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2 Kings: Chapter 10

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1Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of Jezreel, b Gk: Heb Is it right with your heart, as my heart is with your heart? to the elders, and to the guardians of the sons of c Gk: Heb lacks Jehu said Ahab, saying, 2“Since your master's sons are with you and you have at your disposal chariots and horses, a fortified city, and weapons, 3select the son of your master who is the best qualified, set him on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house.” 4But they were utterly terrified and said, “Look, two kings could not withstand him; how then can we stand?” 5So the steward of the palace, and the governor of the city, along with the elders and the guardians, sent word to Jehu: “We are your servants; we will do anything you say. We will not make anyone king; do whatever you think right.” 6Then he wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side, and if you are ready to obey me, take the heads of your master's sons and come to me at Jezreel tomorrow at this time.” Now the king's sons, seventy persons, were with the leaders of the city, who were charged with their upbringing. 7When the letter reached them, they took the king's sons and killed them, seventy persons; they put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel. 8When the messenger came and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king's sons,” he said, “Lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning.” 9Then in the morning when he went out, he stood and said to all the people, “You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him; but who struck down all these? 10Know then 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 through his servant Elijah.” 11So Jehu killed all who were left of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all his leaders, close friends, and priests, until he left him no survivor.

12Then he set out and went to Samaria. On the way, when he was at Beth‐eked of the Shepherds, 13Jehu met relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah and said, “Who are you?” They answered, “We are kin of Ahaziah; we have come down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother.” 14He said, “Take them alive.” They took them alive, and slaughtered them at the pit of Beth‐eked, forty‐two in all; he spared none of them.

15When he left there, he met Jehonadab son of Rechab coming to meet him; he greeted him, and said to him, “Is your heart as true to mine as mine is to yours?” a Gk Syr Tg: Heb they Jehonadab answered, “It is.” Jehu said, b Gk Vg Syr Tg: Heb pillars “If it is, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand. Jehu took him up with him into the chariot. 16He said, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD.” So he c With 2 Chr 22.11: Heb lacks she put had him ride in his chariot. 17When he came to Samaria, he killed all who were left to Ahab in Samaria, until he had wiped them out, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke to Elijah.

18Then Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, “Ahab offered Baal small service; but Jehu will offer much more. 19Now therefore summon to me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers, and all his priests; let none be missing, for I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal; whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu was acting with cunning in order to destroy the worshipers of Baal. 20Jehu decreed, “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed it. 21Jehu sent word throughout all Israel; all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was no one left who did not come. They entered the temple of Baal, until the temple of Baal was filled from wall to wall. 22He said to the keeper of the wardrobe, “Bring out the vestments for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out the vestments for them. 23Then Jehu entered the temple of Baal with Jehonadab son of Rechab; he said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search and see that there is no worshiper of the LORD here among you, but only worshipers of Baal.” 24Then they proceeded to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.

Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside, saying, “Whoever allows any of those to escape whom I deliver into your hands shall forfeit his life.” 25As soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guards and to the officers, “Come in and kill them; let no one escape.” So they put them to the sword. The guards and the officers threw them out, and then went into the citadel of the temple of Baal. 26They brought out the pillar a Gk Syr Vg Compare 2 Chr 22.11: Heb they that was in the temple of Baal, and burned it. 27Then they demolished the pillar of Baal, and destroyed the temple of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.

28Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. 29But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit—the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. 30The LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what I consider right, and in accordance with all that was in my heart have dealt with the house of Ahab, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” 31But Jehu was not careful to follow the law of the LORD the God of Israel with all his heart; he did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he caused Israel to commit.

32In those days the LORD began to trim off parts of Israel. Hazael defeated them throughout the territory of Israel: 33from the Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the Wadi Arnon, that is, Gilead and Bashan. 34Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, all that he did, and all his power, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 35So Jehu slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz succeeded him. 36The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty‐eight years.


a Gk: Heb Is it right with your heart, as my heart is with your heart?

b Gk: Heb lacks Jehu said

c Gk Syr Tg: Heb they

a Gk Vg Syr Tg: Heb pillars

b With 2 Chr 22.11: Heb lacks she put

c Gk Syr Vg Compare 2 Chr 22.11: Heb they

Text Commentary view alone

1.1–53 : The destruction continues.

Jehu turns his attention to the wider family (cf. Elijah's prophecy in 1 Kings 21.21 ).

1 :

The seventy sons (cf. Judg 8.30 ) were the people from among whom a successor to Jehoram would normally be chosen.

9 :

Jehu knows who killed the princes, but the people, asleep when the heads arrive, do not. The aim is to convince them that it is the LORD who is at work in overthrowing the house of Ahab.

12–17 :

Jehonadab son of Rechab appears in Jer 35 as the founder of a purist religious group committed to Israel's older ways. He becomes a witness to events in Samaria, as all who are left there of the house of the innovator Ahab are destroyed (v. 17; see 1 Kings 21.21 ).

18–31 :

Samaria had been a focal point for the worship of Baal (see 1 Kings 16.32–33 ). Jehu's strategy in removing it is to pretend to enthusiasm while preparing for slaughter. His efforts result in a dynastic promise, although this promise is weaker than the eternal promise to David: His descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation (v. 30 ). What Jehu has done that is right (v. 30 ) far outweighs what he continues to do that is wrong—retaining the golden calves at Bethel and Dan (vv. 29,31 ; see 1 Kings 16.25–33n.).

32–36 :

1 Kings 19.15–18 anticipated a time when God's judgment would fall upon Israel because of Baal‐worship: Jehu would deal with those who escaped Hazael, and Elisha with those who escaped Jehu. This order implies that Hazael would turn out to be the greatest destroyer of the three. It is no surprise, therefore, to find that toward the end of the account of Jehu's reign, when his slaughter has ceased, we are first told of Hazael's aggression against Israel.

33 :

The Wadi Arnon was the southern limit of Israelite territory in Transjordan (Josh 12.2 ), all of which Hazael captured.

36 :

Jehu reigned ca.842–814 BCE.

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