The "son" of Jehoshaphat and grandson of Nimshi, (compare 1Ki 19:16; 2Ki 9:2), a general of the army of Joram, slew his master, and usurped the throne of Israel, B. C. 884. He reigned twenty-eight years. See his history in 1Ki 19:16-17; 2Ki 9-10. He fulfilled the divine purpose in extirpating the family of the impious Ahab, and zealously destroyed the priests of Baal and many other friends of Ahab. But his heart was not right with God. The Syrians possessed themselves of his eastern frontier, and his dynasty was cut short in the fourth generation.
Jehovah is he. (1.) The son of Obed, and father of Azariah (1Ch 2:38).
(2.) One of the Benjamite slingers that joined David at Ziklag (1Ch 12:3).
(4.) King of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat (2Ki 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 (2Ki 8:28-29). 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 (2Ki 9:5-6). 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 (2Ki 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 (2Ki 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" (2Ki 10:12-14) other forty-two connected with the house of Ahab were put to death (2Ki 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 (2Ki 10:19-25), and destroyed the temple of the idol (2Ki 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 (2Ki 10:29-33). He died after a reign of twenty-eight years (B.C. 884-856), and was buried in Samaria (2Ki 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.
1. Son of Hanani who reproved Asa (2Ch 16:7-9) of Judah; prophetically denounced Baasha for all the evil he did in the sight of Jehovah, like the house of Jeroboam, and for killing "him" (the last representative of Jeroboam): 1Ki 16:7; 15:27-29; 14:10-14. Though Baasha thus fulfilled the word of Jehovah by Ahijah, yet as not this but his own bloody minded ambition was his motive; he should be punished (Ho 1:4). His following Jeroboam's sins showed that his destruction of Jeroboam's house was not from zeal for God. Thirty years later Jehu reproved Jehoshaphat, "shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? therefore is wrath upon thee from the Lord," etc. (2Ch 19:2-3). Jehoshaphat's "acts, first and last, were written in the book of Jehu" (2Ch 20:34).
2. Son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi, from whom, as better known, Jehu is sometimes called "son of Nimshi." In youth he had ridden behind Ahab as one of his guards, when that bad king went down to Jezreel to take possession of the vineyard obtained by false accusation and murder, and treasured in memory Elijah's prophecy again st him on that occasion, "in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood even thine" (1Ki 21:19). Bidkar (Bar ("son of") Dakar) was then his comrade in the king's guard; and it was a striking retribution that these two witnesses of Ahab's sin should be the executioners of God's righteous vengeance. Jehovah had directed Elijah at Horeb to anoint him as future king, a commission which the prophet executed through his successor Elisha, whose ministry was the continuation of his own. The impulsive vehemence of his character betrayed itself even at a distance in his "furious" driving, which was notorious (2Ki 9:20 margin).
During the absence at Jezreel, owing to wounds, of Jehoram king of Israel, Jehu as commander in chief was holding Ramoth Gilead against Hazael and the Syrians, when a pupil of the prophets, sent by Elisha, suddenly appeared amidst the captains assembled in the court, saying "I have an errand to thee, O captain"; Jehu went into the innermost of the surrounding chambers, and there the young prophet in the name of Jehovah God of Israel anointed him with the sacred oil (Josephus, Ant. 9:6, section 1) as Israel's king, and commissioned him to avenge the blood of Jehovah's prophets and servants (1Ki 18:4; 19:10) on Ahab's whole house. On going out Jehu was asked," Wherefore came this mad (Jer 29:26; Joh 10:20; Ac 26:24) fellow to thee?" Jehu replied, "Ye know the man and his muttering" (ecstatic utterances), i.e., that he says nothing rational.
But the captains elicited from Jehu the truth; then, fired with enthusiasm and weary of the reigning dynasty, they made an extempore throne of the bore steps of the staircase, spreading their outer wrappers (beged) as the carpet, to do homage to Jehu (Mt 21:7-8), and proclaimed with sound of trumpets, "Jehu is king." The prophet's few words sufficed to act on Jehu's excitable, impetuous, and ambitious character. Without a prayer for guidance, and without further precaution, Jehu set out on a journey of 30 miles, crossing the Jordan with a band of horsemen, and Bidkar whom he had made captain of the host, and being himself the first messenger of the revolution to Jezreel, having secured that none else should leave Ramoth Gilead. One messenger on horseback after another, sent out by Joram, asked "Is it peace?" and received the reply "What hast thou to do with peace?" i.e., trouble not thyself about peace: "follow me."
At last Joram himself, with Ahaziah, each in his chariot, went forth. To Joram's inquiry Jehu replied, "What peace so long as the whoredoms (spiritual) of thy mother Jezebel, and her witchcrafts (usually associated with idolatry), are so many?" (De 18:10, etc.) On Joram turning to flee Jehu drove an arrow through the back and shoulders, so as to come out at his heart, and made Bidkar cast the body upon Naboth's ground, "as Jehovah laid this burden (pronounced this prophetic threat; massa) upon him," for "the blood of Naboth and of his sons" (this passage supplies the latter particular, which 1Ki 21:13-14 omits as being a matter of course, Ahab's object being to cut off all heirs to the confiscated vineyard). Jehu smote Ahaziah too. (See AHAZlAH.)
Fleeing by the way of the garden house (Hebrew: Bethgan, Engannim) he first hid in Samaria where his lives were (2Ki 10:3), moreover Samaria was the direct road from Jezreel to Jerusalem; then was brought to Jehu, and was mortally wounded in his chariot at the ascent to Gur by Ibleam, so that when he got on to Megiddo he died there (2Ch 22:8-9; 2Ki 9:27). On Jehu's approach to Jezreel, Jezebel in oriental fashion painted her eyebrows and eyelashes with black antimony, to heighten the splendour of the dark eyes, and so to present an imposing appearance to Jehu and die as a queen; not to charm him, for she compared him to "Zimri who slew his master," and warned him that the same fate awaited him as overtook Zimri. Without deigning to answer her Jehu desired the eunuchs to throw her down. After eating and drinking, when Jehu commanded her burial, her skull, palms, and feet were all that the ravenous dogs had left of her carcass, in fulfillment of 1Ki 21:23.
Next he directed the rulers of the city, and the elders or magistrates, and the tutors of Ahab's 70 sons (including grandsons) at Samaria, to send him the heads of the 70 in baskets to Jezreel. Jehu in the morning went out of the city gate before the two heaps of heads, and addressing the assembled people, as if they were slain without his interfering, he attributed their slaughter to Jehovah's decree, in order to justify his conspiracy in the eyes of the people. So the people offered no resistance when he proceeded to slay all the survivors of Ahab's house at Jezreel, "all his great men, his acquaintances (or adherents), and court priests." Then he set out for Samaria.
On his way, at the house of shepherds binding sheep to shear them (where the shepherds used to meet on the road from Jezreel to Samaria), he caused 42 brethren of Ahaziah, who were about to visit their royal relations, Joram's sons and his mother Jezebel's sons, to be slain at the cistern of the binding or shearing house. Ahaziah's actual brothers had been carried off by the Arabs, etc., "so that there was never a son left Jehoram save Jehoahaz," Ahaziah (2Ch 21:17); his "brethren" then mean his stepbrother's, Joram's sons by concubines, and his nephews or cousins. Next, Jehu met and took with him the ascetic (See JEHONADAB , held in universal repute, in order to have his countenance in the wholesale slaughter by subtlety of Baal's worshippers which followed, and so to stand well with the people. Jehu said, "come, see my zeal for the Lord"; but it was really zeal for self, which he was glad to find capable of bearing a religious color.
When God's work fell in with his own ambition he did it with his wonted impetuosity. But if his had been real zeal for the Lord he would have rooted out the calf worship, Jeroboam's state policy, as well as Baal worship (2Ch 10:19). His haste was not real faith (Isa 28:16); his religious zeal was the blaze of natural impetuosity soon going out (Mt 25:8). When religious principle required self sacrifice, then he chose the praise of men not that of God (2Ki 10:31; Joh 12:43). The Baal worshippers upheld Ahab's dynasty; by killing them he got rid of political opponents, and gained to his side the worshippers of Jehovah. Religion was with him but a tool to serve his ends (1Ti 6:5). The assuming of Baal vestments by that full assembly (as was usual at the time of worship) in Ahab's grand temple (1Ki 16:32) seemed at the time politic, but proved the seal of the wearers' destruction.
As soon as he (the priest; not Jehu, as Smith's Bible Dictionary) had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Jehu gave the word for their slaughter. "The city of Baal," to which next the guard and captains went, was the temple citadel, the true temple house; thence they brought the wooden standing columns or statues (matseebot assessors of Baal, worshipped with him), and burnt them, and broke in pieces the cen
1. A prophet, the son of Hanani (1Ki 16:1 etc.). 2. A Judahite (1Ch 2:38). 3. A Simeonite (1Ch 4:35). 4. One of David's heroes (1Ch 12:3). 5. A king of Israel. Like the other founders of dynasties in that country, he obtained the throne by the murder of his monarch. It is evident that a considerable party in Israel bad long been dissatisfied with the house of Ahab. This was partly on account of its religious policy, but perhaps even more for its oppression of its subjects,
1. Son of Jehoshaphat, a son of Nimshi: tenth king of Israel and founder of the fifth dynasty: he reigned from B.C. 884 to 856. Jehu was captain of Jehoram, and was stationed at Ramoth-gilead to keep in check the Syrians on the east of the Jordan. A young man of the prophets, who had been sent by Elisha, arrived at the camp and said he had a message for Jehu. On retiring into the house he anointed Jehu to be king over Israel, with instructions to smite the whole house of Ahab. The prophet opened the door and fled. On Jehu relating what had happened, his companions in arms at once proclaimed him king of Israel. 2Ki 9:1-13.
Jehu lost no time in fulfilling his mission; entering his chariot, he proceeded with some followers in haste to Jezreel, whither king Jehoram, being wounded, had gone to be healed. Jehu and his company were seen by the watchman of the city, and a horseman was despatched to meet him, and to ask if it was peace. Jehu detained him, and likewise a second messenger that was sent. The watchman now discerned that it was Jehu who was in the chariot, by his furious driving. Jehoram and Ahaziah king of Judah (who had come to visit the wounded king) at once each in his own chariot issued forth to meet Jehu. Jehoram, being repulsed by Jehu, called out 'Treachery,' and attempted to flee, but an arrow from Jehu pierced his heart and he fell dead. His body was thrown into the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, which Ahab had gained by murder: cf. 1Ki 21:19-29. The king of Judah escaped after being wounded, but died of his wound. 2Ki 9:14-27.
As Jehu entered Jezreel, Jezebel taunted him; but she was thrown down from the window and her body was consumed by dogs, according to the word of the Lord. Jehu then caused the death of seventy of the sons of Jehoram and forty-two of the 'brethren of Ahaziah' who came to salute the royal family; and slew all that remained to Ahab, his great men and his priests. Meeting Jehonadab, he took him up in his chariot, saying, "Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord." He then in craft gathered together all the priests and worshippers of Baal, for a great sacrifice, completely filling the house of Baal. At his command all were slain, the images burned, and the house destroyed. 2Ki 9:2-30 Kings 10:28.
Jehu was commended for carrying out the will of God in exterminating the house of Ahab, and Jehovah said to him that his children to the fourth generation should sit upon the throne. 2Ki 15:12. But he took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord with all his heart. He did not remove the golden calves, and he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam who made Israel to sin. Therefore God began to cut Israel short by the king of Syria. 2Ki 10:29-36; Ho 1:4.
The history of Jehu shows how one may have great zeal as far as outward activity goes without a heart set upon serving the Lord.
3. Son of Obed, and father of Azariah. 1Ch 2:38.
4. Son of Josibiah, of the tribe of Simeon. 1Ch 4:35.
5. An Antothite who joined David at Ziklag. 1Ch 12:3.
1. The founder of the fifth dynasty of the kingdom of Israel, son of Jehoshaphat.
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.
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 Elisha's servant, and told that he was appointed to be king of Israel and destroyer of the house of Ahab.
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.
Jehu seized his opportunity, and shot him through the heart.
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,
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.
He was buried in state in Samaria, and was succeeded by his son Jehoahaz.
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.
He must have begun his career as a prophet when very young. He first denounced Baasha,
and then, after an interval of thirty years, reappeared to denounce Jehoshaphat for his alliance with Ahab.
He survived Jehoshaphat and wrote his life. ch.
3. A man of Judah of the house of Hezron.
4. A Simeonite, son of Josibiah.
5. Jehu the Antothite was one of the chief of the heroes of Benjamin who joined David at Ziklag.
JEHU, the son of Jehoshaphat, and grandson of Nimshi, captain of the troops of Joram the king of Israel, was appointed by God to reign over Israel, and to avenge the sins committed by the house of Ahab, 1Ki 19:16. The Prophet Elisha received a commission to anoint him; but the order does not appear to have been executed until more than twenty years afterward, and then it was done by one of the sons of the prophets, 2Ki 9:1-3. Jehu was then at the siege of Ramoth-Gilead, commanding the army of Joram, the king of Israel, when a young prophet appeared, who took him aside from the officers of the army, in the midst of whom he was sitting, and, when alone in a chamber, poured oil on his head, and said to him, "Thus saith the Lord, I have anointed thee king over Israel; thou shalt smite the house of Ahab, and avenge the blood of the prophets which hath been shed by Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will make it as that of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, and that of Baasha, the son of Ahijah. Jezebel shall be eaten by the dogs in the fields of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her," 2Ki 9:1-10. No sooner had the prophet delivered his message, than, to avoid being known, he instantly withdrew; and Jehu, returning to the company of his brother officers, was by them interrogated respecting what had taken place. He informed them that a prophet had been sent from God to anoint him to the kingly office; on which they all rose up, and each taking his cloak, they made a kind of throne for Jehu, and then sounding the trumpets, cried out, "Jehu is king." Joram, who at that time reigned over the kingdom of Israel, was then at Jezreel in a state of indisposition, having been wounded at the siege of Ramoth-Gilead. Jehu, intending to surprise him, immediately gave orders that no one should be permitted to depart out of the city of Ramoth, and himself set off for Jezreel. As he approached that city, a centinel gave notice that he saw a troop coming in great haste; on which Joram despatched an officer to discover who it was: but Jehu, without giving the latter any answer, ordered him to follow in his rear. Joram sent a second, and Jehu laid upon him the same command. Finding that neither of them returned, Joram himself, accompanied by Ahaziah, king of Judah, proceeded in his chariot toward Jehu, whom they met in the field of Naboth the Jezreelite. Joram inquired, "Is it peace, Jehu?" To which the latter replied, "How can there be peace so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel, and her witchcrafts, are so many?" Joram instantly took the alarm, and, turning to Ahaziah, said, "We are betrayed." At the same time Jehu drew his bow, and smote Joram between his shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart, and he died in his chariot. Jehu then gave orders that his body should be cast out into the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, thus fulfilling the prediction of the Prophet Elijah, 2Ki 9:11-26.
Jehu next proceeded to Jezreel, where Jezebel herself at that time resided. As he rode through the streets of the city, Jezebel, who was standing at her window and looking at him, exclaimed, "Can he who has killed his master hope for peace?" Jehu, lifting up his head and seeing her, commanded her servants instantly to throw her out at the window; which they did and she was immediately trampled to death under the horses' feet as they traversed the city. To complete her destiny, and fulfil the threatenings of Elijah, the dogs came and devoured her corpse; so that when Jehu sent to have her buried, her bones only were found, 2Ki 9:27-37. After this, Jehu sent to inform the inhabitants of Samaria, who had the bringing up of Ahab's seventy children, that they might select which of them they thought proper to place upon the throne of Israel. But overwhelmed with fear, they replied that they were Jehu's servants, and would in all things obey him. He then commanded them to put to death all the king's children, and send their heads to him; which was accordingly done on the following day. Jehu also caused to be put to death all Ahab's relatives and friends, the officers of his court, and the priests whom he had entertained at Jezreel, 2Ki 10:1-11. After this, Jehu proceeded to Samaria, and on his way thither met the friends of Ahaziah king of Judah, who were going to Jezreel to salute the children of Ahab's family, with the death of whom they were as yet unacquainted. They were forty-two in number; but Jehu gave orders to have them apprehended and put to death. Soon after this, he met with Jonathan, the son of Rechab; and taking him up into his chariot, "Come with me," said he, "and see my zeal for the Lord." And when he was come to Samaria he extirpated every remaining branch of Ahab's family, without sparing an individual. Then convening the people of Samaria, he said, "Ahab paid some honours to Baal, but I will pay him greater. Send now and gather together all the ministers, priests, and prophets of Baal." When they were all assembled in Baal's temple, Jehu commanded to give each of them a particular habit, to distinguish them; at the same time directing that no stranger should mingle with them; and then ordered his people to put them all to the sword, not sparing one of them; the image of Baal was also pulled down, broken to pieces, and burned, the temple itself destroyed, and the place where it stood reduced to a dunghill, 2Ki 10:12-28.
Such were the sanguinary exploits of Jehu toward the idolatrous house of Ahab; but he acted agreeably to divine direction, and the Lord in these instances so far approved his conduct, as to promise him that his children should sit upon the throne of Israel to the fourth generation. Yet, though Jehu had been the instrument in the hand of God for taking vengeance on the profane house of Ahab, we find him accused in Scripture of not entirely forsaking the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin in worshipping the golden calves, 2Ki 10:29,31. It appears also that, in executing the divine indignation on the wicked house of Ahab, he was actuated more by the spirit of ambition and animosity than the fear of God, or a regard to the purity of his worship. And thus it is that God, in the course of his providence, makes use of tyrants and wicked men, as his instruments to execute his righteous judgments in the earth. After a reign of eight-and-twenty years over Israel, Jehu died, and was succeeded by his son, Jehoahaz; but his reign was embittered by the war which Hazael, king of Syria, long waged against him, 2Ki 10:32-36. His four descendants, who succeeded him in the throne, were Jehoahaz, Joash, Jeroboam II, and Zechariah.