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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 9

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-37



Elijah had been told to anoint Jehu king of Israel (1 Kings 19:16), but had not done it. Now later Elisha commissions one of the sons of the prophets to anoint Jehu, telling him he would find him at Ramoth Gilead (v.1). Explicit directions were given him to anoint Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, taking him to an inner room to do this. Jehu was an officer in the army of Joram, son of Ahab.

What was the reason for a secret anointing rather than a public anointing? King Saul was anointed privately by Samuel (1 Samuel 9:27; 1 Samuel 10:1), and David was anointed in the privacy of his father's house by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:3), but later publicly at Hebron he was anointed king over Judah (2 Samuel 2:4), and later still he was publicly anointed king over all Israel at Hebron (2 Samuel 5:3). The private anointing tells us of God's working behind the scenes to indicate whom He desires to rule. At first only David's father's household were witnesses of this choice of God, just as today only the household of faith recognises that Jesus is God's chosen King. At the end of the tribulation Judah will first be brought to recognise Him, then also the rest of Israel, and Christ will be publicly acclaimed.

But as regards the private anointing of Jehu, this reminds us that God always works behind the scenes to set up rulers among the nations, as we are told, "There is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God" (Romans 13:1). In David's case God could publicly approve of him because he is a type of Christ. In Jehu's case, though God gave him the place of king, God would not indicate His approval of the man personally. All human government is ordained by God, though God may not approve of the ruler personally.

Elisha told this son of a prophet to simply deliver his message and leave (v.3). The young man did as he was told. Coming to a place where the officers of the army were sitting, he told Jehu he had a message for him (v.5), calling him, "Commander." Jehu went into another room with him and the young man immediately poured the oil on his head, giving him the word of the Lord that Jehu was appointed king over Israel. But he added the commission of the Lord to Jehu, that he was to strike down the house of Ahab, that God might in this way avenge the blood of God's prophets shed by Jezebel, Ahab's wife (v.7). "For," he said, "the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab all the males in Israel, both bond and free" (v.8). More than this, "the dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her" (v.10). Certainly God knew well whom He was choosing for this solemn work, for Jehu was just the kind of man to do it.

After delivering his message to Jehu, the young man quickly left. Jehu returned to the company of officers, who questioned him about the message from the person they considered a "madman." When he told them the man had spoken in the name of the Lord, declaring Jehu king, the officers immediately responded by surrendering their garments to Jehu and blowing trumpets in an elevated place, announcing, "Jehu is king.



The wickedness of Ahab and Jezebel which was continued by their son Joram was reason enough for the people to welcome a leader who would destroy this evil authority Jehu, a determined, dominating character, knew how to take advantage of the situation. He had no idea of what humility means, no spirit of self-judgment at all, but full of bold willingness to judge others, and he proceeded immediately to do such work. We have seen in Chapter 8:29 what is repeated in Chapter 9:15 that King Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from battle wounds.

Jehu did not simply give orders that news of his being king was not to be carried to Jezreel, but told his officers, "If you are so minded let no one leave or escape from the city to go and tell it in Jezreel." He knew how to involve others in his plans, so that in the event of failure, he would not bear all the blame.

Having control of the army, Jehu drove in his chariot with his company to Jezreel. A watchman saw them coming and reported it to Joram, who told him to send a horseman to ask, "Is it peace?" Jehu answered him, "What have you to do with peace?" (v.19), and did not allow the horseman to return. A second horseman was sent out with the same result. When the watchman reported this, at the same time saying that the driving was like that of Jehu who drove furiously, the king ordered his chariot. Ahaziah also, who was visiting Joram, took his own chariot, going out to meet Jehu. They were not prepared for what they found. They met on the property that Ahab had stolen from Naboth when Naboth was murdered at Jezebel's command. Calling out, "Is it peace, Jehu," Joram received the chilling answer, "What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?" (v.22).

Joram called this treachery, but it was actually rebellion of his own army officers, and it was the judgment of God against the house of Ahab. Turning to flee, Joram received from Jehu an arrow in his back that pierced his heart (v.24). Then Jehu gave orders that Joram's body was to be thrown into the field that belonged to Naboth, for Jehu remembered that the Lord had told Ahab that he would repay him in that plot of land. Thus Jehu could carry out the word of the Lord in Judgment against others, though he knew nothing of the grace of God.



Ahaziah was able to prolong the advent of his death for a short time by fleeing, but was shot in his chariot, escaped to Megiddo, where he died. Though he was not Ahab's descendant, he had identified himself with Ahab's son (in fact having married Ahab's daughter), so that he suffered the same fate as Joram. He was the son of a godly king (Joram of Judah), but made the wrong friends. At least his body was brought to Jerusalem and was buried with his fathers. He had reigned only one year.



Jezebel was no longer a young woman, but just as full of vanity as ever. When she heard of Jehu having come to Jezreel she put paint on her eyes, adorned her head and looked through a window. Did she think she could impress Jehu this way? As Jehu came in the gate, she insolently called him Zimri, asking him if it was peace (v.31). Zimri had killed Elah the son of Baasha when he was drinking himself drunk (1 Kings 16:8-9), and usurped the throne of Israel. He only reigned seven days and committed suicide (1 Kings 16:15-18). Jezebel called Jehu "murderer of your master," but she ignored the fact of her guilt in murdering many people.

Jehu called out, "Who is on my side?" (v.32). Moses had said, "Who is on the Lord's side?" (Exodus 32:26), a much more appropriate word than that of Jehu. Two or three eunuchs looked out a window, and he told them, "Throw her down" (v.33). When they did so, Jehu had his horse trample her underfoot.

Not many men would feel like eating after such work, but Jehu went inside to eat, and drink, leaving Jezebel's body lying on the street. Only after satisfying his own appetite did Jehu think of burying Jezebel, which now he said should be done because she was a king's daughter (v.34). But when his servants went to bury her, they found only her skull, her feet and the palms of her hands (v.35). Her body had been eaten by dogs, even her bones taken away! The skull would remind us of the imaginations of her head; the feet, that her feet had been swift to shed blood; the palms of her hands, that her works were wicked. Who would envy a remembrance of this kind? Her end was swift and terrible, just as the Lord had predicted through Elijah.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/2-kings-9.html. 1897-1910.
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