Bible Commentary: 2 Kings 9:14-37 and Related

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2 Kings 9:14-37 and Related

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Jehu Kills Joram, Ahaziah and Jezebel

While Ahaziah was visiting the injured Joram in Jezreel, where he was recuperating, Jehu and his men pressed furiously toward the city. Joram and Ahaziah went out to meet him on the property of Naboth (whose vineyard Ahab and Jezebel had stolen by murdering him, 1 Kings 21:1-16 1 Kings 21:1-16 [1] And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. [2] And Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near to my house: and I will give you for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to you, I will give you the worth of it in money. [3] And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you. [4] And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. [5] But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, Why is your spirit so sad, that you eat no bread? [6] And he said to her, Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give you my vineyard. [7] And Jezebel his wife said to him, Do you now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let your heart be merry: I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. [8] So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth. [9] And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: [10] And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, You did blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die. [11] And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them. [12] They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. [13] And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. [14] Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead. [15] And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead. [16] And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
American King James Version×
). Jehu killed Joram and had Ahaziah, who tried to escape, tracked down, brought back and killed as well (2 Kings 9:24-27 2 Kings 9:24-27 [24] And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot. [25] Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and you rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden on him; [26] Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, said the LORD; and I will requite you in this plat, said the LORD. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD. [27] But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.
American King James Version×
; 2 Chronicles 22:9 2 Chronicles 22:9And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.
American King James Version×
). Jehu also killed the princes of Judah (verse 8).

At first it may seem like Jehu was going overboard in killing the king of Judah and the royal princes there. But it should be remembered that King Ahaziah of Judah was the grandson of Ahab. Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, had contaminated the royal family of David with Ahab’s lineage and idolatrous influence, and Jehu was being used to destroy it in Judah as well as in Israel.

When Jezebel heard that Jehu had come to Jezreel, she “put paint on her eyes and adorned her head,” obviously with the intent of seducing him (2 Kings 9:30 2 Kings 9:30And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.
American King James Version×
). But Jehu did not fall for it, and Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied that Israel and Judah’s future enemies would not fall for such conduct either (Jeremiah 4:30 Jeremiah 4:30And when you are spoiled, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, though you deck you with ornaments of gold, though you rend your face with painting, in vain shall you make yourself fair; your lovers will despise you, they will seek your life.
American King James Version×
; Ezekiel 23:40 Ezekiel 23:40And furthermore, that you have sent for men to come from far, to whom a messenger was sent; and, see, they came: for whom you did wash yourself, painted your eyes, and decked yourself with ornaments,
American King James Version×
), though in the latter case the enemies do go ahead and have improper relations with them, taking advantage of their willingness (verse 44).

Some believe that these passages prohibit Christians from using makeup. Although the use of makeup clearly would be wrong if used for an improper purpose, these passages do not condemn its use in general. Note that it says, figuratively, in Ezekiel 23:40 Ezekiel 23:40And furthermore, that you have sent for men to come from far, to whom a messenger was sent; and, see, they came: for whom you did wash yourself, painted your eyes, and decked yourself with ornaments,
American King James Version×
that Israel and Judah adorned themselves with ornaments, painted their eyes, and washed themselves for them, i.e., powerful men they sent for. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with washing—we are supposed to do that. The problem is that the use of jewelry and makeup and the washing were being done “for them”—that is, with the intent of seduction. Israel, like Jezebel, was prostituting herself to buy favor with a conqueror. The motive is condemned here, not the mere act of washing—nor the act of wearing jewelry or applying cosmetics. (Note also that even today, ancient Egypt remains famous for its use of cosmetics. Even the lower classes in Egypt wore makeup—both men and women. And yet God says nothing at all about makeup in the extremely detailed statutes He gave when Israel left Egypt.)

Jehu ordered those in the palace who decided to follow him at this point to throw Jezebel down from the wall, “and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and he trampled her underfoot.” Later, when they wanted to bury her, they found only “her skull and the feet and the palms of her hands” (2 Kings 9:33-35 2 Kings 9:33-35 [33] And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he stepped her under foot. [34] And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter. [35] And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands.
American King James Version×
). Jehu realized that Elisha’s prophecy regarding Jezebel had been fulfilled precisely (verses 36-37; 1 Kings 21:23-24 1 Kings 21:23-24 [23] And of Jezebel also spoke the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. [24] Him that dies of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dies in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.
American King James Version×
). Although this punishment might sound cruel, let’s not forget the Bible’s evaluation of Ahab and Jezebel’s deeds and character: “But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up” (verse 25). Jezebel was so evil that Christ uses her name to symbolize spiritual corruption (see Revelation 2:20 Revelation 2:20Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
American King James Version×
). Remember also that she had mercilessly slaughtered God’s prophets (1 Kings 18:3-4 1 Kings 18:3-4 [3] And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: [4] For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)
American King James Version×
); now their blood was being avenged (2 Kings 9:7 2 Kings 9:7And you shall smite the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel.
American King James Version×
). We should always be mindful of the fact that God will repay the wicked (see Deuteronomy 7:9-10 Deuteronomy 7:9-10 [9] Know therefore that the LORD your God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; [10] And repays them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hates him, he will repay him to his face.
American King James Version×
).

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