Like the Driving of Jehu
February 11th, 1962 @ 7:30 PM
2 Kings 9-10
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Kings 9-10
2-11-62 7:30 p.m.
The title of the sermon is Like the Driving of Jehu, "for he driveth furiously" [2 Kings 9:20]. The sermon is one of blood and gore, of destruction and murder and death. It is in the New Testament, "For our God is a flaming fire" [Hebrews 12:29], and "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God" [Hebrews 10:31]. Now, out of the midst of the passage tonight, we shall read one incident. Turn to 2 Kings, chapter 9, and we shall read verses thirty to the end of the chapter; the Second Book of the Kings, chapter 9, verses 30 to the end. The sermon is a sermon on the judgment of Almighty God. And the same Lord God that reigns sovereign over the earth, in the days of Elijah and Elisha, in the days of Jehu and Jezebel, is the same Lord God that reigns over this earth today. Do we have it? And all of us sharing our Bibles, let us read it together; 2 Kings 9, beginning at verse 30:
And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.
And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?
And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs.
And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trod her under foot.
And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter.
And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands.
Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the Lord, which He spake by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:
And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.
[2 Kings 9:30-37]
That is just a little portion of what we read in the Word of the Lord. The first time the name of Jehu appears is in the sentences of the Lord God to Elijah on Mount Horeb – on Mount Sinai. Elijah, in desperation, in disappointment, in despair, has fled from the face of Jezebel. And down there, on the south part of that Sinaitic peninsula he has asked God to let him die. All of his people have turned away from the Lord. And he says, "I am the only one that is left" [1 Kings 19:10]. And the Lord said to Elijah, "Now, Elijah, I have got Me reserved for Myself seven thousand who have not bowed their knee to Baal and they have not kissed his hand [1 Kings 19:18]. Now, there is work to do. Get up, Elijah. I am sending you back. And when you go back, I want you to anoint Hazael the king of Syria, and Jehu the king of Israel, and Elisha the prophet in thy stead" [1 Kings 19:15, 16]. That is the first time we hear of this name, Jehu – the first time he appears is in Jezreel.
When Jezebel made those false accusations against Naboth the Jezreelite, there rode down to Jezreel Ahab the king, in order that he might receive the inheritance that Jezebel had taken from the family of slain and fallen Naboth [1 Kings 21:5-16]. And when Ahab entered into the vineyard of the murdered Naboth, there stood among the vines and the roses Elijah the Tishbite [1 Kings 21:17-18]. And Elijah said to Ahab, "In this place where the dogs have licked up the blood of Naboth shall the dogs lick up thy blood" [1 Kings 21:19]. "And Jezebel shall be eaten by the dogs at the gate of Jezreel" [1 Kings 21:23]. That is the first appearance of Jehu for the book says when Ahab went down to receive the inheritance of Naboth, there followed him in the chariot Jehu and his comrade in arms, Bidkar [2 Kings 9:25].
We come now to the ninth and the tenth chapters of the Book of [Second] Kings. Ahab has been dead for fourteen years. For some reason that is not disclosed, Elijah did not anoint Jehu. And at the ninth chapter now, we are at the siege of Ramoth-gilead [2 Kings 8:28-9:1]. [Joram], the son of Ahab and Jezebel, is king and is reigning in Jezreel. And Jehu is captain of the hosts and is conducting the siege on the other side of the Jordan River against Ramoth-gilead, the city of Ramoth, in the country of Gilead. And while that siege is progressing, and while Jehu, the captain of the host under [Joram], the son of Ahab and Jezebel, king in Jezreel – while that siege is going on, Elisha, the prophet, calls in one of the sons of the prophets, a wild looking, disheveled young man. And he says to him, "You take this vial of oil and conceal it in the cloak of your garment. And you make your way to Ramoth in Gilead. And you call for Jehu and ask him to enter into the house. And there, in an inner chamber, you take out the vial of oil, pour it on his head, anoint him as king over Israel, and then flee" [2 Kings 9:1-3]. And that thing came to pass. There suddenly appears into the camp of Israel there at Ramoth-gilead, a wild-looking, disheveled young man [2 Kings 9:4]. And he comes to the captains who are seated there. And he says to Jehu, "Thou, O captain, may I have a word with thee?" And Jehu replied, "Which one of us?" And he said, "Thou" [2 Kings 9:5]. And they enter into the chamber. And there, this young son of the prophets breaks open the box of oil and says, "Thou art anointed king over Israel [2 Kings 9:6]. And thou shalt exterminate the house of Ahab [2 Kings 9:7]; . . . and the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel . . . and none shall bury her." And then the young fellow ran away [2 Kings 9:10].
When Jehu appeared before his fellow captains, it was manifest, it was plain that something had happened that greatly disturbed the captain of the hosts. And so his fellow captain said to him, "What did this mad fellow have to say to you?" And Jehu said, "Nothing at all" [2 Kings 9:11]. And one of them said, "Look at you, you are trembling." And another said, "And your face is ashen pale. What has happened in there?" And pressed, Jehu finally said, "He was sent by Elisha, the prophet of God, to anoint me king over his people, Israel" [2 Kings 9:12]. And the thing spread like wildfire through the army. With one accord they sounded the trumpet. And they said, "Jehu is king" [2 Kings 9:13]. The king is Jehu." And the first thing Jehu did was to make Bidkar, his comrade in arms, the captain of his hosts [2 Kings 9:25]. And he cut off immediately all communications between Ramoth-gilead and Jezreel, the palace of the king.
Now we have come to verse 15 in chapter 9 [2 Kings 9:15]. The second section is verse 16 down through verse 28 [2 Kings 9:16-28]. And this is that story: when Jehu cut off all communication with Jezreel he mounted his chariot, and with Bidkar by his side and his armies following later behind, he began to drive toward the summer palace of King [Joram]. And there was a watchman on the wall. And as he looked, he said, "There is somebody in the distant horizon driving toward Jezreel." And [Joram], who had been wounded in the war against the Syrians, and who was there in Jezreel, and whose nephew Ahaziah the son of Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, the king of Judah, this nephew was up there visiting his uncle in his illness, recovering from his wounds. [Joram] said to that watchman, "Send the messenger to see who it is." And when the messenger came, it was Jehu. And he asked Jehu, "Is it peace?" [2 Kings 9:16-17]. And Jehu said to the messenger, "What do you know about peace, when Jezebel and her whoredoms damn the land. Get behind me." What an amazing thing. And that man followed behind Jehu. And the watchman said to the king [Joram], "He does not return." And [Joram] said, "Send the second watchman." And the second one went to meet Jehu. And he says, "Is it peace, Jehu?" And Jehu replies, "What do you know about peace when the whoredoms of Jezebel destroy our land? Get behind me" [2 Kings 9:18]. And the watchman reports to [Joram], "Our second messenger does not return." And as the watchman on the wall watches the coming of the driver, he makes the announcement, "He that cometh is a man who drives like the driving of Jehu, for he driveth furiously" [2 Kings 9:20].
And when King [Joram] heard that, he said to his nephew, King Ahaziah, "Come. Come. Let us mount our chariots, and let us get our guardsmen, and let us go out to meet him." And in the providence of God they met in the vineyard, in the portion, in the place that belonged to Naboth, the Jezreelite [2 Kings 9:21]. And when [Joram] met Jehu, he said to Jehu, "Is it peace, Jehu?" [2 Kings 9:22]. And Jehu replied, "What do you know about peace?" And Jehu pulled back his bow, and the arrow sped and went clear through the heart and the body of King [Jehoram] and he fell dead in the chariot [2 Kings 9:24]. And when Ahaziah, the nephew, the king of Judah, the son of Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel – when he saw what had happened, he turned to flee for his life. But the soldiers of Jehu fled after him and mortally wounded him. And he died at Armageddon, at the mountain of Megiddo [2 Kings 9:27]. So, perished the king of Judah and the king of Israel – the offspring of Ahab and Jezebel.
Then the passage you read: Jehu drives furiously to the gate of Jezreel. And by that time, messengers had told Jezebel the thing that had happened to Johoram her son, and to Ahaziah her nephew, and she painted her face [2 Kings 9:30]. When you look at that, in the Hebrew, she did exactly what I see our girls are doing today. She took a pencil and she put that mascara and things around her eyes. That is what the Hebrew says, translated here, "She painted her face" [2 Kings 9:30]. It makes your eyes look larger. Your eyes stand out like the eyes you see on those Egyptian monuments. You know, when I went through Cairo, all through those museums, every one of those ancient Egyptians had their eyes painted like I see girls paint their eyes today. And they look enlarged, you know, and very effective, I suppose; at least they thought they were effective. And our girls today think it is effective. And Jezebel thought it was effective. She painted her eyes just so, and her face just so. And when it says here, in the King James Version, "she tired her head" [2 Kings 9:30], that is an old English word for "and she adorned her head." She put her hair just so, and the combs just so, and the jewels just so, and everything just so. She was born a queen, even though she was a witch and a wretch and an insult to God. Oh, this woman Jezebel, one of the most interesting, one of the most masterful, one of the most effective of all of the women that ever lived; Jezebel. And she thought to meet Jehu in her regal gowns and in her regal robe and in her queenly attire.
I would think – now there are two kinds of folks that are thinking about this. One kind of folks think she was going to try to seduce Jehu. She is going to try to charm him. I – oh, I do not think so. I think she is too old for that. Every woman has her day, and the day passes for every woman. There is another generation that comes along. That is the only reason I have against it. There is nothing here in the Bible to preclude that those were her intentions. I think what she did was, that she was hoping to command those around her. She was so regal in her bearing, and she was so queenly in all of her gestures, and she had the air and the presence of a monarch. This woman Jezebel was the true daughter of Ethbaal, the king of Sidon [1 Kings 16:31]. And she was the mother of kings and queens and she played her part well. I think she thought to command around her that devotion and that loyalty that would be able to overcome this awful treachery of Jehu. So she dressed up in her queenly attire, and she came and looked at Jehu from the palace window as he drove up at the gate of Jezreel. And what did Jehu do? He looked up there and he said, "Who up there is on my side? Who I say, who?" [2 Kings 9:32]. Well, there is one thing about an imperious, contumaceous disposition. You may be able to look the part of a king, and to act the part of a queen, but the chances are the people who serve you closely despise you, and hate you, and abhor you. And that is what happened to Jezebel.
Those eunuchs who bathed her, and "tired" her, and adorned her, and dressed her, and took care of her, they despised her. And when Jehu said, "Who up there is on my side?" There were two or three of those eunuchs who said, "We are." And when they replied, Jehu said, "Throw her down. Throw her down." And those eunuchs seized that female for whom they had lost their manhood in service. Those eunuchs took Jezebel and they cast her down from the palace window onto the iron stone pavement at the entrance of the gate of Jezreel. And they threw her down with such force that her falling body splattered blood on the wall and splattered blood on the horses. And when Jehu saw her in the entrance of the gate, he drove his chariot over her [2 Kings 9:32-33]. And after he had gone inside – and he was a savage himself – after he had gone inside and had eaten and had drunken, he said, "Go, see her. She is a king’s daughter. Pick her up and bury her out of our sight" [2 Kings 9:34]. And when his servants came back, they said, "O King Jehu, all we could find is her skull that could not be masticated, and the palms of her hands and her feet" [2 Kings 9:35]. What an awful thing. "For the dogs," said Elisha, "shall eat Jezebel by the gate of Jezreel" [1 Kings 21:23; 2 Kings 9:36].
Oh, the fury of the wrath of Almighty God! When I listen to some of these dilettantes and some of these effeminate preachers talk about the Lord God as though He were some kind of a supine, pusillanimous, colorless, anemic artist up there on the other side of the earth, painting pictures of stars, listening to the music of the spheres; O how different in the Word of God! And if you ever live through another war, and if you ever hear the falling of bombs and the lurid death that falls from the sky, you will know what the judgment of God is. For war is the judgment of Almighty God upon the sins of these nations of this earth. "It is a terrible thing," says the New Testament, "to fall into the hands of the living God" [Hebrews 10:31]; "for our God is a consuming fire" [Hebrews 12:29].
But Jehu has just started. He has just begun. Now Ahab, the house of Ahab had seventy sons; seventy of them, and they were all up there at Samaria [2 Kings 10:1]. And Jehu, from Jezreel – now we are in chapter 10. We are going through verses 1 through 14 [2 Kings 10:1-14]. Jehu is at Jezreel, and the capital is at Samaria. And up there in Samaria are seventy sons of Ahab; that is, seventy of the household, seventy descendants, and nephews and what have you, of the house of Ahab. And Jehu sends word up there to Samaria, and he said to those men of Samaria, "Now, you choose one of those princes to be a king. And let him come out and let him fight" [2 Kings 10:1-3]. And the men who were in charge of the government and who were counselors of the state of Israel up there in Samaria, sent word back to Jehu and said, "We won’t do it. We won’t do it. We surrender. You tell us what you want of us and we will do it" [2 Kings 10:5]. And Jehu said, "I want you to take those seventy descendants of Ahab, I want you to cut off their heads and put them in a basket and have them here in Jezreel tomorrow" [2 Kings 10:6]. And the next day, there was delivered to Jehu the seventy heads, in a basket, of the family and the household of Ahab [2 Kings 10:7]. Then Jehu, driving up to Samaria, came at the shearing place, somewhere between Jezreel and Samaria – he came upon the kinsmen, translated here, "the brethren of Ahaziah [2 Kings 10:13] – the son of Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel." And there were forty-two of them [2 Kings 10:14]. And when Jehu met them, he said, "Who are you?" And they proudly said, "We are of the king’s sons. We are of the descendants of Ahab and of Jezebel" [2 Kings 10:13]. And when they said so, Jehu said to his soldiers, "Fall upon them." And all forty-two of them were slain and cast into an empty pit [2 Kings 10:14]. And now we are down in chapter 10 to verse 15. And as he drove, as he drove, as Jehu drove through the land in his chariot, he lighted upon Jehonadab the Rechabite [2 Kings 10:15].
Now, Jehonadab, Jehonadab was a godly man. And when he saw Jehonadab, he said, "Jehonadab, is your heart with mine?" And Jehonadab said, "It is." Then said Jehu, "Give me your hand and come up here with me in my chariot [2 Kings 10:15]. I want you to see my zeal for the Lord" [2 Kings 10:16]. And as they drove along in the chariot, Jehu confided to Jehonadab this thing about the service of Baal. Jehu said to Jehonadab, "I am sending word throughout all of the land, all of the priests of Baal and all of the servants of Baal are to be gathered together in the house of his image. And when they are gathered together, I am going to set upon them eighty of my guardsmen to slay them every one, so that there is not a Baal priest and there is not a Baal worshiper in the land of Israel" [2 Kings 10:18, 19]. And he did just that. He called all of the Baal priests together and he called all the Baalites together, and in that house he fell upon them and they were destroyed, the entire lot. And Baal worship was taken out of the land of Israel, the house was destroyed, the image was destroyed. The Baal worshipers were destroyed; all of them were destroyed in the sight of the Lord God [2 Kings 10:20-28].
Now, we come to verse 29, 30, and 31 [2 Kings 10:29-31]. Of all of the things you could imagine, of all of the astonishing, astounding things that you could conceive of – now, I want you to look at this man Jehu. Now look at him: "Howbeit, however, from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not, but he served the golden calves that Jeroboam raised in Bethel and in Dan" [2 Kings 10:29]. Now verse thirty-one: "And Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin" [2 Kings 10:31], bowing down before those golden calves.
I cannot believe it. I cannot imagine it. I cannot conceive of it. It suited his furious and savage taste to be the instrument of the wrath and the judgment of God upon the sins of Ahab and Jezebel. And he was an iconoclast of the first order. Instead of being like Saul, who spared Agag and the best of the cattle and the herds and the flocks of the Amalekites [1 Samuel 15:8-9], Jehu was just the opposite; he slew them all. On the right and on the left, he never let one living remnant of the house of Ahab remain. And he took Baal worshipers and he slew them, and he broke down the house of Baal and the images of Baal all over the land [2 Kings 10:2-28]. What a mighty man, zealous for God! And then, I see him bow down before the golden calves at Bethel and at Dan. I cannot conceive of it. I cannot imagine it. I cannot think of it. That furious man, so zealous for Jehovah God, an iconoclast of the first uncompromising order; and then, bowing down before the calves of gold at Bethel and at Dan [2 Kings 10:29]. And you know, I got to thinking; I got to turning the thing over in my mind. I see that everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. Everywhere, a furious zeal. "Come, look at my zeal for God," and then – and then there is a disposition to follow after things as alien to the mind of God as darkness is alien to light, and as hell is alien to the courts of heaven. I see it all the time.
For example, here is a man who has a great zeal for his religion. Why, bless your name, he wouldn’t go to one of our services lest he commit mortal sin. He wouldn’t be in that door. He wouldn’t come in that door; he wouldn’t sit down in one of these services lest he be guilty of mortal sin. And I see him get up at five o’clock on Sunday morning and he makes his way to church. And I see that man zealous for religion. What an amazing thing. And then, I look at him. He is as drunk as a sailor. And he gambles half of the night. And he spends his life in revelry and debauchery – that same man, the same one. It is an amazing thing, an astonishing thing!
Here is another man. Look at him. Here is a man that has great honor for his parents. And out of deference to that religion that he got from his parents, he remembers his father and his mother. And he remembers the faith in which he was reared. And he is loyal to the religion of his parents. And I watch him as he lives and as he works and as he stays in the church of his people. And then I look at him. He got his religion just as he got his name – when he was unconscious. And he has absolutely no evidence of being born again at all. His name was put on the church roll when he was an unconscious infant, and it stays there in loyalty to the faith of his father and his mother, and that’s it. That’s it. No evidence of being born-again Christian at all.
And here is a man. I see him zealous. Oh, he is working. He is working in these organizations to clear out the slums. And he is working in these organizations to make a better city. And he is working in all of these efforts to clean up the town out of its scum and out of its filth and out of its dirt and out of its poverty, away he works. And then I look at him, there is nothing of God in his heart at all. Apparently, he is a fine citizen. And apparently, he is zealous for the things of the city. But there is no evidence of any love of Jesus in his heart at all – none at all, none at all.
And I take that thing on and on and on. And there are preachers who preach in the energy of the flesh. But there is no power of the Holy Spirit of God upon them at all. And I see churches that are zealous for organizations. And they are zealous in a thousand different activities and the thing just hums and goes and goes. But there is no power and drive of the Holy Spirit of God at all. Oh, those things make you pause.
"Come and see my zeal for the Lord" [2 Kings 10:16]. But it is not of heaven and it is not in the soul and I will tell you why; because Jehu had a furious eagerness to carry out that mandate of God, because the more of those members of the household of Ahab that he murdered, the more secure was his own throne. And when he had them all dead, then Jehu had no rival [2 Kings 10:1-14]. And it pleased his savage and his vicious spirit to carry out the commandment of the Lord, but his heart was not given to Jesus. His soul was not enamored with the love of God. He had a zeal [2 Kings 10:16], but not according to the Spirit and the love of our Savior.
And that’s why, when I read these things in the Book – O Lord God, O Lord God, what am I zealous for? What am I zealous for? And what am I eager for? And what am I doing this for? O God, search my soul and try my heart and see. Are we trying to build a great church for the glory of God, or are we trying to build a great church for the glory of us who belong to this great congregation? Which? And are we seeking the souls of men because they are lost and we love them, or do we seek them because we want to make a great and an astonishing report? And is our zeal in all of the activities of our church because we are proud in our classes and in our organizations, or is it because we have the love of the Lord in our souls? And when we sing and when we preach and when we work, do we do it with no thought of ourselves and what it shall mean to us, and we are doing it just because we love God?
This man Jehu was a furious driver [2 Kings 9:20]. And this man Jehu was zealous for God [2 Kings 10:16]. But he had a reward in it for himself and a gain for it personally. And his heart was not given to Jesus. O Lord, try us and search us, look in our souls and see why it is, Master, that we work for Thee? Why, why, Lord? And give to us a motive, pure and single, as unto God. O Lord, give us the love of Jesus in our hearts, and give us the love of the souls of men in our church. And give us, Lord, an eye single to Thy praise and to Thy glory. If we are singing songs, Lord, that they might exalt Thee. And if we are teaching lessons, Lord, that they might be of Thee. And if we are preaching sermons, Lord, that they might glorify Thee. And if we are having church services, Lord, that they might be filled with the love and the Spirit of God. And in all of the parts and pieces of our church, Lord, that it all might be for the love of Jesus. O God, make it so. Make it so. Make it so. Look at my zeal, Lord, and see. Make it so. Make it so. Less and less and less of us, more and more and more of Thee, until finally, Lord, nothing of us and all of Thee.
And it is with that holy and sacred and blessed end that the appeal is made tonight. Not for anything of us, but for God. "Here I come, and here I am." While we sing this song of appeal, giving your life in humble trust to Jesus; make it tonight. Putting your life with us in the circle and the fellowship of this blessed church, "Humbly to offer our highest best to Thee, Lord, here I come, here I come." As the Spirit of Jesus shall make the appeal, shall speak to your heart, "Lord, as God shall search me and try me and know me, I take Jesus as my Savior, I give Him my life, the love of my soul, now, tomorrow, forever, and here I am, and here I come." While we sing this song, and while our people pray, and while we wait for you, "Lord, Lord, here I come." As the Spirit shall whisper the appeal, make it tonight; by our sides to bow in the presence of the great Savior, to call upon His name, to ask Him to be our Lord and friend and keeper, "Lord, here I am for Thee, and I come," make it now. While we stand and while we sing.
THE DRIVING OF JEHU
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2 Kings 9-10
1. Flees Jezebel
2. God tells him to anoint Hazael, Jehu and Elisha
3. Prophesies the death of Ahab and Jezebel
II. Ahab has been dead 14 years, his son Joram is king of Israel
1. Elisha sends a prophet to anoint Jehu king of Israel
2. The prophet tells Jehu to destroy the house of Ahab and to kill Jezebel
3. Jehu kills Joram, the king of Israel, son of Ahab and Jezebel
4. Jehu kills Ahaziah, king of Judah, son of Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter
5. Goes to Jezreel, has Jezebel killed, dogs consume her, prophecy fulfilled
6. Seventy sons of Ahab and Jezebel killed
7. Forty two descendents of Ahab and Jezebel slain ending their line
8. Jehu kills all prophets and worshipers of Baal
9. Jehu fails to worship God, instead worships golden calf’s of evil king Jeroboam.
IV. Being zealous means nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit
V. God’s judgment is real and awesome