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Chapter 9

Elisha and Jehu of Israel.[a] (A)Elisha the prophet called one of the guild prophets and said to him: “Get ready for a journey. Take this flask of oil with you, and go to Ramoth-gilead. When you get there, look for Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. Enter and take him away from his companions and bring him into an inner chamber. From the flask you have, pour oil on his head, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee without delay.”

The aide (the prophet’s aide) went to Ramoth-gilead. When he arrived, the commanders of the army were in session. He said, “I have a message for you, commander.” Jehu asked, “For which one of us?” “For you, commander,” he answered. Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet’s aide poured the oil on his head and said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. [b]You shall destroy the house of Ahab your master; thus will I avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the other servants of the Lord shed by Jezebel. (B)The whole house of Ahab shall perish:

I will cut off from Ahab’s line every male,
    whether bond or free in Israel.

I will make the house of Ahab like that of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, and like that of Baasha, son of Ahijah. 10 In the confines of Jezreel, the dogs shall devour Jezebel so that no one can bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled.

11 When Jehu rejoined his master’s servants, they asked him, “Is all well? Why did that madman come to you?” He replied, “You know that kind of man and his talk.” 12 But they said, “Tell us another lie!” So he told them, “This is what the prophet’s aide said to me, ‘Thus says the Lord: I anoint you king over Israel.’” 13 At once each took his garment, spread it under Jehu on the bare steps, blew the horn, and cried out, “Jehu is king!”

VIII. The End of the Omrid Dynasty[c]

Death of Joram of Israel. 14 (C)Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi, formed a conspiracy against Joram. (Joram, with all Israel, had been besieging Ramoth-gilead against Hazael, king of Aram, 15 but had returned to Jezreel to be healed of the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him in the battle against Hazael, king of Aram.)

Jehu said to them, “If this is what you really want, see that no one escapes from the city to report in Jezreel.”

16 Then Jehu mounted his chariot and drove to Jezreel, where Joram lay ill and Ahaziah, king of Judah, had come to visit him. 17 The watchman standing on the tower in Jezreel saw the troop of Jehu coming and reported, “I see chariots.” Joram said, “Get a driver and send him to meet them and to ask whether all is well.” 18 So a horseman went out to meet him and said, “The king asks, ‘Is everything all right?’” Jehu said, “What does it matter to you how things are? Get behind me.” The watchman reported to the king, “The messenger has reached them, but is not returning.” 19 Joram sent a second horseman, who went to them and said, “The king asks, ‘Is everything all right?’” “What does it matter to you how things are?” Jehu replied. “Get behind me.” 20 The watchman reported, “He has reached them, but is not returning. The driving is like that of Jehu, son of Nimshi; he drives like a madman.” 21 (D)“Hitch up my chariot,” said Joram, and they hitched up his chariot. Then Joram, king of Israel, and Ahaziah, king of Judah, set out, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. They reached him near the plot of ground of Naboth the Jezreelite.

22 When Joram recognized Jehu, he asked, “Is everything all right, Jehu?” Jehu replied, “How could everything be all right as long as all the harlotry and sorcery[d] of your mother Jezebel continues?” 23 Joram reined about and fled, crying to Ahaziah, “Treason, Ahaziah!” 24 But Jehu had drawn his bow and he shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow went through his heart and he collapsed in his chariot. 25 Then Jehu said to his adjutant Bidkar, “Take him and throw him into the plot of ground in the field of Naboth the Jezreelite. For remember when you and I were driving teams behind Ahab his father, the Lord delivered this oracle against him: 26 As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons—oracle of the Lord—I will repay you for it in that very plot of ground—oracle of the Lord. So now take him and throw him into this plot of ground, in keeping with the word of the Lord.”

Death of Ahaziah of Judah. 27 (E)Seeing what was happening, Ahaziah, king of Judah, fled toward Beth-haggan. Jehu pursued him, shouting, “Him too!” They struck him as he rode through the pass of Gur near Ibleam, but he continued his flight as far as Megiddo and died there. 28 His servants brought him in a chariot to Jerusalem and they buried him in his grave with his ancestors in the City of David. 29 In the eleventh year of Joram, son of Ahab, Ahaziah became king over Judah.

Death of Jezebel. 30 Jehu came to Jezreel, and when Jezebel heard of it, she shadowed her eyes, adorned her hair, and looked down from her window. 31 As Jehu came through the gate, she cried out, “Is all well, you Zimri, murderer of your master?”(F) 32 Jehu looked up to the window and shouted, “Who is on my side? Who?” At this, two or three eunuchs looked down toward him. 33 “Throw her down,” he ordered. They threw her down, and some of her blood spurted against the wall and against the horses. Jehu trod over her body 34 and, after eating and drinking, he said: “Attend to that accursed woman and bury her; for she was the daughter of a king.” 35 But when they went to bury her, they found nothing of her but the skull, the feet, and the hands. 36 They returned to Jehu, and when they told him, he said, “This is the word the Lord spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: In the confines of Jezreel the dogs shall devour the flesh of Jezebel.(G) 37 The corpse of Jezebel shall be like dung in the field in the confines of Jezreel, so that no one can say: This was Jezebel.”

Footnotes

  1. 9:1–13 Elisha carries out the commission the Lord gave Elijah in 1 Kgs 19:16. See note on 2 Kgs 3:1–9:13.
  2. 9:7–10 The author has Elisha’s emissary expand considerably the speech Elisha told him to deliver by adding the same type of prophetic indictments and sanctions as were invoked on previous occasions against the dynasties of Jeroboam (1 Kgs 14:10–11), of Baasha (1 Kgs 16:3–4), and of Ahab himself (1 Kgs 21:21–24).
  3. 9:14–11:20 Death pervades this section. The dynasty founded by Omri (1 Kgs 16:23) drowns in a bloodbath, taking numberless others along with it. The scenes are in three parallel sets of three: death comes (1) to Joram of Israel, Ahab’s son; to Ahaziah of Judah, his son-in-law; and to Jezebel, the Baalist queen mother of Israel; (2) then to seventy descendants of Ahab; to forty-two relatives of Ahaziah of Judah; and to numerous Baal worshipers; (3) finally to Jehu of Israel; to the blood royal of Judah; and to Athaliah, the Baalist queen mother of Judah and last of the Omrids.
  4. 9:22 Harlotry and sorcery: both terms are metaphors referring to Jezebel’s worship of the foreign god Baal.

Jehu Anointed King of Israel

The prophet Elisha summoned a man from the company(A) of the prophets and said to him, “Tuck your cloak into your belt,(B) take this flask of olive oil(C) with you and go to Ramoth Gilead.(D) When you get there, look for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. Go to him, get him away from his companions and take him into an inner room. Then take the flask and pour the oil(E) on his head and declare, ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run; don’t delay!”

So the young prophet went to Ramoth Gilead. When he arrived, he found the army officers sitting together. “I have a message for you, commander,” he said.

“For which of us?” asked Jehu.

“For you, commander,” he replied.

Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet poured the oil(F) on Jehu’s head and declared, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anoint you king over the Lord’s people Israel. You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge(G) the blood of my servants(H) the prophets and the blood of all the Lord’s servants shed by Jezebel.(I) The whole house(J) of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male(K) in Israel—slave or free.[a] I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam(L) son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha(M) son of Ahijah. 10 As for Jezebel, dogs(N) will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.’” Then he opened the door and ran.

11 When Jehu went out to his fellow officers, one of them asked him, “Is everything all right? Why did this maniac(O) come to you?”

“You know the man and the sort of things he says,” Jehu replied.

12 “That’s not true!” they said. “Tell us.”

Jehu said, “Here is what he told me: ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’”

13 They quickly took their cloaks and spread(P) them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet(Q) and shouted, “Jehu is king!”

Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah(R)

14 So Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, conspired against Joram. (Now Joram and all Israel had been defending Ramoth Gilead(S) against Hazael king of Aram, 15 but King Joram[b] had returned to Jezreel to recover(T) from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him in the battle with Hazael king of Aram.) Jehu said, “If you desire to make me king, don’t let anyone slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.” 16 Then he got into his chariot and rode to Jezreel, because Joram was resting there and Ahaziah(U) king of Judah had gone down to see him.

17 When the lookout(V) standing on the tower in Jezreel saw Jehu’s troops approaching, he called out, “I see some troops coming.”

“Get a horseman,” Joram ordered. “Send him to meet them and ask, ‘Do you come in peace?(W)’”

18 The horseman rode off to meet Jehu and said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’”

“What do you have to do with peace?” Jehu replied. “Fall in behind me.”

The lookout reported, “The messenger has reached them, but he isn’t coming back.”

19 So the king sent out a second horseman. When he came to them he said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’”

Jehu replied, “What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me.”

20 The lookout reported, “He has reached them, but he isn’t coming back either. The driving is like(X) that of Jehu son of Nimshi—he drives like a maniac.”

21 “Hitch up my chariot,” Joram ordered. And when it was hitched up, Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah rode out, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. They met him at the plot of ground that had belonged to Naboth(Y) the Jezreelite. 22 When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?”

“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel(Z) abound?”

23 Joram turned about and fled, calling out to Ahaziah, “Treachery,(AA) Ahaziah!”

24 Then Jehu drew his bow(AB) and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot. 25 Jehu said to Bidkar, his chariot officer, “Pick him up and throw him on the field that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were riding together in chariots behind Ahab his father when the Lord spoke this prophecy(AC) against him: 26 ‘Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth(AD) and the blood of his sons, declares the Lord, and I will surely make you pay for it on this plot of ground, declares the Lord.’[c] Now then, pick him up and throw him on that plot, in accordance with the word of the Lord.”(AE)

27 When Ahaziah king of Judah saw what had happened, he fled up the road to Beth Haggan.[d] Jehu chased him, shouting, “Kill him too!” They wounded him in his chariot on the way up to Gur near Ibleam,(AF) but he escaped to Megiddo(AG) and died there. 28 His servants took him by chariot(AH) to Jerusalem and buried him with his ancestors in his tomb in the City of David. 29 (In the eleventh(AI) year of Joram son of Ahab, Ahaziah had become king of Judah.)

Jezebel Killed

30 Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she put on eye makeup,(AJ) arranged her hair and looked out of a window. 31 As Jehu entered the gate, she asked, “Have you come in peace, you Zimri,(AK) you murderer of your master?”[e]

32 He looked up at the window and called out, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. 33 “Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.(AL)

34 Jehu went in and ate and drank. “Take care of that cursed woman,” he said, “and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.”(AM) 35 But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. 36 They went back and told Jehu, who said, “This is the word of the Lord that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs(AN) will devour Jezebel’s flesh.[f](AO) 37 Jezebel’s body will be like dung(AP) on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel.’”

Footnotes

  1. 2 Kings 9:8 Or Israel—every ruler or leader
  2. 2 Kings 9:15 Hebrew Jehoram, a variant of Joram; also in verses 17 and 21-24
  3. 2 Kings 9:26 See 1 Kings 21:19.
  4. 2 Kings 9:27 Or fled by way of the garden house
  5. 2 Kings 9:31 Or “Was there peace for Zimri, who murdered his master?”
  6. 2 Kings 9:36 See 1 Kings 21:23.

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