(To read these posts in order from the beginning, start here.)
Read Hosea 1:1-5
God: “Name your kid Jezreel.”
I promised it was about to get good! In the last post, we learned that God commanded Hosea to marry an immoral woman (most likely a prediction that she would be unfaithful to Hosea in the future, not an indication she was already a prostitute or sex slave), God was very specific that there would be three children, each with a very significant name.
First up: Jezreel.
Why did God choose this name? “For in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.” (1:4-5)
What’s this all about?
One commenter noted that for an ancient Jew, Jezreel may have conjured up images of bloodshed much like saying the word “Chernobyl” would make a modern person think of nuclear war and devastation.
But get this.
God actually commanded Jehu through the prophet Elisha to strike down the house of Ahab that he “might avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord.” Elisha went on, “And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her.” (2 Kings 9:10) In fact, God himself spoke directly to Jehu and commended him for following through with it! (2 Kings 10:30)
So, the question is…..if God commanded Jehu to strike down the house of Ahab (which would be bloody), why is he judging the house of Jehu for “the blood of Jezreel”?
Okay, so here is where it gets interesting.
Turns out, Jehu DID obey the Lord in striking down the house of Ahab, BUT he went a wee bit further than that, took matters into his own hands, and actually killed Ahaziah, a Davidic king (2 Kings 9:27-28), along with 42 members of his family (2 Kgs 10:12–14). He killed a bunch of other people too. Basically, he had a thirst for blood. As G.H. Livingston, put it: “Jehu became king and continued to brutally destroy anyone he did not like.” Overall, we learn from 2 Kings 10:31 that “Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord the God of Israel with all his heart.” In other words, he was not a good king.
In fact, the word Jezreel is a bit ambiguous, but can mean “God will scatter”(like someone might scatter chaff to be thrown out or destroyed) BUT it can also mean “God will scatter” (like a farmer scatters seed to be planted and restored.) D.A. Hubbard wrote, “It is a figure descriptive of the whole nation, ripe for judgment, yet to be restored to a covenant-relationship when the judgment has done its necessary work.”
The good news is coming! But first we have to meet Jezreel’s siblings, No Mercy and Not my People. Click here to read the next post...