I will start this message today by discussing the last of the Herod generations mentioned in the Bible, all examples of ungodly family values. In previous editions, I discussed Herod the Great, Herod Archelaus, Herod Antipas, Herod Philip II and Herod Agrippa I, remaining Herod Agrippa II. Remember, God wants you to establish and uphold godly family values.
Herod Agrippa II
Herod Agrippa II was the last of the Herod Dynasty that ruled Palestine. He was one of the judges that presided over Paul’s case (Acts 25, 26). He was not a godly man either. Agrippa interrupted Paul in the course of defending himself: “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?” (Acts26:28 NLT.)
He never became a Christian. Herod Agrippa II, guest of Festus, the governor who had requested him to listen to Paul whose case had been referred to him, after everything merely said to Festus: “He could have been set free if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar” (Verse 32). Like his predecessors, he never turned to God even when He was very close to him.
Jezebel and Athaliah
The story of Jezebel and Athaliah could be described as, “like mother, like daughter.” She was as wicked as her mother. They influenced their husbands to do evil, killed the prophets of God, loved power and shed innocent blood.
I Kings 16:31-33 says about Jezebel, whom Ahab married: “And as though it were not enough to follow the example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal.
First Ahab built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him” (NLT).
Due to the evil influence of Jezebel on Ahab, Israel went deep into idolatry. What never happened before in Israel took place during his reign – Jericho, a city cursed by Joshua sequel to his capture by Israel was rebuilt at a price pronounced in the curse. “It was during his reign that Hiel, a man from Bethel, rebuilt Jericho.
When he laid its foundations, it cost him the life of his oldest son, Abiram. And when he completed it and set up its gates, it cost him the life of his youngest son, Segub. This all happened according to the message from the Lord concerning Jericho, spoken by Joshua son of Nun” (I Kgs 16: 34 NLT).
Jezebel promoted idolatry in Israel – she had 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah supported by her whom Elijah eventually killed (1 Kings 18:19, 40, 1 Kings 19:1 NLT). She also killed the servants of God. “... I will avenge the murder of my prophets and all the Lord’s servants who were killed by Jezebel” (2 Kings 9:7 NLT). She shed the innocent blood of Naboth just because she wanted her husband to have Naboth’s vineyard, the family inheritance he had refused to give to him (1 Kings 21:1-15).
Jezebel was such a terrible queen who influenced both her husband and the land of Israel towards evil. The Bible summarised it thus: “No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel” (1 Kings 2:25 NLT.)
How did she end her life? She died a violent death as spoken by the mouth of Prophet Elijah. “Jehu looked up and saw her at the window and shouted, ‘Who is on my side?’ And two or three eunuchs looked out at him. ‘Throw her down!’ Jehu yelled.
So they threw her out the window, and her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. And Jehu trampled her body under his horses’ hooves. Then Jehu went into the palace and ate and drank. Afterward he said, ‘Someone go and bury this cursed woman, for she is the daughter of a king.’ But when they went out to bury her, they found only her skull, her feet, and her hands.
When they returned and told Jehu, he stated, ‘This fulfils the message from the Lord, which he spoke through his servant Elijah from Tishbe: ‘At the plot of land in Jezreel, dogs will eat Jezebel’s body. Her remains will be scattered like dung on the plot of land in Jezreel, so that no one will be able to recognise her” (2Kgs 9:32-37 NLT).
Her daughter, Athaliah, walked in the footstep of her wicked mother. Evil became a generational inheritance for her. Married to Jehoram, king of Judah, she was also a terrible influence on her son, Ahaziah, who succeeded Jehoram, his father, an evil influence on Judah. She did in Judah what her mother did in Israel. The Bible says, “Ahaziah was 22 years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year.
His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel. Ahaziah followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done, for he was related by marriage to the family of Ahab” (2 Kgs 8:26-27 NLT).
Did you see that? Ahaziah followed the evil example of Ahab’s family. How did that happen? Her mother came from that family – Athaliah, her mother was the daughter of Ahab born to him by Jezebel, that wicked woman – so wicked that even the New Testament referred to that spirit at work in the church in Thyatira as Jezebel. “But I have this complaint against you.
You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols”(Rev 2:20 NLT). What the Jezebel in the church in Thyatira did was not different from what the Jezebel of the Old Testament did.
And Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter took after her. Athaliah influenced her son, King Ahaziah to follow the evil example of her family in Israel. So the evil of Ahab’s family in Israel was exported to Judah. What a wrong marriage relationship! And what a lesson for us today! Wrong marriage relationship can corrupt your family. So be careful.