2Kings 9:1 ¶ And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead:
2Kings 9:2 And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber;
2Kings 9:3 Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not.
Once again we find Elisha seemingly carrying out a command of the LORD that had been delegated to him by Elijah.
1 Kings 19:15–16 “And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel….”
Elisha now delegates this task to one of the children of the prophets. He is to go to Ramothgilead and privately anoint Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi, to be king over Israel. He is to declare that this anointing is of the LORD, and then he is to escape as quickly as possible.
Interesting tidbit of information: Several commentators note that the Jews reckon this “son of the prophet” to be Jonah, son of Amittai.
JFB provides this note on Ramothegilead: It was “a city of great importance to the Hebrew people, east of Jordan, as a fortress of defense against the Syrians.”
2Kings 9:4 So the young man, even the young man the prophet, went to Ramothgilead.
2Kings 9:5 And when he came, behold, the captains of the host were sitting; and he said, I have an errand to thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of all us? And he said, To thee, O captain.
2Kings 9:6 And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel.
2Kings 9:7 And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel.
2Kings 9:8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel:
2Kings 9:9 And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah:
2Kings 9:10 And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled.
The young man did exactly as he had been instructed. However, the historian reveals more of the message the young prophet was instructed to deliver.
When he arrived, he asked to meet with Jehu privately indicating that his message was for him only. As he anointed Jehu with oil and declared that the LORD had appointed him to be king over His people Israel, he also instructed Jehu to avenge the blood of God’s servants and prophets at the hands of Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab was to be destroyed and left with no possibility of future descendants—the same judgment that had been meted out to Jeroboam and Baasha. He then prophesied that the dogs would eat Jezebel’s body in Jezreel and that nothing would be left of her to bury.
Then the young prophet opened the door and fled.
2Kings 9:11 ¶ Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord: and one said unto him, Is all well? wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? And he said unto them, Ye know the man, and his communication.
2Kings 9:12 And they said, It is false; tell us now. And he said, Thus and thus spake he to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel.
2Kings 9:13 Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.
When Jehu rejoined the gathering of captains, they asked him if everything was OK and what the madman had said to him. He answered evasively (CJB): “You know the kind and how they babble.”
They recognized that he was being evasive and demanded that he tell them what the man had said. So Jehu told them that he had said that the LORD had anointed him king over Israel.
Since they had likened the prophet to a madman, I thought they were being sarcastic when they responded by getting up and putting their robes down for him to walk on at the top of the stairs; they even blew trumpets and declared Jehu to be king. The events that follow seem to refute that notion. They immediately accepted him as their king.
Clarke adds this insight: “The Chaldee, the rabbins, and several interpreters, understand this of the public sun-dial; which in those ancient times, was formed of steps like stairs, each step serving to indicate, by its shadow, one hour, or such division of time as was commonly used in that country. This dial was, no doubt, in the most public place; and upon the top of it, or on the platform on the top, would be a very proper place to set Jehu, while they blew their trumpets, and proclaimed him king.”
2Kings 9:14 So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram had kept Ramothgilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria.
2Kings 9:15 But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then let none go forth nor escape out of the city to go to tell it in Jezreel.
Jehu immediately began to plan how to seize the throne from Joram who was in Jezreel recovering from the wounds he had received in battle against the Syrians.
Once he had formulated his plan, he told his fellow captains that if they supported him as their king, they should make sure that no one was allowed to escape and go to Jezreel to warn Joram.
2Kings 9:16 ¶ So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram.
2Kings 9:17 And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?
2Kings 9:18 So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again.
2Kings 9:19 Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me.
2Kings 9:20 And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.
Jehu took his chariot and headed to Jezreel. It is noted that Ahaziah, king of Judah, was already there to visit Joram.
When the watchman on the tower in Jezreel spotted Jehu and his troops approaching, he sent a message to the king. King Joram told him to send a horseman out to meet the approaching soldiers and see if they came in peace. When the messenger reached Jehu, he told him that the king wanted to know if he came in peace. Jehu basically said, “It’s none of your business.” He then ordered the man to get behind him.
The watchman told the king that the messenger had reached the approaching troops but was not coming back. So the king sent a second messenger with the same instructions. The same thing happened.
The watchman then told the king that the lead chariot driver drove like Jehu—who was evidently known for being a reckless driver.
2Kings 9:21 And Joram said, Make ready. And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite.
2Kings 9:22 And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?
2Kings 9:23 And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah.
2Kings 9:24 And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot.
Joram then commanded that his chariot be made ready. Then he and Ahaziah went out in their chariots to meet Jehu. They met him on the portion of land that had belonged to Naboth (the man who had been killed by Jezebel to give Ahab his vineyard).
When Joram met Jehu, he asked him if he came bringing news of peace. Jehu basically answered, “There can be no peace as long as your mother Jezebel is allowed to continue to promote adulterous idolatry and witchcraft among the people.”
Joram realized that he was in danger and turned around to flee, calling out a warning to Ahaziah. Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram in the back between his shoulders. The arrow went through his heart, and Joram dropped dead in his chariot.
2Kings 9:25 Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him;
2Kings 9:26 Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD.
Jehu instructed Bidkar, his captain, to throw Joram’s body into the field that had belonged to Naboth. He reminded him that they had heard Elijah pronounce the LORD’s judgment against Ahab as they rode together behind him after Naboth’s death.
That pronouncement (v26 ESV): “As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons—declares the LORD—I will repay you on this plot of ground. Now therefore take him up and throw him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the LORD.”
2Kings 9:27 But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.
2Kings 9:28 And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David.
2Kings 9:29 And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah.
Ahaziah saw what happened and fled past the garden house toward Megiddo. Jehu pursued him and order that he also be killed. He made it to Megiddo before he died. Ahaziah’s servants then carried his body by chariot to Jerusalem and buried him with his fathers in the city of David.
There seems to be a bit of a discrepancy in this account and the account of the Chronicler. The NIV Commentary offers this explanation: “In 2Ch 22:8-9, Ahaziah was overtaken in Samaria where he had sought refuge with relatives and was brought to Jehu and executed, his body being interred with honor by Jehu’s men. One possibility of reconciling the accounts is to suggest that although Ahaziah was wounded at the ascent to Gur, he was apprehended by Jehu’s men in Samaria (where he lay recovering from his wounds) and then taken to Megiddo, where he was put to death, his body being given to his servants who took him to Jerusalem for burial.”
It was in the 11th year of Joram, son of Ahab, that Ahaziah began to reign over Judah.
2Kings 9:30 ¶ And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.
2Kings 9:31 And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?
2Kings 9:32 And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs.
2Kings 9:33 And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot.
Jehu headed to Jezreel; meanwhile, Jezebel heard about all that had happened. She was certainly one brazen woman. She immediately put on makeup and fixed her hair before looking for him out the window. Did she think to seduce him? Her words to him don’t seem to support that thought. It almost seems like she is threatening him.
Once she saw Jehu she asked him if he had come in peace after murdering his master, her son. He looked up to the window and asked whom he could count on as his supporters. These words were directed to some of the eunuchs that served the queen mother and were also watching out the window.
Jehu commanded that they throw Jezebel out the window, and they did. As she fell, her body was wounded as she fell against the wall, leaving a trail of blood splattered on the wall and the horses. Once she hit the ground, he drove his horses over her body trampling it.
The IVP Commentary offers this insight on Jezebel’s address to Jehu as Zimri: “The dynasty of Omri, of which Ahab and Jezebel were a part, had seized power from the usurper Zimri (see 1 Kings 16). By alluding to this incident, she may be warning Jehu that his coup will not necessarily lead to a secure hold on the throne but that he in turn is likely to be overthrown.”
And this insight on eunuchs: “Eunuchs were those officers entrusted with the care and supervision of the royal harem. Having been castrated, they posed no threat to the women of the harem and could not engender children by the harem women who might be mistaken for royal heirs.”
2Kings 9:34 And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter.
2Kings 9:35 And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands.
2Kings 9:36 Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:
2Kings 9:37 And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.
Jehu then went into the palace to eat a meal (with his men I presume). After the meal, he sent soldiers to go and bury her body; after all, she was the daughter of a king. When the men went to bury her, however, they could find no body—only her skull, feet and the palms of her hands remained.
When they reported back to Jehu, he reminded them once again of the words of the LORD as prophesied by Elijah. It basically said: “The dogs will eat Jezebel’s flesh in Jezreel. Her body will look like excrement; you won’t be able to recognize it.”
The primary truth I take away from this chapter is that God’s word never fails to prove true in every detail. Another important truth in this chapter is that the LORD will avenge the death of His servants.