2 Kings 9:1-10:36 – Jehu Purges Israel


2 Kings 9:1-10:36


The story of the reign of Jehu (843-816) is essentially the account of the end of the Omride Dynasty announced by the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:17; 21:21-24).


We hear very little about Jehu’s almost forty-year reign in Israel. The narrative’s sole purpose is to describe graphically the complete and utter extermination of the house of Ahab. Jehu was a commander in the army when Elisha sent one of prophetic guild to anoint him as king in Ramoth-gilead in fulfillment of Elijah’s charge in 1 Kings 19:16 (2 Kings 9:1-10). Jehu then began the palace intrigue that eventually led to his usurpation of Joram’s throne and the methodical extermination of the house of Ahab and the elimination of Baal worship, again in fulfillment of Elijah’s charge (vv. 8-10; see also 1 Kings 21:21-24). Those purged include J(eh)oram, king of Israel (9:14-26); Ahaziah, king of Judah (9:27-28); Jezebel (9:30-37); Ahab’s seventy sons (10:1-11); members of the family of Ahaziah, king of Judah (10:12-14); any remaining relatives of Ahab in Samaria (10:17); and the remaining worshipers of Baal were lured to a solemn assembly in honor of Baal where they were slaughtered, their religious objects destroyed, and the temple turned into a latrine (10:18-27).

As a reward, God blessed Jehu with a lasting dynasty of four generations, about a century (10:30). Like all the kings of Israel, however, the editors condemn him for continuing in the sins of Jeroboam and bracket God’s approval with their evaluation (vv. 29-31).