The murder of King Jehoram in the Naboth vineyard (2 Kings 9:21-9:26)

“King Jehoram said. ‘Get ready.’ They made his chariot ready. Then King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah set out, each in his chariot. They went to meet Jehu. They met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite. When King Jehoram saw Jehu, he said. ‘Is it peace, Jehu?’ He answered. ‘What peace can there be, so long as the many whores and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?’ Then King Jehoram reined about and fled, saying to King Ahaziah. ‘Treason, King Ahaziah!’ Jehu drew his bow with his full strength. He shot King Jehoram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart. He sank in his chariot. Jehu said to his aide Bidkar. ‘Lift him out. Throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember, when you and I rode side by side behind his father King Ahab how Yahweh uttered this oracle against him. ‘For the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons that I saw yesterday, says Yahweh, I will repay you on this very plot of ground.’ Now therefore lift him up and throw him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of Yahweh.”

King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah got in their chariots. They went out to meet Jehu at the infamous vineyard of Naboth as outlined in 1 Kings, chapter 21. When King Jehoram asked if there was peace, Jehu responded that there could never be peace as long as there were whores and sorcerers protected by his mother Jezebel. King Jehoram understood very quickly, that this was not the response that he was expecting. He told his nephew that this was treason and a rebellion if he was speaking this way about Jezebel. He turned his chariot and fled. However, Jehu was a good archer. He took out his bow and arrow and shot him in the back, piercing his heart. This is the only mention of Jehu’s aide Bidkar. However, he reminded him of the Naboth vineyard incident. Thus it seems fitting that the son of King Ahab, King Jehoram, should die and be thrown on the ground in this Naboth vineyard in order to fulfill the word of Yahweh.

The message from Yahweh (1 Kings 19:15-19:18)

“Then Yahweh said to him. ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Arameans. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel. You shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill. Whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

This is a direct command of Yahweh to Elijah about what he must do. This is not a renewal of the covenant at Mount Horeb, but a direct order of who is to be in charge and who is to be killed. This is not love God and your neighbor. This was to prepare for the righteous remnant. For some reason, Elijah was to anoint Hazael, the King of the Syrians in Damascus. Why would the prophet of Yahweh anoint a non-Hebrew king who battled against Israel and Judah? However, he also was to anoint Jehu as the new king of Israel in opposition to King Ahab. That makes more sense. He also was to anoint a new prophet in his place, Elisha. In another twist, there is the admonition that those who escaped from the deadly attack of Hazael, King Jehu should kill. Those not killed by King Jehu, Elisha should kill. Finally there would be about 7,000 in all Israel, who have not bowed to Baal or kissed this idol god. This message for Elijah from Yahweh will dominate the life of Elijah and Elisha as they attempt to carry out this command of Yahweh.

The bloody revolt of Zimri (1 Kings 16:9-16:14)

“But his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against Elah. When Elah was at Tirzah, drinking to get drunk in the house of Arza, who was in charge of the palace at Tirzah, Zimri came in and struck him down. He killed him, in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah. Zimri succeeded Elah. When he began to reign, as soon as he had seated himself on his throne, he killed all the house of King Baasha. He did not leave a single male of his kindred or his friends. Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of King Baasha, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke against King Baasha by the prophet Jehu. All the sins of King Baasha and his son Elah that they committed, plus what they had caused Israel to commit, provoked Yahweh, the God of Israel to anger because of their idols. Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?”

Zimri was the commander of half the chariots for King Elah. I wonder who had the other half. He conspired against King Elah. One night when Elah and Arza, the guy in charge of the palace were over indulging in drink, Zimri killed Elah. Zimri immediately took over. He then killed all the males in the household of King Baasha, so that there could not be any heirs in that family. Of course, this was because the prophet Jehu speaking for Yahweh had prophesized so earlier in this chapter. The idol worship of Baasha, his son Elah, and what they had made Israel do had provoked the anger of Yahweh. Thus Zimri was only fulfilling the prophecy of Jehu that Yahweh had given him. If you want to know more about Elah, the lost “Book of the Annals of the kings of Israel” was available.