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2 Kings 10:18 Then Jehu brought all the people together and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much.

Jehu lied about this and set a trap for all the servants of Baal in order to kill them all.

19 Now summon all the prophets of Baal, all his servants and all his priests. See that no one is missing, because I am going to hold a great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who fails to come will no longer live.” But Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy the servants of Baal.

Yet, the Lord rewarded him for this.

30 The Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”

Did God approve Jehu's lie?

  • Tony - This question is very interesting, because readers have to investigate if breaking 1 commandment in order to love YHVH & help others follow His Ways is acceptable to God. - Thank you for always offering deep questions to strengthen our understanding of scripture! – חִידָה Oct 19 at 15:20
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    We are here to help one another. Glad I can help. – Tony Chan Oct 19 at 15:27
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Lying, or spreading what is untrue, or bearing false witness, are acts forbidden by the ninth commandment (Ex 20:16) and many other places (Lev 19:11, Ps 34:13, 58:3, 101:7, 109:2, Prov 6:16-19, 12:19, 14:5, 19:5, 9, 21:6, 24:28, Matt 15:18-20, 1 Cor 6:9-11, Eph 4:25, Col 3:9, 10, Rev 21:8, etc.) However, there were times (in this imperfect world) when an ethical dilemma arose where lying was the lesser of two evils. In each case, below, the person lying was either instructed to do so by God or commended for their actions afterward.

  • Jeremiah – Jer 38:24-27
  • Midwives in Egypt – Ex 1:15-21
  • Jericho spies – Josh 2:1 (spying, by nature, is an enacted lie.)
  • Rahab of Jericho – Josh 2:2-7
  • Samuel – 1 Sam 16:1-3
  • Hushai the Arkite – 2 Sam 15:32-37, 16:15-19
  • Woman at Bahurim – 2 Sam 17:17-20
  • Michal protecting David – 1 Sam 19:11-17
  • David – 1 Sam 21:1-9, 12-15
  • Prophet – 1 Kings 13:18
  • Jehu – 2 Kings 10:18, 19, 30

The fact that some lied in order to protect life clearly says that life had, in some cases, a greater value than truth.

APPENDIX - Ethical Dilemma

The existence of an ethical dilemma can only occur in a sinful world; that is, in a perfect world, such would not arise. This means that on occasions, a person must choose between two invidious alternatives and “select the lesser of two evils”. For example, those hiding Jews from secret police sometimes lied to protect them. Similarly, a crazed murderer firing indiscriminately should be disabled or dispatched by police.

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  • Excellent summary! Here's a minor change I would suggest. It appears the prophet in 1 Kings 13:18 was lying on his own, with no approval from God evident. However, in 2 Chronicles 18:21, the plan of the lying spirit to deceive the prophets around Ahab was not only approved by God, but directed by God. – DThornton Oct 20 at 18:32
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Did God approve Jehu's lie in 2 Kings 10:18? - No.

  • 2 Kings 10:19 explains the method for destroying the House of The-Baal was all Yehu's idea : "but-Yehu was acting with cunning, in order to exterminate worshippers of The-Baal" (וְיֵהוּא֙ עָשָֹ֣ה בְעָקְבָּ֔ה לְמַ֥עַן הַאֲבִ֖יד אֶת־עֹבְדֵ֥י הַבָּֽעַל)

Did God celebrate Yehu's abolishment of Baal worship in 2 Kings 10? - Yes.

  • Yehu (יֵה֗וּא) was celebrated for abolishing The-Baal ( הַבַּ֖עַל ) idol from being worshipped, and for destroying the House of The-Baal (בֵּ֣ית הַבַּ֔עַל) .

2 Kings 10 [MT]

[28] "And Yehu abolished The-Baal from-Yisrael." (וַיַּשְׁמֵ֥ד יֵה֛וּא אֶת־הַבַּ֖עַל מִיִּשְׂרָאֵֽל )
[30] "And YHVH said to Yehu, "Since you did well by executing what was proper in My-Eyes; according to all that was in My-Heart you have done to the house of Ahab, your descendants of the fourth generation shall occupy the throne of Yisrael." (וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהֹוָ֜ה אֶל־יֵה֗וּא יַ֚עַן אֲשֶׁר־הֱטִיבֹ֙תָ֙ לַעֲשֹ֚וֹת הַיָּשָׁר֙ בְּעֵינַ֔י כְּכֹל֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בִּלְבָבִ֔י עָשִֹ֖יתָ לְבֵ֣ית אַחְאָ֑ב בְּנֵ֣י רְבִעִ֔ים יֵשְׁב֥וּ לְךָ֖ עַל־כִּסֵּ֥א יִשְׂרָאֵֽל)
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