“Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’” -2 Samuel 12:9-10
2 Kings chapter 10 continues the story of Jehu’s extermination of the house of Ahab and Jezebel. We’re given an almost hopeful picture: Jehu comes closer than any Israelite king to truly following the LORD. However, Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin – that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and Dan. Whether or not these calves were disobedient of the first commandment, they certainly were violating the second.
By the end of today’s reading, we’ll be about 120 years into this two-kingdom experiment for the people of the LORD. The longest-reigning dynasty in the Northern Kingdom has just been upended by Jehu. While it had survived three successions, it still only lasted 44 turbulent years. Comparatively, the Davidic dynasty had sustained its throne in Jerusalem for over two centuries.
But the sword in David’s house was only lying dormant, and it springs to life in chapter 11. Yesterday we read that Jehu had ended the king of Judah’s life, and today the king’s mother takes the throne for herself. She is Athaliah, a daughter of Ahab in both body and spirit. She ruthlessly exterminates the royal house, save one son of Ahaziah: Joash (or Jehoash), who is hidden by his aunt and a faithful priest.
I’m going to close by addressing a potential point of frustration with all these names. First, there are many times when people are referred here by two different names. Joash and Jehoash are an example, as are Joram and Jehoram, and tomorrow you’ll run into Uzziah, also known as Azariah.
There are also multiple occurrences of certain names: Azariah reigns first in Israel, and then sixty years later another Azariah reigns in Judah; there is also an Ahaziah in each kingdom, and two named Joash who even reign simultaneously for a time. Tomorrow, you’ll run into a second Ben-Hadad in Syria, and a second Jeroboam.
Remember that you’re reading the actual histories of actual kingdoms. It can be difficult to keep track of it all. Very soon, unfortunately, one of these parallel histories will be brought to a close.
Our verse for this week is Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
2 Kings 10 through 12. Now let’s read it!
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.