Study Notes

2Kings 9:1-10:36


The Bible is a hugely diverse book. As we study it through chapter by chapter, verse by verse, we discover that there are sections that are very instructional to our hearts, others that educate us about history, some that lend themselves to humor, and others that we wouldn't want to read aloud in mixed company. These next two chapters of 2Kings very nearly fall into the latter category. They are bloody chapters, describing the assassinations of several people, some in graphic detail.

But, as the Bible tells us,

Rom. 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

So, let us maintain strong stomachs and open hearts to see what might be in these two chapters for us to be instructed in.

Remember that the nation of Israel was split by civil war into two nations: Israel and Judah. But, since friendships are often formed by having a common enemy, the two divisions of the Jews partnered in war against the army of Arameans, or as we know them today, Syria.

So the two Jewish kings, Yo-RAWM of of Israel, and Akh-az-YAW of Judah, went to war against Khaz-aw-ALE of Aram. But Yo-RAWM was injured during the battle, and returned to the city of Jezreel to recover. And we left off in the account seeing that King Akh-az-YAW of Judah went to visit the injured King Yo-RAWM of Israel.

9:1-3 Elisha's Command To Anoint Jehu King

Elisha the prophet was getting very old by this point, and sent one of his students to go to Raw-MOTH Gil-AWD. His instructions were to find Jehu, the son of Yeh-ho-shaw-FAWT, the son of Nim-SHEE, and anoint him as the new king of Israel. (By the way, this is a different Yeh-ho-shaw-FAWT - not the good king of Judah from years before.)

But this prophetic student of Elisha's is also told to leave immediately. "Anoint him obediently, but then bail out quickly." Elisha didn't want the young man hanging around. He knew that nothing good would come of it - the others would certainly be questioning him for answers that he did not have.

9:4-10 judgment On The House Of Ahab

He went, found Jehu, and anointed him as the new king over Israel. The reason for this change of leadership was the judgment that God had pronounced years before: King Ahab and his wife Jezebel had been completely hostile to the people of God. Jezebel had even ordered that all the prophets of God be put to death. Only a hundred of them had been spared (1Kings 18:4). They had continued in sin, and God had pronounced judgment upon Ahab's house and all his descendants, so that none of them would ever sit on the throne of Israel again.

This was similar to the curse that God had placed upon previous administrations of Israel: King Jeroboam, the son of Neb-AWT, and King Bah-SHAW, the son of Akh-ee-YAW.

For Jezebel, there was a specific judgment all her own:

2Kgs. 9:10 "And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her."...

Then the man left quickly, just as Elisha had commanded him.

9:11-13 Word Gets Out

When Jehu came back out, his fellow army commanders asked him what had gone on. Why had this crazy prophet called him in private?

Jehu tried to fend off their questions by saying, "You know how those guys are," but they didn't believe him. So Jehu admitted that the man had anointed him king over Israel.

That's all they needed to hear. A military coup was underway. Their comrade Jehu would be made king, and they would back him up.

9:14-15 If This Is Your Mind

Jehu's response was, "If you guys have it in your minds to make me king, let's do this right. Don't let anyone leave Raw-MOTH Gil-AWD to tip off Yo-RAWM that I'm coming."

9:16-20 Jehu's Driving

Jehu drove a chariot to Jezreel, where Yo-RAWM was recovering and Akh-az-YAW was visiting. As he and his men were quickly approaching the city, the watchman sent a horseman out to see what was going on. Was this news of a new war? Was it news of victory over the Arameans? He asked, "Is it peace?" But Jehu said, "What have you to do with peace?" In other words, "Who are you that I would tell you my business? Get behind me."

As Jehu's company continued to race closer to the city, a second horseman was sent out, with the same thing happening again.

By this time, the watchman recognized that the driver must have been Jehu, because he was driving furiously. Literally, this means "like a madman." Apparently, no one drove like Jehu!

9:21 Meeting At Naboth's

The two kings heard that Jehu was approaching, so they got in their chariots and went out to meet him. They encountered him on the property of Naw-BOTH. You may recall that Jezebel had Naw-BOTH killed, because her husband King Ahab had pouted about wanting to get Naw-BOTH's vineyard to make into a vegetable garden (1Kings 21).

9:22-24 Jehu Kills Joram

When Yo-RAWM inquired about Jehu's news, he discovered that it was nothing he'd ever expected. He quickly turned his chariot around and began to ride away, while warning Akh-az-YAW. But it was too late. Jehu shot an arrow through his back, killing him instantly.

9:25-26 Cast Into Naboth's Field

Jehu and his officer Bid-CAR had been there when the prophet Elijah spoke the judgment from God to him (1Kings 21:17-24), so Jehu told Bid-CAR to throw Yo-RAWM's body onto the field of Naw-BOTH, just as the Lord had said.

9:27-29 Ahaziah Is Killed

Akh-az-YAW had probably never taken a worse vacation! As he was fleeing, one of Jehu's men shot him as well, at the ascent of Goor, which is at Yib-leh-AWM. But He managed to get away, and would have possibly recovered, but as we read in 2Chronicles 22,

2Chr. 22:8-9 And it came about when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, he found the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah's brothers, ministering to Ahaziah, and slew them. He also sought Ahaziah, and they caught him while he was hiding in Samaria; they brought him to Jehu, put him to death, and buried him. For they said, "He is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart." So there was no one of the house of Ahaziah to retain the power of the kingdom.

Because he was the son of a good king of Judah, he was given a proper burial.

9:30-31 Jezebel's Taunt

When Jehu returned from pursuing Akh-az-YAW, he approached the palace to kill Jezebel as well. But she taunted him from the upper window, saying, "Is it well, Zim-REE, your master's murderer?"

What did she mean by calling him "Zim-REE?" Remember that Zim-REE had been a commander of the Israeli army who had conspired against his king and killed him (1Kings 16:9-10). Jezebel was accusing Jehu of being the same kind of person.

9:32-33 Jezebel Is Killed

Jehu called out to the officials who were also upstairs in the palace, and two or three of them sided with him. They obeyed his command to throw her down from the upper window. The landing was gory, and she was killed instantly.

9:34-37 Jezebel's Body

Jehu went inside the palace to eat, and commanded that the servants bury her body. But when they went outside, it was discovered that the wild dogs had already devoured her. Nothing was left but her skull, her feet, and the palms of her hands. Gross, yes, but a literal fulfillment of the prophecy of Elijah (1Kings 21:23).

10:1-5 Jehu's First Letter

Jehu continues his campaign against the house of Ahab by sending letters to challenge the best of his relatives to become king and fight Jehu for leadership of Israel. But no one believed they could win that battle, so the people responded that they were Jehu's servants, and that they would do whatever he said.

10:6-8 Ahab's Relatives Killed

A second letter went out, commanding that they kill all of Ahab's male descendants, returning their heads as proof. The heads were piled into two heaps at the city gate.

10:9-11 Jehu's Speech

The next morning, Jehu spoke to the people of the city. He reassured them that they were not guilty of any insurrection. He freely admitted that he had killed Yo-RAWM, but pointed out that it was the other leaders of Israel that had ended the dynasty of Ahab by killing these 70 people. He also points out that this was all in accordance with the judgment God had spoken upon Ahab's wickedness years before.

Something that I am constantly reminded of is that God's Word never fails. There has never been a thing which God has promised which doesn't come to pass. All prophetic statements, all promises, all warnings, all blessings. There are a lot of things in this life that will let you down, but God's Word never will. As Joshua said,

Josh. 23:14 " know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.

10:12-14 Ahaziah's Relatives Killed

Jehu then traveled to Samaria, the capital city of Israel. On the way, as he was passing through BAH-yith Aw-KAD, he met relatives of Akh-az-YAW, the wicked king of Judah that he had just killed. They were on their way to pay homage to the king of Israel, as well as Jezebel, his mother. Jehu had these killed as well.

10:15-17 Jehonadab

Jehu continued on to Samaria, and on the way Yeh-ho-naw-DAWB, the son of Ray-KAWB came to meet him.

Now Yeh-ho-naw-DAWB was a righteous man, a godly man. He was a man who set such an example that his family followed that example even 300 years later.

In the days of Jeremiah the prophet, the Lord told him,,

Jer. 35:2 "Go to the house of the Rechabites, and speak to them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink."

So he took them into the house of the Lord, set them down at a table with pitchers full of wine, and cups, and said, "Drink wine!"

Jer. 35:6-10 But they said, "We will not drink wine, for Yeh-ho-naw-DAWB, the son of Ray-KAWB, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall not drink wine, you or your sons, forever. And you shall not build a house, and you shall not sow seed, and you shall not plant a vineyard or own one; but in tents you shall dwell all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.' And we have obeyed the voice of Yeh-ho-naw-DAWB, the son of Ray-KAWB, our father, in all that he commanded us, not to drink wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; and we do not have vineyard or field or seed. We have only dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and have done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.

Then the Lord told Jeremiah,

Jer. 35:13-14 "Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, 'Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?' declares the LORD. 'The words of Yeh-ho-naw-DAWB, the son of Ray-KAWB, which he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are observed. So they do not drink {wine} to this day, for they have obeyed their father's command. But I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me.'"

These guys were obeying what their ancestor of 300 years had said. How many of us don't even obey the commands of God?

Well, Jehu invited this righteous man Yeh-ho-naw-DAWB up into his chariot and said,

2Kgs. 10:16 ..."Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD."

10:18-28 Prophets Of Baal Destroyed

Remember that Baal was the Canaanites supreme false god, the father of all other false gods. The Israelites had neglected God's warning not to fall into Baal worship, and it had now permeated throughout their nation.

Jehu pretended to sound like a devoted follower of Baal, calling all the prophets of Baal to gather for a great sacrifice to the false god. After making sure that there were no followers of the Lord in the crowd, he had every one of them killed.

Under Jehu's leadership, Baal worship was driven out of the land of Israel, at least for the time being. Unfortunately, he was not willing to eradicate all of the idolatry out of the land.

10:29-34 Jehu's Reign

If you were with us in our study of 1Kings 12, you recall that after the civil war which divided the nation of Israel into two kingdoms, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel was worried that if his people traveled down to the temple in Jerusalem three times a year to offer sacrifices, that their hearts would be turned away from him, and they would want to stay down there.

1Kgs. 12:28-29 So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt." And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.

These calves had been there ever since, for the last hundred years!

Jehu's reluctance to get rid of the golden calves was symptomatic of his heart. He was good at doing the right thing when it suited him, but his heart was wicked.

God acknowledged that Jehu had done what he was commanded, but also brought judgment for his wicked heart. He allowed Israel to be attacked, and territory taken from them.

2Kgs. 10:33 from the Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites and the Reubenites and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the valley of the Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan.

What territory was taken from Israel? The land east of the Jordan. The land of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. These were the tribes that decided not to enter the promised land. They thought that they'd prefer to stay right outside of what God had promised them. And now, they are the first ones to be picked off.

When we decide to live outside of the best that God has for us, it will only be a matter of time before we too get picked off by our enemies.

10:35-36 Jehoahaz Becomes King

We will read about the reign of Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ in chapter 13.

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