God has ordained that Elisha will anoint Jehu (son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi) as king over Israel. The servant of the prophet, at Elisha’s instructions, anointed him in secret chambers (reminiscent of Samuel’s anointing of Saul in 1 Samuel 9:27-10:1). As he anointed him, the servant gave him the instructions of the Lord as given to Elisha (verses 6-10). He is to carry out the prophecy of 1 Kings 21:21-4 that Elijah had spoken to Ahab, declaring the death and destruction of Ahab’s house, that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs (we learn later that this is for killing the Lord’s prophets), and that Ahab’s blood would be shed in the very same place where he and Jezebel had caused Naboth to be stoned to death for his vineyard (1 Kings 21:19). Because of Ahab’s repentance in 1 Kings 21:25-29, the Lord relents on Ahab himself, and has Elijah wait for his son to come to power.
Jehu wastes no time in assuming power (verses 12-13), and heads to Jezreel to deal with Ahab’s son, Joram and his mother Jezebel. The tension of the story mounts while Jehu furiously approaches, as one by one, messengers sent to inquire of Jehu’s intentions fail to return – instead turning to ride with Jehu! Ahaziah, the king of Judah, had come to visit Joram, so at first reading, one might think that it was just his bad luck to be there. But another account of this event with more details is in 2 Chronicles 22 (especially 2 Chronicles 22:7-9), making it clear that Ahaziah’s death was ordained by God.After Jehu, kills Joram, he has his body taken to be thrown on the ground of Naboth’s vineyard. He then pursues Ahaziah and has him shot near Ibleam; and Ahaziah makes it to Megiddo before dying. Back in Jezreel, he had Jezebel tossed out the window; and when he sat down to eat, he gave instructions to have her buried. But when they went to get her, there was not much left of her body (verses 35-37), just as God had said.
This chapter shows us once again that when God’s will is made known, you can count on it coming to pass – in His time.
This link to an interesting article about excavations in Tel Jezreel has a lot of great information and pictures, and interesting bits of history, such as a reference that “shortly before Jehu’s revolt in 842 BCE King Joram and the dowager Queen Jezebel were in residence in Jezreel.”
Also, this link to the British Museum is about an Assyrian exhibit of a find in an 1846 excavation containing the Black Obelisk of Shalmanesar III (a public monument erected about 825 BCE), which both mentions and pictures Jehu (the earliest known picture made of an Israelite) and Ahab’s father Omri. It has an inscription about tribute the Assyrian king received from Jehu when he was king (dated about 841 BCE) written in Assyrian cuneiform:
“The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears.”
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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