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.