The greatest delinquent in the house of Ahab was Jezebel: it was she that introduced Baal, slew the Lord’s prophets, contrived the murder of Naboth, stirred up her husband first, and then her sons, to do wickedly; a cursed woman she is here called (2 Kgs. 9:34), a curse to the country, and whom all that wished well to their country had a curse for. Three reigns her reign had lasted, but now, at length, her day had come to fall. We read of a false prophetess in the church of Thyatira that is compared to Jezebel, and called by her name (Rev. 2:20), her wickedness the same, seducing God’s servants to idolatry, a long space given her to repent (2 Kgs. 9:21) as to Jezebel, and a fearful ruin brought upon her at last (2 Kgs. 9:22, 23), as here upon Jezebel. So that Jezebel’s destruction may be looked upon as typical of the destruction of idolaters and persecutors, especially that great whore, that mother of harlots, that hath made herself drunk with the blood of saints and the nations drunk with the wine of her fornications, when God shall put it into the heart of the kings of the earth to hate her, Rev. 17:5, 6, 16. Now here we have,
I. Jezebel daring the judgment. She heard that Jehu had slain her son, and slain him for her whoredoms and witchcrafts, and thrown his dead body into the portion of Naboth, according to the word of the Lord, and that he was now coming to Jezreel, where she could not but expect herself to fall next a sacrifice to his revenging sword. Now see how she meets her fate; she posted herself in a window at the entering of the gate, to affront Jehu and set him at defiance. 1. Instead of hiding herself, as one afraid of divine vengeance, she exposed herself to it and scorned to flee, mocked at fear and was not affrighted. See how a heart hardened against God will brave it out to the last, run upon him, even upon his neck, Job 15:26. But never did any thus harden their hearts against him and prosper. 2. Instead of humbling herself, and putting herself into close mourning for her son, she painted her face, and tired her head, that she might appear like herself, that is (as she thought), great and majestic, hoping thereby to daunt Jehu, to put him out of countenance, and to stop his career. The Lord God called to baldness and girding with sackcloth, but behold painting and dressing, walking contrary to God, Isa. 22:12, 13. There is not a surer presage of ruin than an unhumbled heart under humbling providences. Let painted faces look in Jezebel’s glass, and see how they like themselves. 3. Instead of trembling before Jehu, the instrument of God’s vengeance, she thought to make him tremble with that threatening question, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? Observe, (1.) She took no notice of the hand of God gone out against her family, but flew in the face of him that was only the sword in his hand. We are very apt, when we are in trouble, to break out into a passion against the instruments of our trouble, when we ought to be submissive to God and angry at ourselves only. (2.) She pleased herself with the thought that what Jehu was now doing would certainly end in his own ruin, and that he would not have peace in it. He had cut her off from all pretensions to peace (2 Kgs. 9:22), and now she thought to cut him off likewise. Note, It is no new thing for those that are doing God’s work to be looked upon as out of the way of peace. Active reformers, faithful reprovers, are threatened with trouble; but let them be in nothing terrified, Phil. 1:28. (3.) She quoted a precedent, to deter him from the prosecution of this enterprise: “Had Zimri peace? No, he had not; he came to the throne by blood and treachery, and within seven days was constrained to burn the palace over his head and himself in it: and canst thou expect to fare any better?” Had the case been parallel, it would have been proper enough to give him this memorandum; for the judgments of God upon those that have gone before us in any sinful way should be warnings to us to take heed of treading in their steps. But the instance of Zimri was misapplied to Jehu. Zimri had no warrant for what he did, but was incited to it merely by his own ambition and cruelty; whereas Jehu was anointed by one of the sons of the prophets, and did this by order from heaven, which would bear him out. In comparing persons and things we must carefully distinguish between the precious and the vile, and take heed lest from the fate of sinful men we read the doom of useful men.
II. Jehu demanding aid against her. He looked up to the window, not daunted at the menaces of her impudent but impotent rage, and cried, Who is on my side? Who? 2 Kgs. 9:32. He was called out to do God’s work, in reforming the land and punishing those that had debauched it; and here he calls out for assistance in the doing of it, looked as if there were any to help, any to uphold, Isa. 63:5. He lifts up a standard, and makes proclamation, as Moses (Exod. 23:26), Who is on the Lord’s side? And the Psalmist (Ps. 94:16), Who will rise up for me against the evil-doers? Note, When reformation-work is set on foot, it is time to ask, “Who sides with it?”
III. Her own attendants delivering her up to his just revenge. Two or three chamberlains looked out to Jehu with such a countenance as encouraged him to believe they were on his side, and to them he called not to seize or secure her till further orders, but immediately to throw her down, which was one way of stoning malefactors, casting them headlong from some steep place. Thus was vengeance taken on her for the stoning of Naboth. They threw her down, 2 Kgs. 9:33. If God’s command would justify Jehu, his command would justify them. Perhaps they had a secret dislike of Jezebel’s wickedness, and hated her, though they served her; or, it may be, she was barbarous and injurious to those about her, and they were pleased with this opportunity of being avenged on her; or, observing Jehu’s success, they hoped thus to ingratiate themselves with him, and keep their places in his court. However it was, thus she was most shamefully put to death, dashed against the wall and the pavement, and then trodden on by the horses, which were all besmeared with her blood and brains. See the end of pride and cruelty, and say, The Lord is righteous.
IV. The very dogs completing her shame and ruin, according to the prophecy. When Jehu had taken some refreshment in the palace, he bethought himself of showing so much respect to Jezebel’s sex and quality as to bury her. As bad as she was, she was a daughter, a king’s daughter, a king’s wife, a king’s mother: Go and bury her, 2 Kgs. 9:34. But, though he had forgotten what the prophet said (2 Kgs. 9:10; Dogs shall eat Jezebel), God had not forgotten it. While he was eating and drinking, the dogs had devoured her dead body, the dogs that went about the city (Ps. 59:6) and fed upon the carrion, so that there was nothing left but her bare skull (the painted face gone) and her feet and hands. The hungry dogs had no respect to the dignity of her extraction; a king’s daughter was no more to them than a common person. When we pamper our bodies, and use them deliciously, let us think how vile they are, and that shortly they will be either a feast for worms under ground or beasts above ground. When notice was brought of this to Jehu, he remembered the threatening (1 Kgs. 21:23), The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Nothing should remain of her but the monuments of her infamy. She had been used to appear on public days in great state, and the cry was, “This is Jezebel. What a majestic port and figure! How great she looks!” But now it shall be said no more. We have often seen the wicked buried (Eccl. 8:10), yet sometimes, as here, they have no burial, Eccl. 6:3. Jezebel’s name nowhere remained, but as stigmatized in sacred writ: they could not so much as say, “This is Jezebel’s dust, This is Jezebel’s grave,” or “This is Jezebel’s seed.” Thus the name of the wicked shall rot—rot above ground.