Jehu was referred to as “The madman of God.” He was zealous in the carrying out of all his God given assignments, to such an extent that it astounded both friend and foe. It’s at this point that the thoughtful reader becomes concerned about Jehu.  His excessive zeal is probably seen best in his execution of Jezebel.

Jehu calls for the queen, with her makeup freshly applied, to be thrown from the upper window to her death below. He then tramples on her body. The graphic image of the queen’s blood spattering the wall and the horses as they trample her, strike at the heart of any sensitivities of civilized behavior. The text withholds no disgusting detail of her death and subsequent being eaten by the wild dingoes of the city. The Hebrew reader would also not miss the rather crude connotation that Jezebel’s blood is like urine, from the idiom for a male, “the one who urinates against the wall.” Later in the same passage, she is even described as “dung” and her house in which Baal was worshipped is actually called a “latrine.”

While this wanton woman’s body is being eaten by dogs, the “madman of God,” Jehu, is eating and drinking a victory meal in the king’s palace.  His feasting portrays him as a rather callous character.  Although we want to admire Jehu’s zeal, we also would have preferred to see it tempered a bit, like David did in his war with Saul.

Indeed Jehu was zealous, but he seems to be taking on the characteristics of the “Zealots” who were active at the time of Christ. According to Josephus, some people blamed   the collapse of Judea to Rome in the war of A.D. 66-70 specifically on the zealots.  He goes on to say that the zealots “degenerated into mere assassins or ?dagger-men?”.

A quote that might apply to Jehu at this stage is “a fanatic is a man that does what he thinks the Lord would do if He knew the facts of the case.” Another person wrote, “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”

It’s interesting that Solomon warns us about extravagant zeal. He writes, “It is dangerous to have zeal without knowledge, and the one who acts hastily makes poor choices.”

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. (1 Thessalonians 5:15)