This chapter of 2 Kings is extraordinary in the scope of killing described. Jehu cleaned house with total determination that no follower of Ahab or worshipper of Baal should survive. Relentless killing.
Human history is marked by periods of mass killing, some of it in the name of religion. There is no exception in modern times, as seen by the killing by Bosnian Serbs [Christian] of about 9,000 Muslim civilians in 1995.
I love God, and I believe that scripture is given to us by God so that we may understand Him and ourselves better. The challenge is to understand if this chapter (and others like it found in the Old Testament) are to be interpreted to mean that “ethnic cleansing” is ordered by God, and approved by HIm.
The value of this chapter to me is that it compels me to think more deeply about the character of God. I am forced to reconcile my understanding of God as deeply compassionate, merciful and forgiving, with a God who approves of mass killing of people who think and worship differently than He has commanded.
Was this chapter written at the direction of a genocidal insurrectionist who rationalized his blood-thirst by stating that it was God’s will? Is Jehu’s assertion that He is killing in God’s name in order to honor God a statement by God Himself that it is so? Would God approve of the Church today rounding up U.S. Muslims and executing them in mass? What about Unitarians or New Agers, who twist the essential message of Jesus as the Promised One?
I am very skeptical of people who glibly assert that they know what God is up to. Our God is infinitely more complex in His purposes than we can grasp. I will not state in this note that I have an “answer” to these questions. I will however take some time to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal further to me the wonderful, gracious heart of God that I may follow it, and love Him more.