6 Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.” Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. 7 When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. 8 When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the princes.”
2 Kings 10:6-8
For this to make sense we have to ask who is Jehu? Who is the ‘them’ that received a second letter? Why is he seeking obedience from them? Who are the seventy princes, whose heads he wanted? Why did those who received the letter comply and bring the heads of the princes.
First of all Jehu was the son of Jehoshaphat (not to be confused with Jehoshaphat the son of Asa and a king of Judah), but better known as the grandson of Nimshi whose name literally translates as one who rescues those in danger. God used Nimshi to rescue the Northern kingdom – Israel – through his grandson Jehu from its evil worship of idols, Baals, and all the practices that went along with such worship.
The ‘them’ who received a second letter obviously received the first letter. They were the officials of [the city] Jezreel, to the elders and to the guardians of Ahab’s children (v1c). The obedience Jehu sought was the death of the seventy princes, children of Ahab. Jehu had killed Jehoram (also Joram) son of Ahab and Jezebel, who had succeeded Ahab as king of Israel. What kind of a king was Jehoram?
2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father and mother [Ahab and Jezebel] had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.
2 Kings 3:2-3
Why did the officials of Jezreel, the elders and guardians of Ahab’s children comply? Because Jehu had already defeated two kings, one of them Jehoram as noted above. They may have also heard Jehu had been anointed as the king of Israel (see chapter 9). The result of their obedience, Ahab’s legacy ended with his son Jehoram. What about Jehu’s legacy? For this and later ridding Israel of the priests of Baal the LORD rewarded Jehu’s obedience with the promise that four more generations of his descendents would be his heirs as king of Israel. This was the longest line of kings in Israel’s history (read more about this here.)
So we have an example of people obeying, not God, but a man and a man who was not a prophet of God. This is not applicable to us. Instead we are to obey a man who died for our sins and rose on the third day. His final command for His disciples (including us)
46 He told them, This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
How do we do that beyond supporting various missionary outreaches? We need to remember the we live in the world and there are plenty around us who need to know the gospel – the good news of Jesus. We can share the gospel primarily by letting others see how we live our lives and if/when the opportunity presents itself being prepared to share the gospel along with an invite to church services or a bible study.
It’s Friday and I hope you have a Great Weekend and remember to Go To Church, enjoying the teaching, the praise and worship, and the fellowship of believers.