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2 Kings 9-11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 9

Elisha and Jehu of Israel.[a] Elisha the prophet called one of the guild prophets and said to him: “Get ready for a journey. Take this flask of oil with you, and go to Ramoth-gilead. When you get there, look for Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. Enter and take him away from his companions and bring him into an inner chamber. From the flask you have, pour oil on his head, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee without delay.”

The aide (the prophet’s aide) went to Ramoth-gilead. When he arrived, the commanders of the army were in session. He said, “I have a message for you, commander.” Jehu asked, “For which one of us?” “For you, commander,” he answered. Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet’s aide poured the oil on his head and said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. [b]You shall destroy the house of Ahab your master; thus will I avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the other servants of the Lord shed by Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab shall perish:

I will cut off from Ahab’s line every male,
    whether bond or free in Israel.

I will make the house of Ahab like that of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, and like that of Baasha, son of Ahijah. 10 In the confines of Jezreel, the dogs shall devour Jezebel so that no one can bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled.

11 When Jehu rejoined his master’s servants, they asked him, “Is all well? Why did that madman come to you?” He replied, “You know that kind of man and his talk.” 12 But they said, “Tell us another lie!” So he told them, “This is what the prophet’s aide said to me, ‘Thus says the Lord: I anoint you king over Israel.’” 13 At once each took his garment, spread it under Jehu on the bare steps, blew the horn, and cried out, “Jehu is king!”

VIII. The End of the Omrid Dynasty[c]

Death of Joram of Israel. 14 Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi, formed a conspiracy against Joram. (Joram, with all Israel, had been besieging Ramoth-gilead against Hazael, king of Aram, 15 but had returned to Jezreel to be healed of the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him in the battle against Hazael, king of Aram.)

Jehu said to them, “If this is what you really want, see that no one escapes from the city to report in Jezreel.”

16 Then Jehu mounted his chariot and drove to Jezreel, where Joram lay ill and Ahaziah, king of Judah, had come to visit him. 17 The watchman standing on the tower in Jezreel saw the troop of Jehu coming and reported, “I see chariots.” Joram said, “Get a driver and send him to meet them and to ask whether all is well.” 18 So a horseman went out to meet him and said, “The king asks, ‘Is everything all right?’” Jehu said, “What does it matter to you how things are? Get behind me.” The watchman reported to the king, “The messenger has reached them, but is not returning.” 19 Joram sent a second horseman, who went to them and said, “The king asks, ‘Is everything all right?’” “What does it matter to you how things are?” Jehu replied. “Get behind me.” 20 The watchman reported, “He has reached them, but is not returning. The driving is like that of Jehu, son of Nimshi; he drives like a madman.” 21 “Hitch up my chariot,” said Joram, and they hitched up his chariot. Then Joram, king of Israel, and Ahaziah, king of Judah, set out, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. They reached him near the plot of ground of Naboth the Jezreelite.

22 When Joram recognized Jehu, he asked, “Is everything all right, Jehu?” Jehu replied, “How could everything be all right as long as all the harlotry and sorcery[d] of your mother Jezebel continues?” 23 Joram reined about and fled, crying to Ahaziah, “Treason, Ahaziah!” 24 But Jehu had drawn his bow and he shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow went through his heart and he collapsed in his chariot. 25 Then Jehu said to his adjutant Bidkar, “Take him and throw him into the plot of ground in the field of Naboth the Jezreelite. For remember when you and I were driving teams behind Ahab his father, the Lord delivered this oracle against him: 26 As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons—oracle of the Lord—I will repay you for it in that very plot of ground—oracle of the Lord. So now take him and throw him into this plot of ground, in keeping with the word of the Lord.”

Death of Ahaziah of Judah. 27 Seeing what was happening, Ahaziah, king of Judah, fled toward Beth-haggan. Jehu pursued him, shouting, “Him too!” They struck him as he rode through the pass of Gur near Ibleam, but he continued his flight as far as Megiddo and died there. 28 His servants brought him in a chariot to Jerusalem and they buried him in his grave with his ancestors in the City of David. 29 In the eleventh year of Joram, son of Ahab, Ahaziah became king over Judah.

Death of Jezebel. 30 Jehu came to Jezreel, and when Jezebel heard of it, she shadowed her eyes, adorned her hair, and looked down from her window. 31 As Jehu came through the gate, she cried out, “Is all well, you Zimri, murderer of your master?” 32 Jehu looked up to the window and shouted, “Who is on my side? Who?” At this, two or three eunuchs looked down toward him. 33 “Throw her down,” he ordered. They threw her down, and some of her blood spurted against the wall and against the horses. Jehu trod over her body 34 and, after eating and drinking, he said: “Attend to that accursed woman and bury her; for she was the daughter of a king.” 35 But when they went to bury her, they found nothing of her but the skull, the feet, and the hands. 36 They returned to Jehu, and when they told him, he said, “This is the word the Lord spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: In the confines of Jezreel the dogs shall devour the flesh of Jezebel. 37 The corpse of Jezebel shall be like dung in the field in the confines of Jezreel, so that no one can say: This was Jezebel.”

Chapter 10

Death of the Sons of Ahab of Israel. Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the elders who were rulers of Jezreel and to Ahab’s guardians. Jehu wrote: “Since your master’s sons are with you, as well as his chariots, horses, fortified city, and weaponry, when this letter reaches you decide which is the best and the fittest of your master’s sons, place him on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house.” They were overcome with fright and said, “If the two kings could not withstand him, how can we?” So the master of the palace and the chief of the city, along with the elders and the guardians, sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants, and we will do everything you tell us. We will proclaim no one king; do whatever you think best.” So Jehu wrote them a second letter: “If you are on my side and will obey me, bring along the heads of your master’s sons[e] and come to me in Jezreel at this time tomorrow.” (The seventy princes were in the care of prominent men of the city, who were rearing them.)

When the letter arrived, they took the princes and slew all seventy of them, put their heads in baskets, and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. A messenger came in and told him, “They have brought the heads of the princes.” He said, “Pile them in two heaps at the gate of the city until morning.”

In the morning he came outside, stood there, and said to all the people: “You are guiltless, for it was I who conspired against my lord and slew him. But who killed all these? 10 Know that not a single word which the Lord has spoken against the house of Ahab shall fail. The Lord has accomplished what he decreed through his servant Elijah.” 11 (And so Jehu slew all who were left of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, as well as all his powerful supporters, intimates, and priests, leaving him no survivor.) 12 Then he went back inside.

Death of the Relatives of Ahaziah of Judah. He set out for Samaria and, at Beth-eked-haroim on the way, 13 Jehu came across relatives of Ahaziah, king of Judah. “Who are you?” he asked, and they said, “We are relatives of Ahaziah. We are going down to visit the princes and the family of the queen mother.”[f] 14 “Take them alive,” Jehu ordered. They were taken alive, forty-two in number, then slain at the pit of Beth-eked. Not one of them survived.

15 When he set out from there, Jehu met Jehonadab, son of Rechab, on the road. He greeted him and asked, “Are you with me wholeheartedly, as I am with you?” “Yes,” he replied. “If you are, give me your hand.” He gave him his hand, and he had him mount his chariot, 16 and said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” And they took him along in his chariot.

Slaughter of the Worshipers of Baal. 17 When he arrived in Samaria, Jehu slew all who were left of Ahab’s line in Samaria, doing away with them completely, according to the word the Lord spoke to Elijah.

18 Jehu gathered all the people together and said to them: “Ahab served Baal to some extent, but Jehu will serve him yet more. 19 Now summon for me all Baal’s prophets, all his servants, and all his priests. See that no one is absent, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal. Whoever is absent shall not live.” This Jehu did as a ruse, so that he might destroy the servants of Baal.

20 Jehu said further, “Proclaim a solemn assembly in honor of Baal.” They did so, 21 and Jehu sent word of it throughout all Israel. All the servants of Baal came; there was no one who did not come; they came to the temple of Baal, and it was filled from wall to wall. 22 Then Jehu said to the custodian of the wardrobe, “Bring out garments for all the servants of Baal.” When he had brought out the garments for them, 23 Jehu, with Jehonadab, son of Rechab, entered the temple of Baal and said to the servants of Baal, “Search and be sure that there is no one who serves the Lord here with you, but only servants of Baal.” 24 Then they proceeded to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty troops outside with this warning, “Any of you who lets someone escape of those whom I shall deliver into your hands shall pay life for life.”

25 As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guards and aides, “Go in and slay them. Let no one escape.” So the guards and aides put them to the sword and cast them out. Afterward they went into the inner shrine of the temple of Baal, 26 and took out the pillars of the temple of Baal. They burned the shrine, 27 tore down the pillar of Baal, tore down the temple of Baal, and turned it into a latrine, as it remains today.

28 Thus Jehu destroyed Baal in Israel.

Death of Jehu of Israel. 29 However, Jehu did not desist from the sins which Jeroboam, son of Nebat, had caused Israel to commit, the golden calves at Bethel and at Dan.

30 The Lord said to Jehu: Because you have done well what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in my heart, your sons to the fourth generation shall sit upon the throne of Israel. 31 But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart, since he did not desist from the sins which Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit. 32 At that time the Lord began to dismember Israel. Hazael defeated the Israelites throughout their territory 33 east of the Jordan (all the land of Gilead, of the Gadites, Reubenites, and Manassites), from Aroer on the wadi Arnon up through Gilead and Bashan.

34 The rest of the acts of Jehu, with all that he did and all his valor, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. 35 Jehu rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria, and his son Jehoahaz succeeded him as king. 36 The length of Jehu’s reign over Israel was twenty-eight years in Samaria.

Chapter 11

Death of the Heirs of Ahaziah of Judah. When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she began to kill off the whole royal family. But Jehosheba,[g] daughter of King Joram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash, Ahaziah’s son, and spirited him away, along with his nurse, from the bedroom where the princes were about to be slain. He was concealed from Athaliah, and so he did not die. For six years he remained hidden with her in the house of the Lord, while Athaliah ruled as queen over the land.

Death of Athaliah. But in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians[h] and of the guards. He had them come to him in the house of the Lord, made a covenant with them, exacted an oath from them in the house of the Lord, and then showed them the king’s son. He gave them these orders: “This is what you must do: one third of you who come on duty on the sabbath shall guard the king’s house; another third shall be at the gate Sur; and the last third shall be at the gate behind the guards. You shall guard the palace on all sides, while the two of your divisions who are going off duty that week shall keep guard over the house of the Lord for the king. You shall surround the king, each with drawn weapons, and anyone who tries to approach the guard detail is to be killed; stay with the king, wherever he goes.”

The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each took his troops, both those going on duty for the week and those going off duty that week, and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 He gave the captains King David’s spear and quivers, which were in the house of the Lord. 11 And the guards, with drawn weapons, lined up from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on the king’s behalf. 12 Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown and the testimony[i] upon him. They proclaimed him king and anointed him, clapping their hands and shouting, “Long live the king!”

13 When Athaliah heard the noise made by the people, she came before them in the house of the Lord. 14 When she saw the king standing by the column,[j] as was the custom, and the captains and trumpeters near the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, Athaliah tore her garments and cried out, “Treason, treason!” 15 Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains in command of the force: “Escort her with a guard detail. If anyone follows her, let him die by the sword.” For the priest had said, “She must not die in the house of the Lord.” 16 So they seized her, and when she reached the Horse Gate of the king’s house, she was put to death.

17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people,[k] by which they would be the Lord’s people; and another between the king and the people. 18 Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. Jehoiada the priest appointed a detachment for the house of the Lord, 19 and took the captains, the Carians, the guards, and all the people of the land, and they led the king down from the house of the Lord; they came through the guards’ gate to the king’s house, and Joash took his seat on the royal throne. 20 All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the king’s house.

Footnotes:

  1. 9:1–13 Elisha carries out the commission the Lord gave Elijah in 1 Kgs 19:16. See note on 2 Kgs 3:1–9:13.
  2. 9:7–10 The author has Elisha’s emissary expand considerably the speech Elisha told him to deliver by adding the same type of prophetic indictments and sanctions as were invoked on previous occasions against the dynasties of Jeroboam (1 Kgs 14:10–11), of Baasha (1 Kgs 16:3–4), and of Ahab himself (1 Kgs 21:21–24).
  3. 9:14–11:20 Death pervades this section. The dynasty founded by Omri (1 Kgs 16:23) drowns in a bloodbath, taking numberless others along with it. The scenes are in three parallel sets of three: death comes (1) to Joram of Israel, Ahab’s son; to Ahaziah of Judah, his son-in-law; and to Jezebel, the Baalist queen mother of Israel; (2) then to seventy descendants of Ahab; to forty-two relatives of Ahaziah of Judah; and to numerous Baal worshipers; (3) finally to Jehu of Israel; to the blood royal of Judah; and to Athaliah, the Baalist queen mother of Judah and last of the Omrids.
  4. 9:22 Harlotry and sorcery: both terms are metaphors referring to Jezebel’s worship of the foreign god Baal.
  5. 10:6 Heads of your master’s sons: Jehu’s command is cleverly ambiguous. He allows the Samarian leaders to understand “heads” either literally or metaphorically as “most important individuals.” Then, when the leaders decapitate Ahab’s potential successors, Jehu can claim to be innocent of their blood (v. 9).
  6. 10:13 Since Athaliah, the queen mother in Judah, was of the Israelite royal house (8:18, 26), both the “princes” (lit., the “king’s sons”) and the queen mother’s “family” (lit., her “sons”) would belong to the royal houses of both kingdoms. They may thus be numbered among the seventy “sons of Ahab” killed in vv. 1–7. Because “sons” can refer to more remote offspring, the queen mother’s “sons” may include Ahaziah’s brothers, sons, nephews, as well as the “relatives” (lit., the “brothers”) of Ahaziah who are speaking in this scene.
  7. 11:2 According to 2 Chr 22:11, Jehosheba was the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest. If this is historical, it would explain her access to the Temple’s residential precincts.
  8. 11:4 Carians: foreign mercenaries serving as the royal bodyguard. Compare “Cherethites and Pelethites” in 1 Kgs 1:38.
  9. 11:12 Testimony: that is, the two tablets of the law preserved in the ark in the Temple. Presumably they were placed upon the king during his installation ceremony as a reminder of the law he was to uphold.
  10. 11:14 By the column: the king’s special place in the Temple court; cf. 23:3; 2 Chr 23:13. People of the land: in this period, the phrase referred to the important citizenry, whose influence sometimes extended to the selection of royal successors (cf. 2 Kgs 11:14–20; 15:5; 16:15; 21:24; 23:6, 30–35; 24:14; 25:3, 19). In postexilic times, by contrast, the phrase was used of the poor.
  11. 11:17 There are two covenants. One is between the Lord as one party and the people, headed by the king, as the other. The second covenant, between king and people, is comparable to that made between David and the elders of Israel at Hebron (2 Sm 5:3).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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