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In this chapter we are told that one of the sons of the prophets was sent by Elisha to anoint Jehu king of Israel, and to order him to smite and destroy the whole house of Ahab, ( 2 Kings 9:1-10), which being done unto him, and the order received by Jehu, he acquainted his captains with it, ( Kings 9:11-15), who set out with him immediately to Jezreel, ( 2 Kings 9:16-21), where he slew Joram king of Israel, ( 2 Kings 9:22-26), and Ahaziah king of Judah, ( 2 Kings 9:27-29), and Jezebel, the widow of Ahab, and mother of Joram, ( 2 Kings 9:30-37).
Ver. 1 . And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets , etc.] Who the Jews generally say was Jonah the son of Amittai: and said, gird up thy loins ; his loose and long garments about his loins, for quicker dispatch in travelling: and take this box of oil in thine hand ; for an use after directed to: and go to Ramothgilead ; where Joram had left his army with his captains, to keep the city from the Syrians.
Ver. 2 . And when thou comest thither , etc.] To Ramothgilead; but from whence he went is uncertain, doubtless where there was a school of the prophets, perhaps that which was erected near Jordan, on the other side of which lay Ramothgilead, ( 2 Kings 6:1,2), look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi ; the same that Elijah was ordered to anoint, but it was deferred till now, a reprieve being granted to Ahab upon his humiliation, ( 1 Kings 19:16 21:29), and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren ; the captains of the army: and carry him into an inner chamber ; a chamber within a chamber, as in the original; this he was to do for secrecy, that it might not be seen what he did to Jehu; and lest he should be prevented doing it by the captains, or be exposed to danger for doing it; since that might be deemed treason to do what he was to do, and did, as follows.
Ver. 3 . Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head , etc.] When in the chamber together alone: and say, thus saith the Lord, I have anointed thee king over Israel ; which was done, not with the anointing oil in the temple, which could not be come by; and with which, as Kimchi from their Rabbins says, only the kings of the house of David were anointed, and they only when there was a division, or the crown was translated to another family, as was the case now; but with common oil, or the oil of balsam, such as the prophet had in his house: then open the door and flee, and tarry not ; lest he should be examined by the captains, and come into danger; though before he went out he was to say what is recorded in ( 2 Kings 9:7-10).
Ver. 4 . So the young man, even the young man the prophet, went to Ramothgilead .] It is repeated, that it might be observed that it was a young man that went, who was more fit for this service than Elisha, partly because of his age, and partly because he would be less known; as also his age is remarked, this being a bold and daring action in a young man to anoint a new king, as well as it was honourable; and moreover, he was not only one of the sons of the prophets, but was a prophet himself, though young, and still a more fit person for such a service; though the Targum is, a young man, a disciple of the prophets.
Ver. 5 . And when he came, behold, the captains of the host were sitting , etc.] Either at a table, being at dinner, or at a council of war: and he said, I have an errand unto thee, O captain ; looking and directing his speech to Jehu; or, “I have a word to thee” f109 ; something to say to thee, intimating that he desired to speak to him alone: and Jehu said, unto which of all us ? not perhaps at first thoroughly understanding who he meant; or however was willing to have it repeated and explained, that it might be manifest to the whole company that he was intended: and he said, to thee, O captain ; and to him only.
Ver. 6 . And he arose, and went into the house , etc.] Into the inner chamber in it: 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 ; for though they were fallen into idolatry, and from the pure worship of God, yet the Lord had still a right unto them, and as yet he had not wrote a “Loammi” ( Hosea 1:9) upon them; and there were many among them which had not bowed the knee to Baal.
Ver. 7 . And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master , etc.] For Jehu was one of Ahab’s captains, as he was now one of his son’s, as appears from ( 2 Kings 9:25), but this was to be no objection with him to the destroying of his house, as being an act of high treason, since he had an order for it from the King of kings, and Lord of lords; which otherwise would have seemed unlawful and criminal, and what follows will sufficiently vindicate the justice of God in it: 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 ; who killed the prophets of the Lord, and caused to be put to death Naboth the servant of the Lord, and now their blood was to be avenged on her and her son Joram, and all her family.
Ver. 8 . For the whole house of Ahab shall perish , etc.] Be cut off by death, and that in a violent manner, not one should escape: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel ; of these phrases, (see Gill on “ 1 Kings 14:10”) (see Gill on “ 1 Kings 21:21”) Ver. 9 . And I will make the house of Ahab , The same is threatened, (see Gill on “ 1 Kings 21:22”).
Ver. 10 . And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel , etc.] Or in the field of Jezreel; the Targum is, the inheritance of Jezreel; this is also threatened, ( 1 Kings 21:23) and [there shall be] none to bury her ; or nothing of her to bury, as Kimchi, all being eaten up but her skull, feet, and the palms of her hands, (see 2 Kings 9:35) and he opened the door, and fled ; that is, the young man of the sons of the prophets, as soon as he had said the above words, as he was ordered, lest he should be taken up for a traitor.
Ver. 11 . Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord , etc.] The rest of the captains of the army, who served under Joram as he did: and one said unto him, is all well ? one of the captains, the greatest of them, as Kimchi; he inquired whether he brought any ill news, since he came and went in such haste: wherefore came this mad fellow to thee ? so profane men, especially the worshippers of Baal, as those captains might be, were wont to call the prophets of the Lord, because of their habit, their manner of living, and the gestures they sometimes used in prophesying, and especially because of the things they prophesied of; and even prophets were sometimes called so, because, in the time of their prophesying, they appeared as madmen f110 , and in a frenzy: and he said unto them, ye know the man, and his communication ; you saw by his habit of what profession he is, and you may easily guess what he talked of, as such men usually do, about religion, and one whimsical thing or another, reproving men for their sins, and telling them what they ought to do; and such like things you may well imagine he has been talking of to me; you rightly call him a mad fellow, and you may well suppose his discourse was agreeably to his character, and not worth relating and hearing; this he said, to put them off inquiring any further.
Ver. 12 . And they said, [it is] false, tell us now , etc.] They did not believe he spoke truth, but concealed from them the real matter; which they concluded to be of some importance, by the hastiness of the messenger, the privacy between them, the countenance of Jehu, which discovered thoughtfulness and concern, and the trifling answer he sought to put them off with; all which increased their curiosity, and made them urgent and importunate to know the truth of the matter: and he said, thus and thus spake he to me ; such and such words as above: and particularly saying, thus saith the Lord, I have anointed thee king over Israel ; and no doubt told them that he poured oil on his head, and anointed him, and he might show them the oil.
Ver. 13 . Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs , etc.] That is, under Jehu, that he might be raised higher, and put on an eminence above them, agreeably to the high rank and dignity he was raised unto, and which they hereby acknowledged; and that he might be conspicuous to others: and this was done upon the top of the stairs, the first and highest of them, which led up either to an upper room, or to a scaffold erected for this purpose; the Targum is, on the degree of hours, a sun dial, a stone on which were engraven the twelve hours of the day, and which, by the sun’s shadow on it, it might be known what hour it was; and at, or upon this stone, they laid their clothes, for Jehu to sit upon; not their wearing apparel, but carpets, or pieces of tapestry, or such like things: and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king ; and they might come the more easily into such an acknowledgment of him as such, though he was anointed by one whom they had just called a mad fellow; being not so well affected to Ahab’s family, and having a great respect for Jehu, the chief commander of the army, and especially being under a particular influence of the divine Providence, which moved them to take such a step.
Ver. 14 . So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram , etc.] He and the captains with him entered into a confederacy to depose Joram, and set him up as king: now Joram had kept Ramothgilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria ; having taken it, he left his army in it, under the command of his captains, of which Jehu was the chief, to keep it from the king of Syria; which gave Jehu a fairer opportunity, having the army at his command, and at a distance from Joram, of forming a conspiracy against him.
Ver. 15 . But King Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel , etc.] As is recorded, ( 2 Kings 8:29) and here repeated for the reason above given: and Jehu said, if it be your minds ; to engage one and all, and heartily, in this conspiracy, and to make me king: then let none go forth nor escape out of the city , to go to tell it in Jezreel; that so Joram might be surprised unawares, and have no opportunity either of fleeing or of preparing for his defence.
Ver. 16 . So Jehu rode in a chariot , etc.] In great pomp and majesty as a king: and went to Jezreel : set forward on a march thither with his captains, and part of his army at least, from Ramothgilead; which, according to Bunting f111 , was twenty four miles: for Jordan lay there ; to be cured of his wounds, as before observed: and Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram ; (see 2 Kings 8:29).
Ver. 17 . And there stood a watchman on the tower of Jezreel , etc.] Who could see afar off when an enemy was coming, and his business was to give notice of it; and especially he was now on his watch tower, because the king was there, and this was necessary for his safety: and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company ; a troop of soldiers, though he did not know who they were, and to whom they belonged, whether they were Syrians or Israelites; which was reported to the king: and Joram said, take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, is it peace ? he might fear some ill had befallen his army at Ramothgilead, and the Syrians had got the advantage of them; or they had made an irruption into his country, and were coming to attack him at Jezreel; or there was an insurrection among his own people.
Ver. 18 . So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, thus saith the king, is it peace ? etc.] Are things well in the army, or any disturbance in the kingdom? are you come as friends or enemies? and Jehu said, what hast thou to do with peace ? or to ask such a question: turn thee behind me ; which he was obliged to do, Jehu having such a company of soldiers with him; and this he did, that he might carry no tidings to Joram, that he might not know as yet who he and his company were: and the watchman told, saying, the messenger came to them, but he cometh not again ; of this he sent word to the king what he had observed.
Ver. 19 . Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said , etc.] The same as the first messenger did, and had the same answer, and was bid to do the same as in the preceding verse.
Ver. 20 . And the watchman told, saying, he came even unto them, and cometh not again , etc.] Was detained, as the other was: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi ; for, coming nearer, the watchman could discern the manner of his driving: for he driveth furiously ; in great haste, making much speed, being a man of a very warm and active spirit; and now being eager to come up with Joram, and seize him unprepared, and ascend the throne; the Targum is the reverse, ``for he driveth quietly or slowly,” being desirous of drawing Joram out of the city, and get him into his hands, and slay him, that he might not have the trouble of besieging the place, which was able to hold out some time against him; and besides, he remembered the prophecy of Elisha, that Naboth’s blood would be requited in the field of Jezreel, ( 2 Kings 9:26), and therefore was desirous of drawing him out of the city, in order to slay him there.
Ver. 21 . And Joram said, make ready , etc.] The chariot, put to the horses; bind them, as the word signifies, to the chariot: and his chariot was made ready ; by his servants immediately: and Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot ; not both in the same chariot, but each in his own, for the sake of greater magnificence: and they went out against Jehu ; not in an hostile manner, for they had no notion of him as an enemy; though it is much they had no suspicion of him by his detaining the messengers; but Joram perhaps thought he was desirous of delivering his message himself; and in honour to him, and also being eager to know what it was, went out to meet him: and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite ; which had been his, and where, or near it, he was stoned, and his blood shed; a very inauspicious place to meet him in.
Ver. 22 . And it came to pass, when Joram saw, Jehu, that he said, is it peace, Jehu ? etc.] Have things gone well at Ramothgilead? art thou come in triumph from thence? or obliged to fly from the Syrians? or art thou come in a peaceable, or in an hostile manner to me? and he answered, what peace ; canst thou expect at home or abroad, from me or others: so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many ? which may be understood both literally of corporeal whoredom, and diabolical arts she was addicted to, and figuratively of idolatry, often called whoredom in Scripture, and of the wicked arts and methods she made use of to inveigle and entice persons into it; and both these very often went together; (see Na 3:4) and of which Joram was guilty, at least in part; he connived at all in her, and did not attempt to restrain her, and therefore had no claim to peace, protection, and safety.
Ver. 23 . And Joram turned his hand, and fled , etc.] Taking hold of the horses’ reins with it to turn them, or by the motion of it directing the charioteer to turn them back towards Jezreel, whither he fled: and said to Ahaziah, there is treachery, O Ahaziah ; a conspiracy formed, and rebellion raised by the captains, at the head of which he supposed Jehu was.
Ver. 24 . And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength , etc.] To give the arrow all the force he could; and smote Jehoram between his arms ; that is, between his shoulders, his back being turned to him, and the chariot an open one: and the arrow went out at his heart : quite through him: and he sunk down in his chariot ; and died immediately.
Ver. 25 . Then said [Jehu] to Bidkar his captain , etc.] Not Joram’s, but Jehu’s captain, though he had been the former’s, and his father Ahab’s also: take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite ; near to which they were: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father ; either in the same chariot, or on horseback side by side, his guards or retinue following him two and two: the Lord laid this burden upon him ; this heavy denunciation of vengeance by Elijah the prophet; and they being together, and pretty near, heard it, as he might remember, which follows.
Ver. 26 . Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth , etc.] These are the words of the Lord to Elijah the day after Naboth was put to death: and the blood of his sons, said the Lord ; who were put to death with him, that there might be no heirs to the estate: and I will requite thee in this place : take vengeance here, as he now did on his son: now therefore take [and] cast him into the plat [of ground], according to the word of the Lord ; whereby it would be fulfilled, (see 1 Kings 21:19), more is here recited than there, which Jehu well remembered.
Ver. 27 . But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this , etc.] That Joram was slain: he fled by the way of the garden house , which perhaps stood upon the spot where Naboth’s vineyard was, turned into a garden by Ahab: and Jehu followed after him ; as far as Samaria, where he was hid, ( Chronicles 22:9), and said, smite him also in the chariot ; this order he gave to his soldiers, to do to him as he had done to Joram: and they did so, at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam ; a city in the tribe of Manasseh, ( Joshua 17:11), and he fled to Megiddo ; after he was wounded; another city in the same tribe, ( Joshua 17:11), and died there ; at Megiddo; though some think that from thence he was had by his servants to Samaria, and there hid, and, being found, was brought from thence to Jezreel, where he was slain, and died. Jehu was ordered to destroy the whole house of Ahab, and Ahaziah was of that house by his mother’s side, and walked in the way of it, and was in conjunction with it, and perished therewith; this, though here recorded, was after the death of Jezebel, and of the seventy sons of Ahab, and of the brethren of Ahaziah.
Ver. 28 . And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem , etc.] With the leave of Jehu, because he was the grandson of Jehoshaphat, a sincere worshipper of God, ( 2 Chronicles 22:9), and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David ; (see 1 Kings 22:50).
Ver. 29 . And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah .] In ( 2 Kings 8:25), it is said to be in the twelfth year of his reign; it was at the close of the eleventh, and the beginning of the twelfth; or he began to reign with his father in the eleventh as here, and in the twelfth as there, when his father was dead.
Ver. 30 . And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it , etc.] And of what he had done to Joram: and she painted her face ; or put “stibium” on her eyes; a sort of paint, to make them look beautiful perhaps the same with powder of lead ore, the Moors now use to tinge their eyebrows with, and make them look black, which they reckon graceful, (see Gill on “ Ezekiel 23:40”), this custom now obtains among the white Indians, who, to heighten the lustre of their complexion, and render their eyes more languishing, put a little black about them f112 : and tired her head ; dressed her head in the most elegant manner; not with a view to tempt Jehu, which she could not expect, being an aged woman; but for grandeur and majesty, and in the pride and haughtiness of her spirit, which she retained to the last, and resolved to keep up and show in her extremity and calamity: and looked out at a window ; in a bravado, as fearless of Jehu, and to dash him out of countenance if she could; or she might hope, by such a graceful and majestic appearance she made, that he would be moved to spare her life; though this does not so well agree with what follows as the former.
Ver. 31 . And as Jehu entered in at the gate , etc.] Either of the city of Jezreel, or of the king’s palace: she said, [had] Zimri peace, who slew his master ? Elah the son of Baasha king of Israel; no, he had not; he reigned but seven days, and, being besieged, burnt the king’s house over him, and died, ( 1 Kings 16:10,18), suggesting that the like would be his fate, who had slain his master Joram; or the words may be rendered, “O Zimri, the slayer of his master”; calling Jehu so, because of his likeness to Zimri.
Ver. 32 . And he lifted up his face to the window , etc.] On hearing the above words; and said, who is on my side, who ? and will assist in taking vengeance on this haughty, imperious, and abusive woman: and there looked out to him two or three eunuchs ; who used to wait on her, as such did on women of quality, and attend them in their bedchambers; these, by their looks, signified they were ready to do any thing Jehu should direct them, Jezebel having been, perhaps, a very cruel mistress to them, and so was hated by them; and they might hope, by pleasing Jehu, to be continued at court in their office.
Ver. 33 . And he said, throw her down , etc.] Out of the window upon the ground: so they threw her down ; took her up, and cast her headlong, as they were bid: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall ; of the palace where she was: and on the horses ; which drew the chariot of Jehu: and he trod her underfoot ; with his horses; according to Kimchi, her sentence, and so her death, was stoning, as a retaliation of Naboth; for stoning was done two ways, both by casting down persons on stones, and by casting stones upon them, (see Gill on “ Acts 7:58”).
Ver. 34 . And when he was come in , etc.] To the palace: he did eat and drink ; to refresh himself after so long a march, and doing such execution: and said, go see now this cursed woman ; who had been the means of bringing a curse on Israel through her idolatry, and upon Ahab and his family, and upon herself, body and soul, being cursed of God and of men: and bury her ; forgetting the prophecy concerning her, though afterwards he remembered it: for she is a king’s daughter : the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, ( 1 Kings 16:31) and therefore, in honour to royal dignity, though a cursed woman, he ordered the interment of her; or “though” she is the daughter of one of the kings of the nations of the world, as Kimchi, yet honour must be given to whom it is due.
Ver. 35 . And they went to bury her , etc.] The servants of Jehu, according to his orders and instructions; but they found no more of her than the scull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands ; the flesh, and even all the rest of her bones, being devoured by dogs, so that there was scarce anything of her to be buried, as in ( Kings 9:10), something similar to this happened to Ascletarion, a mathematician, as related by Suetonius f113 .
Ver. 36 . Wherefore they came again, and told him , etc.] How things were, and what only could be found of Jezebel: and he said, this is the word of the Lord ; or the fulfilment of it: which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying ; as in ( Kings 21:23).
Ver. 37 . And the carcass of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel , etc.] For upon this spot her carcass fell when thrown out of the window of the king’s palace, and here it was left; for the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which was in the portion of Jezreel, was next to the palace, ( 1 Kings 21:1), there seems to be some allusion to her name Jezebel, which signifies “where is dung?” so that they shall not say, this is Jezebel ; there being nothing left of her to be seen or pointed to, nor any grave nor monument over it on which was such an inscription, here lies Jezebel; or that might lead posterity to say, this is Jezebel’s grave. Now though the words of this verse are not recorded elsewhere, as the words of the Lord, by Elijah, yet as Jehu was present when they were spoken, and within the hearing of them, he now remembered them, and could repeat them, these circumstances bringing them fresh to his mind.