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Elisha Tells a Prophet to Anoint Jehu

Elisha the prophet called one of the men from the group of prophets[a] and said to him, “Get ready and take this small bottle of oil in your hand. Go to Ramoth Gilead. When you arrive, find Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. Then go in and make him get up from among his brothers. Take him to an inner room. Take the small bottle of oil and pour the oil on Jehu’s head. Say, ‘This is what the Lord says: I have anointed you to be the new king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run away. Don’t wait!”

So this young man, the prophet, went to Ramoth Gilead. When the young man arrived, he saw the captains of the army sitting. He said, “Captain, I have a message for you.”

Jehu asked, “Which one of us is the message for?”

The young man said, “For you, sir.”

Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the young prophet poured the oil on Jehu’s head and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘I am anointing you to be the new king over the Lord’s people, Israel. You must destroy the family of Ahab your king. In this way I will punish Jezebel for the deaths of my servants, the prophets, and the deaths of all the Lord’s servants who were murdered. So all Ahab’s family will die. I will not let any male child in Ahab’s family live. It doesn’t matter if that male child is a slave or a free person in Israel. I will make Ahab’s family like the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the family of Baasha son of Ahijah. 10 The dogs will eat Jezebel in the area of Jezreel, and she will not be buried.’”

Then the young prophet opened the door and ran away.

The Servants Announce Jehu as King

11 Jehu went back to his king’s officers. One of the officers said to Jehu, “Is everything all right? Why did this crazy man come to you?”

Jehu answered the servants, “You know the man and the crazy things he says.”

12 The officers said, “No, tell us the truth. What did he say?” Jehu told the officers what the young prophet said. Jehu said, “He said a few things and then he said, ‘This is what the Lord says: I have anointed you to be the new king over Israel.’”

13 Then each officer quickly took his robe off and put it on the steps in front of Jehu. Then they blew the trumpet and made the announcement, “Jehu is king!”

Jehu Goes to Jezreel

14 So Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi, made plans against Joram.

At that time Joram and the Israelites had been trying to defend Ramoth Gilead from King Hazael of Aram. 15 King Joram had fought against King Hazael of Aram. But the Arameans wounded King Joram, and he went to Jezreel to get well from those injuries.

So Jehu told the officers, “If you agree that I am the new king, don’t let anyone escape from the city to tell the news in Jezreel.”

16 Joram was resting in Jezreel, so Jehu got in his chariot and drove to Jezreel. King Ahaziah of Judah had also come to Jezreel to see Joram.

17 A guard was standing on the tower in Jezreel. He saw Jehu’s large group coming. He said, “I see a large group of people!”

Joram said, “Send someone on a horse to meet them. Tell this messenger to ask if they come in peace.”

18 So the messenger rode on a horse to meet Jehu. The messenger said, “King Joram says, ‘Do you come in peace?’”

Jehu said, “You have nothing to do with peace. Come and follow me.”

The guard told Joram, “The messenger went to the group, but he has not come back yet.”

19 Then Joram sent out a second messenger on a horse. This man came to Jehu’s group and said, “King Joram says, ‘Peace.’[b]

Jehu answered, “You have nothing to do with peace. Come and follow me.”

20 The guard told Joram, “The second messenger went to the group, but he has not come back yet. There is a man driving his chariot like a mad man. He is driving like Jehu son of Nimshi.”

21 Joram said, “Get me my chariot!”

So the servant got Joram’s chariot. Both King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah got their chariots and drove out to meet Jehu. They met him at the property of Naboth from Jezreel.

22 Joram saw Jehu and asked, “Do you come in peace, Jehu?”

Jehu answered, “There is no peace as long as your mother Jezebel does many acts of prostitution and witchcraft.”

23 Joram turned the horses to run away. He said to Ahaziah, “It is a trick, Ahaziah!”

24 But Jehu grabbed his bow and shot Joram in the middle of his back, through the heart. Joram fell dead in his chariot.

25 Jehu said to his chariot driver Bidkar, “Take Joram’s body up and throw it into the field of Naboth from Jezreel. Remember when you and I rode together with Joram’s father Ahab, the Lord said this would happen to him. 26 The Lord said, ‘Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth and his sons. And I, the Lord, am telling you that I will punish Ahab in this field.’ So take Joram’s body and throw it into the field, just as the Lord said.”

27 King Ahaziah of Judah saw this and ran away. He tried to escape through the garden house, but Jehu followed him. Jehu had said, “Shoot Ahaziah too!”

Ahaziah was wounded when he was in his chariot on the road to Gur near Ibleam. He got as far as Megiddo, but he died there. 28 Ahaziah’s servants carried his body in the chariot to Jerusalem. They buried him in his tomb with his ancestors in the City of David.

29 Ahaziah had become king over Judah during Joram’s[c] eleventh year as king of Israel.

The Terrible Death of Jezebel

30 When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard the news. She put her makeup on and fixed her hair. Then she stood by the window and looked out. 31 Jehu entered the city. Jezebel said, “Hello, you Zimri.[d] You killed your master just as he did.”

32 Jehu looked up at the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?”

Two or three eunuchs looked out at Jehu. 33 Jehu said, “Throw Jezebel down!”

Then the eunuchs threw her down. Some of her blood splashed on the wall and on the horses that trampled her body. 34 Jehu went into the house and ate and drank. Then he said, “Now see about this cursed woman. Bury her, because she is a king’s daughter.”

35 The men went to bury Jezebel, but they could not find her body. They could only find her skull, her feet, and the palms of her hands. 36 When the men came back and told Jehu, he said, “The Lord told his servant Elijah the Tishbite to give this message: ‘Dogs will eat the body of Jezebel in the area of Jezreel. 37 Her body will be like dung on the field in the area of Jezreel. No one will be able to recognize her body!’”

Jehu Writes the Leaders of Samaria

10 Ahab had 70 sons in Samaria. Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria to the rulers and leaders of Jezreel.[e] He also sent the letters to the people who raised Ahab’s sons saying, 2-3 “As soon as you get this letter, choose the one who is the best and most worthy among your master’s sons. You have chariots and horses. And you are living in a strong city. You also have weapons. Put the son you choose on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s family.”

But the rulers and leaders of Jezreel were very afraid. They said, “The two kings could not stop Jehu. So we cannot stop him either!”

The palace manager, the official in charge of the city, the elders, and the people who raised the king’s children sent a message to Jehu. “We are your servants and we will do whatever you tell us. We will not make anyone king; you may do whatever you think is best.”

Leaders of Samaria Kill Ahab’s Children

Then Jehu wrote a second letter to these leaders. He said, “If you support me and obey me, cut off the heads of Ahab’s sons. Bring them to me at Jezreel about this time tomorrow.”

Ahab had 70 sons. They were with the leaders of the city who raised them. When the leaders of the city received the letter, they took the king’s sons and killed all 70 of them. Then the leaders put the heads of the king’s sons in baskets and sent the baskets to Jehu at Jezreel. The messenger came to Jehu and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.”

Then Jehu said, “Lay the heads in two piles at the city gate until morning.”

In the morning Jehu went out and stood before the people. He said to them, “You are innocent. Look, I made plans against my master. I killed him. But who killed all these sons of Ahab? You killed them. 10 You should know that everything the Lord says will happen. The Lord used Elijah to say these things about Ahab’s family. Now the Lord has done what he said he would do.”

11 So Jehu killed all the people in Ahab’s family living in Jezreel. He killed all the important men, close friends, and priests. None of Ahab’s people were left alive.

Jehu Kills Ahaziah’s Relatives

12 Jehu left Jezreel and went to Samaria. On the way, he stopped at a place called Shepherd’s Camp. 13 There he met with the relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. Jehu asked, “Who are you?”

They answered, “We are the relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. We have come down to visit the king’s children and the queen mother’s[f] children.”

14 Then Jehu said, “Take them alive!”

Jehu’s men captured Ahaziah’s relatives alive. There were 42 of them. Jehu killed them at the well near Beth Eked. He did not leave anyone alive.

Jehu Meets Jehonadab

15 After Jehu left there, he met Jehonadab son of Recab. Jehonadab was on his way to meet Jehu. Jehu greeted Jehonadab and said to him, “Are you a faithful friend to me, as I am to you?”[g]

Jehonadab answered, “Yes, I am a faithful friend to you.”

Jehu said, “If you are, give me your hand.”

Then Jehu reached out and pulled Jehonadab up into the chariot.

16 Jehu said, “Come with me. You can see how strong my feelings are for the Lord.”

So Jehonadab rode in Jehu’s chariot. 17 Jehu came to Samaria and killed all Ahab’s family who were still alive in Samaria. He killed them all. He did what the Lord had told Elijah.

Jehu Calls the Worshipers of Baal

18 Then Jehu gathered all the people together and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve Baal much. 19 Now call together all the priests and prophets of Baal. And call together everyone who worships Baal. Don’t let anyone miss this meeting. I have a great sacrifice to give to Baal. I will kill anyone who does not come to this meeting.”

But Jehu was tricking them. He wanted to destroy the worshipers of Baal. 20 Jehu said, “Prepare a holy meeting for Baal.” So the priests announced the meeting. 21 Then Jehu sent a message through all the land of Israel. All the worshipers of Baal came. Not one stayed home. The Baal worshipers came into the temple of Baal. The temple was filled with people.

22 Jehu said to the man who kept the robes, “Bring out the robes for all the worshipers of Baal.” So that man brought out the robes for the Baal worshipers.

23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Recab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the worshipers of Baal, “Look around and be sure that there are no servants of the Lord with you. Be sure there are only people who worship Baal.” 24 The worshipers of Baal went into the temple of Baal to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.

But outside, Jehu had 80 men waiting. He told them, “Don’t let anyone escape. If any man lets one person escape, that man must pay with his own life.”

25 Quickly after Jehu had finished offering the burnt offering, he said to the guards and to the captains, “Go in and kill the worshipers of Baal! Don’t let anyone come out of the temple alive!”

So the captains used thin swords and killed the worshipers of Baal. They threw the bodies of the worshipers of Baal out. Then the guards and the captains went to the inner room[h] of the temple of Baal. 26 They brought out the memorial stones that were in the temple of Baal and burned that temple. 27 Then they smashed the memorial stones of Baal. They also smashed the temple of Baal. They made the temple of Baal into a public toilet, which is still used today.

28 So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel, 29 but he did not completely turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat that caused Israel to sin. Jehu did not destroy the golden calves in Bethel and in Dan.

Jehu’s Rule Over Israel

30 The Lord said to Jehu, “You have done well. You have done what I say is good. You destroyed Ahab’s family the way I wanted you to, so your descendants will rule Israel for four generations.”

31 But Jehu was not careful to follow the law of the Lord with all his heart. Jehu did not stop committing the sins of Jeroboam that caused Israel to sin.

Hazael Defeats Israel

32 At that time the Lord began to cut away sections of Israel and give them to other nations. King Hazael of Aram defeated the Israelites on every border of Israel. 33 He won the land east of the Jordan River—all the land of Gilead, including the land that belonged to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh. He won all the land from Aroer by the Arnon Valley to Gilead and Bashan.

The Death of Jehu

34 All the other great things that Jehu did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel. 35 Jehu died and was buried with his ancestors. The people buried him in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz became the new king of Israel after him. 36 Jehu ruled over Israel in Samaria for 28 years.

Athaliah Kills the King’s Sons in Judah

11 Athaliah was Ahaziah’s mother. She saw that her son was dead, so she got up and killed all the king’s family.

Jehosheba was King Joram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s sister. Joash was one of the king’s sons. While the other children were being killed, Jehosheba took Joash and hid him. She put him and his nurse in her bedroom, so Jehosheba and the nurse hid Joash from Athaliah. That way Joash was not killed.

Then Joash and Jehosheba hid in the Lord’s Temple. Joash hid there for six years. During that time Athaliah ruled over the land of Judah.

In the seventh year Jehoiada the high priest sent for the captains of the Carites[i] and guards.[j] He brought them together in the Lord’s Temple and made an agreement with them. There in the Temple of the Lord he forced them to make a promise. Then he showed the king’s son to them.

Then Jehoiada gave them a command. He said, “This is what you must do. One-third of you, from those who go on duty on the Sabbath day, must stand guard at the royal palace. Another third will be at the Sur Gate, and the other third will be at the gate behind the guard. This way you will stand guard over the palace on all sides. Your two divisions who go off duty on the Sabbath day will stand guard at the Lord’s Temple and protect King Joash. You must stay with him wherever he goes. The whole group must surround the king. Each guard must have his weapon in his hand, and you must kill anyone who comes too close to you.”

The captains obeyed everything that Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each captain took his men, both those who were going on duty on the Sabbath day and those who were going off duty. All these men went to Jehoiada the priest, 10 and he gave spears and shields to the captains. These were the spears and shields David put in the Lord’s Temple. 11 These guards stood with their weapons in their hands from the right corner of the Temple to the left corner. They stood around the altar and the Temple and around the king when he went to the Temple. 12 These men brought out Joash. They put the crown on him and gave him a copy of the agreement.[k] Then they anointed him and made him the new king. They clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”

13 Queen Athaliah heard the noise from the guards and the people, so she went to them at the Lord’s Temple. 14 Athaliah saw the king by the column where new kings usually stood. She also saw the leaders and men playing the trumpets for him. She saw that all the people were very happy. She heard the trumpets, and she tore her clothes to show she was upset. Then Athaliah shouted, “Treason! Treason!”

15 Jehoiada the priest gave a command to the captains who were in charge of the soldiers. Jehoiada told them, “Take Athaliah outside of the Temple area. Kill any of her followers, but don’t kill them in the Lord’s Temple.”

16 So the soldiers grabbed Athaliah and killed her as soon as she went through the horse’s entrance to the palace.

17 Then Jehoiada made the agreement between the Lord and the king and the people. This agreement showed that the king and the people belonged to the Lord. Jehoiada also made the agreement between the king and the people.

18 Then all the people went to the temple of Baal. They destroyed the statue of Baal and his altars. They broke them into many pieces. They also killed Baal’s priest, Mattan, in front of the altars.

So Jehoiada the priest put men in charge of maintaining the Lord’s Temple. 19 The priest led all the people. They went from the Lord’s Temple to the king’s palace. The king’s special guards and the captains went with the king, and all the other people followed them. They went to the entrance to the king’s palace. Then King Joash sat on the throne. 20 All the people were happy, and the city was peaceful. And Queen Athaliah was killed with a sword near the king’s palace.

21 Joash was seven years old when he became king.


  1. 2 Kings 9:1 group of prophets Literally, “sons of the prophets.” These were prophets and people studying to become prophets.
  2. 2 Kings 9:19 Peace A way of saying “hello.”
  3. 2 Kings 9:29 Joram’s Literally, “Joram son of Ahab.”
  4. 2 Kings 9:31 Zimri Zimri killed Elah and the family of Baasha in Israel many years before. Read 1 Kings 16:8-12.
  5. 2 Kings 10:1 leaders of Jezreel The ancient Greek and Latin versions have “leaders of the city.”
  6. 2 Kings 10:13 queen mother The mother of the king.
  7. 2 Kings 10:15 Are you a faithful friend … you Literally, “Is your heart true to me? My heart is true to your heart.”
  8. 2 Kings 10:25 inner room Literally, “the city of the temple of Baal.”
  9. 2 Kings 11:4 Carites Or “Kerethites,” special soldiers hired to serve the king.
  10. 2 Kings 11:4 guards Literally, “runners” or “messengers.”
  11. 2 Kings 11:12 a copy of the agreement Literally, “testimony.” This could be a copy of the Law of Moses (see Deut. 17:18) or a special agreement between God and the king (see verse 17 and 1 Sam. 10:25).

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