Jehu Kills King Ahab’s and King Ahaziah’s Heirs
1 Ahab had 70 male heirs in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters to the officials of Jezreel, the respected leaders, and the guardians of Ahab’s descendants in Samaria. The letters read, 2 “Your master’s heirs are with you, and you have chariots, horses, fortified cities, and weapons. As soon as this letter reaches you, 3 choose the best and most honest of your master’s heirs, and put him on Ahab’s throne. Fight for your master’s family.”
4 But they panicked. They said, “If two kings couldn’t stand up to him, how can we stand up to him?” 5 So the official in charge of the palace, the mayor of the city, the respected leaders, and the guardians sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants. We’ll do everything you tell us. We won’t make anyone king. Do what you think is best.”
6 So he wrote them a second letter. It read, “If you are on my side and ready to listen to me, bring the heads of your master’s heirs to me in Jezreel about this time tomorrow.”
The 70 male heirs were staying with the city’s most powerful men. These men had raised them. 7 When the letter came to the men, they slaughtered all 70 heirs. They put the heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. 8 A messenger told him, “They’ve brought the heads of the king’s heirs.”
Jehu said, “Put them in two piles at the entrance to the gateway until morning.” 9 In the morning he stood there. He told the people, “You are innocent. I plotted against my master and killed him. But who killed all these men? 10 You can be sure that the Lord’s word spoken about Ahab’s family will be fulfilled. The Lord will do what he said through his servant Elijah.”
11 Jehu also killed every member of Ahab’s household who was left in Jezreel: all the most powerful men, friends, and priests. Not one of them was left.
12 Then Jehu left for Samaria. When he came to Beth Eked of the Shepherds, 13 he found some relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. “Who are you?” he asked.
They answered, “We’re Ahaziah’s relatives. We’ve come to greet the families of the king and the queen mother.”
14 Jehu ordered, “Capture them!”
⸤Jehu’s men⸥ captured and slaughtered 42 of them at a cistern near Beth Eked. They didn’t leave any survivors.
15 When he left that place, he met Jehonadab, son of Rechab, who was coming to meet him. Jehu greeted him and asked, “Are you as loyal to me as I am to you?”
“I am,” Jehonadab answered.
⸤So Jehu said,⸥ “If you are, give me your hand.”
When he gave Jehu his hand, Jehu helped him up into the chariot. 16 Jehu said, “Come with me. See how devoted I am to the Lord.” So he had Jehonadab ride on his chariot. 17 When they arrived in Samaria, Jehu killed the rest of Ahab’s family, every member who was left in Samaria. He wiped them out, as the Lord had told Elijah.
18 Then Jehu brought all the people together. He said, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him a lot. 19 Summon all the prophets, servants, and priests of Baal. Make sure no one is missing because I have a great sacrifice to offer Baal. Whoever is missing will not live.” (Jehu was deceiving ⸤them⸥. He actually wanted to destroy those who worshiped Baal.)
20 Jehu said, “Call a holy assembly to honor Baal.” So they did. 21 Jehu sent messengers to all the Israelites. All the worshipers of Baal came, and there wasn’t one who didn’t come. They went into the temple of Baal and filled it from one end to the other.
22 Then Jehu told the man in charge of the priests’ robes, “Bring out the robes for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out robes for them. 23 Jehu and Jehonadab, son of Rechab, went into the temple of Baal and said to the worshipers of Baal, “Make sure that there are no worshipers of the Lord here with you. Only the worshipers of Baal should be here.” 24 So they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. But Jehu had stationed 80 of his men outside. He said ⸤to them⸥, “If any of the people I’m putting in your hands escape, you will pay for their lives with yours.”
25 When the burnt offerings had been made, Jehu said to the guards and attendants, “Kill them. Don’t let anyone get away.” So they used swords to kill the Baal worshipers and threw out the bodies until the guards and attendants came to the stronghold in the temple of Baal. 26 Then they brought out the large sacred stone of the temple of Baal and burned it. 27 They destroyed the sacred stone of Baal and the temple of Baal and made it into a latrine. It is still a latrine today.
28 So Jehu got rid of Baal worship throughout Israel. 29 But Jehu did not turn away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) led Israel to commit—⸤the worship of⸥ the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan.
30 The Lord said to Jehu, “You did what I consider right, and you did it well. You did everything I wanted done to Ahab’s family. That is why four generations of your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel.”
31 But Jehu didn’t wholeheartedly obey the teachings of the Lord God of Israel. He didn’t turn away from the sins that Jeroboam led Israel to commit. 32 So in those days the Lord began to take away some of Israel’s territory. Hazael defeated Jehu’s army throughout Israel’s territory 33 east of the Jordan River: the entire region of Gilead (the territory belonging to Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh) from Aroer, which is near the Arnon River, to Gilead and Bashan.
34 Isn’t everything else about Jehu—everything he did, all his heroic acts—written in the official records of the kings of Israel? 35 Jehu lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz succeeded him as king. 36 Jehu ruled as king of Israel in Samaria for 28 years.
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