Summary: Jehu's action seem to condone violence against an unfaithful enemy … how do we understand this?
Why Is The Old Testament So Violent?
If I was to ask you what are some of the really big differences between the Old and New Testament what would you say?
Get some answers. Might include:
- More inclusiveness of people.
- Easier to understand.
- One answer I want is – OT seems more violent.
In fact it seems like the God of the Old Testament is much more violent than the God of the New Testament. And this really comes out in the book of Kings.
Open up to the chapters we are going to focus on today.
If you have been regularly attending church you might remember the name Jehu.
We read about him a few weeks ago in 1 Kings 19:16-17. Jehu was one of the people Elijah needed to anoint to help in a grand plan that God had in mind. What we are reading about now is the grand plan unfolding.
At this time in history the spiritual situation of the whole nation is very bad. Jehoram the son of Ahab has been on the throne for 8 eight years and he has continued the extreme idolatry of Ahab – no-one in the land is following the true God. Not only that the current king of Judah – who was supposed to follow in the ways of David, had also introduced extreme idolatry into that nation. Basically the rule of Ahab had completely tainted the whole land—all under the sinister shadow of their Jezebel the foreign wife of Ahab who had been so crutial in introducing Baal worship into the land.
Something needs to change. The one who will bring the change is Jehu. Jehu is going to be the answer to many prophecies including:-
Destroying the household of his master … who is the son of Ahab.
Annihilating all of Ahab’s descendents.
Removing Jezebel from the picture.
Even though this is told in secret there is obviously a lot of hate towards the current queen and his mother Jezebel. Because it doesn’t take long to make him king.
Let’s read what happens:- 1 Kings 9:14-29
That is a big section, and we can’t cover everything. But you notice there don’t you a recurring phrase. IS THERE PEACE?
Let me tell you what the question sounds like in Hebrew:-
You might be familiar with the word.
It means well-being, stability, contentment, unity, reconciliation … real peace.
The question identifies the real issues.
Hashalom … is there peace?
How can there be peace when the house of the king has formed an alliance with the house of Baal?
God’s anointed leaders don’t follow God’s law and they are leading people astray. Indeed both kings are standing in defiance of the promises God made to David.
When the divine house and the royal house stand together against God there is no peace.
Hashalom … is there peace?
How can there be peace when everyone is following Baal and acting worse than the people which God removed from the land so that the Israelites could live there?
God’s people have completely turned their back against the covenant God made with them.
The relationship between God and His people is broken … there is no peace.