Jehu, after some pause, returned to his place at the board, taking no notice of what had passed, but, as it should seem, designing, for the present, to keep it to himself, if they had not urged him to disclose it. Let us therefore see what passed between him and the captains.
I. With what contempt the captains speak of the young prophet (2 Kgs. 9:11): “Wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? What business had he with thee? And why wouldst thou humour him so far as to retire for conversation with him? Are prophets company for captains?” They are called him a mad fellow, because he was one of those that would not run with them to an excess of riot (1 Pet. 4:4), but lived a life of self-denial, mortification, and contempt of the world, and spent their time in devotion; for these things they thought the prophets were fools and the spiritual men were mad, Hos. 9:7. Note, Those that have no religion commonly speak with disdain of those that are religious, and look upon them as mad. They said of our Saviour, He is beside himself, of John Baptist, He has a devil (is a poor melancholy man), of St. Paul, Much learning has made him mad. The highest wisdom is thus represented as folly, and those that best understand themselves are looked upon as beside themselves. Perhaps Jehu intended it for a rebuke to his friends when he said, “You know the man to be a prophet, why then do you call him a mad fellow? You know the way of his communication to be not from madness, but inspiration.” Or, “Being a prophet, you may guess what his business is, to tell me of my faults, and to teach me my duty; I need not inform you concerning it.” Thus he thought to put them off, but they urged him to tell them. “It is false,” say they, “we cannot conjecture what was his errand, and therefore tell us.” Being thus pressed to it, he told them that the prophet had anointed him king, and it is probable showed them the oil upon his head, 2 Kgs. 9:12. He knew not but some of them either out of loyalty to Joram or envy of him, might oppose him, and go near to crush his interest in its infancy; but he relied on the divine appointment, and was not afraid to own it, knowing whom he had trusted: he that raised him would stand by him.
II. With what respect they compliment the new king upon the first notice of his advancement, 2 Kgs. 9:13. How meanly soever they thought of the prophet that anointed him, and of his office, they expressed a great veneration for the royal dignity of him that was anointed, and were very forward to proclaim him and sound of trumpet. In token of their subjection and allegiance to him, their affection to his person and government, and their desire to see him high and easy in it, they put their garments under him, that he might stand or sit upon them on the top of the stairs, in sight of the soldiers, who, upon the first intimation, came together to grace the solemnity. God put it into their hearts thus readily to own him, for he turns the hearts of people as well as kings, like the rivers of water, into what channel he pleases. Perhaps they were disquieted at Joram’s government or had a particular affection for Jehu; or, however this might be, things it seems were ripe for the revolution, and they all came into Jehu’s interest and conspired against Joram, 2 Kgs. 9:14.
III. With what caution Jehu proceeded. He had advantages against Joram, and he knew how to improve them. He had the army with him. Joram had left it, and had gone home badly wounded. Jehu’s good conduct appears in two things:—1. That he complimented the captains, and would do nothing without their advice and consent (“If it be your minds, we will do so and so, else not”), thereby intimating the deference he paid to their judgment and the confidence he had in their fidelity, both which tended to please and fix them. It is the wisdom of those that would rise fast, and stand firm, to take their friends along with them. 2. That he contrived to surprise Joram; and, in order thereto, to come upon him with speed, and to prevent his having notice of what was now done: “Let none go forth to tell it in Jezreel, that, as a snare, the ruin may come on him and his house.” The suddenness of an attack sometimes turns to as good an account as the force of it.