The Second Book of Kings
Chapter Nine

2-Kings. Chapter 9.

2-Kings ch. 9. Jehu Becomes King of Israel.
Elisha sends one of the prophets to annoint as King over Israel, Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. Jehu was with the army at Ramoth Gilead. When the other army commanders saw what had happened they proclaimed Jehu King. Jehu advances on Joram (Yehoram) son of Ahab, King of Israel, and Ahaziah King of Judah who were in the city of Jezreel recovering from their recent defeat by Hazael king of Aram (Syria). An attitude of self-destruction had seemingly overtaken both the defeated monarchs who in effect delivered themselves into the hands of Jehu. A possible parallel with stalin after the German invasion of Russia in World War 2? Jehu shoots an arrow at Joram hitting him in the back and piercing his heart. Ahaziah of Judah is pursued and also shot to death. Jehu enters the city of Jezreel. Jezebel taunts him so Jehu orders her thrown out the window. After eating and drinking Jehu orders that the body of Jezebel be attended to but only the head and feet remained. The dogs had eaten the rest.

Jehu Becomes King.


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2 Kings 9

 [2-Kings 9:1] And Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets, and said to him, Get yourself ready, take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth Gilead.
# one of the sons of the prophets #
According to tradition this was the Prophet Jonah.

[2-Kings 9:2]  Now when you arrive at that place, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, and go in and make him rise up from among his associates, and take him to an inner room.

Elijah had originally been given the task of anointing Jehu (Yehu) but because King Ahab had repented the matter was delayed to be fulfilled through Elisha the disciple of Elijah.

R. M. Shlanger points out that the name Nimshi in Hebrew is comprised of the same letters as the name Manasseh. Shlanger says that Jehu son of Nimshi epitomized the principle of limited defined leadership that characterizes Manasseh.

For more on this matter and how we may learn from it about Joseph and Manasseh and the Tribal Characteristics of Manasseh see:
 Manasseh .
 - A National Character Appraisal
 based on Rabbinical Sources.
(3) Presidents and Not Kings

[2-Kings 9:3]   Then take the flask of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus says the LORD: I have anointed you king over Israel. Then open the door and flee, and do not delay.

In Hebrew "oil" is shemen. Two types of anointing oil were used for consecrating monarchs:

a. Holy Anointing Oil [Shemen ha-Mishcha]. This was used for anointing Temple vessels, the High Priest, ands Kings from the House of David.

b. Shemen Afarsimon. This was used for anointing Kings who were not from the House of David meaning King Saul and the Kings of the Ten Tribes in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Shemen Afarsimon

The Special Status of the Davidic Dynasty
By Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein
a) Halakhot concerning anointment.  Davidic kings are anointed with the shemen ha-mishcha (anointing oil) used to anoint kohanim while other rulers are appointed by means of shemen afarsimon (persimmon oil), which serves to designate them as kings without granting them the personal status of kedusha, which can only be conferred by the shemen ha-mishcha.  In other words, meshicha (anointing) performs a dual function: 1) appointment of the ruler and establishing his authority; 2) endowing him with personal kedusha.  A non-Davidic king can achieve only the STATUS of a functional sovereign, appointed for the utilitarian benefits which he can provide.  For these purposes, shemen afarsimon suffices.  However, the Davidic king is anointed with kedusha and, therefore, he receives the shemen ha-mishcha of the kohanim.

[2-Kings 9:4] So the young man, the servant of the prophet, went to Ramoth Gilead.
[2-Kings 9:5]  And when he arrived, there were the captains of the army sitting; and he said, I have a message for you, Commander.
Jehu said, For which one of us?
And he said, For you, Commander.

The word translated as "Commander" in Hebrew is "Ha-Sar". "Sar" means commander or lord. This is probably the ultimate root of the English words "Sire" and "sir".

Apparently Jehu was sitting with the other officers and did not consider himself any better than them. This Prophet (as shown below) was a known personality amongst the leaders of Israel. He was emphasizing on his approach and in  his manner of address that Jehu was the Commander. In modern terms we might say, "He was the Man!"

2 Kings 9:6-13 Jehu Declared King

[2-Kings 9:6] Then he arose and went into the house. And he poured the oil on his head, and said to him, Thus says the LORD God of Israel: I have anointed you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel.

He was being made King over the Ten Tribes in the Northern King. They, just like Judah, are the Chosen People.

They are referred to here as, # the people of the LORD,... Israel. #

The Commentary "Me'am Loaz" brings a source interpreting the Hebrew to say:
I  have anointed you King to elevate the People to the level of People of God and Israel with the name Israel connoting a striving for perfection.

[2-Kings 9:7] You shall strike down the house of Ahab your 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.

"Me'am Loaz" says Jehu was being told to act harshly with the House of Ahab and to have no compunctions about it since they too had been ruthless towards the Prophets of the Almighty.

[2-Kings 9:8] For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab all the males in Israel, both bond and free.

[2-Kings 9:9] So 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.

[2-Kings 9:10]   The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at
Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door and fled.

[2-Kings 9:11]   Then
Jehu came out to the servants of his master, and one said to him, Is all well? Why did this madman come to you?
And he said to them, You know the man and his babble.

They referred to the Prophet as a madman yet Jehu had left their company and consulted in private with him in the presence of them all. From the reply of Jehu we see that the Prophet was a familiar figure with them. Apparently their attitude towards the Prophets and the Sons of the Prophets was a mixture of contempt and respectable fear.

[2-Kings 9:12] And they said, A lie! Tell us now.
So he said, Thus and thus he spoke to me, saying, Thus says the LORD: I have anointed you king over Israel.

[2-Kings 9:13]    Then each man hastened to take his garment and put it under him on the top of the steps; and they blew trumpets, saying, Jehu is king!

The people and their leaders were most likely tired of King Joram and the shenanigans of the House of Ahab.

Incidentally the word "shenanigan" is defined as tomfoolery and is of obscure origin. It sounds American Irish but in my opinion could be related to the Hebrew, "shigaiyon" meaning "madness, eccentricity".

Jehu was an exceptional leader who conducted himself with familiarity and consideration towards those around him. We see this in the way he spoke to the Prophet.  He was the obvious replacement for King Joram. Everybody had felt this for some time. He himself had apparently also felt it and allowed himself to take liberties with royal decorum as we shall see later when he drove his chariot up to Joram and was described as acting with an aberrations from the norm that were characteristic to himself. The declaration of the Prophet anointing Jehu served as a catalyst galvanizing everybody into deliberate rebellion.

[2-Kings 9:14]  So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, conspired against Joram. (Now Joram had been defending Ramoth Gilead, he and all Israel, against Hazael king of Syria.

[2-Kings 9:15] But King Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which the Syrians had inflicted on him when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.
Jehu said, If you are so minded, let no one leave or escape from the city to go and tell it in Jezreel.

 # in Jezreel # in the region of "Jezreel" surrounding the city as distinct from the city of Jezreel itself.
Jehu said to his fellow conspirators that if they indeed want to succeed in setting him up as the new king then they must eliminate all of the royal party in the city of Jezreel. None must be allowed to escape so that no potential opposition group have time to set itself up in the surrounding area.  

[2-Kings 9:16]  So Jehu rode in a chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram was laid up there; and Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to see Joram.

Joram was the King of Israel. Jehu was on of his military commanders who was now conspiring against him. Ahaziah was King of Judah, the nephew (through his mother) of Joram and the military ally of Joram. Ahaziah had joined forces with Joram in the war against Hazael of Aram (Syria) in which Joram had been wounded. Joram was recuperating in the city of Jezreeel so Ahaziah went to visit him. Jehu likewise decided to pay them both a visit.

These events are recalled in the Tell Dan Stele:

The stele [commemorative inscribed stone slab] was found during excavations of Tel Dan in northern Israel.
[A very beautiful and inspiring site. Well worth a visit.]
The stele refers to the House of David. It has been interpreted as having been put up by King Hazael who makes the claim that he killed both Joram and Ahaziah. The ancient monarchs of non-Israelite entities were notorious liers. They were pathological expounders of terminological inexactitude.
Hazael may however have meant that by defeating Joram and Ahaziah and wounding Joram he had set in motion the events that lead to the death of both of them.

The stele itself is now in the Hebrew Museum in Jerusalem.
A replica of the stele may be seen at Bayt Shmuel near the Old City in Jerusalem.
I saw it. In my opinion it definitely does refer to the House of David. The words jump out for anyone with even a cursory familiarity with Paleo-Hebrew.
They who say otherwise are mistaken and cannot be taken seriously. A more interesting question is Hazael having used this script. It is not Aramaic.

[2-Kings 9:17] Now a watchman stood on the tower in Jezreel, and he saw the company of Jehu as he came, and said, 'I see a company of men.'
Joram said, 'Get a horseman and send him to meet them, and let him say, "Is it peace?"'

#company # Hebrew "shipat" connoting "overflowing" i.e. the cloud of dust raised by a large group of cavalry.
Joram said a messenger should be sent to determine if the approaching group had peaceful or warlike intentions.

[2-Kings 9:18]  So the horseman went to meet him, and said, 'Thus says the king: "Is it peace?"'
Jehu said, 'What have you to do with peace? Turn around and follow me.'
So the watchman reported, saying, "The messenger went to them, but is not coming back.'

"Is it peace?"' i.e. Do you come in Peace?
To which Jehu replied, What do you care whether or not I come in peace? Fall in line after me.

[2-Kings 9:19] Then he sent out a second horseman who came to them, and said, 'Thus says the king: "Is it peace?"
Jehu answered, 'What have you to do with peace? Turn around and follow me.'

[2-Kings 9:20]  So the watchman reported, saying, 'He went up to them and is not coming back; and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously!'

# furiously # Hebrew, "be-shigaon" literally with madness. The use of this expression is intended to remind us that the Prophet who had anointed Jehu had been referred to as a "Meshuga" i.e. "madman" by the companions of Jehu who had asked him, "Why did this madman come to you?" [2-Kings 9:11].

Jehu was apparently famous for his eccentricities and had his own style of travel that could be recognized by the trained eye from a distance.

Josephus and Targum Yehonatan for some reason say that Jehu was traveling slowly and with care. How they reached this conclusion I do not know. Everybody else understands it as it sounds and as it has been translated, furiously, with speed, and in a reckless manner.
This is not slowly and not with care.

[2-Kings 9:21]  Then Joram said, 'Make ready.' And his chariot was made ready. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot; and they went out to meet Jehu, and met him on the property of Naboth the Jezreelite.

[2-Kings 9:22]  Now it happened, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, 'Is it peace, Jehu?'
So he answered, 'What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft are so many?'

We see from the question of Joram to Jehu that the King of Israel suspected that Jehu may not have peaceful intentions.

If such was the case why did he ride out to him?

Why put himself in the hands of someone he already suspected and who was acting in a way designed to arouse suspicion?

Why did Ahaziah accompany him?

Why did Joram let him come?

Maybe their inner instinct of self-preservation and of self-assertion allowing them to rule had suddenly failed them? Such things happen. Perhaps their failure and defeat in the war against Hazael had caused defeatist emotions to overwhelm them.

A Possible Parallel with Stalin
In World War 2 Stalin ignored numerous repeated and emphasized warnings that the Germans were about to attack Russia. He ignored them all. The Germans did attack and Russia was almost overwhelmed. Stalin went into depression and retired to one of his country-houses. A deputation of his officials drove out to urge him to rally the country. When Stain saw them coming he reportedly felt he was about to be arrested and was resigned to such an eventuality. Stalin however was not arrested and went on to lead Russia to victory while he continued his rule of tyranny over her.

The reply of Jehu concerning the harlotries and witchcraft of Jezebel combined with the suspicions of Joram reveal a long-standing dissatisfaction with the Dynasty of Omri-Ahab.

[2-Kings 9:23]  Then Joram turned around and fled, and said to Ahaziah, 'Treachery, Ahaziah!'

[2-Kings 9:24]   Now Jehu drew his bow with full strength and shot Jehoram between his arms; and the arrow came out at his heart, and he sank down in his chariot.

# his arms #. hebrew "zroyav" his arms, i.e. he shot him from behind. The missile hit him in the back between the shoulder blades and came out the other side piercing his heart in the process.

[2-Kings 9:25] Then Jehu said to Bidkar his captain, "Pick him up, and throw him into the tract of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite; for remember, when you and I were riding together behind Ahab his father, that the LORD laid this burden upon him:

Apparently Bidkar and Jehu had been senior-ranking soldiers in the forces of Ahab. They had been in the chariot behind his when Ahab went to request  Naboth to sell him his vineyard. Naboth refused which resulted in his death. Jehu and Bidkar considered themselves somehow involved in the whole episode and this was their way of cleansing themselves.

[2-Kings 9:26] 'Surely I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons,' says the LORD, 'and I will repay you in this plot,' says the LORD. Now therefore, take and throw him on the plot of ground, according to the word of the LORD."

"and the blood of his sons". Opinions are divided on this. Either jezebel had had the sons of Naboth killed as well as Naboth or through killing Naboth she had prevented the birth of children that were destined to be begatten by Naboth.
Jehu is assumed to have been  quoting from a Prophecy of Elijah (1-Kings 21:19) but it may be that he too had received a prophetic vision.
[2-Kings 9:27] But when Ahaziah king of Judah saw this, he fled by the road to Beth Haggan.
Jehu pursued him, and said, 'Shoot him also in the chariot.' And they shot him at the Ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam. Then he fled to Megiddo, and died there.

Ahaziah was the nephew of Joram, son of the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. He was part of the family of Ahab and therefore could expect no mercy from Jehu.
Ibleam was also known as Bilaam (1-Chronicles 6:44, Daat Mikra). It was a city of the Levites in the territory of Manasseh near present-day Jenin.

[2-Kings 9:28] And his servants carried him in the chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his fathers in the City of David.

[2-Kings 9:29] In the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab, Ahaziah had become king over Judah.

The mother of Ahaziah was Athalia daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and therefore sister of Joram of Israel.
The King of Judah, husband of Athalia, and father of Ahaziah, had also been named Joram or Jehoram.
One may be liable to get confused between Joram of Judah and Joram of Israel.
When Joram of Judah died Ahazaiah became king but his mother, Athalia, retained some power of her own.
Aftter the death of Ahaziah,  Athalia took over the kingdom altogether. Athalia tried to kill off all of the children of Ahaziah (her own grandchildren) but Joash was hidden away in the Temple precincts and eventually became king in a coup that sent Athalia to her death (2-Kings 8:16 to 11:16 and 2-Chronicles 22:10-23:15).
[2-Kings 9:30] Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window.

Some commentators say Jezebel intended to seduce Jehu. She must have been quite old by this stage but some women are exceptional and retain their charm for a long time. Some women whom bear many children stay young and beautiful for long after the average time. Jezbel was the daughter of the King of Tyre which was the major Phoenician city. The Phoenicians were adepts with cosmetics, and medicines, and given over to lascivious pursuits. Since Jezebel was the queen and had command over local resources she may have succeeded at retaining her feminine attractiveness.

Jezebel may perhaps be compared to Celopatra.
Cleopatra (69-30 BCE) queen of Egypt who seduced first Julius Caesar and then Mark Anthony and changed the course of world history was not, by report, beautiful. She rather had a seductive voice and manner and was well practiced at used them.

Alternately Jezebel may also have been so immersed in matters of the flesh that she did not realize how past it all she really was.

Daat Mikra opines that Jezebel in the time of her husband Ahab had in fact been a co-ruler alongside her husband.
Then when Joram became king of Israel she continued to exert some degree of authority. With the death of Joram she may have considered some kind of contestant for the throne as occurred in some of the neighboring kingdoms and as was about to take place with her daughter Athalia in the Kingdom of Judah.

[2-Kings 9:31]  Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, 'Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?'

After the death of Baasha king of Israel, his son Elah became king but Zimri killed him and reigned in his stead.
The reign of Zimri lasted for seven days when he too was killed by Omri the father of Ahab (1-Kings 16:8-20).

The Commentators have differences of opinion as to what Jezebel intended.
Was she saying that like Zimri killing his master and being killed in his turn so too would happen to Jehu?
Did she mean that such is the way of rulership and what Jehu had done had been done by others and now Jehu
should enjoy the rulership and maybe her as well as part of the spoil?

[2-Kings 9:32] And he looked up at the window, and said, 'Who is on my side? Who?'
So two or three eunuchs looked out at him.

[2-Kings 9:33] Then he said, 'Throw her down.' So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot.

[2-Kings 9:34]  And when he had gone in, he ate and drank. Then he said, 'Go now, see to this accursed woman, and bury her, for she was a king's daughter.'

[2-Kings 9:35]  So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.

[2-Kings 9:36] Therefore they came back and told him. And he said, 'This is the word of the LORD, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 'On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel;

[2-Kings 9:37] and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, in the plot at Jezreel, so that they shall not say, "Here lies Jezebel."


After the Death of Solomon:
The Divided Kingdom

The Divided Kingdom
Source of Map:

2-Kings ch.8
2-Kings Contents
2-Kings ch.10