an end of offering. It is called Jehu's offering because he appointed the sacrifice and furnished the victims. An end of offering. Literally, “ When they had completed the offering.” Had fully prepared the sacrifice, and were ready to burn it on the altar. And the guard ... cast them out, and went. The words “them" and "out" are both of them wanting in the original. The meaning is not that the guards cast the bodies out of the temple; they had no time for this; nor was it their business, nor was there any object to be secured by doing it. “The guards cast and went.” It is a terse and graphic description of the manner in which the guards went through the temple, casting the worshippers behind them as fast as they were killed, and pressing forward to the interior. —
Todd. Went to the city of the house of Baal. Most modern commentators agree that by this expression the temple itself, as distinguished from the court in which it stood, is intended. *The guard, having slain all who were in the court, rushed on and entered the sanctuary, there no doubt completing the massacre. - Cook.
26. They brought forth the images, or “ pillars." Not the great image of Baal, for that was of stone. Dean Stanley supposes that these "images" were “figures of the Phænician deities carved in wood, seated or raised on pillars” (“ Lectures," vol. ii., p. 288). Or, they were simple wooden columns or obelisks. - Cook.
27. And they brake down the image of Baal. “The column of Baal.” That is, the real image of Baal; probably a conical stone dedicated to Baal. — Keil. And made it a draught house. A place of refuse and filth. They put it to the utmost dishonor.
28. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. The worship of Baal never revived after this in Israel. The great work of Elijah was now complete." Jehovah worship was once more triumphantly established as the national faith, but under the symbols of the golden calves of Bethel and Dan. Yet Jehu was moved by policy only, not by high religious 29. Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, 1 the golden calves that were in Beth-el, and that were in Dan.
30. And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, 2 thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.
31. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart : for he departed not from 3 the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.
11 Kings 12:28, 29. ? See ver. 35; chap. 13:1, 10; 14:23; 15:8, 12. 3 1 Kings 14:16. principles. — Geikie. Strange to say, the Asherah in Samaria escaped the general destruction, for it was still standing in the next reign. But it is one thing to cut down a great tree, and another thing to extirpate all its roots. There was probably enough of the influence of the superstition left to disturb and unsettle the kingdom, and weaken Jehu's strength for a long time. This appears in the fact that the whole reign of this king, during twenty-eight years, was barren of important events, and the king was unable to prevent the great losses of territory which are mentioned in vers. 32, 33. — Todd.
IV. The Imperfection of His Work. – Vers. 29–31. 29. Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam ... Jehu departed not. He was brought up under the worship of the golden calves, so that this did not seem so evil in his eyes. For this worship, see' i Kings 12:2633, Lesson II., Third Quar. And as this worship was really the worship of Jehovah, though in an unlawful manner, Jehu probably did not feel the same obligation to suppress it that he had felt to destroy the worship of Baal. Besides, there were political reasons for preserving the worship established by Jeroboam which Jehu felt that he could not disregard. This worship kept the people from going to Jerusalem to worship and therefore was a means of keeping the kingdoms of Israel and Judah separate. — Todd. He had religious feeling enough and patriotism enough to detest the utterly debasing Astarte worship; but the pure worship of Jehovah was altogether beyond and above him. — Cook.
30. And the Lord said unto Jehu. Probably by the mouth of Elisha. - Cook. Because thou hast done well, ... according to all that is in mine heart. Jehu had been expressly ordered to “smite the house of Ahab” (2 Kings 9:7), and thus to a certain extent his bloody measures were acts of obedience, for which God might see fit to assign him a temporal reward. - Cook. God approved of Jehu so far as he had done right, but this does not commend the treachery and falsehood by which the work was accomplished, for there were better ways. Moreover, the destruction of Ahab's line and the prophets of Baal was really an execution of criminals who were ruining the kingdom. It was the just punishment of the guilty few to save the innocent many. - P. Thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne. This promise was exactly fulfilled (2 Kings 15:12). Jehu's house reigned an hundred years, B.C. 884-784. Jehu acted from temporal motives, and he had a temporal reward. The higher spiritual reward of a noble character, and communion with God, is always denied to such motives. — P.
31. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord. The law given by Moses, and forbidding all image worship. He did not study the divine law nor keep it, but was a man that broke the laws of God continually. With all his heart. Contrast this with “according to all that was in mine heart," of the previous verse. Jehu did an outwardly good act, but with a wrong heart. The right heart seeks to obey God in all things, not merely in those which are congenial or advantageous. — P.
THE GOOD ELEMENTS IN JEHU'S ZEAL. (1) It was right to have zeal. (2) It accomplished a good work for God's kingdom. (3) It was patriotic, and saved his country. (4) It was intense. (5) It was effective, and led to decisive and energetic measures. (6) It received temporal success and temporal rewards.
THE BAD ELEMENTS IN JEHU'S ZEAL. (1) It was selfish, and not for God. (2) It was cruel. (3) It was boastful and proud. (4) It was partial, doing that which was agreeable and for his advantage, but not the whole will of God. (5) It employed bad methods, falsehood, hypocrisy, treachery, in accomplishing its ends. (6) It was negative, destroying the evil, but not building up the good. (7) It did not grow out of a sincere heart devoted to God and to the good of his fellow-men. (8) It failed of true spiritual success and reward.
LESSONS FROM THE LIFE OF JEHU.
3. One may do a good and useful work with low, worldly, and selfish motives, and yet take great credit to himself as a servant of God.
4. The boastful spirit that would be seen of men proves that the heart and motives are wrong.
5. A good work may be done in a wrong manner and with sinful means. One should not battle for the truth with the weapons of falsehood (Rom. 3:8).
6. We must often commend the thing done, while we cannot approve the way in which it is done. We must be careful not to let our approval of the work endorse the bad acts which accompany it.
7. The worldly, in doing a good work, seek the endorsement and approval of the devoted Christian.
8. How great a change can be briefly made when God's time has come to destroy the wicked. — Lowrie.
9. Jehu is a type of those who show great zeal in tearing down and destroying superstition and false worship, but do nothing to build up the faith, because they themselves have
10. Jehu did indeed destroy idolatry, but he did not touch the chief sin of Israel, because he considered it the chief support of his own authority. So many a one renounces gross, external sins, but will not think of denying himself, of sacrificing his own interests, and of turning his heart to the living God. - Lange.
11. Acts done from temporal motives have a temporal reward. Even Pharisees, praying to be seen of men, have their reward.
12. The destruction of Baal's worshippers. (1) There is a Baal vestment on each of his worshippers seen of God. (2) Not one worshipper of Baal shall escape. (3) Let us so live as not to be mistaken for Baalites. -- Newman Hall.
13. Elijah's work completed years after his death. Be not discouraged if you do not see immediate results of your labors for others.
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS. It will be necessary to read over carefully the INTERVENING HISTORY, and teach the main outlines to the scholars.
A GREAT REVOLUTION now takes place in the history of Israel. The work of Elijah is completed years after his death.
SUBJECT, — TRUE AND FALSE ZEAL.
I. THE NEW KING, JEHU. Draw from the scholars a brief history of this man, and the way he became king, and his first acts as king.
II. HIS FIRST EXHIBITION OF ZEAL, — IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE HOUSE OF AHAB (vers. 15-17). The reason for this destruction in the sins of Ahab and his house, and the ruin they had brought and were bringing upon the nation.
Illustrations. The righteousness of executing laws against criminals; of defending a home or a nation against robbers and destroyers. As we destroy wild beasts who otherwise would destroy us and ours.
Find the good and the false elements in this exhibition of zeal. A good work may be done with bad or selfish motives. Jehu's advantage in this work of his.
Illustrations from paste diamonds and imitation jewels.
III. His SECOND EXHIBITION OF ZEAL, — IN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WORSHIPPERS OF BAA
Illustration of Jehu's treacherous promise to the Baalites, from the story in early Roman history of the Sabine maiden who agreed to betray the garrison of her father for what the Roman soldiers wore on their left arms, meaning their golden bracelets. They agreed to give the price asked. But when they entered the city they cast their shields, which they also wore on their left arms, upon the traitor maiden, and killed her.
Note the good and the bad elements in this exhibition of zeal.
IV. THE IMPERFECTION OF JEHU'S WORK (vers. 29-31). This shows that his zeal in what he did was imperfect, and the source of the imperfection in a bad and selfish heart. Note especially the temporal reward for outward service, and the utter failure to receive the higher and more spiritual rewards, and why. Illustrate by the prayers and alms of the Pharisees (Matt. 6:1-5).
LESSON IV. — OCT. 25. THE TEMPLE REPAIRED. — 2 KINGS 12: 1-15. GOLDEN TEXT. - I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. - Ps. 122:1,
TIME. — The repairs on the temple were completed B.C. 856, in the 23d year of the reign of Joash, king of Judah; about the time of the death of Jehu, and therefore 28 years after our last lesson.
PLACE. — Jerusalem, kingdom of Judah.
RULERS. — Joash, king of Judah (B.C. 878–839); Jehoahaz, king of Israel (B.C. 856–841); Hazael, king of Syria (B.C. 885-839); Shalmanezer, king of Assyria; the prophet Elisha still living in Israel.
INTERVENING HISTORY. - 2 Kings 11; and 2 Chron. 22 and 23.
PRONUNCIATIONS. -Athăli'áh; Ahăzi'áh; Běčr'-shěbă; Jěhöi'ădă; Jē'hū; Jěho'ăsh; Jěhosh'ěbă; Zib'iah.
INTRODUCTION. We are now transferred by the history to the kingdom of Judah. While Jehu was making his zealous reforms in Israel, as recorded in our last lesson, Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, and mother of the last king, Ahaziah, had usurped the throne of Judah, and attempted to destroy all the royal family of Judah which had survived the former massacres, so that she might herself be queen. “It so happened, however, that a daughter of Jehoram, and sister of Ahaziah, whose name was Jehosheba, had married Jehoida, the high priest, a good and noble man, and sympathized more with her husband than with her step-mother. When her mother commanded her little nephews to be killed, she succeeded in stealing away the youngest of them, named Joash, at that time a mere infant, and concealing him, with his nurse, in one of the storerooms of the temple.” Athaliah reigned for six years in Jerusalem. She preserved and encouraged the worship of Baal, and defiled and broke up the temple, and carried the dedicated things from it to the house of Baal. When Joash was about seven years old, “ Jehoiada, deeming the times ripe for revolution, after having secretly secured the co-operation of the priests and Levites and many of the chief men of the kingdom, produced the young king, and publicly crowned him in the temple. The revolution was successful; the queen Athaliah was slain; and Joash was universally acknowledged.”
1. In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba.
12 Chron. 24:1.
EXPLANATORY. I. The Reign of Joash. -- Vers. 1-3. 1. In the seventh year of Jehu. King of Israel (B.C. 878). Jehoash. Shortened to Joash (whom Jehovah gave). Began to reign. When he was seven years old (2 Chron. 24: 1). He was the eighth king of Judah, and son of Ahaziah, and hence a great-grandson of Ahab (see Introduction). For many years Joash was naturally very much under the influence of Jehoiada; and during this period his reign was an excellent and prosperous one. The very first act of Jehoiada, in the king's name, was to bind the people to the abolishment of the worship of Baal, and the restoration of the worship of Jehovah. In the excitement of the revolution, the people, in a great mob, flew to the temple of Baal, and tore it down, and killed its priest. Forthwith Tehoiada, in the king's name, re-organized the temple-service, so that his worship, which had been falling into decay through three reigns, might be conducted in a more fitting manner. But the building itself had become ruinous, owing to neglect and the depredations which had been made upon it by idolaters and invaders. The king therefore early directed his attention to its restoration. — Todd. This great reformation, of which the repairing of the temple was one sign and means, was the chief event of his reign. He had reigned 23 years before it was finished. About that time Jehoiada died, at the age of 130 years. After ihat, Joash, misled by bad counselors, fell into evil ways. The worship of God was