The Bible certainly contains plenty of stories about evil people getting what they deserve. Although God is longsuffering and merciful, there are limits to His tolerance, and unrepentant wrongdoers eventually reap what they’ve sown. When God’s mercy ends, His judgment begins.
I must confess that I enjoy reading Bible stories that feature bad guys getting what they deserve. (Don’t we all love justice—when it applies to other people?) On the other hand, I’ve found myself concerned when I read biblical stories that seemingly portray God as unjust, when, for example, His judgment falls on the entire family of one wicked man. Why do children and spouses sometimes suffer for the sins of their ungodly family members? If you read the books of 1 and 2 Kings, for example, you’ll discover at least three such incidents. God’s wrath fell upon some families of evil men to the degree that, not only were their sons annihilated, but also other members of their extended families.
So how is that just? As Abraham said to Lord while he interceded for the people of Sodom: “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Gen. 18:25).
Let’s take a closer look at three kings of Israel—Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, who all suffered familial judgment, to see if there is anything we can learn.