And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay you them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)There came a messenger.—Literally, and the messenger came in. Josephus says Jehu was giving a banquet.
Heaps.—The noun (çibbûr) occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament. In the Talmud it means “congregation,” as we say colloquially “a heap of persons.” The verb (çābar) means “to heap up.” (See Exodus 8:10.)
At the entering in of the gate.—The place of public business, where all the citizens would see them. (Comp. 2Kings 7:3; 1Kings 22:10.) But perhaps not the city gate, but the gate of the palace is to be understood. Parallels to this deed of Jehu are not wanting in the history of modern Persia. (Comp. 1Samuel 17:54; 2 Maccabees 15:30; and the comparatively recent custom in our own country of fixing up the heads of traitors on London Bridge.)2 Kings 10:8. Lay them at the entering in of the gate — The place of judicature, to signify that this was an act of God’s righteous judgment: and this being the place of public concourse for justice and other business, and where people were continually passing and repassing, the laying them there was to expose them to public view, that all might know there was no one left of Ahab’s posterity to reign over them.At the entering in of the gate; the place of judicature, to signify that this was an act of justice, and of God’s righteous judgment; and the place of greatest concourse, where people went out of the city, and came into it, and whither they resorted for judgment and other occasions; that all men might behold this dreadful spectacle of Divine vengeance upon Ahab’s family, and thereby might justify Jehu’s cause and proceedings.
and he said, lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning; very probably it was towards or at the evening they were brought; and he ordered them to be taken out of the baskets, and laid in two heaps at the entering of the gate of the city, that they might be taken notice of, and publicly viewed by the people that passed and repassed the gate; and where they met in great numbers, either on account of the market there, or court of judicature there held, especially in mornings; and here they were to remain till the morning, though not without a guard, that they might still be more exposed to view; Noldius (p) renders it, "without the door of the gate", for they were brought at night, when the gate was shut.And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. And there came a messenger, and told him] Josephus (Ant. IX. 6. 5) adds to the picture, and says that the message was received by Jehu, ‘While he was at a meal with his friends’.
Lay ye them in two heaps] Josephus here says ‘one on one side and the other on the other’. No doubt the place was chosen as one of most public resort, and where Jehu meant to come forth as their new king and take his seat next day. As the heads lay there, they would proclaim to the men of Jezreel, how completely Jehu’s conduct was accepted in Samaria. Thus without a further blow he secured the submission of the two chief cities.
until the morning] They had arrived in the evening of the day when they were cut off.Verse 8. - And there came a messenger, and told him; saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning. Thus all who entered into the town or quitted it would see them, and, being struck by the ghastly spectacle, would make inquiry and learn the truth. "The gate" was also a general place of assembly for the gossips of the town and others, who would soon spread the news, and bring together a crowd of persons, curious to see so unusual a sight. 2 Kings 10:1-3. As Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria (בּנים in the wider sense, viz., sons, including grandsons see at 2 Kings 10:13, as is evident from the fact that אמנים, foster-fathers, are mentioned, whereas Ahab had been dead fourteen years, and therefore his youngest sons could not have had foster-fathers any longer), Jehu sent a letter to the elders of the city and to the foster-fathers of the princes, to the effect that they were to place one of the sons of their lord upon the throne. There is something very strange in the words הזּקנים יזרעאל אל־שׂרי, "to the princes of Jezreel, the old men," partly on account of the name Jezreel, and partly on account of the combination of הזּקנים with שׂרי. If we compare 2 Kings 10:5, it is evident that הזּקנים cannot be the adjective to יז שׂרי, but denotes the elders of the city, so that the preposition אל has dropped out before הזקנים. יזרעאל שׂרי, the princes or principal men of Jezreel, might certainly be the chief court-officials of the royal house of Ahab, since Ahab frequently resided in Jezreel. But against this supposition there is not only the circumstance that we cannot discover any reason why the court-officials living in Samaria should be called princes of Jezreel, but also 2 Kings 10:5, where, instead of the princes of Jezreel, the governor of the city and the governor of the castle are mentioned. Consequently there is an error of the text in יזרעאל, which ought to read אל העיר, though it is older than the ancient versions, since the Chaldee has the reading יזרעאל, and no doubt the Alexandrian translator read the same, as the Septuagint has sometimes τῆς πόλεως, like the Vulgate, and sometimes Σαμαρείας, both unquestionably from mere conjecture. The "princes of the city" are, according to 2 Kings 10:5, the prefect of the palace and the captain of the city; the זקנים, "elders," the magistrates of Samaria; and אחאב אמנים, the foster-fathers and tutors appointed by Ahab for his sons and grandsons. אחאב is governed freely by האמנים. In 2 Kings 10:2 the words from ואתּכם to הנּשׁק form an explanatory circumstantial clause: "since the sons of your lord are with you, and with you the war-chariots and horses, and a fortified city and arms," i.e., since you have everything in your hands, - the royal princes and also the power to make one of them king. It is perfectly evident from the words, "the sons of your lord," i.e., of king Joram, that the seventy sons of Ahab included grandsons also. This challenge of Jehu was only a ruse, by which he hoped to discover the feelings of the leading men of the capital of the kingdom, because he could not venture, without being well assured of them, to proceed to Samaria to exterminate the remaining members of the royal family of Ahab who were living there. על נלחם, to fight concerning, i.e., for a person, as in Judges 9:17.
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