2 Kings 10:6
Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If you be mine, and if you will listen to my voice, take you the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king's sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) The second time.—Some MSS., the LXX., and the Arabic read “a second letter.”

Take ye the heads.—Jehu knew his men. The cool cynicism of his savage order is worthy of a Sulla or a Marius.

The heads of the men your master’s sons.—Literally, the heads of the men of the sons of your master Some MSS., the Syriac, Arabic, and Vulg., as well as the MSS. mentioned by Origen, omit the word men. Thenius thinks that this word is used to indicate that only male descendants of Ahab were to be put to death (?). The Alexandrian LXX. omits sons; and four Hebrew MSS. read instead house. The Authorised Version, however, is a permissible interpretation of the Hebrew.

Come.—LXX., bring (them) which is a natural conjecture.

To Jezreel.—A journey of more than twenty miles.

By to morrow this time.—Jehu is urgent for despatch, because time is all-important. He wishes to convince the people of Jezreel as soon as possible that none of the royal princes were left to claim the crown, and that the nobles of Samaria have joined his cause.

Now the king’s sons . . . brought them up.—This is a correct translation. According to the Masoretic punctuation, and supposing that the particle ’eth (rendered “with”) might here be used merely to introduce the subject, we might render: “Now the king’s sons were seventy persons; the great men of the city were bringing them up.” But such a usage of ‘eth is very doubtful. (Comp. 2Kings 6:5.) The sentence, in any case, is only a parenthetic reminder of what was stated in 2Kings 10:1. The total seventy is, perhaps, not to be taken as exact, seventy being a favourite round number. (See Note on 1Chronicles 1:42.)

2 Kings 10:6. He wrote a letter the second time — Thus Jezebel is requited for her letter, directed in like manner to the elders of Naboth’s city, whereby his life was wickedly taken away: and it is probable that some of these elders were concerned in that very business, which makes the judgment of God more remarkable. Take ye the heads of the men — This word, men, seems to imply that some of them, at least, were grown up, who doubtless trod in their parents’ steps: and those that were younger were justly cut off for their parents’ sins; of which see on Exodus 20:5. “Besides the accomplishment of the divine decree,” says Dr. Dodd, “Jehu had a further design in requesting this cruel service of the rulers, and elders, and great men of the nation, namely, hereby to involve them in the same crime and conspiracy with himself; for, by prevailing with them to murder Ahab’s kinsmen in this manner, he bound them so closely to his interest, that if any of the inferior people had been inclined to oppose his designs, they were, by this means, deprived of any man of distinction to head them; and not only so, but, by this expedient, Jehu thought that he might in a great measure lessen, if not entirely remove the odium of his own cruel and perfidious conduct.”10:1-14 In the most awful events, though attended by the basest crimes of man, the truth and justice of God are to be noticed; and he never did nor can command any thing unjust or unreasonable. Jehu destroyed all that remained of the house of Ahab; all who had been partners in his wickedness. When we think upon the sufferings and miseries of mankind, when we look forward to the resurrection and last judgment, and think upon the vast number of the wicked waiting their awful sentence of everlasting fire; when the whole sum of death and misery has been considered, the solemn question occurs, Who slew all these? The answer is, SIN. Shall we then harbour sin in our bosoms, and seek for happiness from that which is the cause of all misery?The heads of rivals, pretenders, and other obnoxious persons are commonly struck off in the East, and conveyed to the chief ruler, in order that he may be positively certified that his enemies have ceased to live. In the Assyrian sculptures we constantly see soldiers conveying heads from place to place, not, however, in baskets, but in their hands, holding the head by the hair. 6. take ye the heads of the men, your master's sons—The barbarous practice of a successful usurper slaughtering all who may have claims to the throne, has been frequently exemplified in the ancient and modern histories of the East. Then he wrote a letter: thus Jezebel is requited for her letter directed in like manner to the elders of Naboth’s city, whereby his life was wickedly taken away, 1 Kings 21:8. And it is probable that some of these elders were concerned in that very business, which makes the judgment of God more remarkable.

Take ye the heads of the men; which word seems to imply that some of them were grown up, who doubtless trod in their parents’ steps; and those that were younger were justly cut off for their parents’ sin; of which See Poole "Exodus 20:5"; See Poole "Deu 5:9". Then he wrote a letter the second time to them,.... Having gained his point by the former:

saying, if ye be mine, acknowledge yourselves my subjects and servants:

and if ye will hearken to my voice; obey my commands:

take ye the heads of the men your master's sons; that is, take off their heads:

and come to me to Jezreel by tomorrow this time meaning with the heads along with them:

(now the king's sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up;) they were in their houses, and under their tuition, and so had an authority over them, and could dispose of them at pleasure; they were not ordinary persons to whose care they were committed, but the principal men of the city.

Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be mine, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, {c} take ye the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king's sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up.

(c) God as a just judge punishes the wicked children of wicked parents to the third and fourth generations.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. a letter the second time] Before he presents himself to them, he will let their alarm involve them more deeply than he is involved in the destruction of the royal family.

take ye the heads] So Nicanor’s head (1Ma 7:47; 2Ma 15:30) was struck off and brought to Jerusalem, and David smote off the head of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:54) and brought it with him from the battle-field.

come to me to Jezreel] From what follows we should not discover that they obeyed this part of the order. But no doubt they did, and were ready at the gate, when Jehu came forth on the morrow, to hear what he would say of their prompt obedience. The distance between Jezreel and Samaria was only a journey of a few hours. The heads seem to have been delivered to their new master on the evening of the day on which they were asked for.

Now the king’s sons, &c.] This parenthetic sentence is inserted to show how easy it was, when they were all of one mind, for the tutors to slay the whole family at a blow.Verse 6 - Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying; rather, a second time. The reply of the Samaritan authorities gave Jehu an opportunity, of which he was not slow to take advantage. They might have been contented with their negative response, "We will not make any man king;" but they had gone beyond it - they had departed from the line of neutrality, and had placed themselves unreservedly on Jehu's side. "We are thy servants," they had said, "and will do all that thou shalt bid us." It is always rash to promise absolute obedience to a human being. To volunteer such a promise, when it is not even asked, is the height of folly. If ye be mine - as they had said they were, when they called themselves his "slaves" - and if ye will hearken unto my voice - i.e., obey me, do as I require - take ye the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel. The Samaritan authorities were ordered to bring the heads with them, that they might be seen and counted. In the East generally, the heads of rebels and pretenders, by whatever death they may have died, are cut off, brought to the sovereign, and then exposed in some public place, in order that the public at large may be certified that the men are really dead (comp. 1 Samuel 31:9). By tomorrow this time. As Jezreel was not more than about twenty miles from Samaria, the order could be executed by that time. It necessitated, however, very prompt measures, and gave the authorities but little time for consideration. Now the king's sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up (comp. ver. 1). But when they went to bury her, they found nothing but her skull, the two feet, and the two hollow hands. The rest had been eaten by the dogs and dragged away. When this was reported to Jehu, he said: "This is the word of the Lord, which He spake by His servant Elijah," etc. (1 Kings 21:23), i.e., this has been done in fulfilment of the word of the Lord. 2 Kings 9:37 is also to be regarded as a continuation of the prophecy of Elijah quoted by Jehu (and not as a closing remark of the historian, as Luther supposes), although what Jehu says here does not occur verbatim in 1 Kings 21:23, but Jehu has simply expanded rather freely the meaning of that prophecy. והית (Chethb) is the older form of the 3rd pers. fem. Kal, which is only retained here and there (vid., Ewald, 194, a.). אשׁר is a conjunction (see Ewald, 337, a.): "that men may not be able to say, This is Jezebel," i.e., that they may no more be able to recognise Jezebel.
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