2 Kings 9
2 Kings 9 Kingcomments Bible Studies


We have come to a turning point in the history of the Israel’s northern kingdom. The house of Ahab was about to be exterminated. To this end God called Jehu for a special calling. It is said three times of Jehu that he was anointed king by the LORD (2Kgs 9:3; 6; 12). He was the only one of all the kings of the ten tribes of whom that is said. Not one of the other kings was anointed. His anointing was therefore unique and means that he was called to a special task.

At the same time we see that, although God calls someone, He does not approve of everything that person does. God can also use unbelievers and even Satan. In this history we learn how the hand of God is in these things. He leads history, He chooses His instruments and executes judgment through them. Perhaps we can compare Jehu with Nebuchadnezzar who was also an instrument of God and at the same time acted willfully. Another question is, to what extent was the anointed Jehu guided by the LORD, which kind of instrument was he? Was he a believer?

We see the evaluation of all Jehu’s actions in Hosea 1 (Hos 1:4). There is talk about blood debt on the house of Jehu, in which the three following generations were included. But it started with Jehu. He shed the blood of many people without the order from God.

Why does God call such a man? Because Jehu was the least bad of all the bad guys. He knew and hated the idolatry of Jezebel. He was very energetic. But whoever has a commission from the LORD has no license to do what he wills. For the execution one has to depend on Him step by step. The energy of Jehu was not that of faith, but of the flesh. One may have a command from the Lord, but yet not always be in dependence on the Lord. This was the case with Jehu.

In the history of the church on earth, which we see presented in the seven churches of Revelation 2-3, we meet Jehu in the phase of Sardis. Sardis follows Thyatira as Jehu follows Jezebel. We see great similarities between Jehu and Sardis. The Lord told Sardis that she has a name that she is alive, but she is dead (Rev 3:1). The expressions of life are seen, but it is only a semblance of life. Also, her works were not found to be perfect (Rev 3:2). This did not mean that something was missing, but quite the opposite, more was done than had been required. Too much had been done and that is a sin. That is how it was with the emerging Protestantism. Protestantism has dealt with the idolatry of Rome. There is much that is of God. That is the reformation. But there is also a lot of the flesh and that is protestantism.

An example of the combination of man’s responsibility in a negative sense and God’s actions, can be seen in the judgment of Ahaziah. In 2 Chronicles 22 we read about the downfall of Ahaziah as a decree by the LORD (2Chr 22:7-9). There the death of Ahaziah is seen from the side of God. Jehu did not receive the instruction to kill Ahaziah the king of Judah. With that he did more than he should. But that does not mean that God had lost control. It is the problem of the relationship between man’s responsibility and God’s hand. Ahaziah was killed because he had sinned against God. What God uses from the actions of man does not absolve man from the responsibility of his actions.

Command to Anoint Jehu King Over Israel

Why did Elisha send a student prophet? Did he have to anoint Hazael himself? What did Elijah do before? Elisha did to Hazael what Elijah was told to do. Here we see that just like Elijah, Elisha followed with regard to Hazael; he passed on the command, putting it in the hands of one of the student prophets.

He told the student prophet to gird up his loins. This indicates that he was to walk fast to fulfill his mission quickly. Jehu must be anointed with oil from flask. That reminds us of Saul who was also anointed with oil from a flask (1Sam 10:1), while David was anointed with oil from a horn (1Sam 16:1). A flask represents fragility and a horn strength. Saul and Jehu failed in their task; David served the purpose of God (Acts 13:36).

The anointing must take place behind closed doors (2Kgs 9:2). It is not a public matter, but private. In this we can see an indication of God, determining behind the scenes, who comes to power. This also applies to all governments. By Him “kings reign” and “princes rule” (Pro 8:15; 16).

Anointing of and Command for Jehu

The student prophet came to Jehu. It seems that Jehu was somewhere on a field, in consultation with fellow captains of the army. He was one of the captains. The student prophet said he had a message, “for you, O captain”. He did not mention a name, but Jehu responded to the remark; he is the leader. The student prophet may have looked at him or even pointed to him.

When Jehu asked who he meant, the student prophet answered with the same word, “for you, O captain”. Jehu stood up and went into the house. There he is anointed by the student prophet. The words with which the anointing occurred bear witness to the profound significance associated with the anointing. Being king “over the people of the LORD” is a serious matter. This must penetrate deeply. God does not give up His claims on His people. This is also evident from the command Jehu received.

The LORD had not forgotten His people: for Jehu was to deliver his people from idolaters and idols. That should have told Jehu a lot. He needed to bring judgment on Ahab and his house (2Kgs 9:7-10). This was the command made by Elijah (1Kgs 21:21-24).

After the anointing with the accompanying words the student prophet fled. Why this fleeing? Elisha knew Jehu’s character, as he also knew Hazael’s. It seems that he ordered the young man not to stay with Jehu any longer than was necessary for the anointing. He needed act as the man of God from Judah (1Kgs 13:7-10; 16-17). Jehu was not good company for this student prophet. This is very different from the anointing of David. Samuel did not flee when he had anointed the anointed of the LORD. David was therefore the man after God’s heart.

Jehu Proclaimed King

The company Jehu was in did not excel in Godliness. They called the messenger of Elisha, the man of God, who came to Jehu with a message from God, “this mad fellow”. These scornful men were Jehu’s friends. Later Jehu himself behaved in such a way that of him is said what is said here of the prophet (2Kgs 9:11; 20).

Jehu did not respect the messenger either. In his reply, he joined in with their ridicule. He even called the man one who only talks, by which he probably meant empty or negative talk. With those words Jehu wanted to finish the subject. His comrades insisted, however, because they didn’t like his answer. They may have mentioned that the man as one who only talks, but they also knew that he didn’t just come for no reason. He would certainly have brought an important message.

When Jehu told them what the man had said and done, they suddenly changed their minds. Although they did not judge the student prophet differently, the message of that ‘talker’ was agreeable to them. They did not accept the word because they agreed with God’s Word, but because the message was convenient for them. For them, Jehu was the king they wanted immediately. They all took off their garments and placed it under him. Then they announced that Jehu had become king.

Jehu Kills Jehoram

Jehu did not oppose his appointment. He accepted the kingship his friends have chosen for him. He also immediately had his plan ready and together with the other captains he conspired against Jehoram, the king of Israel. By doing so, he made them jointly responsible for his actions. He didn’t only go because the LORD has said it, but also provided himself with the support of others. There was no request whatsoever to the LORD, for what He had chosen for him to do. He did ask if, if the captains really want him to be king, they would show it by making sure that his plan did not become known in Jezreel ahead of time.

In an in-between sentence (2Kgs 9:14b-15) it is still told that the wicked king Jehoram of Israel was in Jezreel and that he was there to be healed of the wounds he suffered in the war against the Syrians. That explains why Jehu wanted to go to Jezreel, because there is the man he wanted to kill first. Also Ahaziah king of Judah was there on a visit to his uncle Jehoram, who is on his sickbed.

The watchman on the watchtower of Jezreel saw the company of Jehu arriving and reported it in the city. Jehoram sent out a horseman to ask if they came in peace. He may have been referring to peace with the Syrians. Jehoram does not think that Jehu was on his way to kill him. When the horseman arrived and asked the king’s question for peace, Jehu answered by how the man could be thinking to ask such a question. Did he not see that there is no peace in the kingdom as long as it is ruled by such a king? The man had better join him. That was what the messenger did. The second messenger sent by Jehoram did the same.

The watchman told Jehoram of both the first and the second messengers that they greeted the company of Jehu, but did not return. Meanwhile, the company had also come closer. Now the watchman could see from the style of driving that it was Jehu. Jehu drove furiously.

The question might arise whether it is wrong to carry out a command as quickly and well as possible. Yet that is not what this is all about. With all we know about Jehu, it seems that his sole purpose in driving fast was to become king as fast as possible. Didn’t he have a wonderful reason in what the prophet had said? Isn’t it wonderful to be able to carry out God’s judgment? Jehu loved to do that, but it was a carnal pleasure for him.

This is how it can be when disciplining in the church. Discipline is necessary when people sin openly and it is not confessed. However, if this discipline is carried out with an unseen pleasure, for example because it evicts someone who obstructed our plans, the motive is purely carnal, we act in self-interest. We must always be aware that it is about the Name of the Lord. Otherwise we act in the power of the flesh, as Jehu does.

When Jehoram heard that the second rider had not returned, he and Ahaziah go to meet Jehu. Not long after, there were three kings together in Jezreel. They are drawn together as by a magnet and that even on Naboth’s land. Jehoram himself then asked the question he had asked through both horsemen, the question of peace with the Syrians. In his answer Jehu did not talk about peace with the Syrians, but about the lack of peace among God’s people.

He also talked about the cause of the lack of that peace. The cause lay in the harlotries, the witchcrafts of Jehoram’s mother Jezebel. The diagnosis was correct. How could there be peace among God’s people, as long as the disgusting and demonic influence of Jezebel was present and maintained? At the same time, the observation was businesslike. Nothing of the indignation of the prophets who share in the feelings of God’s heart’s sorrow could be heard.

When Jehoram discovered that Jehu was not an ally, but an opponent, he shouted “treachery” to Ahaziah and fled. But Jehu was prepared for that. He drew his bow with his full strength and killed the fleeing Jehoram with one well-targeted arrow. The force with which the arrow is shot is emphasized. It reflected the inner attitude of Jehu. He must and will perform his task without failure. He knew intellectually that he was engaged in carrying out the judgment announced by God through Elijah (1Kgs 21:19-24).

We even hear from what Jehu quoted, of a peculiarity that we don’t read in 1 Kings 21. It appears that Naboth’s sons were also murdered by Jezebel and Ahab in order to take possession of their piece of land and to keep it. Jezebel and Ahab would have argued that by also killing the sons, no one would be able to claim Naboth’s land.

Jehu Kills Ahaziah

When Ahaziah fled, Jehu ordered him to be killed. The actual death of Ahaziah took place some time later, because he fled to Megiddo. He was killed in the district of Samaria, not in the city of Samaria. Ahaziah was the son of the godless king Jehoram of Judah, and Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab. Instead of distancing himself from Ahab’s wicked house, he sought after its friendship. Because of this he shared in the judgment that came upon the house of Ahab.

Jehu Kills Jezebel

After Jehu killed Jehoram, he came into Samaria. There was Jezebel and to Jehu it was especially about her. When Jezebel heard that Jehu was coming, she dressed up, painting her eyes and adorning of her hair. Did she want to try to impress Jehu with her beauty? She must have known that her life was over. But instead of worrying about her soul, she was concerned about her body. That is also very much present today. It is dangerous to do a lot of physical care and neglect the care of the soul.

When she saw Jehu, she also spoke to him about peace. It was not a question of whether there was still peace to be made. It was more a statement that, as far as she was concerned, there was no peace for Jehu. She spoke to him as “Zimri, your master’s murderer”. The meaning seems to be as follows. Zimri became king by murder. However, he was king for only seven days, for after seven days of kingship, when he was cornered, he ended his life by suicide (1Kgs 16:8-10; 15-18). By naming Jehu Zimri, she said that things would not be better for him than for Zimri. She expected he would only reign for a short time. She held on to her own position.

Jehu did not answer nor address her. He spoke to her officials and asked who was with him. His question was not who is on the LORD’s side, but who is on his side. He didn’t honor the Name of the LORD, but gathered people around himself. It should not be important to us who is on our side, but who is on the Lord’s side. It is not about who is with us (cf. Mk 9:38), but who is with the Lord.

Jehu ordered for her to be thrown out of the window. Then he trampled her under foot. His actions were extremely despicable. This went beyond hating evil. The way he judged her goes beyond what is appropriate. He was stricter than God. That he was totally insensitive is shown by the fact that after having trampled Jezebel like this, he went inside to eat and drink.

Then he seemed to weaken and ordered to give a funeral to “this cursed woman” because she was a king’s daughter. However, God did not speak of a burial. The men he sent out to bury her, came back with the announcement that there was nothing left of Jezebel except for a few bones. She had been eaten by the dogs. Suddenly Jehu remembered again what Elijah had said. However, he did not allow himself to be corrected by it; it was more a conclusion. Her memory must simply disappear from Israel, she must not be remembered in any way.

© 2023 Author G. de Koning

All rights reserved. No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.

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