2 Kings 10:9
And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, You be righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) And stood.—Or, took his place—i.e. (according to Reuss), sat as judge in the palace gateway, according to royal custom, and gave audience to the people.

The citizens would naturally be struck with consternation at the sight of the two ghastly pyramids in front of the palace, and would crowd together in expectancy at the gates. Jehu goes forth to justify himself, and calm their fears.

Ye be righteousi.e., guiltless in respect of the deaths of these men, and therefore have nothing to dread. Thenius explains: “Ye are just, and therefore will judge justly.” Others render: “Are ye righteous?” implying that Jehu wished to make the people guilty of the massacre of the princes, while owning his own murder of the king.

I.—Emphatic: I on my part; or, I indeed.

But who slew all these?Slew should be smote. Jehu professes astonishment, by way of self-exculpation. He hints that as Jehovah had foretold the destruction of the house of Ahab, He must have brought it to pass; and therefore nobody is to blame. (See next verse.)

2 Kings 10:9-10. He said to all the people, Ye be righteous — This is spoken ironically: as much as to say, You may look upon me as a very wicked man, for rebelling against my master and killing him: but look here; see, your chief men, the confidants and favourites of Joram, have slain seventy of his sons committed to their custody! Know now, &c. — As if he had said, The truth is, neither I nor they are to be blamed, nor you, that assisted and encouraged me herein; for this is not man’s work, but God’s, and done at his command. The Lord hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah — Whom he mentions rather than Elisha; partly because Elijah was now dead, and therefore his name and memory were more sacred than Elisha’s, who was yet alive; it being the general practice and folly of mankind, to value and honour, after their death, those whom they contemned while they lived; and partly because Elijah’s prophecy was known and famous, while Elisha’s was delivered in a corner, and that not from his own mouth, but by one of the sons of the prophets.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?Ye be righteous - i. e., "Ye are just, and can judge aright." Jehu unfairly keeps back the fact that he had commanded the execution. 9-11. said to all the people, Ye be righteous, &c.—A great concourse was assembled to gaze on this novel and ghastly spectacle. The speech which Jehu addressed to the spectators was artfully framed to impress their minds with the idea that so wholesale a massacre was the result of the divine judgments denounced on the house of Ahab; and the effect of it was to prepare the public mind for hearing, without horror, of a similar revolting tragedy which was soon after perpetrated, namely, the extinction of all the influential friends and supporters of the dynasty of Ahab, including those of the royal house of Judah. To all the people; either, first, To the promiscuous multitude met there to gaze upon this sad and strange spectacle. So the sense is, Be not ye troubled nor affrighted with these unusual and dismal occurrences: if any thing be amiss in these actions, I do here publicly and solemnly acquit you as righteous and innocent; do not you therefore fear any vengeance from God or men for it: if there be any guilt, it is in me, and in those who cut off these heads. Or, secondly, To those who cut off and brought the heads; for the same persons did both, and were here present, as Jehu commanded them, 2 Kings 10:6: to them he speaks in the audience of all the people; or by all the people may be meant all those who brought the heads, and were there waiting for Jehu, according to his order. So the speech is in part ironical, to this purpose,

You are righteous in your own eves, and you look upon me as a traitor, and rebel, and murderer, because I have risen against and slain my master, which I acknowledge I have done. But if I am guilty, you are not innocent, and therefore cannot accuse me; for I have killed one, but you a great number. This explication seems probable; only the Hebrew word ham being generally used of the common people, may seem not so fitly to agree to these rulers and great men, who had brought the heads; and that expression, to all the people, implies that Jehu did not direct his speech to some particular persons, but to the whole body of the people then present, whom he clears from all blame, and to whom he appeals as witnesses between him and these persons. And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people,.... Who were gathered together to this shocking sight, or on the above accounts:

ye be righteous; having had no concern in taking off the heads of those men:

behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him; I own it, and some may blame me for it, and charge me with treason and murder:

but who slew all these? not he, but the chief men of Samaria, and therefore must be more guilty than he, having shed the blood of so many persons, who had not offended against God and man to so great a degree as Joram; this he said to lessen his own sin, and wipe off the reproach of it, that his character might appear fairer in the eyes of the people, concealing, at the same time, his orders for the slaying of them.

And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be {d} righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these?

(d) You cannot justly condemn me for the king's death, seeing as you have done the same to his posterity: for the Lord commanded me, and moved you to carry out his judgment.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. he went out, and stood] At the gate, the place of concourse, where the people usually gathered, and whither recent events would bring them in full number. Jehu in this way began to play the king.

Ye be righteous] He is about to make an appeal to the people. He therefore puts them first of all in a good frame of mind towards himself, by acknowledging them to be fit to be arbiters in the case which he is going to put before them. He admits at once that he is as Jezebel had called him ‘the murderer of his master’ (2 Kings 9:31), but before them they see the heads of the whole of Ahab’s sons, slain by the rulers of Samaria. ‘Who smote all these?’ he asks, feeling confident that his act will fade into insignificance before the enormity of their greater butchery. And he was not disappointed.

who slew [R.V. smote] all these?] The verb is not the same as in the previous clause, and the same change is needed in verses 11 and 17.Verse 9. - And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be righteous. Not an ironical reproach to those who had brought the heads - "Ye consider yourselves righteous, yet this bloodshed rests upon you;" much less a serious declaration (Gerlach) that now at last the sins of idolatrous Israel were atoned for; but an argument ad captandum, addressed to the crowd of spectators whom the unwonted spectacle had brought together, "Ye are just persons, and capable of pronouncing a just judgment; judge, then, if I am the wicked person which men generally consider me." Behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these? I confess to one murder; but here are seventy murders. And who is guilty of them? Not I, or my party, but the trusted adherents of the Ahabite dynasty, the rulers placed by them over the capital, and the governors to whom they had entrusted the royal children. Does not this show that all parties are weary of the Ahabites and of their system? Does it not clear me of any private or selfish motive, and indicate the desire of the whole nation for a change, civil and religions - a change which shall entirely subvert the new religion introduced by Jezebel, and fall back upon the lines of that maintained by Elijah and Elisha? Extermination of the Seventy Sons of Ahab in Samaria. - 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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