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The prophet Elisha gave instructions to one of the prophets’ disciples.

Elisha: Prepare yourself, and transport this bottle of oil to Ramoth-gilead. Once you arrive, find Jehu (son of Jehoshaphat, Nimshi’s son). Ask him to leave his brothers, and then lead him into a more private chamber. Anoint his head with oil from the bottle and speak these words: “This is the Eternal’s message: ‘I anoint you as Israel’s king.’” Then exit through the door quickly, and do not look back.

The young prophet traveled to Ramoth-gilead. When he got there, the military commanders were sitting together.

Young Prophet: I have a message for you, Commander.

Jehu: We are all commanders. Which commander do you seek?

Young Prophet: You, Commander.

Jehu stood up, and he and the young prophet entered the house together. The young man anointed Jehu’s head with oil and spoke these words:

Young Prophet: This is the message from the Eternal, Israel’s God: “I anoint you as king over all of the Eternal’s people. You are Israel’s king. The first thing I want you to do is attack your master Ahab’s house. Do this so that I may have vengeance for what Jezebel did to My prophets and to those who served Me. Slaughter all of Ahab’s household, starting with King Joram. All the male members of Ahab’s house, slave or free, will be killed in Israel. Ahab’s household will be like the household of Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) and the household of Baasha (Ahijah’s son)—ruined. 10 Jezebel will be devoured by dogs in the land of Jezreel. Her body will not be buried by anyone because it will be torn to pieces.”

The young prophet then opened the door and departed in haste.

11 When Jehu appeared before his master’s servants, one of the commanders questioned him.

Commander: Is everything well? What did that lunatic have to say to you?

Jehu: You should already know this man and his talk of nonsense.

Jehu’s hesitation before telling his commanders what has happened is understandable. These men are all servants of King Joram. By allowing himself to be anointed as king, Jehu commits treason against his king, who has been God’s chosen ruler. This story parallels the ascension of David to Israel’s throne: both men serve in the king’s army, are anointed in private, and are reluctant to kill the king. Just as David was the fresh start for all of Israel, Jehu is God’s fresh start in the Northern Kingdom.

Commanders: 12 We don’t believe you. Tell us what he really said!

Jehu: Very well. This is what he told me: “This is the Eternal’s message: ‘I anoint you as Israel’s king.’”

13 All the men quickly took off their coats and placed them before Jehu on the steps. They sounded the trumpet.

Commanders: Jehu is now Israel’s king!

14 Jehu (son of Jehoshaphat, Nimshi’s son) began plotting against Joram. The entire community of Israel with Joram was defending Ramoth-gilead against Hazael (Aram’s king); but if you remember, 15 King Joram had gone to Jezreel to wait for his injuries to heal—the injuries the Arameans had given him while he was fighting against Aram’s king, Hazael.

Jehu: If you really want me to be king, then do not let anyone leave this city to spread this news in Jezreel.

16 Jehu took a chariot to Jezreel, where Joram was resting. As you may recall, Ahaziah (Judah’s king) was there visiting Joram. 17 The watchman was up on the watchtower in Jezreel, and he saw Jehu and his followers approaching.

Watchman: There is a large group of people approaching.

Joram: Summon a horseman to go out to the group and ask them, “Do you come in peace?”

18 A horseman went out and spoke to Jehu and his followers.

Horseman: The king asks, “Do you come in peace?”

Jehu: Peace? What do you know about peace? Get behind me, and follow.

The watchman immediately went and updated Joram about the situation.

Watchman: The horseman went out to them, but he did not come back.

19 Joram summoned another horseman.

Second Horseman: The king asks, “Do you come in peace?”

Jehu: Peace? What do you know about peace? Get behind me, and follow.

20 The watchman then went and updated Joram about the situation again.

Watchman: The second horseman went out to them, but he did not come back either. Their force and speed is as fierce as the crazy driving of Jehu (Nimshi’s son).

Joram: 21 Prepare my chariot.

So they prepared his chariot; and he and Ahaziah (Judah’s king) went out together, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu’s caravan on Naboth the Jezreelite’s land.

Joram (face-to-face with Jehu): 22 Do you come in peace, Jehu?

Jehu: Peace? What do you know about peace when the promiscuity and witchcraft of your mother, Jezebel, are too vast to measure!

23 Joram quickly realized that Jehu intended to attack, so he immediately turned his chariot around, quickly rode away, and yelled out to Ahaziah.

Joram: We’ve been betrayed, Ahaziah! Quickly, ride away!

24 But Jehu pulled his bowstring back as far as he could. He released an arrow that struck Joram between his shoulder blades, piercing straight through his heart. Joram fell over in his chariot.

Jehu (to his officer, Bidkar): 25 Pick up his body, and throw him into the field of Naboth the Jezreelite on the eastern slope of the Jezreel hill. I have just remembered that while you and I were riding after his father, Ahab, the Eternal revealed a prophecy concerning him: 26 “I have seen the past and witnessed Naboth’s blood and that of his sons as well. I will one day pay you back in this land,” spoke the Eternal. So go now, pick up Joram’s body, and throw him into Naboth’s field, just as He has said.

27 Ahaziah (Judah’s king) witnessed all of this from a distance, and he rode away by the path to Beth-haggan. Jehu went after him.

Jehu (calling out): Send an arrow toward his chariot, and kill him too!

They shot him at Ibleam as he was driving up toward Gur. But he did not die there. He continued on to Megiddo, where he took his last breath.

28 Ahaziah’s servants transported him to Jerusalem in a chariot. They buried him with his fathers in the city of David. 29 During the 11th year of Joram (Ahab’s son), Ahaziah inherited the throne over Judah.

30 When Jehu arrived in Jezreel, Jezebel was informed of his arrival. She put on her best make-up and fixed her hair, and she stuck her head out her window. 31 While Jehu rode through the gate, she taunted him.

Jezebel: Is everything okay, traitor?[a] Is everything all right, you murderer of your master?

Jehu (looking up at her window): 32 Is anyone in this city on my side? Anyone?

A few officers, who were eunuchs, peered down at him.

Jehu: 33 Seize her, and throw her out the window!

They did as he instructed and threw her out the window. Her blood splattered everywhere—on the ground, on the wall, on the horses. He rode his horse over her and pounded her into the ground.

34 He then went inside to eat and drink. After he had his fill, he gave instructions.

Jehu: Go take care of the mess outside. Give the accursed woman a proper burial. After all, she was a royal daughter.

35 They went out to clean up the mess and bury her body; but when they got there, they found a most haunting sight. All that remained was her skull, her feet, and the palms of her hands. 36 They went back and told Jehu this news, and he explained it to them.

Jehu: This is the Eternal’s message which He gave through the prophet Elijah the Tishbite: “Jezebel will be devoured by dogs in the land of Jezreel.[b] 37 Her body will be so gruesome that it will be like a pile of dung on the surface of a field in the land of Jezreel. No one will recognize the remains. No one will be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel.’”


  1. 9:31 Hebrew, Zimri
  2. 9:36 1 Kings 21:23

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