Prophet Jehu and King Baasha

Bible Reference: 2 Chronicles 19:1-3

Heart of the Story: Jehu, a prophet in Judah, prophesied against both a Northern Kingdom (Israel) king and a Southern Kingdom (Judah) king. His prophecy against Judah will be covered in a later blog post.

Back Story:  Jehu was named a “seer,” an early Bible name for prophet. His father (Hanani) reprimanded King Asa. As a result, King Asa of Judah had Hanani put in prison and in stocks. Baasha killed the son of Jeroboam, the first king of Israel and reigned in his place. One of Baasha’s first acts as king was to kill every member of the royal family of Jeroboam. Baasha reigned for 24 years. The time frame was during the reign of King Asa of Judah. Baasha reigned from Tirzah, originally a Canaanite city in the tribal lands of Manasseh.

Story Line:  God told the prophet Jehu to tell Baasha, that God exalted Baasha out of the dust and made him king. But (and there is often a “but” in the Bible) King Baasha followed King Jeroboam’s example and promoted the worship of idols which Jeroboam set up at Bethel and Dan. King Baasha provoked God’s anger by Baasha’s sins. As a result, God was going to utterly sweep away King Baasha and his house as he did King Jeroboam.

Baasha reigned for 24 years and died. His son, Elah, began to reign over Israel from Tirzah. Zimri, the one of King Elah’s chariot commanders, conspired against King Elah and killed him and the entire royal family. Thus, Jehu’s words against King Baasha came true.

Pondering Events and Relationships:  If King Baasha didn’t followed King Jeroboam and facilitate the Israelites to worship idols, likely, God would not have sent the Seer Jehu to condemn them. God’s was angry because of Israel’s idol worship and God blamed King Baasha for setting an example of worship of idols. Several points in this story seem important:

  1. God has emotions, that is, God was angry at King Baasha because of his poor example.

  2. Although God punishes sinners, God does give them a warning. In this case, the prophet Jehu warned King Baasha what was going to occur as a result of Baasha’s sin.

  3. In the Bible, a criterion that differentiated a true from false prophet was if the prophet’s words came true. Clearly, Jehu was a true prophet because his prophecy came true. Baasha royal line was destroyed. Thus Jehu was a true prophet.

  4. God’s timeframe and ours are different. God did not destroy King Baasha’s royal family in his life time; but in the kingship of his son Elah.

King Baasha could have taken Jehu’s words to heart, humbled himself before God, and changed his sin of idol worship. King Baasha could have destroyed the idols that King Jeroboam set up at Dan and Bethel; but, he did not. We read in various places in the Bible that God did not immediately destroy a city (Nineveh) or a nation (Judah in the time of King Josiah). God is long suffering and compassionate.

Reflection: I often wonder if the prophet Jehu knew the fate of his father when he obeyed God and went to King Baasha. King Baasha could have imprisoned Jehu for his prophecy.

Copyright July 5, 2017; Carolyn A. Roth

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