2 Kings 9-10: Jehu, the Angel of Judgment

II Kings 9:

1 Then Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, “Tie up your garments, and take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead.

2 And when you arrive, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. And go in and have him rise from among his fellows, and lead him to an inner chamber.

3 Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, ‘Thus says the LORD, I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee; do not linger.”

The opening of 2 Kings 9 immediately enables us to see the connection with the previous chapter; Hazael becoming the king of Syria comes hand in hand with Jehu’s anointing as king of Israel, both prophesied in 1 Kings 19.  The purpose, is as in 1 Kings 19:15-18 –

15 And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.

16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.

17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.

18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

The ones which Hazael and Jehu put to death are those who follow in the steps of Baal; and Elisha is the first one anointed in 1 Kings 19 as he is the last barrier to ensuring that Israel remains the nation from which Christ is born.  It is interesting that the order of anointing is Elijah, Elisha, Hazael and then Jehu – Jehu being the last vessel through whom the LORD redeems Israel.  Again and again we are reminded that the human kings are but shadows of Christ – Jehu, “Jehovah is he”, the grandson of Nimshi (saved) reflects the picture of the Spirit anointing the chosen Son in destroying the religion of Judah and Israel.  Through Elijah and Elisha Israel’s reformation has time and time again been a reminder that if the kings were to model the kings of other nations, then it would only result in war (c.f. Genesis 14; the existence of kings before Israel was born); but under the rule of the true king David and Solomon, the true Sabbath and jubilee will ensue.

4 So the young man, the servant of the prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead.

5 And when he came, behold, the commanders of the army were in council. And he said, “I have a word for you, O commander.” And Jehu said, “To which of us all?” And he said, “To you, O commander.”

6 So he arose and went into the house. And the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, “Thus says the LORD the God of Israel, I anoint you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel.

7 And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD.

8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel.

9 And 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.

10 And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled.

11 When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they said to him, “Is all well? Why did this mad fellow come to you?” And he said to them, “You know the fellow and his talk.”

12 And they said, “That is not true; tell us now.” And he said, “Thus and so he spoke to me, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, I anoint you king over Israel.’”

13 Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”

It is interesting the reaction of Jehu’s servants, referring to the son of the prophet as a “mad fellow” – a reminder of the persecution of the Christ who was seen more as mad than Messiah.  Yet, upon Jehu’s revelation that he is to be king, they immediately blew the trumpet and proclaimed as such, bearing witness to the truth of the word of the son of the prophet (c.f. Matthew 21:7-9).  Perhaps these men had been truly waiting for the day when the mad rule of Joram and Ahaziah would be destroyed, and their service to Jehu will facilitate a reformation they have longed in their hearts.

Note therefore the man of Ramoth-gilead, where Joram had been fighting against Hazael, now goes to Jezreel – the very place where innocent blood was spilled over a vineyard of Jezreel in 1 Kings 21 due to Ahab’s wickedness, spawning the anointing of Jehu for the purpose of destroying the house of Ahab and Jezebel (v.7-10 above):

14 Thus Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram with all Israel had been on guard at Ramoth-gilead against Hazael king of Syria,

15 but King Joram had returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) So Jehu said, “If this is your decision, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.”

16 Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to visit Joram.

17 Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he saw the company of Jehu as he came and said, “I see a company.” And Joram said, “Take a horseman and send to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’”

18 So a man on horseback went to meet him and said, “Thus says the king, ‘Is it peace?’” And Jehu said, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.” And the watchman reported, saying, “The messenger reached them, but he is not coming back.”

19 Then he sent out a second horseman, who came to them and said, “Thus the king has said, ‘Is it peace?’” And Jehu answered, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.”

20 Again the watchman reported, “He reached them, but he is not coming back. And the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.”

21 Joram said, “Make ready.” And they made ready his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu, and met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite.

22 And when Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” He answered, “What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?”

Just as the men of Jehu appeared to be idol-worshippers, calling sons of the prophet as madmen, so also these men of Joram side with Jehu for they knew that under Joram and Ahaziah’s rule, there is no true peace.  “What do you have to do with peace?” – indeed, they have nothing to do with the peace that comes through Christ (Romans 5:1).  The third time they ask Jehu whether it is peace, they stand on the very property which was stolen by the house of Ahab under the direction of Jezebel the whore.  Thus, Jehu’s response was duly and appropriately given, in fulfillment of 1 Kings 21:29, supported by Bidkar (the one who stabs) executing the final burial of Joram.

23 Then Joram reined about and fled, saying to Ahaziah, “Treachery, O Ahaziah!”

24 And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart, and he sank in his chariot.

25 Jehu said to Bidkar his aide, “Take him up and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. For remember, when you and I rode side by side behind Ahab his father, how the LORD made this pronouncement against him:

26 ‘As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons—declares the LORD—I will repay you on this plot of ground.’ Now therefore take him up and throw him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the LORD.”

27 When Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled in the direction of Beth-haggan. And Jehu pursued him and said, “Shoot him also.” And they shot him in the chariot at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo and died there.

Thus, Ahaziah too was shot, at the ascent of Gur (whelp) by Ibleam (people-waster), strangely dying in the place of crowns Megiddo.  This sequence is differently described in 2 Chronicles 22:8-9:

8 And when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, he met the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah’s brothers, who attended Ahaziah, and he killed them.

9 He searched for Ahaziah, and he was captured while hiding in Samaria, and he was brought to Jehu and put to death. They buried him, for they said, “He is the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart.” And the house of Ahaziah had no one able to rule the kingdom.”


Although a different sequence, both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles sought to portray the same message – that Ahaziah supported the house of Ahab and Jezebel – and thus in 2 Chronicles 22:9, in “the house of Ahaziah had no one able to rule the kingdom”.  A fitting summary of the life of those who follow in the steps of the Satan who is but an impostor attempting to rule in this world, only to have the tables turned against him.

28 His servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his fathers in the city of David.

29 In the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab, Ahaziah began to reign over Judah.

30 When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it. And she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out of the window.

31 And as Jehu entered the gate, she said, “Is it peace, you Zimri, murderer of your master?”

What irony that Jezebel refers to Zimri in 1 Kings 16 – the man who reformed Israel by destroying the house of Baasha though unfortunately walking a compromised life of sin against God (1 Kings 16:19).  Yet, Jehu is quite different; though appearing to be a conspirator like Zimri, Jehu is a tool of the LORD’s judgment against the prostitute Jezebel in order to bring reunification for Israel and Judah.  This is clearly desired by the eunuchs serving Jezebel, just like the servants of Jehu, awaiting the day a true prophet comes to say that good news has come (fulfilling 1 Kings 21:23) – the enemy shall be destroyed once and for all.  So Satan shall do be destroyed utterly, so that no one can say, “This is the enemy of God.” (c.f. v. 37)

32 And he lifted up his face to the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked out at him.

33 He said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down. And some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled on her.

34 Then he went in and ate and drank. And he said, “See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.”

35 But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.

36 When they came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the LORD, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel,

37 and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.’”

II Kings 10:

1 Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of the city, to the elders, and to the guardians of the sons of Ahab, saying,

2 “Now then, as soon as this letter comes to you, seeing your master’s sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, fortified cities also, and weapons,

3 select the best and fittest of your master’s sons and set him on his father’s throne and fight for your master’s house.”

4 But they were exceedingly afraid and said, “Behold, the two kings could not stand before him. How then can we stand?”

5 So he who was over the palace, and he who was over the city, together with the elders and the guardians, sent to Jehu, saying, “We are your servants, and we will do all that you tell us. We will not make anyone king. Do whatever is good in your eyes.”

6 Then he wrote to 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 great men of the city, who were bringing them up.

7 And as soon as 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 him at Jezreel.

8 When 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.”

9 Then 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?

10 Know 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 by his servant Elijah.”

11 So Jehu struck down all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all his great men and his close friends and his priests, until he left him none remaining.

Jehu’s first pleading is but the same pleading as what he has been doing in chapter 9 – and this is the same pleading, calling if you will, of God when He sent His Son to die for us on the cross.  That is the first pleading, the first call for us to be on the true Jehu’s side; to know whether we are the eunuchs who will help crush Jezebel, the messengers who will take part in Jehu’s party of invaders of Ahaziah and Joram’s security.  Jehu’s pleading is but a shadow of the first coming of Christ, calling upon those who revere His name and identifying those who remain distant to His mission.  V.5 is revealing – “we are your servants, and we will do all that you tell us.  We will not make anyone king.  Do whatever is good in your eyes.”  It is important to note here that many of these men do not know of Jehu’s anointing; and yet, they see that God is with him.  Despite the failures of the kings in fighting against the idolatrous household of Ahab, it is God through Jehu that the enemies are truly scattered at Jezreel, in fulfillment of 1 Kings 21:21-24.  Thus, we are called to join Him who returns on the Wedding day to destroy the house of Ahab and Jezebel (1 Corinthians 1:26; Ephesians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Hebrews 3:1; 2 Peter 1:10).  What 2 Kings 10 plays out is but a shadow of Revelation 14, an ascertaining of whether such men have the mark of Jezebel; and Revelation 17-18, the destruction of Jezebel in ushering a new age of Israel.

Here, however, the situation should be distinguished.  The men were afraid – Jehu was challenging them as a test, to see which of the 70 sons would now ascend to the throne of Ahab.  Jehu’s taunt in v.2-3 immediately draws the men’s fear (v.4) in forming their reply (v.5-6).  They know that the LORD is with Jehu; however, they do not pledge their allegiance to God, but only to Jehu.  This is the reason for Jehu’s revelation of shame in the morning before the two heaps at the entrance of the gate (v.8-9).  This is a picture of the final judgment.  They dared to destroy their master’s sons, disobeying the authority upon them in such a gruesome manner, on the basis of blind obedience to the word of Jehu.  The clarity of the issue could not, however, be distinguished purely from perceiving the facts – for Jehu too conspired against his master (v.9).  The difference is that these ‘great men’ still stood in the house of Ahab, which led to Jehu’s destruction of them (v.11), regardless of whether they ‘obeyed’ Jehu or not.  These men were not men of peace; they were men of blood and wrath, men who blindly obeyed Jezebel to the destruction of Naboth (1 Kings 21).  The destruction at the pit of the shearing house (Beth-eked) of the Shepherds is but a clear reference of those who fellowship with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14) thrown into the pit (Revelation 20:3).

12 Then he set out and went to Samaria. On the way, when he was at Beth-eked of the Shepherds,

13 Jehu met the relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah, and he said, “Who are you?” And they answered, “We are the relatives of Ahaziah, and we came down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother.”

14 He said, “Take them alive.” And they took them alive and slaughtered them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two persons, and he spared none of them.

15 And when he departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him. And he greeted him and said to him, “Is your heart true to my heart as mine is to yours?” And Jehonadab answered, “It is.” Jehu said, “If it is, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand. And Jehu took him up with him into the chariot.

16 And he said, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD.” So he had him ride in his chariot.

17 And when he came to Samaria, he struck down all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had wiped them out, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke to Elijah.

What a turn of events for the house of Rechab, the man who had been destroyed by David (2 Samuel 4) for similar reasons laid out in 2 Kings 10 in the destruction of the great men serving in the house of Ahab.  Instead, Jehonadab the son of Rechab now walks in the light, his heart true to the heart of Jehu (c.f. Jeremiah 35:19).

18 Then Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him much.

19 Now therefore call 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 did it with cunning in order to destroy the worshipers of Baal.

20 And Jehu ordered, “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed it.

21 And Jehu sent throughout all Israel, and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. And they entered the house of Baal, and the house of Baal was filled from one end to the other.

22 He said to him who was in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out the vestments for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out the vestments for them.

23 Then Jehu went into the house of Baal with Jehonadab the son of Rechab, and he said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search, and see that there is no servant of the LORD here among 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 and said, “The man who allows any of those whom I give into your hands to escape shall forfeit his life.”

25 So as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guard and to the officers, “Go in and strike them down; let not a man escape.” So when they put them to the sword, the guard and the officers cast them out and went into the inner room of the house of Baal,

26 and they brought out the pillar that was in the house of Baal and burned it.

27 And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.

This is the application of Matthew 10:16 – the wisdom of a serpent, but the innocence of a dove – Jehu deceives these prophets of Baal in order to wipe out Baal from Israel (v.28).  It is fitting that the house of Baal is thus made into a latrine, a fitting place for the waste of men to be made equal to Baal which is but unclean dung to be removed from the presence of godly men (c.f. Leviticus 8:17).

Yet, although the picture of 1 Kings 9 and 10 is the swan-song of Jehu the anointed king of Israel, his calling as king spawned from the death of Naboth in 1 Kings 21, a type of the first and second coming of Christ, he is not Christ.  He is but a man, still drawn to his own idols, still leading Israel to sin as the Israelites still await for the true king who would rid the world of its idols and is careful to walk in the law of the LORD with all his heart (Psalm 1-2):

28 Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel.

29 But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan.

30 And the LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.”

31 But Jehu was not careful 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, which he made Israel to sin.

32 In those days the LORD began to cut off parts of Israel. Hazael 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 Valley of the Arnon, that is, Gilead and Bashan.

34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu and all that he did, and all his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

35 So Jehu slept with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his place.

36 The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.

2 Kings 9-10: Jehu, the Angel of Judgment

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