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2 Kings 10:1-28

Jehu Wipes Out Ahab’s Family

10:1 Ahab had seventy sons living in Samaria. 1  So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria to the leading officials of Jezreel and to the guardians of Ahab’s dynasty. This is what the letters said, 2  10:2 “You have with you the sons of your master, chariots and horses, a fortified city, and weapons. So when this letter arrives, 3  10:3 pick the best and most capable 4  of your master’s sons, place him on his father’s throne, and defend 5  your master’s dynasty.”

10:4 They were absolutely terrified 6  and said, “Look, two kings could not stop him! 7  How can we?” 8  10:5 So the palace supervisor, 9  the city commissioner, 10  the leaders, 11  and the guardians sent this message to Jehu, “We are your subjects! 12  Whatever you say, we will do. We will not make anyone king. Do what you consider proper.” 13 

10:6 He wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are really on my side and are willing to obey me, 14  then take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me in Jezreel at this time tomorrow.” 15  Now the king had seventy sons, and the prominent 16  men of the city were raising them. 10:7 When they received the letter, they seized the king’s sons and executed all seventy of them. 17  They put their heads in baskets and sent them to him in Jezreel. 10:8 The messenger came and told Jehu, 18  “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.” Jehu 19  said, “Stack them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning.” 10:9 In the morning he went out and stood there. Then he said to all the people, “You are innocent. I conspired against my master and killed him. But who struck down all of these men? 10:10 Therefore take note that not one of the judgments the Lord announced against Ahab’s dynasty has failed to materialize. The Lord had done what he announced through his servant Elijah.” 20  10:11 Then Jehu killed all who were left of Ahab’s family in Jezreel, and all his nobles, close friends, and priests. He left no survivors.

10:12 Jehu then left there and set out for Samaria. 21  While he was traveling through Beth Eked of the Shepherds, 10:13 Jehu encountered 22  the relatives 23  of King Ahaziah of Judah. He asked, “Who are you?” They replied, “We are Ahaziah’s relatives. We have come down to see how 24  the king’s sons and the queen mother’s sons are doing.” 10:14 He said, “Capture them alive!” So they captured them alive and then executed all forty-two of them in the cistern at Beth Eked. He left no survivors.

10:15 When he left there, he met 25  Jehonadab, son of Rekab, who had been looking for him. 26  Jehu greeted him and asked, 27  “Are you as committed to me as I am to you?” 28  Jehonadab answered, “I am!” Jehu replied, “If so, give me your hand.” 29  So he offered his hand and Jehu 30  pulled him up into the chariot. 10:16 Jehu 31  said, “Come with me and see how zealous I am for the Lord’s cause.” 32  So he 33  took him along in his chariot. 10:17 He went to Samaria and exterminated all the members of Ahab’s family who were still alive in Samaria, 34  just as the Lord had announced to Elijah. 35 

Jehu Executes the Prophets and Priests of Baal

10:18 Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, “Ahab worshiped 36  Baal a little; Jehu will worship 37  him with great devotion. 38  10:19 So now, bring to me all the prophets of Baal, as well as all his servants and priests. 39  None of them must be absent, for I am offering a great sacrifice to Baal. Any of them who fail to appear will lose their lives.” But Jehu was tricking them 40  so he could destroy the servants of Baal. 10:20 Then Jehu ordered, “Make arrangements for 41  a celebration for Baal.” So they announced it. 10:21 Jehu sent invitations throughout Israel, and all the servants of Baal came; not one was absent. They arrived at the temple of Baal and filled it up from end to end. 42  10:22 Jehu ordered the one who was in charge of the wardrobe, 43  “Bring out robes for all the servants of Baal.” So he brought out robes for them. 10:23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Rekab went to the temple of Baal. Jehu 44  said to the servants of Baal, “Make sure there are no servants of the Lord here with you; there must be only servants of Baal.” 45  10:24 They went inside to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside. He had told them, “If any of the men inside get away, you will pay with your lives!” 46 

10:25 When he finished offering the burnt sacrifice, Jehu ordered the royal guard 47  and officers, “Come in and strike them down! Don’t let any escape!” So the royal guard and officers struck them down with the sword and left their bodies lying there. 48  Then they entered the inner sanctuary of the temple of Baal. 49  10:26 They hauled out the sacred pillar of the temple of Baal and burned it. 10:27 They demolished 50  the sacred pillar of Baal and 51  the temple of Baal; it is used as 52  a latrine 53  to this very day. 10:28 So Jehu eradicated Baal worship 54  from Israel.

1 map For location see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

2 tn Heb “to the officers of Jezreel, the elders, and to the guardians of Ahab, saying.” It is not certain why the officials of Jezreel would be in Samaria. They may have fled there after they heard what happened to Joram and before Jehu entered the city. They would have had time to flee while Jehu was pursuing Ahaziah.

3 tn Heb “And now when this letter comes to you – with you are the sons of your master and with you are chariots and horses and a fortified city and weapons.”

4 tn Hebrew יָשָׁר (yashar) does not have its normal moral/ethical nuance here (“upright”), but a more neutral sense of “proper, right, suitable.” For the gloss “capable,” see HALOT 450 s.v. יָשָׁר.

5 tn Or “fight for.”

6 tn Heb “they were very, very afraid.” The term מְאֹד (meod) “very,” is repeated for emphasis.

7 tn Heb “did not stand before him.”

8 tn Heb “How can we stand?”

9 tn Heb “the one who was over the house.”

10 tn Heb “the one who was over the city.”

11 tn Or “elders.”

12 tn Heb “servants.”

13 tn Heb “Do what is good in your eyes.”

14 tn Heb “If you are mine and you are listening to my voice.”

15 sn Jehu’s command is intentionally vague. Does he mean that they should bring the guardians (those who are “heads” over Ahab’s sons) for a meeting, or does he mean that they should bring the literal heads of Ahab’s sons with them? (So LXX, Syriac Peshitta, and some mss of the Targum) The city leaders interpret his words in the literal sense, but Jehu’s command is so ambiguous he is able to deny complicity in the executions (see v. 9).

16 tn Heb “great,” probably in wealth, position, and prestige.

17 tn Heb “and when the letter came to them, they took the sons of the king and slaughtered seventy men.”

18 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Jehu) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

19 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jehu) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

20 tn Heb “Know then that there has not fallen from the word of the Lord to the ground that which the Lord spoke against the house of Ahab. The Lord has done that which he spoke by the hand of his servant Elijah.”

21 tn Heb “and he arose and went and came to Samaria.”

22 tn Heb “found.”

23 tn Or “brothers.”

24 tn Heb “for the peace of.”

25 tn Heb “found.”

26 tn Heb “and he went from there and found Jehonadab son of Rekab [who was coming] to meet him.”

27 tn Heb “and he blessed him and said to him.”

28 tn Heb “Is there with your heart [what is] right, as my heart [is] with your heart?”

29 tc Heb “Jehonadab said, ‘There is and there is. Give your hand.’” If the text is allowed to stand, there are two possible ways to understand the syntax of וָיֵשׁ (vayesh), “and there is”: (1) The repetition of יֵשׁ (yesh, “there is and there is”) could be taken as emphatic, “indeed I am.” In this case, the entire statement could be taken as Jehonadab’s words or one could understand the words “give your hand” as Jehu’s. In the latter case the change in speakers is unmarked. (2) וָיֵשׁ begins Jehu’s response and has a conditional force, “if you are.” In this case, the transition in speakers is unmarked. However, it is possible that וַיֹּאמֶר (vayyomer), “and he said,” or וַיֹּאמֶר יֵהוּא (vayyomer yehu), “and Jehu said,” originally appeared between יֵשׁ and וָיֵשׁ and has accidentally dropped from the text by homoioarcton (note that both the proposed וַיֹּאמֶר and וָיֵשׁ begin with vav, ו). The present translation assumes such a textual reconstruction; it is supported by the LXX, Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate.

30 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jehu) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

31 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jehu) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

32 tn Heb “and see my zeal for the Lord.”

33 tc The MT has a plural form, but this is most likely an error. The LXX, Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate all have the singular.

34 tn Heb “and he struck down all the remaining ones to Ahab in Samaria until he destroyed him.”

35 tn Heb “according to the word of the Lord which he spoke to Elijah.”

36 tn Or “served.

37 tn Or “serve.”

38 tn Heb “much” or “greatly.”

39 tn Heb “and now, all the prophets of Baal, all his servants and all his priests summon to me.”

40 tn Heb “acted with deception [or, ‘trickery’].”

41 tn Heb “set apart”; or “observe as holy.”

42 tn Heb “and the house of Baal was filled mouth to mouth.”

43 tn Heb “and he said to the one who was over the wardrobe.”

44 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jehu) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

45 tn Heb “Search carefully and observe so that there are not here with you any servants of the Lord, only the servants of Baal.”

46 tn Heb “The man who escapes from the men whom I am bringing into your hands, [it will be] his life in place of his life.”

47 tn Heb “runners.”

48 tn Heb “and they threw.” No object appears. According to M. Cogan and H. Tadmor (II Kings [AB], 116), this is an idiom for leaving a corpse unburied.

49 tn Heb “and they came to the city of the house of Baal.” It seems unlikely that a literal city is meant. Some emend עִיר (’ir), “city,” to דְּבִיר (dÿvir) “holy place,” or suggest that עִיר is due to dittography of the immediately preceding עַד (’ad) “to.” Perhaps עִיר is here a technical term meaning “fortress” or, more likely, “inner room.”

50 tn Or “pulled down.”

51 tn The verb “they demolished” is repeated in the Hebrew text.

52 tn Heb “and they made it into.”

53 tn The consonantal text (Kethib) has the hapax legomenon מַחֲרָאוֹת (makharaot), “places to defecate” or “dung houses” (note the related noun חרא (khr’)/חרי (khri), “dung,” HALOT 348-49 s.v. *חֲרָאִים). The marginal reading (Qere) glosses this, perhaps euphemistically, מוֹצָאוֹת (motsaot), “outhouses.”

54 tn Heb “destroyed Baal.”

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