And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead: And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber; Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not. — 2 Kings 9:1-3
In his work for the Lord, David Livingstone faced a difficult task. The missionary’s intense desire for the people of Africa to hear the Gospel had led him into the interior of that continent. Upon arriving in the area selected for a home base, a large hut was erected as the mission station. Unfortunately, the area was overrun by lions. The villagers were terrified because, as they said, “The lion, the lord of the night, kills our cattle and sheep even in the daytime.” Livingstone recognized that this threatening situation had to be dealt with. He knew that if he could kill one of the lions, the others would flee. So, taking his gun and telling the people to bring their spears, he led the villagers on a lion hunt.
Deep in the jungle, Livingstone spotted an enormous lion behind a bush. Taking careful aim, he fired both barrels. The lion was wounded, but while the missionary was reloading, it sprang toward him. Livingstone described what happened next, saying, “The lion caught me by the shoulder and we both came to the ground together. Growling horribly, he shook me as a terrier dog does a rat.”
Some of the villagers with Livingstone rushed to his aid, and the lion turned upon two of them. But at that moment the bullets Livingstone had fired took effect, and the lion fell dead. Livingstone had eleven tooth marks on his body and the bone of his left arm was splintered, but he succeeded in his purpose. The area was rid of the menace.
In our text today, we read of another man who faced a challenging task. Elisha the prophet commissioned a younger prophet to go to Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat. His instructions were to take Jehu away to a secluded place and anoint him king over Israel. Many years before, Elijah had prophesied that numerous people would be killed when Jehu became king (see 1 Kings 19:16-17), so Elisha urged the young man to flee the area as soon as his task was accomplished. What thoughts must have gone through that young prophet’s mind as he faced this dangerous assignment?
While we likely never will need to face wild lions or anoint a king, there may be times in our Christian walk when the task appointed to us appears daunting. Perhaps we need to take a stand against something our boss requested, or stick up for our beliefs in a classroom. We must not fear, but remember that God is with us! One of our veteran ministers, George Hughes, used to say, “Where God’s finger points, His hand will make a way.” That was true in the time of Elisha; David Livingstone proved it true in Africa; and it will be true in our lives also. We can rest on the assurance that God will give us strength and courage to obey Him when we look His way for what we need. He will never fail!
The account given in this chapter illustrates two important Biblical truths: eventually sin is judged, and God’s Word will be fulfilled.
Verses 1-13 record how Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, was anointed king of Israel. (This Jehoshaphat was not, however, the one who was king of Judah.) The prophet Elisha instructed one of the children of the prophets to go to Jehu, who apparently was chief of the captains, take him into a private place, and anoint him as king. The young prophet’s words to Jehu in verses 7 through 10 may have been a declaration of what would happen rather than a command. God ordered the anointing, knowing that Jehu would kill and may have used that foreknowledge to accomplish His justice.
Verses 14 through 37 record the slaying of Joram, Ahaziah, and Jezebel. During this time, the Israelites were at war, attempting to regain the city of Ramoth-Gilead. Jehoram, the current king and son of Ahab and Jezebel, had been wounded in battle. He left Jehu, the captain of his army, in charge while he recovered in Jezreel. When the newly anointed Jehu came upon the city, Jehoram wrongly assumed that he came with a message that could only be delivered to Jehoram himself, as the two messengers that were sent out did not return. It is worth noting that Jehoram met Jehu on the very property that had belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. When Jehoram realized that this was a revolt, he turned to flee but was promptly killed by Jehu. Jehu then ordered his body to be thrown onto the land of Naboth.
Verses 30 through 37 record the fulfillment of a prophecy that was given to Elijah twenty years earlier (1 Kings 21:17-24) when Jezebel had Naboth the Jezreelite murdered so that Ahab could acquire his vineyard for a garden. Jezebel’s death occurred exactly as had been prophesied, ending with the bloody account of her being eaten by dogs. Though it took many years for justice to be completed, it did occur, just as it had been foretold.
In verse 31, Jezebel made a reference to Zimri. This alludes to an incident recorded in 1 Kings 16:8-12, forty years prior, when Zimri, a general, had King Elah killed and then declared himself king. Zimri’s reign was only seven days long and Jezebel seemed to be indicating that Jehu would find no peace after he took the crown by force. Though her reference was probably well understood, Zimri, like Jehu, was used as a tool of God’s judgment on Elah for his wickedness (1 Kings 16:12).
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah
E. Jehu of Israel
1. The anointing of Jehu to be king (9:1-10)
2. The proclamation of Jehu as king (9:11-13)
3. The bloodshed by Jehu
a. The murder of Jehoram (9:14-26)
(1) Jehu’s trek to Jezreel (9:14-16)
(2) Jehoram alerted (9:17-20)
(3) Jehoram murdered (9:21-26)
b. The murder of Ahaziah (9:27-29)
c. The murder of Jezebel (9:30-37)
As Christians, at some point we may be faced with a challenging assignment from God. When that happens, we must not hesitate to follow through with faith and obedience. God will be with us!