2 Kings 9:14-10:31
Contemporary English Version
Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah
14-16 King Joram[a] of Israel had been badly wounded in the battle at Ramoth, trying to defend it against King Hazael and the Syrian army. Joram was now recovering in Jezreel, and King Ahaziah of Judah was there, visiting him.
Meanwhile, Jehu was in Ramoth, making plans to kill Joram. He said to his officers, “If you want me to be king, then don't let anyone leave this town. They might go to Jezreel and tell Joram.” Then Jehu got in his chariot and rode to Jezreel.
17 When the guard in the watchtower at Jezreel saw Jehu and his men riding up, he shouted to the king, “I see a large group of men coming this way.”
Joram ordered, “Send someone out to ask them if this is a friendly visit.”
18 One of the soldiers rode out and said to Jehu, “King Joram wants to know if this is a friendly visit.”
“What's it to you?” Jehu asked. “Just stay behind me with the rest of my troops!”
About the same time the guard in the watchtower said, “Your Majesty, the rider got there, but he isn't coming back.”
19 So Joram sent out another rider, who rode up to Jehu and said, “The king wants to know if this is a friendly visit.”
“What's it to you?” Jehu asked. “Just get behind me with the rest of my troops!”
20 The guard in the watchtower said, “Your Majesty, the rider got there, but he isn't coming back either. Wait a minute! That one man is a reckless chariot driver—it must be Jehu!”
21 Joram commanded, “Get my chariot ready.” Then he and Ahaziah got in their chariots and rode out to meet Jehu. They all met on the land that had belonged to Naboth.[b] 22 Joram asked, “Jehu, is this a peaceful visit?”
“How can there be peace?” Jehu asked. “Your mother Jezebel has caused everyone to worship idols and practice witchcraft.”
23 “Ahaziah, let's get out of here!” Joram yelled. “It's a trap!” As Joram tried to escape, 24 Jehu shot an arrow. It hit Joram between his shoulders, then it went through his heart and came out his chest. He fell over dead in his chariot.
25-26 (A) Jehu commanded his assistant Bidkar, “Get Joram's body and throw it in the field that Naboth once owned. Do you remember when you and I used to ride side by side behind Joram's father Ahab? It was then that the Lord swore to Ahab that he would be punished in the same field where he had killed Naboth and his sons. So throw Joram's body there, just as the Lord said.”
27 Ahaziah saw all of this happen and tried to escape to the town of Beth-Haggan, but Jehu caught up with him and shouted, “Kill him too!” So his troops shot Ahaziah with an arrow while he was on the road to Gur near Ibleam. He went as far as Megiddo, where he died. 28 Ahaziah's officers put his body in a chariot and took it back to Jerusalem, where they buried him beside his ancestors.
29 Ahaziah had become king of Judah in the eleventh year of the rule of Ahab's son Joram.
Jehu Kills Jezebel
30 Jehu headed toward Jezreel, and when Jezebel heard he was coming, she put on eye shadow and brushed her hair. Then she stood at the window, waiting for him to arrive. 31 As he walked through the city gate, she shouted down to him, “Why did you come here, you murderer? To kill the king? You're no better than Zimri!”[c]
32 He looked up toward the window and asked, “Is anyone up there on my side?” A few palace workers stuck their heads out of a window, 33 and Jehu shouted, “Throw her out the window!” They threw her down, and her blood splattered on the walls and on the horses that trampled her body.[d]
34 Jehu left to get something to eat and drink. Then he told some workers, “Even though she was evil, she was a king's daughter,[e] so make sure she has a proper burial.”
35 But when they went out to bury her body, they found only her skull, her hands, and her feet. 36 (B) They reported this to Jehu, and he said, “The Lord told Elijah the prophet that Jezebel's body would be eaten by dogs right here in Jezreel. 37 And he warned that her bones would be spread all over the ground like manure, so that no one could tell who it was.”
Jehu Kills All of Ahab's Descendants
10 Ahab still had 70 descendants living in Samaria. So Jehu wrote a letter to each of the important leaders and officials of the town,[f] and to those who supported Ahab. In the letters he wrote:
2 Your town is strong, and you're protected by chariots and an armed cavalry. And I know that King Ahab's descendants live there with you. So as soon as you read this letter, 3 choose the best person for the job and make him the next king. Then be prepared to defend Ahab's family.
4 The officials and leaders read the letters and were very frightened. They said to each other, “Jehu has already killed King Joram and King Ahaziah! We have to do what he says.” 5 The prime minister, the mayor of the city, as well as the other leaders and Ahab's supporters, sent this answer to Jehu, “We are your servants, Your Majesty, and we will do whatever you tell us. But it's not our place to choose someone to be king. You do what you think is best.”
6 Jehu then wrote another letter which said, “If you are on my side and will obey me, then prove it. Bring me the heads of the descendants of Ahab! And be here in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.”
The 70 descendants of King Ahab were living with some of the most important people of the city. 7 And when these people read Jehu's second letter, they called together all 70 of Ahab's descendants. They killed them, put their heads in baskets, and sent them to Jezreel.
8 When Jehu was told what had happened, he said, “Put the heads in two piles at the city gate, and leave them there until morning.”
9 The next morning, Jehu went out and stood where everyone could hear him, and he said, “You people are not guilty of anything. I'm the one who plotted against Joram and had him killed. But who killed all these men? 10 Listen to me. Everything the Lord's servant Elijah promised about Ahab's family will come true.”[g]
11 (C) Then Jehu killed the rest of Ahab's relatives living in Jezreel, as well as his highest officials, his priests, and his closest friends. No one in Ahab's family was left alive in Jezreel.
12-13 Jehu left for Samaria, and along the way, he met some relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah at a place where shepherds meet.[h] He asked, “Who are you?”
“We are relatives of Ahaziah,” they answered. “We're going to visit his family.”
14 “Take them alive!” Jehu said to his officers. So they grabbed them and led them to the well near the shepherds' meeting place, where they killed all 42 of them.
15 As Jehu went on, he saw Jehonadab son of Rechab[i] coming to meet him. Jehu greeted him, then said, “Jehonadab, I'm on your side. Are you on mine?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Then give me your hand,” Jehu answered. He helped Jehonadab into his chariot 16 and said, “Come with me and see how faithful I am to the Lord.”
They rode together in Jehu's chariot 17 to Samaria. Jehu killed everyone there who belonged to Ahab's family, as well as all his officials. Everyone in his family was now dead, just as the Lord had promised Elijah.
Jehu Kills All the Worshipers of Baal
18 Jehu called together the people in Samaria and said:
King Ahab sometimes worshiped Baal, but I will be completely faithful to Baal. 19 I'm going to offer a huge sacrifice to him. So invite his prophets and priests, and be sure everyone who worships him is there. Anyone who doesn't come will be killed.
But this was a trick—Jehu was really planning to kill the worshipers of Baal. 20 He said, “Announce a day of worship for Baal!” After the day had been announced, 21 Jehu sent an invitation to everyone in Israel. All the worshipers of Baal came, and the temple was filled from one end to the other. 22 Jehu told the official in charge of the sacred robes to make sure that everyone had a robe to wear.
23 Jehu and Jehonadab went into the temple, and Jehu said to the crowd, “Look around and make sure that only the worshipers of Baal are here. No one who worships the Lord is allowed in.” 24 Then they began to offer sacrifices to Baal.
Earlier, Jehu had ordered 80 soldiers to wait outside the temple. He had warned them, “I will get all these worshipers here, and if any of you let even one of them escape, you will be killed instead!”
25 As soon as Jehu finished offering the sacrifice, he told the guards and soldiers, “Come in and kill them! Don't let anyone escape.” They slaughtered everyone in the crowd and threw the bodies outside. Then they went back into the temple 26 and carried out the image of Baal. They burned it 27 and broke it into pieces, then they completely destroyed Baal's temple. And since that time, it's been nothing but a public toilet.[j]
30 Later the Lord said, “Jehu, you have done right by destroying Ahab's entire family, just as I had planned. So I will make sure that the next four kings of Israel will come from your own family.”
31 But Jehu did not completely obey the commands of the Lord God of Israel. Instead, he kept doing the sinful things that Jeroboam had caused the Israelites to do.
- 9.14-16 Joram: The Hebrew text has “Jehoram,” another spelling of the name.
- 9.21 the land … Naboth: See 1 Kings 21.
- 9.31 Zimri: An Israelite king who killed King Elah and his family so he could become king, but who ruled only seven days (see 1 Kings 16.8-20).
- 9.33 horses … her body: Two ancient translations; Hebrew “horses. Then Jehu trampled her body.”
- 9.34 she … daughter: Her father was King Ethbaal of Sidon (see 1 Kings 16.31).
- 10.1 the town: Two ancient translations; Hebrew “Jezreel.”
- 10.10 Everything … come true: See 1 Kings 21.17-24.
- 10.12,13 at a place where shepherds meet: Or “at Betheked of the Shepherds.”
- 10.15 Jehonadab son of Rechab: Or “Jehonadab the chariot driver.”
- 10.27 public toilet: Or “garbage dump.”
- 10.29 gold statues … to worship: See 1 Kings 12.26-30.