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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
2 Kings 9

 

 

Verses 15-20

A Contingent Of The Rebels, With Jehu At Their Head, Approach Jezreel, And Are Challenged By The Unsuspecting King (2 Kings 9:15-20).

The incident that follows is described in a way that deliberately brings out the suspense as we see the action unfolding. We all know what the situation was, while Jehoram and Ahaziah were clearly not at all sure, and indeed seemingly unsuspicious of the seriousness of the situation. Thus as we read each incident step by step for us the tension over Jehu’s advance increases, and the final emphasis is then laid on the fact that it is none other than the impetuous Jehu, famed for his devil-may-care charioteering, who is coming. The whole description throws our attention on this new figure who has appeared on the scene.

The incident commences with Jehu’s warning to his fellow-officers to ensure that no-one be allowed to leave the camp and take news of what was happening to Jezreel. He then takes his chariot, and with a group of charioteers (no one else would be able to keep up with him) makes for Jezreel. The watchmen see him coming and report to the king, who as usual in such a situation sends out a horseman in order to ensure that such a company comes in peace. At this stage they would not know who it was.

When, however, both the first and second messengers seemingly quite happily fall in behind the leading approaching chariot, puzzlement ensues, until the watchman is finally able to identify the leading charioteer by the furious nature of his driving. It is Jehu, one of Jehoram’s own chariot commanders. The only question now is why they are coming in such a hurry. Was it with news of victory, or defeat?

Analysis.

a And Jehu said, “If this is your mind, then let none escape and go forth out from the city, to go to tell it in Jezreel.” So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel, for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to see Joram (2 Kings 9:15-16).

b Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, “I see a company.” And Joram said, “Take a horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’ ” (2 Kings 9:17).

c So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, “Thus says the king, Is it peace?” And Jehu said, “What have you to do with peace? You turn behind me.” And the watchman spoke out, saying, “The messenger came to them, but he is not coming back” (2 Kings 9:18).

b Then he sent out a second man on horseback, who came to them, and said, “Thus says the king, Is it peace?” And Jehu answered, “What have you to do with peace? You turn behind me” (2 Kings 9:19).

a And the watchman spoke out, saying, “He came even to them, and is not coming back, and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously” (2 Kings 9:20).

2 Kings 9:15

‘And Jehu said, “If this is your mind, then let none escape and go forth out from the city, to go to tell it in Jezreel.” ’

The decision to rebel having been made Jehu warns his fellow-officers not to allow anyone to escape so as to take warning to the king in Jezreel. Were that to happen the consequences could become enormous. It is an indication of the solidarity of the army against Jehoram that no one had as yet attempted to do so.

2 Kings 9:16

‘So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel, for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to see Joram.’

So Jehu then boarded his chariot and drove down to Jezreel, accompanied by his company of charioteers, knowing that that was where Jehoram lay. What he was unaware of was that Ahaziah, the king of Judah, had also come on a visit to Jehoram.

2 Kings 9:17

‘Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, “I see a company.” And Joram said, “Take a horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’ ”

When the watchman on the watchtower in Jezreel saw the chariot company approaching, he sent a message to the king declaring, ‘I see a company (of charioteers)’. This prompted the king, who did not know who it was who was approaching, to despatch a horseman in order to discover whether the approaching chariots came in peace, or alternately whether they brought news of peace in the war with Aram. From this they would certainly learn one way or another whether the intentions of the approaching chariots were peaceful or aggressive. Either the messenger would return with information, or he would be violently seized by the approaching force, making clear their hostile intentions.

2 Kings 9:18

‘So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, “Thus says the king, Is it peace?” And Jehu said, “What have you to do with peace? You turn behind me.” And the watchman spoke out, saying, “The messenger came to them, but he is not coming back.” ’

But when the messenger, no doubt somewhat apprehensively, approached the charioteers, he was probably relieved to discover that Jehu, one of the king’s own chariot commanders, was in charge. When, however, he conveyed the king’s message, which he probably now saw as a formality, Jehu asked him what such question meant to him and ordered him to fall in behind him. The messenger may have seen this as an indication that Jehu’s message was for the king alone, and had nothing to do with the messenger. But in the face of such a command from a superior officer the man complied, probably unsure of what the situation was, but knowing that it was for his own good to do as he was commanded. Meanwhile the watchman, seeing all this from a distance, did not know what to make of it. The messenger had not returned with an answer, but nor had he been violently seized. Indeed he had appeared acted quite willingly and compliantly.

2 Kings 9:19

‘Then he sent out a second man on horseback, who came to them, and said, “Thus says the king, Is it peace?” And Jehu answered, “What have you to do with peace? You turn behind me.” ’

The puzzled king then sent out another horseman with the identical question, only for the same thing to happen. The second messenger also fell in willingly and compliantly behind the chariot commander.

2 Kings 9:20

‘And the watchman spoke out, saying, “He came even to them, and is not coming back, and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.” ’

But then the problem appeared to be solved, for the watchman was able to identify the chariot commander by the way that he drove. His driving, he declared, was ‘like the driving of Jehu, the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously’. At least now the approaching company had been identified. All was well. The only question was whether the news that they brought was good or bad. (Meanwhile we as readers and listeners are aware that this spells approaching doom for the king).


Verses 21-26

The Death Of Jehoram At The Hands Of Jehu In Accordance With YHWH’s Pronounced Judgment On The House Of Ahab Because Of The Murder Of Naboth The Jezreelite (2 Kings 9:21-26).

Now confident at least of their security the two kings themselves set out in their chariots to meet Jehu, and they found him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite. This might well have been deliberate on Jehu’s part. He would want Israel to recognise that what he was doing was carrying out YHWH’s vengeance. To the kings it would not initially be seen as significant.

On approaching Jehu, his chariot commander Jehoram asked whether he had come bringing news of peace with Aram, and was immediately made aware that all was not well. For Jehu, instead of signifying his obeisance, roundly asked him how there could be peace while Jezebel was still dishonouring the kingdom and seeking to bewitch it. It was a clear indication of hostile intent. It also brought out what lay at the heart of the rebellion, the foreign and unacceptable influence of Jezebel on Israel.

Turning his chariot Jehoram sought to flee crying out to Ahaziah that treachery was afoot, but as he fled Jehu drew his bow, and with a well aimed arrow, struck him between the arms so that he sank down in his chariot. Then Jehu commanded that his body be taken and cast onto the plot of land stolen from Naboth by Ahab and Jezebel as a kind of atonement for the land, and punishment from YHWH. All Israel would recognise from this that Jehu was simply doing YHWH’s will, while Jehu gained the satisfaction of knowing that he had been YHWH’s chosen instrument.

Analysis.

a And Joram said, “Make ready.” And they made ready his chariot. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out to meet Jehu, and found him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite (2 Kings 9:21).

b And it came about, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” And he answered, “What peace, so long as the whoredoms of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” (2 Kings 9:22).

c And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, “There is treachery, O Ahaziah” (2 Kings 9:23).

b And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and smote Joram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot (2 Kings 9:24).

a Then Jehu said to Bidkar his captain, “Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, for remember how, when I and you rode together after Ahab his father, YHWH laid this burden on him. Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, says YHWH, and I will requite you in this plot, says YHWH. Now therefore take and cast him into the plot of land, according to the word of YHWH” (2 Kings 9:25-26).

Note that in ‘a’ the meeting took place in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite, and in the parallel Jehoram’s body was to be cast in the portion. In ‘b the question was whether it was peace, and the king received a declaration of judgment, and in the parallel that peace was disrupted and the judgment carried out. Centrally in ‘c’ the message was one of ‘Treachery’.

2 Kings 9:21

‘And Joram said, “Make ready.” And they made ready his chariot. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out to meet Jehu, and found him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite.’

Not suspecting any problems Jehoram of Israel then determined to go himself in order to obtain the news that Jehu clearly wanted to convey himself. This would have been seen as a good sign by the king. Bad news was brought by nondescript messengers. To wish to deliver the message himself suggested that Jehu saw it as good news.

We may see it as probable that the meeting place was not a total coincidence. Jehu had probably deliberately decided on it taking place in the portion of Naboth. It was a reminder to him of what his mission was, to act on YHWH’s behalf as His avenger. It was that that lay at the heart of the rebellion.

2 Kings 9:22

‘And it came about, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” And he answered, “What peace, so long as the whoredoms of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” ’

So when Jehoram asked whether Jehu brought a message of peace he was probably anticipating good news concerning the defeat of the Aramaeans. We can therefore imagine his feelings, when instead of saluting him and acknowledging his royal authority, Jehu replied harshly and asked him how there could be peace in Israel as long as Jezebel’s idolatry (the whoredom of worshipping Baal and engaging in obscene sexual rituals) and occultism (the use of magic and divination) prevailed and abounded in Israel.

2 Kings 9:23

‘And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, “There is treachery, O Ahaziah.” ’

At the words of Jehu Jehoram instantly recognised rebellion, and with his hand he turned his chariot and fled, crying out to Ahaziah that treachery was in the air. It is clear that he had been so unsuspecting of treachery that he was driving his own chariot.

2 Kings 9:24

‘And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and smote Joram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sank down in his chariot.’

But he was not to escape YHWH’s vengeance, for Jehu drew his bow to its greatest extent and smote him with an arrow between the arms so that he sank down into his chariot, which then presumably came to a halt.

2 Kings 9:25

‘Then Jehu said to Bidkar his captain, “Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, for remember how, when I and you rode together after Ahab his father, YHWH laid this burden on him.” ’

Then Jehu turned to his captain, Bidkar, and told him to take Jehoram’s body and cast it into the field of Naboth the Jezreelite from whom Jezebel and Ahab had stolen a vineyard, having arranged for his murder. He reminded Bidkar how when they had both ridden together in Ahab’s service, (Jehoram’s father), it had been well known that YHWH had determined this punishment for the house of Ahab (laid this burden on him), something only delayed because of Ahab’s subsequent repentance (1 Kings 21:29).

For the name Bidkar, probably a shortened form of Ben-dekar, compare 1 Kings 4:9.

2 Kings 9:26

“Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, says YHWH, and I will requite you in this plot, says YHWH. Now therefore take and cast him into the plot of land, according to the word of YHWH.”

Jehu reminded Bidkar that YHWH had declared that He had seen the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons who had apparently perished with him (compare how He had heard Abel’s blood crying from the ground - Genesis 4:10), and had sworn that he would pay Ahab back for the murders in that very plot of land, something, however, deferred to his son’s day in 1 Kings 21:29 because of Ahab’s repentance. (If we think this harsh we should recognise that the implication of the verse is that had Jehoram also repented he also would have avoided the consequences. God’s judgment never comes on those who have truly repented). Thus Jehu was offering the body of Jehoram as requital for the sin of Ahab, in accordance with YHWH’s word. We may see as background to the idea the thoughts in Deuteronomy 21, although in this case the murderer was known. Jehoram’s death had become a kind of atonement offering for the unrequited sin which had stained Israel.


Verses 27-29

Ahaziah Of Judah Is Also Slain As A Worshipper of Baal (2 Kings 9:27-29).

Having seen what was happening Ahaziah naturally also fled, taking the way of the garden-house. But he found no way of escape for Jehu pursued him and called on his fellow charioteers to smite him as well, in his chariot. This they accomplished at the ascent of Gur, and once satisfied that he would not live, allowed him to be carried off to Megiddo where he died of his wounds. His servants then bore his body to Jerusalem, where he was buried with his fathers in his sepulchre in the city of David. His reign is then summed up in 2 Kings 9:29 where it will be noted that the reckoning is in Israelite terms, ignoring the initial regnal part year (contrast twelve years in 2 Kings 8:25 where the reckoning is on the basis used in Judah where the initial part year is counted as a full year).

Analysis.

a But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden-house (2 Kings 9:27 a).

b And Jehu followed after him, and said, “Smite him also in the chariot,” and they smote him at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam (2 Kings 9:27 b).

c And he fled to Megiddo, and died there (2 Kings 9:27 c).

b And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David (2 Kings 9:28).

a And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab, Ahaziah began to reign over Judah (2 Kings 9:29).

Note that in ‘a’ Ahaziah fled, and in the parallel his reign is described. In ‘b’ he was to be smitten in his chariot, and in the parallel was borne to Jerusalem in his chariot to be buried. Centrally in ‘c’ he fled to Megiddo and died there.

2 Kings 9:27

‘But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden-house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, “Smite him also in the chariot,” and they smote him at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.’

When Ahaziah saw what was happening he fled in his chariot. But as brother-in-law to the dead king he would be seen as of Ahab’s house and thus equally liable to blood vengeance. Indeed if allowed to live he would have been responsible to avenge the blood of his wife’s brother. Thus Jehu pursued him, accompanied by his own chariots, and bade them smite Ahaziah down. ‘The garden house’ may have been a prominent landmark in the gardens around Jezreel (it may even have once been Naboth’s garden house). Alternately it might have been on the road taken by Ahaziah in his desire to reach the safety of Judah. Many identify it with En-gannim (Joshua 19:21 - modern ‘Jenin’) eleven kilometres (seven miles) south of Jezreel, which was only two kilometres (about one mile) short of Ibleam (possibly modern Tel-bel‘ameh). But his flight was in vain and they caught up with him at ‘the ascent of Gur’, near Ibleam. ‘The way up to Gur’ may refer to the road to modern Gurra near Taanach.

Once he had been smitten Ahaziah recognised that he could not hope to make Judah, and instead took the road to Megiddo, a chariot city in Israel which would hopefully still be loyal to Jehoram (they would not yet know about the rebellion). It would seem that it was so, for it took him in and he died there.

2 Kings 9:28

‘And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David.’

His body was then borne by his servants in a chariot to Jerusalem where he was buried in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David. As his death had not been the result of an assassination at the hands of his people he was seen as dying ‘peaceably’.

2 Kings 9:29

‘And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab Ahaziah began to reign over Judah.’

The whole passage from 2 Kings 8:25 is now summed up by a repeat of the fact concerning Azariah’s succession, so that 2 Kings 8:25 and 2 Kings 9:29 form an inclusio. (It will be noted that it is also required for the chiasmus). The difference lies in the fact that here the Israelite method of reckoning regnal years (eleven years excluding the accession year) is used instead of that used in Judah (twelve years including the accession year). This is interesting evidence that the passage includes information extracted from both the annals of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, with the statements being extracted from each without being altered.


Verses 30-37

YHWH’s Judgment On Jezebel (2 Kings 9:30-37).

The fact that YHWH carried out his judgment on Jehoram and Ahaziah, and now on Jezebel, through Jehu, does not mean that YHWH would approve wholly of all Jehu’s methods, and later Jehu is castigated for his excesses (see Hosea 1:4). But he is commended for destroying the house of Ahab (2 Kings 10:30). When God calls men into His service and works through them He does not control all their actions, and they may do things of which He disapproves, and even go too far, often in their zeal. He knows perfectly well that those whom he calls are sinners, and will not carry out His will perfectly. (Even Martin Luther and John Knox would have been very different men in the twenty first century AD. We can rejoice in their godliness and piety, without necessarily agreeing with all that they did). His sovereign will and men’s freewill actions in history go along in parallel and we may see His hand at work even when the detail of all that occurs is not with His approval. Compare how later the king of Assyria will be raised up and used as the rod of His anger, but will have to be punished for going about it in the wrong way (Isaiah 10:5-13).

Jehu was a man of blood, and he had just come from the seat of war. He had served in the army for long years, having seen service under both Ahab and Jehoram as a charioteer, and to him death was a way of life. Thus when he carried out what he saw as God’s will he did it in the way that life had taught him. He did not shrink from the shedding of blood. God was behind his aims, but not necessarily behind his methods, even though the latter did result in the remarkable fulfilment of Elijah’s prophecy. God had purposed that Jehu become king of Israel, but it was Jehu and his fellow officers who determined on the way in which it would come about (2 Kings 9:12-15).

As Jehu now approached Jezreel, with two kings disposed of, his purpose was to destroy what he and most in Israel saw as the greatest curse on the land, Jezebel, Ahab’s Phoenician and idolatress princess, and he did not care how he did it. Thus when he saw her peering out of the window, decorated in all her finery, he commanded those who were on his side to throw her out of the window, and when her blood spattered the wall he rode his chariot over her, just as he had regularly ridden his chariot over his enemies.

And yet he remembered too that she was a king’s daughter, and he therefore commanded that her remains be gathered up for honourable burial, only to learn that meanwhile the scavenger dogs had done their worst, so that only her skull, he feet and the palms of her hands were left, in accordance with Elijah’s prophecy, ‘the dogs will eat Jezebel by the walls of Jezreel’ (1 Kings 22:23).

Analysis.

a And when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it, and she painted her eyes, and attired her head, and looked out at the window (2 Kings 9:30).

b And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, “Is it peace, you Zimri, your master’s murderer?” (2 Kings 9:31).

c And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs (2 Kings 9:32).

d And he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses, and he trod her under foot (2 Kings 9:33).

c And when he had come in, he ate and drank, and he said, “See now to this cursed woman, and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter” (2 Kings 9:34).

b And they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands (2 Kings 9:35).

a For which reason they came back, and told him. And he said, “This is the word of YHWH, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “In the portion of Jezreel will the dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel, and the body of Jezebel will be as dung on the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel, so that they will not say, ‘This is Jezebel’ ” (2 Kings 9:36-37).

Note that in ‘a’ Jezebel presented herself as she saw herself in all her ageing beauty, and in the parallel she is presented as God saw her in all her nothingness. In ‘b’ she castigates his murderous behaviour, and in the parallel she herself is found murdered, and worse. In ‘c’ Jehu looked for help from the servants in the palace, and in the parallel he ate and drank in the palace. Central in ‘d’ is a description of the actual murder of Jezebel.

2 Kings 9:30

‘And when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it, and she painted her eyes, and attired her head, and looked out at the window.’

The news of what Jehu had done to the two kings was hurriedly brought back to Jezreel and conveyed to Jezebel, who could have been in no doubt that her end had come. She would know that she could expect no mercy from the people whom she had treated so badly. But as any brave woman would in the circumstances, she painted herself up so that she could meet death proudly. She was not going to let Jehu know that she feared him. Then she went to her open window so that she could challenge him on his arrival. It is clear that she did not lack courage. An oriental woman would not in normal circumstances have been so bold, but Jezebel now knew that she was temporarily representing the royal family as its head

The blackening of her eyes would be with kuhl (also mentioned as guhlu in the Assyrian record of the tribute received from Hezekiah) which was sulphide of antimony mixed with oil, and was later widely used among Arabic women as a cosmetic.

2 Kings 9:31

‘And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, “Is it peace, you Zimri, your master’s murderer?” ’

Thus as Jehu came through the gate into the city she called out bitterly the same words as had been borne by the messengers and by Jehoram himself, ‘is it peace?’ It was a reminder to Jehu that in her eyes he was simply treacherous, and she ensured that it was properly understood by likening him to Zimri who was well remembered as a regicide (1 Kings 16:8-10). She was not looking for any favours.

Some see it as an attempt to parley with the word ‘zimri’ being understood not as a name but as ‘you hero’ (in line with the rare Ugaritic word dmr), but if so her words were to say the least tactless. However, the fact that it fits so perfectly with the behaviour of the actual Zimri supports the first interpretation, especially in the context of Kings. And her implication might have been that Jehu also would only last seven days.

It may well be that Jehu had in fact never seen the queen mother, but her words and her appearance would leave him in no doubt as to who this was who challenged him so boldly.

2 Kings 9:32

‘And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs.’

Her attitude and behaviour determined the method of her death. A Jehu with his blood aroused, and goaded by a woman he hated and despised (as she hated and despised him at this moment) determined to be avenged for her insults. Lifting up his face to the window he asked who among those who were in the palace were on his side, and ‘two or three eunuchs’ responded.

2 Kings 9:33

‘And he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses, and he trod her under foot.’

Then he commanded the eunuchs to throw Jezebel down from the window onto the road below. So they threw her down, and as her body hit the road her blood spattered the walls and the horses. Joel then drove his chariot over her. By his strategy he had cleverly ensured that Jezebel had been slain by the people, not by himself. His action was simply the final humiliation. And he had not needed to lift a hand against her. He did not want to be known as the man who killed a noblewoman. Nor did he want any Tyrian revenge to be aimed only at him. He wanted it thought of as the will of the people.

2 Kings 9:34

‘And when he had come in, he ate and drank, and he said, “See now to this cursed woman, and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.” ’

The fact that there was no resistance in the city suggests that the city elders as a whole approved of, or at least gave consent to, Jehu’s actions. Outside the inner court the house of Ahab was not popular, and this was Jezreel not Samaria (where greater resistance might have been expected). Thus affairs were soon settled and a welcoming feast laid on. This was not as callous as it sounds. Such offered hospitality was an immediate assurance of their support for Jehu, and his participating in it a sign that his intentions towards them were peaceable. It was a covenant meal. All who participated in the meal would be committed to friendship. It is, however, an indication both of Jehu’s indifference in the face of bloodshed, and of his sense of propriety, that he thought of the need for Jezebel to be properly buried, but only after some time had elapsed. It came to his mind as he ate that, ‘cursed woman’ as she was (no longer under the blessing of YHWH as the accepted ruler as a result of the evil of her life), Jezebel was a king’s daughter and should therefore in her death be treated with respect. There is possibly underlying the author’s description of her as ‘cursed’ the thought that even while Jehu was eating and drinking, the scavenger dogs were also enjoying their meal. Jezebel’s covenant meal was with the dogs, and she was on the menu.

2 Kings 9:35

‘And they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands.’

Accordingly they went to bury her, but when they investigated they found only her bare skull, he feet, and the palms of her hands. All the remainder had been eaten or dragged off by the hungry scavenger dogs.

2 Kings 9:36-37

‘For which reason they came back, and told him. And he said, “This is the word of YHWH, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “In the portion of Jezreel will the dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel, and the body of Jezebel will be as dung on the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel, so that they will not say, ‘This is Jezebel.’ ”

When this was reported back to him he drew attention to the fact that it was the fulfilment of YHWH’s word through Elijah, cited in 1 Kings 21:23 as, ‘The dogs will eat Jezebel by the walls of Jezreel’. This fuller version of the prophecy, which we have no reason for doubting as authentic, although possibly paraphrased by Jehu, was probably recorded in a different original record. It is sufficiently different from the facts to indicate that it was not just invention. It included not only the thought that Jezebel would be eaten by scavenger dogs, but that her remains would act as fertiliser in the area of Jezreel, with nothing remaining to remember her by. There would be insufficient preserved remains for anyone to be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel’. She had become a nothing.

 


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Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 2 Kings 9:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/2-kings-9.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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