|je'-hu (himself who exists, Yahweh is he, the living, Jehovah is he)
RELATED: Ahab, Elijah, Elisha, Jehoshaphat, Jezebel, Jezreel, Kingdom of Israel, Naboth, Obed, Seraiah
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Jehovah is he.
(1) The son of Obed, and father of Azariah ( 1
Chronicles 2:38 ).
(2) One of the Benjamite slingers that joined David at Ziklag ( 1
Chronicles 12:3 ).
(3) The son of Hanani, a prophet of Judah ( 1
Kings 16:1 , 16:7
Chronicles 19:2 ; 20:34
), who pronounced the sentence of God against Baasha, the king of Israel.
(4) King of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat (Note: Not the same as Jehoshaphat,
King of Judah -- BIBLEing.com) ( 2
Kings 9:2 ), and grandson of Nimshi. The story of his exaltation to the throne
is deeply interesting. During the progress of a war against the Syrians, who were
becoming more and more troublesome to Israel, in a battle at Ramoth-gilead Jehoram,
the king of Israel, had been wounded; and leaving his army there, had returned
to Jezreel, whither his ally, Ahaziah, king of Judah, had also gone on a visit
of sympathy with him ( 2
Kings 8:28 , 8:29
). The commanders, being left in charge of the conduct of the war, met in council;
and while engaged in their deliberations, a messenger from Elisha appeared in
the camp, and taking Jehu from the council, led him into a secret chamber, and
there anointed him king over Israel, and immediately retired and disappeared (
Kings 9:5 , 9:6
). On being interrogated by his companions as to the object of this mysterious
visitor, he informed them of what had been done, when immediately, with the utmost
enthusiasm, they blew their trumpets and proclaimed him king ( 2
Kings 9:11 - 14
). He then with a chosen band set forth with all speed to Jezreel, where, with
his own hand, he slew Jehoram, shooting him through the heart with an arrow (
Kings 9:24 ). The king of Judah, when trying to escape, was fatally wounded
by one of Jehu's soldiers at Beth-gan. On entering the city, Jehu commanded the
eunchs of the royal palace to cast down Jezebel into the street, where her mangled
body was trodden under foot by the horses. Jehu was now master of Jezreel, whence
he communicated with the persons in authority in Samaria the capital, commanding
them to appear before him on the morrow with the heads of all the royal princes
of Samaria. Accordingly on the morrow seventy heads were piled up in two heaps
at his gate. At "the shearing-house" ( 2
Kings 10:12 - 14
) other forty-two connected with the house of Ahab were put to death ( 2
Kings 10:14 ). As Jehu rode on toward Samaria, he met Jehonadab (q.v.), whom
he took into his chariot, and they entered the capital together. By a cunning
stratagem he cut off all the worshippers of Baal found in Samaria ( 2
Kings 10:19 - 25
), and destroyed the temple of the idol (
2 Kings 10:27 ).
Notwithstanding all this apparent zeal for the worship of Jehovah, Jehu yet tolerated
the worship of the golden calves at Dan and Bethel. For this the divine displeasure
rested upon him, and his kingdom suffered disaster in war with the Syrians ( 2
Kings 10:29 - 33
). He died after a reign of twenty-eight years (B.C. 884-856), and was buried
in Samaria ( 2
Kings 10:34 - 36
). "He was one of those decisive, terrible, and ambitious, yet prudent, calculating,
and passionless men whom God from time to time raises up to change the fate of
empires and execute his judgments on the earth." He was the first Jewish king
who came in contact with the Assyrian power in the time of Shalmaneser II.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
himself who exists
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(1) The founder of the fifth dynasty of the kingdom of Israel, son of Jehoshaphat
(Note: Not the same as Jehoshaphat, King of Judah -- BIBLEing.com) . ( 2
Kings 9:2 ) He reigned over Israel 28 years, B.C. 884-856. His first appearance
in history is when he heard the warning of Elijah against the murderer of Naboth.
Kings 9:25 ) In the reigns of Ahaziah and Jehoram, Jehu rose to importance.
He was, under the last-named king, captain of the host in the siege of Ramoth-gilead.
During this siege he was anointed by Elishas servant, and told that he was appointed
to be king of Israel and destroyer of the house of Ahab. ( 2
Kings 9:12 ) The army at once ordained him king, and he set off full speed
for Jezreel. Jehoram, who was lying ill in Jezreel, came out to meet him, as it
happened on the fatal field of Naboth. ( 2
Kings 9:21 - 24
) Jehu seized his opportunity, and shot him through the heart. ( 2
Kings 9:24 ) Jehu himself advanced to the gates of Jezreel and fulfilled the
divine warning on Jezebel as already on Jehoram. He then entered on a work of
extermination hitherto unparalleled in the history of the Jewish monarchy. All
the descendants of Ahab that remained in Jezreel, together with the officers of
the court and the hierarchy of Eastward, were swept away. His next step was to
secure Samaria. For the pretended purpose of inaugurating anew the worship of
Baal, he called all the Bailouts together at Samaria. The vast temple raised by
Ahab, ( 1
Kings 16:32 ) was crowded from end to end. The chief sacrifice was offered,
as if in the excess of his zeal, by Jehu himself. As soon as it was ascertained
that all, and none but, the idolaters were there, the signal was given to eighty
trusted guards, and sweeping massacre removed at one blow the whole heathen population
of the kingdom of Israel. This is the last public act recorded of Jehu. The remaining
twenty-seven years of his long reign are passed over in a few words, in which
two points only are material: --He did not destroy the calf-worship of Jeroboam:--
The transjordanic tribes suffered much from the ravages of Hazael. ( 2
Kings 10:29 - 33
) He was buried in state in Samaria, and was succeeded by his son Jehoahaz. (
Kings 10:35 ) His name is the first of the Israelite kings which appears in
the Assyrian monuments.
(2) Jehu son of Hanani; a prophet of Judah, but whose ministrations were chiefly
directed to Israel. His father was probably the seer who attacked Asa. ( 2
Chronicles 16:7 ) He must have begun his career as a prophet when very young.
He first denounced Baasha, ( 1
Kings 16:1 , 16:7
) and then, after an interval of thirty years, reappeared to denounce Jehoshaphat
for his alliance with Ahab. ( 2
Chronicles 19:2 , 19:3
) He survived Jehoshaphat and wrote his life. ch. ( 2
Chronicles 20:34 )
(3) A man of Judah of the house of Hezron. ( 1
Chronicles 2:38 )
(4) A Simeonite, son of Josibiah. ( 1
Chronicles 4:35 )
(5) Jehu the Antothite was one of the chief of the heroes of Benjamin who joined
David at Ziklag. ( 1
Chronicles 12:3 )
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
je'-hu (yehu; meaning uncertain, perhaps "Yahweh is he";
1 Kings 19:16 , 17 ; 2 Kings 9 ; 10 ; Eiou):
Son of Jehoshaphat (Note: Not the same as Jehoshaphat, King of Judah -- BIBLEing.com)
, and descendant of Nimshi, hence, commonly called "the son of Nimshi"; 10th king
of Israel, and founder of its IVth Dynasty. Jehu reign for 28 years. His accession
may be reckoned at circa 752 BC (some date a few years later).
1. Officer of Ahab:
A soldier of fortune, Jehu appears first as an officer in the body-guard of Ahab.
To himself we owe the information that he was present at the judicial murder of
Naboth, and that Naboth's sons were put to death with their father (2 Kings 9:26).
He was in attendance when Ahab drove from Samaria to inspect his new possession
in Jezreel, and was witness of the dramatic encounter at the vineyard between
the king and the prophet Elijah (compare 1 Kings 21:16). Years after, Jehu reminded
Bidkar, his captain (literally, "thirdsman," in chariot), of the doom they had
there heard pronounced upon Ahab and his house (2 Kings 9:25). It was in fulfillment
of this doom that Jehu at that time ordered the body of the slain Jehoram to be
thrown into the enclosure which had once been Naboth's (2 Kings 9:26). Ahab's
temporary repentance averted the punishment from himself for a few years (1 Kings
21:27 - 29), but the blow fell at the battle of Ramoth-gilead, and Jehu would
not be unmindful of the prophet's words as he beheld the dogs licking Ahab's blood
as they washed his chariot "by the pool of Samaria" (1 Kings 22:38).
2. Jehoram at Ramoth-gilead and Jezreel:
A different fate awaited Ahab's two sons. The elder, Ahaziah, died, after a short
reign, from the effects of an accident (2 Kings 1). He was succeeded by his brother
Jehoram, who toward the close of his reign of 12 years (2 Kings 3:1) determined
on an attempt to recover Ramoth-gilead, where his father had been fatally stricken,
from Hazael, of Syria. Ramoth-gilead was taken (2 Kings 9:14), but in the attack
the Israelite king was severely wounded, and was taken to Jezreel to be healed
of his wounds (2 Kings 9:15). The city meanwhile was left in charge of Jehu and
his fellow-captains. At Jezreel he was visited by Ahaziah, of Judah, who had taken
part with him in the war (2 Kings 8:28 , 8:29; 9:16).
3. The Anointing of Jehu:
The time was now ripe for the execution of the predicted vengeance on the house
of Ahab, and to Elisha the prophet, the successor of Elijah, it fell to take the
decisive step which precipitated the crisis. Hazael and Jehu had already been
named to Elijah as the persons who were to execute the Divine judgment, the one
as king of Syria, the other as king of Israel (1 Kings 19:15 - 17). Elijah was
doubtless aware of this commission, which it was now his part, as respected Jehu,
to fulfill. A messenger was hastily dispatched to Ramoth-gilead, with instructions
to seek out Jehu, take him apart, anoint him king of Israel in Yahweh's name,
and charge him with the task of utterly destroying the house of Ahab in punishment
for the righteous blood shed by Ahab and Jezebel. The messenger was then to flee.
This was done, and Jehu, the sacred oil poured on his head, found himself alone
with this appalling trust committed to him (2 Kings 9:1 - 10).
4. The Revolution--Death of Jehoram:
Events now moved rapidly. Jehu's companions were naturally eager to know what
had happened, and on learning that Jehu had been anointed king, they at once improvised
a throne by throwing their garments on the top of some steps, blew the trumpet,
and proclaimed, "Jehu is king." Not a moment was lost. No one was permitted to
leave the city to carry forth tidings, and Jehu himself, with characteristic impetuosity,
set out, with a small body of horsemen, in his chariot to Jezreel. Bidkar was
there as charioteer (2 Kings 9:25). As they came within sight of the city, a watchman
reported their advance, and messengers were sent to inquire as to their errand.
These were ordered to fall into the rear. This conduct awakened suspicion, and
Jehoram and Ahaziah - who was still with his invalided kinsman - ordered their
chariots, and proceeded in person to meet Jehu. The companies met at the ill-omened
field of Naboth, and there the first stroke of vengeance fell. The anxious query,
"Is it peace?" was answered by a storm of denunciation from Jehu, and on Jehoram
turning to flee, an arrow from Jehu's powerful bow shot him through the heart,
and he sank dead in his chariot. Ahaziah likewise was pursued, and smitten "at
the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam." He died at Megiddo, and was taken to Jerusalem
for burial in the sepulcher of the kings (2 Kings 9:11 - 28). A somewhat variant
account of Ahaziah's death is given in 2 Chronicles 22:9. It is possible that
Jehu came to Megiddo or its neighborhood, and had to do with his end there.
5. Death of Jezebel:
The slaughter of Jehoram was at once followed by that of the chief instigator
of all the crimes for which the house of Ahab suffered - the queen-mother Jezebel.
Hot from the pursuit of Ahaziah, Jehu pressed on Jezreel. Jezebel, now an aged
woman, but still defiant, had painted and attired herself, and, looking from her
window, met him as he drove into the palace court, with the insulting question,
"Is it peace, thou Zimri, thy master's murderer?" (compare 1 Kings 16:9 - 12).
Jehu's answer was an appeal for aid from those within. Two or three eunuchs of
the palace gave signs of their concurrence. These, at Jehu's bidding, threw Jezebel
down into the courtyard, where, lying in her blood, she was trodden under foot
by the chariot horses. When, a little later, her remains were sought for burial,
she was found to have been almost wholly devoured by the dogs - a lurid commentary
on Elijah's earlier threatening, which was now recalled (2 Kings 9:30 - 37). Jehu
was an intrepid minister of judgment, but the pitiless zeal, needless cruelty,
and, afterward, deceit, with which he executed his mission, withdraw our sympathy
from him, as it did that of a later prophet (Hosea 1:4).
6. Slaughter of Ahab's Descendants:
The next acts of Jehu reveal yet more clearly his thoroughness of purpose and
promptitude of action, while they afford fresh exhibitions of his ruthlessness
and unscrupulousness of spirit. Samaria was the capital of the kingdom, and headquarters
of the Baal-worship introduced by Jezebel, though it is recorded of Jehoram that
he had removed, at least temporarily, an obelisk of Baal which his father had
set up (2 Kings 3:2 ; compare 2 Kings 10:26). The city was still held for the
house of Ahab, and 70 of Ahab's "son" - to be taken here in the large sense of
male descendants - resided in it (2 Kings 10:1 , 10:6). Jehu here adopted a bold
and astute policy. He sent letters to Samaria challenging those in authority to
set up one of their master's sons as king, and fight for the city and the kingdom.
The governors knew well that they could make no effective resistance to Jehu,
and at once humbly tendered their submission. Jehu, in a second message, bade
them prove their sincerity by delivering to him the heads of the 70 princes of
Ahab's house in baskets. This they did, by their act irrevocably committing themselves
to Jehu's cause (2 Kings 10:9). The ghastly relics were piled up in two heaps
at the gate of Jezreel - a horrible object lesson to any still inclined to hesitate
in their allegiance. Friends and partisans of the royal house shared the fate
of its members (2 Kings 10:11).
7. Slaughter of Ahaziah's Brethren:
Apart from the faultiness in the agent's motive, the deeds now recounted fell
within the letter of Jehu's commission. As much cannot be said of the deeds of
blood that follow. Jehu had killed Ahaziah, king of Judah. Now, on his way to
Samaria, he met a company of 42 persons, described as "brethren of Ahaziah" -
evidently blood-relations of various degrees, as Ahaziah's own brethren had been
earlier slain by the Arabians (2 Chronicles 21:17 ; 22:1) - and, on learning who
they were, and of their purpose to visit their kinsfolk at Jezreel, gave orders
that they be slain on the spot, and their bodies ignominiously thrown into the
pit (or "cistern") of the shearing-house where he had encountered them. It was
a cruel excess for which no sufficient justification can be pleaded (2 Kings 10:12
8. Massacre of the Worshippers of Baal:
Still less can the craft and violence be condoned by which, when he reached Samaria,
Jehu evinced his "zeal for Yahweh" (2 Kings 10:16) in the extirpation of the worshippers
of Baal. Jehu had secured on his side the support of a notable man - Jehonadab
the son of Rechab (2 Kings 10:15 , 10:16; compare Jeremiah 35:6-19) - and his
entrance into Samaria was signalized by further slaying of all adherents of Ahab.
Then, doubtless to the amazement of many, Jehu proclaimed himself an enthusiastic
follower of Baal. A great festival was organized, to which all prophets, worshippers,
and priests of Baal were invited from every part of Israel. Jehu himself took
the leading part in the sacrifice (2 Kings 10:25). Vestments were distributed
to distinguish the true worshippers of Baal from others. Then when all were safely
gathered into "the house of Baal," the gates were closed, and 80 soldiers were
sent in to massacre the whole deluded company in cold blood. None escaped. The
temple of Baal was broken up. Thus, indeed, "Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel"
(2 Kings 10:28), but at what a frightful cost of falsehood and treacherous dealing!
(2 Kings 10:18 - 28).
9. Wars with Hazael:
The history of Jehu in the Bible is chiefly the history of his revolution as now
narrated. His reign itself is summed up in a few verses, chiefly occupied with
the attacks made by Hazael, king of Syria, on the trans-Jordanic territories of
Israel (2 Kings 10:32 , 10:33). These districts were overrun, and remained lost
to Israel till the reign of Jehu's great-grandson, Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:28).
10. Assyrian Notices:
It is in another direction, namely, to the annals of Assyria, we have to look
for any further information we possess on the reign of Jehu In these annals, fortunately,
some interesting notices are preserved. In 854 bc was fought the great battle
of K?ark?ar (a place between Aleppo and Hamath), when Shalmaneser II, king of
Assyria, defeated a powerful combination formed against him (Damascus, Hamath,
Philistia Ammon, etc.). Among the allies on this occasion is mentioned " Ah?abbu
of Sir'ila^a ," who took the third place with 2,000 chariots and 10,000 footmen.
There is a difficulty in supposing Ahab to have been still reigning as late as
854, and Wellhausen, Kamphausen and others have suggested that Ahab's name has
been confused with that of his successor Jehoram in the Assyrian annals. Kittel,
in his History of the Hebrews (II, 233, English translation) is disposed to accept
this view. G. Smith, in his Assyrian Eponym Canon (179), is of the opinion that
the tribute lists were often carelessly compiled and in error as to names. The
point of interest is that from this time Israel was evidently a tributary of Assyria.
11. Tribute of Jehu:
With this accord the further notices of Israel in the inscriptions of Shalmaneser
II, two in number. Both belong to the year 842 bc and relate to Jehu. On Shalmaneser's
Black Obelisk is a pictorial representation of "the tribute of Jehu, son of Omri."
An ambassador kneels before the conqueror, and presents his gifts. They include
silver, gold, a gold cup, gold vessels, a golden ladle, lead, a staff for the
king's hand, scepters. An allusion to the same event occurs in the annals of Shalmaneser's
campaign against Hazael of Syria in this year. "At that time I received the tribute
of the Tyrians, Sidonians, of Jehu, son of Omri."
There are some indications that in his latter years, which were clouded with misfortune,
Jehu associated with himself his son Jehoahaz in the government (compare 2 Kings
13:1 , 13:10, where Jehoahaz comes to the throne in the 23rd, and dies in the
37th year of Jehoash of Judah - 14 years - yet has a total reign of 17 years).
Jehu is not mentioned in Chronicles, except incidentally in connection with the
death of Ahaziah (2 Chronicles 22:9), and as the grandfather of Jehoash (2 Chronicles
The character of Jehu is apparent from the acts recorded of him. His energy, determination,
promptitude, and zeal fitted him for the work he had to do. It was rough work,
and was executed with relentless thoroughness. Probably gentler measures would
have failed to eradicate Baal-worship from Israel. His impetuosity was evinced
in his furious driving (2 Kings 9:20). He was bold, daring, unscrupulous, and
masterful and astute in his policy. But one seeks in vain in his character for
any touch of magnanimity, or of the finer qualities of the ruler. His "zeal for
Yahweh" was too largely a cloak for merely worldly ambition. The bloodshed in
which his rule was rounded early provoked a reaction, and his closing years were
dark with trouble. He is specially condemned for tolerating the worship of the
golden calves (2 Kings 10:29 - 31). Nevertheless the throne was secured to his
dynasty for four generations (2 Kings 10:30 ; compare 2 Kings 15:12).
W. Shaw Caldecott
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