Jehu, pushing on his work, is here,
I. Courting the friendship of a good man, Jehonadab the son of Rechab, 2 Kgs. 10:15, 16. This Jehonadab, though mortified to the world and meddling little with the business of it (as appears by his charge to his posterity, which they religiously observed 300 years after, not to drink wine nor dwell in cities, Jer. 35:6), yet, upon this occasion, went to meet Jehu, that he might encourage him in the work to which God had called him. The countenance of good men is a thing which great men, if they be wise, will value, and value themselves by. David prayed, Let those that fear thee turn to me, Ps. 119:79. This Jehonadab, though no prophet, priest, or Levite, no prince or ruler, was, we may suppose, very eminent for prudence and piety, and generally respected for that life of self-denial and devotion which he lived: Jehu, though a soldier, knew him and honoured him. He did not indeed think of sending for him, but when he met him (though it is likely he drove now as furiously as ever) he stopped to speak to him; and we are here told what passed between them. 1. Jehu saluted him; he blessed him (so the word is), paid him the respect and showed him the good-will that were due to so great an example of serious godliness. 2. Jehonadab assured him that he was sincerely in his interest and a hearty well-wisher to his cause. Jehu professed that his heart was right with him, that he had a true affection for his person and a veneration for the crown of his Nazariteship, and desired to know whether he had the same affection for him and satisfaction in that crown of royal dignity which God had put upon his head: Isa. thy heart right? a question we should often put to ourselves. “I make a plausible profession, have gained a reputation among men, but is my heart right? Amos I sincere and inward with God?” Jehonadab gave him his word (It is), and gave him his hand as a pledge of his heart, yielded to him (so giving the hand is rendered, 2 Chron. 30:8), concurred and covenanted with him, and owned him in the work both of revenge and of reformation he was now about. 3. Jehu took him up into his chariot and took him along with him to Samaria. He put some honour upon him, by taking him into the chariot with him (Jehonadab was not accustomed to ride in a chariot, much less with a king); but he received more honour from him, and from the countenance he gave to his present work. All sober people would think the better of Jehu when they saw Jehonadab in the chariot with him. This was not the only time in which the piety of some has been made to serve the policy of others, and designing men have strengthened themselves by drawing good men into their interests. Jehonadab is a stranger to the arts of fleshly wisdom, and has his conversation in simplicity and godly sincerity; and therefore, if Jehu be a servant of God and an enemy to Ball, he will be his faithful friend. “Come then” (says Jehu), “come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord; and then thou wilt see reason to espouse my cause.” This is commonly taken as not well said by Jehu, and as giving cause to suspect that his heart was not right with God in what he did, and that the zeal he pretended for the Lord was really zeal for himself and his own advancement. For, (1.) He boasted of it, and spoke as if God and man were mightily indebted to him for it. (2.) He desired it might be seen and taken notice of, like the Pharisees, who did all to be seen of men. An upright heart approves itself to God and covets no more than his acceptance. If we aim at the applause of men, and make their praise our highest end, we are upon a false bottom. Whether Jehu looked any further we cannot judge; however Jehonadab went with him, and, it is likely, animated and assisted him in the further execution of his commission (2 Kgs. 10:17), destroying all Ahab’s friends in Samaria. A man may hate cruelty and yet love justice, may be far from thirsting after blood and yet may wash his feet in the blood of the wicked, Ps. 58:10.
II. Contriving the destruction of all the worshippers of Baal. The service of Baal was the crying sin of the house of Ahab: that root of this idolatry was plucked up, but multitudes yet remained that were infected with it, and would be in danger of infecting others. The law of God was express, that they were to be put to death; but they were so numerous, and so dispersed throughout all parts of the kingdom, and perhaps so alarmed with Jehu’s beginnings, that it would be a hard matter to find them all out and an endless task to prosecute and execute them one by one. Jehu’s project therefore is to cut them all off together. 1. By a wile, by a fraud, he brought them together to the temple of Baal. He pretended he would worship Baal more than ever Ahab had done, 2 Kgs. 10:18. Perhaps he spoke this ironically, or to try the body of the people whether they would oppose such a resolution as this, and would resent his threatening to increase his predecessor’s exactions, and say, “If it be so, we have no part in Jehu, nor inheritance in the son of Nimshi.” But it rather seems to have been spoken purposely to deceive the worshippers of Baal, and then it cannot be justified. The truth of God needs not any man’s lie. He issued a proclamation, requiring the attendance of all the worshippers of Baal to join with him in a sacrifice to Baal (2 Kgs. 10:19, 20), not only the prophets and priests, but all, throughout the kingdom, who worshipped Baal, who were not nearly so many as they had been in Elijah’s time. Jehu’s friends, we may suppose, were aware of what he designed, and were not offended at it; but the bigoted besotted Baalites began to think themselves very happy, and that now they should see golden days again. Joram had put away the image of Baal, 2 Kgs. 3:2. If Jehu will restore it, they have what they would have, and come up to Samaria with joy from all parts to celebrate the solemnity; and they are pleased to see the house of Baal crowded (2 Kgs. 10:21), to see his priests in their vestments (2 Kgs. 10:22), and themselves perhaps with some badges or other to notify their relation to Baal, for there were vestments for all his worshippers. 2. He took care that none of the servants of the Lord should be among them, 2 Kgs. 10:23. This they took as a provision to preserve the worship of Baal from being profaned by strangers; but it was a wonder that they did not, by this, see themselves brought into a snare and discern a design upon them. No marvel if those that suffer themselves to be deceived by Baal (as all idolaters were by their idols), are deceived by Jehu to their destruction. 3. He gave order for the cutting of them all off, and Jehonadab joined with him therein, 2 Kgs. 10:23. When a strict search was made lest any of the servants of God should, either for company or curiosity, have got among them—lest any wheat should be mixed with those tares, and when eighty men were set to stand guard at all the avenues to Baal’s temple, that none might escape (2 Kgs. 10:24), then the guards were sent in to put them all to the sword and to mingle their blood with their sacrifices, in a way of just revenge, as they themselves had sometimes done, when, in their blind devotion, they cut themselves with knives and lancets till the blood gushed out, 1 Kgs. 18:28. This was accordingly done, and the doing of it, though seemingly barbarous, was, considering the nature of their crime, really righteous. The Lord, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God. 4. The idolaters being thus destroyed, the idolatry itself was utterly abolished. The buildings about the house of Baal (which were so many and so stately that they are here called a city), where Baal’s priests and their families lived, were destroyed; all the little images, statues, pictures, or shrines, which beautified Baal’s temple, with the great image of Baal himself, were brought out and burnt (2 Kgs. 10:26, 27), and the temple of Baal was broken down, and made a dunghill, the common sink, or sewer, of the city, that the remembrance of it might be blotted out or made infamous. Thus was the worship of Baal quite destroyed, at least for the present, out of Israel, though it had once prevailed so far that there were but 7000 of all the thousands of Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal, and those concealed. Thus will God destroy all the gods of the heathen, and, sooner or later, triumph over them all.
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