The son of Nimshi, Jehu was king of Israel ca. 843–816 BCE. 2 Kings 9–10 describes how, under prophetic mandate, Jehu led a bloody military revolt to seize the throne of Israel. He killed the kings of both Israel (Jehoram) and Judah (Ahaziah), had Jezebel executed, annihilated the dynasty of Omri, and obliterated the worship of Baal in Israel. Yahweh rewarded Jehu's faithfulness by allowing his dynasty to last five generations.

However historical its base, the account in 2 Kings 9–10 is strongly influenced by the ideology of the Deuteronomic historian. Quite a different perspective on Jehu's revolt is found in Hosea 1.4–5, where the house of Jehu is threatened with punishment for the bloodshed of Jezreel.

The annals of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III mention and his “Black Obelisk” depicts a “Ia‐ú‐a/Ia‐a‐ú son of Omri” paying tribute to him. This individual is probably Jehu, though his predecessor Jehoram has also been proposed; in any case, it is the only contemporary picture we have of a king of Israel.

See also Israel, History of


Steven L. McKenzie