2 Kings 10

Jehu kills Ahab's descendants

1 Ahab had 70 sons who lived in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and he sent them to Samaria. He sent them to Jezreel's officers and leaders, as well as to the men who took care of Ahab's sons. 2 This was what the letter said:

10:1Jezreel's officers and leaders had probably escaped to Samaria.

‘When this letter reaches you, your master's sons will be with you. You also have his chariots and horses in a strong city. And you have weapons. 3 Choose the best person to be king from among your master's sons. Make him your king instead of his father. Then prepare to fight on behalf of your master's family.’

4 But the letter made the officers in Samaria very afraid. They said, ‘Even two kings could not win against Jehu. So we can never fight against him and win!’

5 So these people sent a message to Jehu:

  • the officer who took care of the king's palace,
  • the man who ruled the city of Samaria,
  • the city's leaders,
  • and the men who took care of Ahab's children.
  • The message said, ‘We are your servants. We will do anything that you tell us. We will not make anyone king. You must do what you think is right.’

    6 So Jehu wrote a second letter to them. It said, ‘If you are ready to help me and you will obey me, do this: Bring the heads of your master's sons here to me in Jezreel. Bring them by this time tomorrow.’

    10:6When Jehu said, ‘Bring me the heads of your masters sons’, he might have meant, ‘Bring me the people who take care of your master's sons.’ Perhaps because of that, he says he is not guilty for the death of these men (verse 9).

    At that time, important leaders of the city were taking care of the king's 70 sons. 7 When the letter arrived, these men took hold of the king's sons. They killed all 70 of them. They put their heads in baskets. Then they sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. 8 Someone told Jehu, ‘They have brought the heads of the king's sons.’ Then Jehu said, ‘Put them in two heaps at the gate of the city. Leave them there until the morning.’

    9 The next morning, Jehu went out to the city's gate. He stood there in front of all the people. He said to them, ‘You are not guilty of any murder. I was the one who decided to kill my master, the king. But who killed these descendants of Ahab? It was not my decision! 10 You must realize this: Every punishment that the Lord said would happen to Ahab's family must happen. The Lord has done what he told his servant Elijah he would do.’

    11 After that, Jehu killed everybody in Jezreel who was a descendant of Ahab. He also killed Ahab's officers, his friends and his priests. No descendant of Ahab remained alive.

    12 Jehu left Jezreel and he went towards Samaria. He came to Beth Eked, where shepherds had a camp. 13 He met some relatives of Ahaziah, the king of Judah. Jehu asked them, ‘Who are you?’ They said, ‘We are relatives of Ahaziah. We are going to Jezreel to visit the families of the king and his mother.’ 14 Jehu said to his men, ‘Catch them, but do not kill them!’ So they took hold of them. Then they killed them all near the well at Beth Eked. They killed 42 people, so that none of them remained alive.

    10:13They were on their way to visit King Joram, his mother Queen Jezebel and their families. They did not know that Jehu had killed all Ahab's descendants.

    15 When Jehu left Beth Eked, he met Rekab's son Jehonadab. He was coming to meet Jehu. Jehu said, ‘Hello! Do you trust me, as I trust you?’ Jehonadab answered, ‘Yes, I do!’ Jehu replied, ‘Then hold your hand out to me.’ So he did that and Jehu pulled him up into his chariot. 16 Jehu said, ‘Come with me. You will see that I want to serve the Lord faithfully.’ So Jehonadab rode with Jehu in his chariot. 17 Jehu arrived in Samaria. He killed all the descendants of Ahab who were still alive in Samaria. The Lord had told Elijah that this would happen.

    Jehu removes false prophets

    18 Then Jehu called all the people to come together. He said to them, ‘Ahab served Baal, but he did not do it very well. But I, Jehu, will serve Baal much better! 19 So tell all the prophets who serve Baal to come here, as well as all Baal's servants and his priests. Make sure that they all come. I want to offer a great sacrifice to Baal. If any of them does not come, I will punish him with death.’

    But Jehu was deceiving them. He wanted to kill all Baal's servants. 20 He gave a command, ‘Prepare a special day when we can all worship Baal.’ So Jehu's servants told everybody about it.

    21 Jehu sent a notice to everyone in Israel. All the servants of Baal came to the meeting. There was nobody who did not come. They all went into the temple of Baal, so that it was completely full of people. 22 Then Jehu said to the man who took care of the special clothes, ‘Bring out the robes for the servants of Baal to wear.’ So the man brought out the robes for them. 23 Then Jehu and Rekab's son Jehonadab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the servants of Baal, ‘Look around carefully. Be sure that there are no servants of the Lord here with you. There must only be servants of Baal here.’ 24 So they went into the temple to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. But Jehu had put 80 of his men outside the temple. He had said to them, ‘Do not let any of these men escape. If you let anyone escape, I will punish you with death.’

    25 When Jehu had finished offering the sacrifices, he said to the guards and the soldiers, ‘Go into the temple and kill all Baal's servants. Do not let any of them escape.’ So the guards and soldiers used their swords to cut all the people down. They threw the dead bodies out of the temple. Then they went into the inside room of the temple. 26 They took out the stones from the house of Baal and they destroyed them. 27 They broke the special stone pillar of Baal and they destroyed the temple. People still use it as a toilet, even today!

    28 That is how Jehu stopped people from worshipping Baal in Israel. 29 But Jehu did not turn away from the sins of Nebat's son, Jeroboam. Jeroboam had caused Israel to worship images of calves. There were still gold calves at Bethel and Dan. 30 The Lord said to Jehu, ‘You have done well. You have done the things that I say are right. You have punished Ahab's family in the way that I wanted. So your descendants will be kings of Israel for four generations.’ 31 But Jehu was not careful to obey completely the law of the Lord, Israel's God. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam which he had caused Israel to do.

    10:30‘for four generations’ means Jehu's son, Jehu's grandson, his grandson's son and his grandson's grandson.

    32 In those days, the Lord began to make Israel's land smaller. King Hazael of Syria could attack the Israelites anywhere in their land 33 east of the Jordan River. He took from them all the land of Gilead. That included the land that belonged to the tribes of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh. Hazael took the land all the way from Aroer, along the Arnon Valley to Gilead and Bashan.

    34 The other things that happened while Jehu was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The history of Israel's kings’. It tells about all the great things that Jehu did. 35 Jehu died and they buried him with his ancestors in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz became king after him. 36 Jehu ruled over Israel as king in Samaria for 28 years.