New English Translation
Jehu Wipes Out Ahab's Family
1 Ahab had seventy sons living in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria to the leading officials of Jezreel and to the guardians of Ahab's dynasty. This is what the letters said, 2 "You have with you the sons of your master, chariots and horses, a fortified city, and weapons. So when this letter arrives, 3 pick the best and most capable of your master's sons, place him on his father's throne, and defend your master's dynasty."
4 They were absolutely terrified and said, "Look, two kings could not stop him! How can we?" 5 So the palace supervisor, the city commissioner, the leaders, and the guardians sent this message to Jehu, "We are your subjects! Whatever you say, we will do. We will not make anyone king. Do what you consider proper."
6 He wrote them a second letter, saying, "If you are really on my side and are willing to obey me, then take the heads of your master's sons and come to me in Jezreel at this time tomorrow." Now the king had seventy sons, and the prominent men of the city were raising them. 7 When they received the letter, they seized the king's sons and executed all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to him in Jezreel. 8 The messenger came and told Jehu, "They have brought the heads of the king's sons." Jehu said, "Stack them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning." 9 In the morning he went out and stood there. Then he said to all the people, "You are innocent. I conspired against my master and killed him. But who struck down all of these men? 10 Therefore take note that not one of the judgments the LORD announced against Ahab's dynasty has failed to materialize. The LORD had done what he announced through his servant Elijah." 11 Then Jehu killed all who were left of Ahab's family in Jezreel, and all his nobles, close friends, and priests. He left no survivors.
12 Jehu then left there and set out for Samaria. While he was traveling through Beth Eked of the Shepherds, 13 Jehu encountered the relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. He asked, "Who are you?" They replied, "We are Ahaziah's relatives. We have come down to see how the king's sons and the queen mother's sons are doing." 14 He said, "Capture them alive!" So they captured them alive and then executed all forty-two of them in the cistern at Beth Eked. He left no survivors.
15 When he left there, he met Jehonadab, son of Rekab, who had been looking for him. Jehu greeted him and asked, "Are you as committed to me as I am to you?" Jehonadab answered, "I am!" Jehu replied, "If so, give me your hand." So he offered his hand and Jehu pulled him up into the chariot. 16 Jehu said, "Come with me and see how zealous I am for the LORD's cause." So he took him along in his chariot. 17 He went to Samaria and exterminated all the members of Ahab's family who were still alive in Samaria, just as the LORD had announced to Elijah.
Jehu Executes the Prophets and Priests of Baal
18 Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, "Ahab worshiped Baal a little; Jehu will worship him with great devotion. 19 So now, bring to me all the prophets of Baal, as well as all his servants and priests. None of them must be absent, for I am offering a great sacrifice to Baal. Any of them who fail to appear will lose their lives." But Jehu was tricking them so he could destroy the servants of Baal. 20 Then Jehu ordered, "Make arrangements for a celebration for Baal." So they announced it. 21 Jehu sent invitations throughout Israel, and all the servants of Baal came; not one was absent. They arrived at the temple of Baal and filled it up from end to end. 22 Jehu ordered the one who was in charge of the wardrobe, "Bring out robes for all the servants of Baal." So he brought out robes for them. 23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Rekab went to the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the servants of Baal, "Make sure there are no servants of the LORD here with you; there must be only servants of Baal." 24 They went inside to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside. He had told them, "If any of the men inside get away, you will pay with your lives!"
25 When he finished offering the burnt sacrifice, Jehu ordered the royal guard and officers, "Come in and strike them down! Don't let any escape!" So the royal guard and officers struck them down with the sword and left their bodies lying there. Then they entered the inner sanctuary of the temple of Baal. 26 They hauled out the sacred pillar of the temple of Baal and burned it. 27 They demolished the sacred pillar of Baal and the temple of Baal; it is used as a latrine to this very day. 28 So Jehu eradicated Baal worship from Israel.
A Summary of Jehu's Reign
29 However, Jehu did not repudiate the sins which Jeroboam son of Nebat had encouraged Israel to commit; the golden calves remained in Bethel and Dan. 30 The LORD said to Jehu, "You have done well. You have accomplished my will and carried out my wishes with regard to Ahab's dynasty. Therefore four generations of your descendants will rule over Israel." 31 But Jehu did not carefully and wholeheartedly obey the law of the LORD God of Israel. He did not repudiate the sins which Jeroboam had encouraged Israel to commit.
32 In those days the LORD began to reduce the size of Israel's territory. Hazael attacked their eastern border. 33 He conquered all the land of Gilead, including the territory of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh, extending all the way from the Aroer in the Arnon Valley through Gilead to Bashan.
34 The rest of the events of Jehu's reign, including all his accomplishments and successes, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 35 Jehu passed away and was buried in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz replaced him as king. 36 Jehu reigned over Israel for twenty-eight years in Samaria.
King James Version
1 And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's children, saying,
2 Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master's sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armour;
3 Look even out the best and meetest of your master's sons, and set him on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house.
4 But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand?
5 And he that was over the house, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up of the children, sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes.
6 Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be mine, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king's sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up.
7 And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king's sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel.
8 ¶ And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning.
9 And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these?
10 Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah.
11 So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.
12 ¶ And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing house in the way,
13 Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who are ye? And they answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen.
14 And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them.
15 ¶ And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot.
16 And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot.
17 And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the LORD, which he spake to Elijah.
18 ¶ And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much.
19 Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtilty, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal.
20 And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it.
21 And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to another.
22 And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments.
23 And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but the worshippers of Baal only.
24 And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him.
25 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal.
26 And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them.
27 And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day.
28 Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.
29 ¶ Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Beth-el, and that were in Dan.
30 And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.
31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.
32 ¶ In those days the LORD began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel;
33 From Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan.
34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
35 And Jehu slept with his fathers: and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead.
36 And the time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty and eight years.