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2 Kings 10:1-8

Context
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.”

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.



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