2 Kings 10

CHAPTER X

Jehu sends an ironical letter to the elders of Samaria, telling

them to choose one of the best of their master's sons, and put

him on the throne; to which they return a submissive answer,

1-6.

He writes a second letter, and orders them to send him the

heads of Ahab's seventy sons; they do so, and they are laid in

two heaps at the gate of Jezreel, 7, 8.

Jehu shows them to the people, and excuses himself, and states

that all is done according to the word of the Lord, 9, 10.

He destroys all the kindred of Ahab that remained in Jezreel,

11.

He also destroys forty-two men, the brethren of Ahaziah, king

of Judah, 12-14.

He meets with Jehonadab, and takes him with him in his chariot,

15, 16.

He comes to Samaria, and destroys all that were of the kindred

of Ahab there, 17.

He pretends a great zeal for the worship of Baal, and gathers

all his priests together, under the pretense of a grand

sacrifice, and slays them all, 18-25.

He burns Baal's images, and makes his temple a draught house,

26-28.

But he does not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, and does not

prosper, 29-31.

Hazael vexes Israel, 32, 33.

Jehu dies, having reigned over Israel, in Samaria, twenty-eight

years, 34-36.

NOTES ON CHAP. X

Verse 1. Ahab had seventy sons] As he had several wives, he

might have many children. The Israelites, from the earliest part

of their history, were remarkably fruitful. How amazingly did they

multiply in Egypt, even under the hand of the severest oppression!

And as to the individuals of whose families we have an account,

they are quite remarkable: Rehoboam had thirty-eight sons; Abdon

had forty; Tola had thirty; Ahab, seventy; and Gideon,

seventy-one.

Unto the rulers of Jezreel] It certainly should be, unto the

rulers of Samaria; for to them and to that city the whole context

shows us the letters were sent. See 2Ki 10:6.

To them that brought up Ahab's children] It appears that the

royal children of Israel and Judah were intrusted to the care of

the nobles, and were brought up by them, (see 2Ki 10:6;) and to

these, therefore, Jehu's letters are directed. It is supposed

Isaiah (Isa 49:23) alludes to this custom:

Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and queens thy nursing

mothers.

Verse 2. A fenced city also] All here seems to refer to Samaria

alone; in it were the magazines and implements of war, &c. No

reader need be told that these letters were all ironical. It was

the same as if he had said, "Ye have no means of defence; Israel

is with me: if you yield not up yourselves and the city, I will

put you all to the sword."

Verse 4. Two kings stood not before him] That is Joram and

Ahaziah.

Verse 5. He that was over the house, &c.] Thus all the

constituted authorities agreed to submit.

Will do all that thou shalt bid us] They made no conditions, and

stood pledged to commit the horrid murders which this most

execrable man afterwards commanded.

Verse 6. Come to me to Jezreel] Therefore the letters were not

written to Jezreel, but from Jezreel to Samaria.

Verse 7. Put their heads in baskets] What cold-blooded wretches

were the whole of these people!

Verse 8. Lay ye them in two heaps] It appears that the heads of

these princes had arrived at Jezreel in the night time: Jehu

ordered them to be left at the gate of the city, a place of public

resort, that all the people might see them, and be struck with

terror, and conclude that all resistance to such authority and

power would be vain.

Verse 9. Ye be righteous] Another irony, intended partly to

excuse himself, and to involve them in the odium of this massacre,

and at the same time to justify the conduct of both, by showing

that all was done according to the commandment of the Lord.

Verse 11. Jehu slew all] So it appears that the great men who

had so obsequiously taken off the heads of Ahab's seventy sons,

fell also a sacrifice to the ambition of this incomparably bad

man.

Verse 12. The shearing house] Probably the place where the

shepherds met for the annual sheep shearing.

Verse 13. The brethren of Ahaziah] The relatives of his family;

for it does not appear that he had any brethren, properly so

called: but we know that the term brethren among the Jews

signified the relatives of the same family, and especially

brothers' and sisters' children: and that these-were such, see

2Ch 22:8.

We go down to salute, &c.] So promptly had Jehu executed all his

measures, that even the nearest relatives of the murdered kings

had not heard of their death, and consequently had no time to

escape. They were all taken as in a net.

Verse 14. The pit of the shearing house] Probably the place

where they washed the sheep previously to shearing, or the fleeces

after they were shorn off.

Verse 15. Jehonadab the son of Rechab] For particulars

concerning this man, his ancestry, and posterity, see the notes on

Jer. 35.

Is thine heart right] With me, in the prosecution of a reform in

Israel; as my heart is with thy heart in the true religion of

Jehovah, and the destruction of Baal?

It is.] I wish a reform in the religion of the country; I am his

friend who shall endeavour to promote it.

Give me thine hand.] This has been generally considered as

exacting a promise from Jehonadab; but does it mean any more than

his taking him by the hand, to help him to step into his chariot,

in which Jehu was then sitting? Jehonadab was doubtless a very

honourable man in Israel; and by carrying him about with him in

his chariot, Jehu endeavoured to acquire the public esteem. "Jehu

must be acting right, for Jehonadab is with him, and approves his

conduct."

Verse 16. Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.] O thou

ostentatious and murderous hypocrite! Thou have zeal for Jehovah

and his pure religion! Witness thy calves at Dan and Bethel, and

the general profligacy of thy conduct. He who can call another to

witness his zeal for religion, or his works of charity, has as

much of both as serves his own turn.

Verse 18. Ahab served Baal a little] Jehu had determined to have

no worship in Israel but that of the golden calves at Dan and

Bethel; therefore he purposes to destroy all the worshippers of

Baal: and that he may do it without suspicion, he proclaims a

great sacrifice; and that he may do it the more easily, he gathers

them all together into one place.

Verse 19. Whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live.]

Because, as he will thereby show himself without zeal for the

service of his God, he will justly forfeit his life. All this was

done in the very spirit of deceit.

Verse 22. He said unto him that was over the vestry] The word

vestry comes from vestiarium, and that from vestes, garments,

from vestio, I clothe; and signifies properly the place where the

sacerdotal robes and pontifical ornaments are kept. The priests

of Baal had their robes as well as the priests of the Lord; but

the garments were such that one could be easily distinguished from

the other.

Verse 23. None of the servants of the Lord] Though he was not

attached to that service, yet he would tolerate it; and as he was

led to suppose that he was fulfilling the will of Jehovah in what

he was doing, he would of course treat his worship and worshippers

with the more respect.

He might have ordered the search to be made on pretense of

expelling any of those whom they would consider the profane,

especially as this was "a solemn assembly for Baal," as was the

custom with the heathen when any extraordinary exhibition of or

for their god was expected; thus Callimachus, (Hymn to Apollo,)

after imagining the temple and its suburbs to be shaken by the

approach of Apollo, cries out, εκαςεκαςοστιςαλιτρος. To

prevent any suspicion of his real design, such might have been

Jehu's plea, else alarm must have been excited, and perhaps some

would have escaped.

Verse 25. As soon as he had made an end of offering] Had Jehu

been a man of any conscientious principle in religion, he would

have finished the tragedy before he offered the burnt-offering;

but to a man of no religion, the worship of Jehovah and of Baal

are alike. If he prefers either, it is merely as a statesman, for

political purposes.

To the guard and to the captains] leratsim

uleshalashim; to the couriers or runners, and the shalashim, the

men of the third rank, those officers who were next to the nobles,

the king and these being only their superiors. The runners were

probably a sort of light infantry.

The city of the house of Baal.] Does not this mean a sort of

holy of holies, where the most sacred images of Baal were kept? A

place separated from the temple of Baal, as the holy of holies in

the temple of Jehovah was separated from what was called the holy

place.

Verse 27. Made it a draught house] A place for human excrement;

so all the versions understand it. Nothing could be more degrading

than this; he made it a public necessary.

Verse 30. Thy children of the fourth generation] These four

descendants of Jehu were Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam the second,

and Zechariah; see 2 Kings 14 and 15. This was all the

compensation Jehu had in either world, as a recompense of his zeal

for the Lord.

Verse 31. Jehu took no heed] He never made it his study; indeed,

he never intended to walk in this way; it neither suited his

disposition nor his politics.

Verse 32. The Lord began to cut Israel short] The marginal

reading is best: The Lord cut off the ends; and this he did by

permitting Hazael to seize on the coasts, to conquer and occupy

the frontier towns. This was the commencement of those miserable

ravages which Elisha predicted; see 2Ki 8:12. And we find from

the next verse that he seized on all the land of Gilead, and that

of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh; in a word,

whatever Israel possessed on the east side of Jordan.

Verse 34. Are they not written in the book of the chronicles] We

have no chronicles in which there is any thing farther spoken of

this bad man. His reign was long, twenty-eight years; and yet we

know nothing of it but the commencement.

FOR barbarity and hypocrisy Jehu has few parallels; and the

cowardliness and baseness of the nobles of Samaria have seldom

been equalled. Ahab's bloody house must be cut off; but did God

ever design that it should be done by these means? The men were,

no doubt, profligate and wicked, and God permitted their iniquity

to manifest itself in this way; and thus the purpose of God, that

Ahab's house should no more reign, was completely accomplished:

see 1Ki 21:19, 21, 29. And by this conduct Jehu is said to have

executed what was right in God's eyes, 2Ki 10:30. The cutting off

of Ahab's family was decreed by the Divine justice; the means by

which it was done, or at least the manner of doing, were not

entirely of his appointing: yet the commission given him by the

young prophet, 2Ki 9:7, was very extensive. Yet still many things

seem to be attributed to God, as the agent, which he does not

execute, but only permits to be done.

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