Violent Leadership



2 Kings 9:11-37
11 When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they said to him, “Is all well? Why did this mad fellow come to you?” And he said to them, “You know the fellow and his talk.”
12 And they said, “That is not true; tell us now.” And he said, “Thus and so he spoke to me, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.’ ”
13 Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”
14 Thus Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram with all Israel had been on guard at Ramoth-gilead against Hazael king of Syria,
15 but King Joram had returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) So Jehu said, “If this is your decision, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.”
16 Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to visit Joram.
17 Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he saw the company of Jehu as he came and said, “I see a company.” And Joram said, “Take a horseman and send to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’ ”
18 So a man on horseback went to meet him and said, “Thus says the king, ‘Is it peace?’ ” And Jehu said, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.” And the watchman reported, saying, “The messenger reached them, but he is not coming back.”
19 Then he sent out a second horseman, who came to them and said, “Thus the king has said, ‘Is it peace?’ ” And Jehu answered, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.”
20 Again the watchman reported, “He reached them, but he is not coming back. And the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.”
21 Joram said, “Make ready.” And they made ready his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu, and met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite.
22 And when Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” He answered, “What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?”
23 Then Joram reined about and fled, saying to Ahaziah, “Treachery, O Ahaziah!”
24 And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart, and he sank in his chariot.
25 Jehu said to Bidkar his aide, “Take him up and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. For remember, when you and I rode side by side behind Ahab his father, how the Lord made this pronouncement against him:
26 ‘As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons—declares the Lord—I will repay you on this plot of ground.’ Now therefore take him up and throw him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the Lord.”
27 When Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled in the direction of Beth-haggan. And Jehu pursued him and said, “Shoot him also.” And they shot him in the chariot at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo and died there.
28 His servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his fathers in the city of David.

As I was thinking about the reading for today (I might call it mediation, but that would probably overstate the mental activity) the utter violence of the story struck me. What a violent time to live! What a scary time to be a leader. Your life was in danger all the time simply because you sat on the throne. Then my mind wandered to the leaders I have witnessed in my life and the Old Testament times didn’t seem so very different than what we have today. In just the last several decades being a world leader has not exactly been a safe job. One U.S. President has been successfully killed while in office and several attempts have been made on others. We have watched as other world leaders have been brutally murdered as the media flashes these events into our living rooms. An attempt at assassination was even made on the pope in our lifetimes. No, we are no different than those tribal lords and kings back in the Old Testament several thousand years ago. They needed God to direct their ways and to bring them a Savior, just like we do.

Comments