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Jehu Reigns over Israel

Now Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, “[a]Gird up your loins (prepare for action), take this flask of oil in your hand and go to Ramoth-gilead. When you arrive there, look for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in and have him arise from among his brothers, and take him into an inner room. Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I have anointed you king over Israel.”’ Then open the door and flee and do not delay.”

So the young man, the servant of the prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. When he arrived, the captains of the army were sitting [outside]; and he said, “I have a message for you, O captain.” Jehu said, “To which one of us?” And he said, “For you, O captain.” So Jehu got up, and they went into the house. And he poured the oil on Jehu’s head and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, so that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, [who have died] at the hands of Jezebel. For the entire house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male, both bond and free, in Israel. I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah.(A) 10 And the dogs will eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and there will be no one to bury her.’” Then he opened the door and fled.(B)

11 When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, one said to him, “Is all well? Why did this madman come to you?” And he said to them, “You know [very well] the man and his talk.” 12 And they said, “It is a lie; tell us now.” And he said, “Thus and thus he spoke to me, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I have anointed you king over Israel.”’” 13 Then they hurried and each man took his garment and placed it [as a cushion] under Jehu on the top of the [outside] stairs, and blew the trumpet, saying, “Jehu is king!”

Jehoram (Joram) Is Assassinated

14 So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, conspired against Joram [to dethrone and kill him]. Now Joram with all Israel was protecting Ramoth-gilead against Hazael king of Aram (Syria), 15 but King [b]Joram had returned to Jezreel to heal from the wounds which the Arameans had inflicted on him when he fought with Hazael king of Aram. So Jehu said, “If this is your intent, let no one survive and leave the city (Ramoth-gilead) to go and tell of the plan in Jezreel [the capital].” 16 So Jehu rode in a chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram was lying there. And Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to see Joram.

17 Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel and he saw the crowd with Jehu as he approached, and said, “I see a company.” And [c]Joram said, “Send a horseman to meet them and have him ask, ‘[d]Do you come in peace?’” 18 So the horseman went to meet him and said, “Thus says the king: ‘Do you come in peace?’” And Jehu said, “What have you to do with peace? Rein in behind me.” And the watchman reported, “The messenger approached them, but he has not returned.” 19 Then Joram sent out a second horseman, who approached them and said, “Thus says the king: ‘Do you come in peace?’” Jehu replied, “What have you to do with peace? Rein in behind me.” 20 And the watchman reported, “He approached them, but he has not returned; and the driving [of the chariot] is like that of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.”

21 Then [e]Joram said, “Harness [the chariot].” When they harnessed his chariot horses, Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out to meet Jehu and met him on the property of Naboth the Jezreelite. 22 When Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Do you come in peace, Jehu?” And he answered, “What peace [can exist] as long as the fornications of your mother Jezebel and her sorceries are so many?” 23 So Joram reined [his chariot] around and fled, and he said to Ahaziah, “Treachery and betrayal, Ahaziah!” 24 But Jehu drew his bow with his full strength and shot Joram between his shoulders; and the arrow went out through his heart and he sank down in his chariot. 25 Then Jehu said to Bidkar his officer, “Pick him up and throw him on the property of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite; for I remember when you and I were riding together after his father Ahab, that the Lord uttered this prophecy against him: 26 ‘I certainly saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons yesterday,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will repay you on this property,’ says the Lord. Now then, pick him up and throw him into the property [of Naboth], in accordance with the word of the Lord.”(C)

Jehu Assassinates Ahaziah

27 When Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. Jehu pursued him and said, “Shoot him too, [while he is] in the chariot.” So they shot him at the ascent to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And Ahaziah fled to Megiddo and died there. 28 Then his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem and buried him in his grave with his fathers in the City of David.

29 In the eleventh year of Joram, the son of Ahab, Ahaziah became king over Judah.

30 So when Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard about it, and she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked down from the [upper] window. 31 As Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, “Is it well, [f]Zimri, your master’s murderer?”(D) 32 Then Jehu raised his face toward the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” And two or three officials looked down at him.

Jezebel Is Killed

33 And he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and he trampled her underfoot. 34 When he came in, he ate and drank, and said, “See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.” 35 They went to bury her, but they found nothing left of her except the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. 36 So they returned and told Jehu. Then he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which He spoke through His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘In the property of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel.(E) 37 The corpse of Jezebel will be like dung on the surface of the field in the property of Jezreel, so they cannot say, “This is Jezebel.”’”

Judgment upon Ahab’s House

10 Ahab had seventy sons [and grandsons] in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to the guardians of the children of Ahab, saying, “Now as soon as this letter comes to you, since your master’s sons (male descendants) are with you, as well as chariots and horses and a fortified city and weapons, select the best and most capable of your master’s sons, and set him on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s [royal] house.” But they were extremely afraid and said, “Look, the two kings did not stand before Jehu; so how can we stand?” And the one who was in charge of the household, and the one who was overseer of the city, the elders, and the guardians [of the children] sent word to Jehu, saying, “We are your servants and we will do whatever you tell us, but we will not make any man king; do what is good in your eyes.” Then Jehu wrote a second letter to them, saying, “If you are with me and will obey me, take the heads of your master’s [g]sons, and come to me at Jezreel tomorrow about this time.” Now the [dead] king’s sons, seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who were rearing them. When the letter came to them, they took the king’s sons and slaughtered them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent them to Jehu at Jezreel. When a messenger came and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons,” he said, “Put them in two heaps at the entrance of the city gate until morning.” The next morning he went out and stood and said to all the people, “You are just and innocent; behold, I conspired against [Joram] my master and killed him, but who killed all these? 10 Know then [without any doubt] that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the Lord, which the Lord spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for the Lord has done what He said [h]through His servant Elijah.”(F) 11 So Jehu killed all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men and his familiar friends and his priests, until he left him without a survivor.

12 And he set out and went to Samaria. On the way as he was at the [i]place of the sand heaps [meeting place] for the shepherds, 13 Jehu met the relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and said, “Who are you?” They answered, “We are the relatives of Ahaziah; and we came down to greet the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother [Jezebel].” 14 Then Jehu said, “Take them alive.” So they took them alive and [later] slaughtered them at the well by the place of the sand heaps, forty-two men; he left none of them [alive].

15 When Jehu went on from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him. He greeted him and said to him, “Is your heart right, as my heart is with yours?” Jehonadab answered, “It is.” Jehu said “If it is, give me your hand.” He gave him his hand, and Jehu pulled him up into the chariot. 16 And he said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” So he had Jehonadab in his chariot. 17 When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed everyone who remained of Ahab’s family in Samaria, until he had destroyed all of them, in accordance with the word of the Lord which He spoke to Elijah.

Jehu Destroys Baal Worshipers

18 Jehu assembled all the people and said [in pretense] to them, “Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much [more]. 19 Now, summon unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests. Let no one be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal; whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu did it with trickery, in order to destroy the worshipers of Baal. 20 Jehu said, “Consecrate a festive assembly (celebration) for Baal.” And they proclaimed it. 21 Then Jehu sent throughout Israel, and all the worshipers of Baal came; there was no one left who did not come. They went to the house (temple) of Baal, and the house of Baal was filled from one end to the other. 22 He said to the man in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out garments for all the worshipers of Baal.” And he brought the garments out to them. 23 Then Jehu with Jehonadab the son of Rechab went into the house of Baal; and he said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search carefully and see that there are no servants of the Lord here with you, but only the worshipers of Baal.” 24 Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.

Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside for himself and said, “If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, the one who lets him go shall forfeit his own life for that man’s life.”

25 Then it came about, as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guards and to the royal officers, “Go in and kill them; let no one come out.” And they killed them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the royal officers threw their bodies out, and went to the inner room of the house of Baal. 26 They brought out the sacred pillars (obelisks) of the house of Baal and burned them. 27 They also tore down the sacred pillar of Baal and tore down the house of Baal, and made it into a latrine [forever unclean] [j]to this day.

28 Thus Jehu eradicated Baal from Israel. 29 However, Jehu did not turn from the [idolatrous] sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, that is, [led them to worship] the golden calves which were at Bethel and Dan.(G) 30 The Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in executing what is right in My eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab in accordance with everything that was in My heart, [k]your sons (descendants) shall sit on Israel’s throne to the fourth generation.”(H) 31 But Jehu did not take care to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin.

32 So in those days the Lord began to cut off portions of Israel; Hazael [of Aram] defeated them throughout the territory of Israel: 33 from the Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites and the Reubenites and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the Arnon River, even Gilead and Bashan.

Jehoahaz Succeeds Jehu

34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu and everything that he did and all his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 35 Jehu slept with his fathers [in death], and they buried him in Samaria. Jehoahaz his son became king in his place. 36 The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.

Athaliah Queen of Judah

11 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah [king of Judah] saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal offspring. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram [of Judah and half] sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and abducted him from among the king’s sons who were to be killed, and hid him and his nurse in the [l]bedroom. So they hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death. Joash was hidden with his nurse in the house (temple) of the Lord for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land.

Now in the seventh year Jehoiada [the priest, Jehosheba’s husband] sent for the captains of hundreds of the [m]Carites and of the guard and brought them to him to the house of the Lord. Then he made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the Lord, and showed them the king’s [hidden] son. He commanded them, saying, “This is the thing that you shall do: a third of you who come in [reporting for duty] on the Sabbath shall keep watch over the king’s house (a third shall also be at the [city] gate Sur, and a third at the gate behind the guards); so you shall keep watch over the palace [from three posts] for defense. Two units of you, all those who go out [off duty] on the Sabbath, shall also keep watch over the house (temple) of the Lord for [the protection of] the king. You shall surround the [young] king, each man with weapons in his hand; and whoever comes through the ranks shall be put to death. You are to be with the king when he goes out and when he comes in.”

The captains of hundreds acted in accordance with everything that Jehoiada the priest commanded; and each of them took his men who were to come in (on duty) on the Sabbath, with those who were to go out (off duty) on the Sabbath, and they came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 The priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and shields that had been King David’s, which were in the house of the Lord. 11 And the guards stood, each man with weapons in his hand, from the right side to the left side of the temple area, by the altar [in the courtyard] and by the temple [proper], all around the king. 12 Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him and gave him the Testimony [a copy of the Mosaic Law]; and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king!”

13 When Athaliah heard the sound of the guards and of the people, she went into the house of the Lord to the people. 14 When she looked, behold, there stood the [young] king [on the platform] by the pillar, as was customary [on such occasions], and the captains and the trumpeters were beside the king; and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing the trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!” 15 Then Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds appointed over the army and said to them, “Take her out between the ranks, and whoever follows her put to death with the sword.” For the priest had said, “Let her not be put to death in the house (temple) of the Lord.” 16 So they seized her, and she went through the horses’ entrance to the king’s house (palace), and she was put to death there.

17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people, that they would be the Lord’s people—also between the king and the people [to be his subjects]. 18 Then all the people of the land went to the house of Baal and tore it down. They utterly smashed his altar and his images to pieces, and they put Mattan the priest of Baal to death in front of the altars. And [Jehoiada] the priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord. 19 Then he took the captains of hundreds, the Carites (royal bodyguards), the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought the [young] king down from the house of the Lord, and came by way of the guards’ gate to the king’s house. And [little] Joash sat on the throne of the kings. 20 So all the people of the land rejoiced and the city [of Jerusalem] was quiet. For they had put Athaliah to death with the sword at the king’s house.

21 [n]Jehoash (Joash) was seven years old when he became king.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Kings 9:1 Gird up your loins, a phrase often found in the Bible, is an urgent call to get ready for immediate action, or it may be a call to prepare for a coming action or event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. To keep from impeding the wearer during any vigorous activity, e.g. battle, exercise, strenuous work, etc., the loose ends of garments (tunics, cloaks, mantles, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the girdle. The girdle was a band about six inches wide that had fasteners in front. It was worn around the loins (the midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips) and was normally made of leather. Expensive or embroidered girdles were also worn and were made of cotton, flax or silk. The girdle also served as a kind of pocket or pouch and was used to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things. Gird up your mind or gird up your heart are examples of variants of this phrase and call for mental or spiritual preparation for a coming challenge.
  2. 2 Kings 9:15 Heb Jehoram.
  3. 2 Kings 9:17 Heb Jehoram.
  4. 2 Kings 9:17 Lit Peace? and so throughout the passage.
  5. 2 Kings 9:21 Heb Jehoram and through v 24.
  6. 2 Kings 9:31 A sarcastic reference to Zimri who gained his throne by assassination, but ruled only seven days.
  7. 2 Kings 10:6 The relative of one who had been killed had the right to avenge the death by killing the guilty person (Num 35:12).
  8. 2 Kings 10:10 Lit by the hand.
  9. 2 Kings 10:12 Or Beth-eked.
  10. 2 Kings 10:27 I.e. to the date of this writing.
  11. 2 Kings 10:30 The descendants of Jehu: Jehoahaz, Jehoash (Joash), Jeroboam II, and Zechariah, ruled nearly a hundred years.
  12. 2 Kings 11:2 Most likely this was one of many bedrooms in the palace and served as a temporary hiding place until the child could be moved to the temple (v 3); but it is possible that this was a priest’s bedroom in the temple.
  13. 2 Kings 11:4 Mercenary soldiers recruited to serve as royal bodyguards.
  14. 2 Kings 11:21 Ch 12:1 in Hebrew.

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