2 Kings 9:7—How could God condemn Jehu for bloodshed when God had commanded him to exterminate the house of Ahab?

Problem: In 2 Kings 9:6–10, we find the commissioning of Jehu by the Lord to strike down the house of Ahab. According to 2 Kings 10:30, God commended Jehu for having destroyed the house of Ahab. However, Hoshea prophesied that God would “avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu” (Hosea 1:4). How could God condemn Jehu for shedding blood when it was God who had commanded him to do so?

Solution: God praised Jehu for obeying Him in destroying the house of Ahab, but condemned Jehu for his sinful motive in shedding their blood. Although 2 Kings 10:30 states that God told Jehu that he had done right in killing the relatives of Ahab, the previous verse observes that Jehu “did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam ... from the golden calves ... ” and verse 31 states that Jehu “took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart.” Obviously, since Jehu worshiped other gods and did not walk in God’s Law, he did not destroy Ahab’s family out of any devotion to the Lord.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.