“Then Jehu said to Bidkar his captain, ‘Pick him up, and throw him into the tract of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite; for remember, when you and I were riding together behind Ahab his father, that the Lord laid this burden upon him: “Surely I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons,” says the Lord, “and I will repay you in this plot,” says the Lord. Now therefore, take and throw him on the plot of ground, according to the word of the Lord’" (2 Kings 9:25-26).
These words were spoken regarding Jehoram the son of Ahab after Jehu had killed him (2 Kings 9:24). Earlier, Elisha the prophet had Jehu anointed to be the next king of Israel (2 Kings 9:1-6). Jehu was then told to strike down the remaining members of the house of Ahab including the sitting king, Jehoram the son of Ahab (2 Kings 9:7-10). Jehu does as he is instructed and shoots an arrow through Jehoram’s heart, as well as having Jehoram’s mother Jezebel killed (2 Kings 9:11-37).
Why was this done? Ahab had been an exceedingly wicked king (1 Kings 21:25-26). After Ahab’s wife Jezebel had Naboth murdered so Ahab could take over his vineyard, God told Ahab through the prophet Elijah, “'Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free. I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin.” And concerning Jezebel the Lord also spoke, saying, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Ahab and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field" (1 Kings 21:21-24).
In addition, the opening verses above indicate to us that God had told Ahab that He had seen the blood of Naboth and Naboth’s sons which had been shed because of Ahab’s selfish desire to have Naboth’s vineyard. Like Abel of ancient times, God had heard the crying out of their blood from the earth asking God for justice (cf. Genesis 4:10). The Lord had “laid a burden” on Ahab by letting Ahab know that God would repay Ahab on this same field which belonged to Naboth. This was fulfilled when Jehu threw the dead body of Ahab’s son Jehoram upon this field and the dogs ate the flesh of Jezebel on this same field.
Although it took many years for God to execute vengeance upon the house of Ahab, in due time justice was done. Perhaps for a while, Ahab’s household might have thought they would not have to experience any ramifications for what they had done. However, God did repay them in full!
Do you ever struggle with feeling like the wicked get away with their crimes? Over the centuries God’s people have struggled with this. The prophet Habbakuk said, “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ And You will not save” (Habbakuk 1:2). In the book of Revelation, those souls who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held, cried out with a loud voice saying, “"How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:9-10).
Today, I rejoice that I know that God will execute His justice in due time (2 Corinthians 5:10). I don’t need to harbor feelings of vengeance because I trust in God to execute this. I will strive to extend to lost souls God’s mercy and forgiveness as I have also been blessed to be a recipient of these!
“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).