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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 9

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

Box - Rather, “flask,” or “vial” 1 Samuel 10:1. Oil and ointment were commonly kept in open-mouthed jars, vases, or bottles made of glass, alabaster, or earthen-ware. Many such vessels have been found both in Egypt and Assyria. The “oil” was the holy oil, compounded after the receipt given in Exodus Exodus 30:23-25.

Verse 3

Flee, and tarry not - The probable object of these directions was at once to prevent questioning, and to render the whole thing more striking.

Verse 5

The chief officers - the generals - were assembled together in Jehu’s quarters, perhaps holding a council of war. The place of assembly seems to have been the great court. Hence, Jehu “went into the house” 2 Kings 9:6 entered, that is, one of the rooms opening into the court.

Verse 11

This mad fellow - The captains, seeing his excited look, his strange action, and his extreme haste, call him (as soldiers would) “this wild fellow.”

Verse 13

Took every man his garment, and put it under him - The outer cloak of the Jews was a sort of large shawl or blanket, which might well serve for a carpet of state. Such a carpet is commonly represented on the seat of an Assyrian throne in the Nineveh sculptures.

The stairs rose against the walI of the house from the pavement of the court to the level of the upper story, or of the roof. At the top of the stairs would be a flat platform, and this would form a throne, on which the new king could exhibit himself to his subjects.

Blew with trumpets - On this recognized part of the ceremony of a coronation, see 2 Kings 11:14; 2 Samuel 15:10; 1 Kings 1:39.

Verse 14

Had kept - Rather, “was keeping watch.” The city had been taken: but the war continuing, and there being a danger of the Syrians recovering it, Joram and all Israel (i. e., the whole military force) were guarding the recent conquest, while Hazael threatened it.

Verse 18

What hast thou to do with peace? - i. e., “What does it matter to thee whether my errand is one of peace or not?”

Verse 20

The driving ... furiously - The word translated “driving” means “leading” or “conducting” a band. The watchman observed that the “company” (or, multitude) was led forward madly, and associated this strange procedure with the known character of Jehu. It is curious that some versions, as well as Josephus, give an opposite sense: “he driveth quietly.”

Jehu was properly “the grandson” of Nimshi, who was probably a more famous person than Jehoshaphat 2 Kings 9:2.

Verse 21

Make ready - literally, (as in margin) “Blind,” i. e., “Harness the horses to the chariot.” The king had no suspicion of Jehu’s treason. Probably he imagined that he was bringing him important news from the seat of war. Ahaziah’s accompanying him is significant of the close friendship which united the uncle and the nephew. They went out not “against” Jehu, but rather “to meet him.”

In the portion of Naboth - This is no longer called a “vineyard” 1 Kings 21:1-18; probably because it had been thrown into the palace garden, and applied to the purpose for which Ahab originally wanted it. The approach to the city on this side must have lain either through it, or close by it.

Verse 22

Joram had asked the usual question, “Is it peace?” - meaning simply, “Is all well?” In Jehu’s reply, by “whoredoms” we are probably to understand “idolatries,” acts of spiritual unfaithfulness; by “witchcrafts,” dealings with the Baal prophets and oracles. Compare 2 Kings 1:2 note.

Verse 23

Turned his hands - The meaning is that Joram ordered his charioteer to turn round and drive back to the town.

Verse 24

Jehu drew a bow ... - literally, as in the margin, i. e., “Jehu took a bow in his hand.” The arrow struck Jehoram’s back, between his two shoulders, as he fled.

Verse 25

Rode together after Ahab - The Assyrian sculptures make it probable that Josephus was right in interpreting this “rode side by side behind Ahab in his chariot.” The Assyrian monarchs, when they go out to war, are frequently attended hy two guards, who stand behind them in the same chariot.

Burden - Compare the use of the same word in Isaiah (Isaiah 13:1; Isaiah 15:1, etc.), and in Lamentations Lamentations 2:14, for a denunciation of woe.

Verse 26

The passage from “Surely I have seen” to “Saith the Lord,” is exegetical of 2 Kings 9:25, containing the “burden” there spoken of.

And the blood of his sons - The murder of Naboth’s sons is here for the first time mentioned; but as the removal of the sons was necessary, if the vineyard was to pass to Ahab, we can well understand that Jezebel would take care to clear them out of the way.

Verse 27

By the way of the garden-house - Or “by the way of Beth-Gan,” which has been conjectured to be another name for En-Gannim, “the spring of the gardens.” Both are considered identical with Ginaea, the modern Jenin, which lies due south of Jezreeh The road from Jezreel (Zerin) to Jenin passes at first along the plain of Esdraelon, but after a while begins to rise over the Samaritan hills. Here probably was “the ascent of Gur, by Ibleam,” which may have occupied the site of the modern Jelama. Whether the soldiers attacked him there or not is uncertain. The words, “And they did so,” are not in the original.

Megiddo - On its situation, see Joshua 12:21 note; and on the possible reconcilement of this passage with 2 Chronicles 22:9, see the note there.

Verse 29

In the eleventh year - The twelfth according to 2 Kings 8:25. The discrepancy may be best explained from two ways of reckoning the accession of Ahaziah, who is likely to have been regent for his father during at least one year. See 2 Chronicles 21:19.

Verse 30

Painted her face - literally, “put her eyes in antimony “ - i. e., dyed the upper and under eyelids, a common practice in the East, even at the present day. The effect is at once to increase the apparent size of the eye, and to give it unnatural brilliancy. Representations of eyes thus embellished occur on the Assyrian sculptures, and the practice existed among the Jews (marginal reference; and Jeremiah 4:30).

Tired her head - Dressed (attired) her head, and no doubt put on her royal robes, that she might die as became a queen, in true royal array.

A window - Rather, “the window.” The gate-tower had probably, as many of those in the Assyrian sculptures, one window only.

Verse 34

Leaving the mangled body on the bare earth, Jehu went to the banquet. It was, no doubt, important that he should at once show himself to the court as king. In calling Jezebel “this cursed one,” Jehu means to remind his hearers that the curse of God had been pronounced upon her by Elijah 2 Kings 9:36, and so to justify his own conduct.

A king’s daughter - Merely as the widow of Ahab and mother of Jehoram, Jehu would not have considered Jezebel entitled to buriah. But she was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians (marginal reference), and so a princess born. This would entitle her to greater respect. Wilfully to have denied her burial would have been regarded as an unpardonable insult by the reigning Sidonian monarch.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/2-kings-9.html. 1870.
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