Jehu Writes the Leaders of Samaria
Ahab had 70 sons in Samaria. Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria to the rulers and leaders of Jezreel.*
He also sent the letters to the people who raised Ahab’s sons saying, 2-3
“As soon as you get this letter, choose the one who is the best and most worthy among your master’s sons. You have chariots and horses. And you are living in a strong city. You also have weapons. Put the son you choose on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s family.”
4 But the rulers and leaders of Jezreel were very afraid. They said, “The two kings could not stop Jehu. So we cannot stop him either!”
5 The palace manager, the official in charge of the city, the elders, and the people who raised the king’s children sent a message to Jehu. “We are your servants and we will do whatever you tell us. We will not make anyone king; you may do whatever you think is best.”
Leaders of Samaria Kill Ahab’s Children
6 Then Jehu wrote a second letter to these leaders. He said, “If you support me and obey me, cut off the heads of Ahab’s sons. Bring them to me at Jezreel about this time tomorrow.”
Ahab had 70 sons. They were with the leaders of the city who raised them. 7 When the leaders of the city received the letter, they took the king’s sons and killed all 70 of them. Then the leaders put the heads of the king’s sons in baskets and sent the baskets to Jehu at Jezreel. 8 The messenger came to Jehu and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.”
Then Jehu said, “Lay the heads in two piles at the city gate until morning.”
9 In the morning Jehu went out and stood before the people. He said to them, “You are innocent. Look, I made plans against my master. I killed him. But who killed all these sons of Ahab? You killed them. 10 You should know that everything the LORD says will happen. The LORD used Elijah to say these things about Ahab’s family. Now the LORD has done what he said he would do.”
11 So Jehu killed all the people in Ahab’s family living in Jezreel. He killed all the important men, close friends, and priests. None of Ahab’s people were left alive.
Jehu Kills Ahaziah’s Relatives
12 Jehu left Jezreel and went to Samaria. On the way, he stopped at a place called Shepherd’s Camp. 13 There he met with the relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. Jehu asked, “Who are you?”
They answered, “We are the relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. We have come down to visit the king’s children and the queen mother’s†
14 Then Jehu said, “Take them alive!”
Jehu’s men captured Ahaziah’s relatives alive. There were 42 of them. Jehu killed them at the well near Beth Eked. He did not leave anyone alive.
Jehu Meets Jehonadab
After Jehu left there, he met Jehonadab son of Recab. Jehonadab was on his way to meet Jehu. Jehu greeted Jehonadab and said to him, “Are you a faithful friend to me, as I am to you?”‡
Jehonadab answered, “Yes, I am a faithful friend to you.”
Jehu said, “If you are, give me your hand.”
Then Jehu reached out and pulled Jehonadab up into the chariot.
16 Jehu said, “Come with me. You can see how strong my feelings are for the LORD.”
So Jehonadab rode in Jehu’s chariot. 17 Jehu came to Samaria and killed all Ahab’s family who were still alive in Samaria. He killed them all. He did what the LORD had told Elijah.
Jehu Calls the Worshipers of Baal
18 Then Jehu gathered all the people together and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve Baal much. 19 Now call together all the priests and prophets of Baal. And call together everyone who worships Baal. Don’t let anyone miss this meeting. I have a great sacrifice to give to Baal. I will kill anyone who does not come to this meeting.”
But Jehu was tricking them. He wanted to destroy the worshipers of Baal. 20 Jehu said, “Prepare a holy meeting for Baal.” So the priests announced the meeting. 21 Then Jehu sent a message through all the land of Israel. All the worshipers of Baal came. Not one stayed home. The Baal worshipers came into the temple of Baal. The temple was filled with people.
22 Jehu said to the man who kept the robes, “Bring out the robes for all the worshipers of Baal.” So that man brought out the robes for the Baal worshipers.
23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Recab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the worshipers of Baal, “Look around and be sure that there are no servants of the LORD with you. Be sure there are only people who worship Baal.” 24 The worshipers of Baal went into the temple of Baal to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.
But outside, Jehu had 80 men waiting. He told them, “Don’t let anyone escape. If any man lets one person escape, that man must pay with his own life.”
25 Quickly after Jehu had finished offering the burnt offering, he said to the guards and to the captains, “Go in and kill the worshipers of Baal! Don’t let anyone come out of the temple alive!”
So the captains used thin swords and killed the worshipers of Baal. They threw the bodies of the worshipers of Baal out. Then the guards and the captains went to the inner room§
of the temple of Baal. 26
They brought out the memorial stones that were in the temple of Baal and burned that temple. 27
Then they smashed the memorial stones of Baal. They also smashed the temple of Baal. They made the temple of Baal into a public toilet, which is still used today.
28 So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel, 29 but he did not completely turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat that caused Israel to sin. Jehu did not destroy the golden calves in Bethel and in Dan.
Jehu’s Rule Over Israel
30 The LORD said to Jehu, “You have done well. You have done what I say is good. You destroyed Ahab’s family the way I wanted you to, so your descendants will rule Israel for four generations.”
31 But Jehu was not careful to follow the law of the LORD with all his heart. Jehu did not stop committing the sins of Jeroboam that caused Israel to sin.
Hazael Defeats Israel
32 At that time the LORD began to cut away sections of Israel and give them to other nations. King Hazael of Aram defeated the Israelites on every border of Israel. 33 He won the land east of the Jordan River—all the land of Gilead, including the land that belonged to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh. He won all the land from Aroer by the Arnon Valley to Gilead and Bashan.
The Death of Jehu
34 All the other great things that Jehu did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel. 35 Jehu died and was buried with his ancestors. The people buried him in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz became the new king of Israel after him. 36 Jehu ruled over Israel in Samaria for 28 years.