Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 10:1

Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of Jezreel, the elders, and to the guardians of the children of Ahab, saying,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ahab;   Children;   Enthusiasm;   Government;   Homicide;   Jehu;   Massacre;   Tutor;   Thompson Chain Reference - Ahab;   Jehu;   Letters;   Tutors;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Children;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jezreel;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ahab;   Education;   Jehu;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jezreel;   Writing;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Children;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Esdraelon;   Hell;   Letter;   Samaria, Samaritans;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Elder;   Government;   Jehu;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Numbers (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jezreel ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Elder;   Jehu;   Letter;   Writing;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Jehu;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Epistle;   Jehu;   Number;   Relationships, Family;   Ruler;   Samaria, City of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Education;   Gerusia;   Jezreel;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

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 2 Kings 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 2 Kings 10:6;); and to these, therefore, Jehu's letters are directed. It is supposed Isaiah ( Isaiah 49:23;) alludes to this custom: Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and queens thy nursing mothers.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-10.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Seventy sons - i. e., descendants; there were included among them children of Jehoram (2 Kings 10:2-3, etc.).

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-10.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

JEHU; THE BLOODTHIRSTY KILLER; ON A RAMPAGE;

JEHU CHALLENGED THE GUARDIANS OF AHAB'S ROYAL FAMILY

"Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters and sent to Samaria unto the rulers of Jezreel, even the rulers, and unto them that brought up the sons of Ahab, saying, And now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master's sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fortified city also, and armor; look ye out the best and meetest of your masters sons, and set him on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house. But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, the two kings stood not before him; and then how shall we stand? And he that was over the household, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and they that brought up the children sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any man king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes."

"For barbarity and hypocrisy Jehu has few parallels; and the cowardice and baseness of the nobles mentioned here have seldom been equaled."[1]

"Letters sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel" (2 Kings 10:1). Of course, that type of scholarship which is always fooling with the sacred text and changing it to what they think it should have said has `done their thing' on this verse making it read, "Letters sent to Samaria (omitting Jezreel) to the rulers of the city, etc." (RSV). This writer accepts the ASV as accurate. The rulers of Jezreel, the elders, and the guardians of the royal family were actually in Samaria at the time of Jehu's letters due to its being considered a safer place than Jezreel during the war in which Israel was at that time engaged. Therefore, it was perfectly true that Jehu sent all of those important leaders of Jezreel letters addressed to them in Samaria where they were located at the time he wrote.

"And now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria" (2 Kings 10:1). This is not necessarily a statement that they lived in Samaria, as supposed by Hammond,[2] but that they were in Samaria upon the occasion of this letter. Cook mentioned the fact that "sons" as used here would include grandsons and other close relatives.[3]

Such a large number of sons, however, is by no means impossible. "Rehoboam had thirty-eight sons; Abdon had forty; Tola had thirty; Ahab had seventy; and Gideon had seventy-one."[4]

"Set him on his father's throne, and fight for your masters house" (2 Kings 10:3). "Jehu neither desired that they should do this nor expected them to do so; he was merely upbraiding them with their cowardice and incompetence to challenge him."[5]

C. F. Keil lamented the fact that, "We cannot discover any reason why the court-officials living in Samaria should be called "the princes of Jezreel";[6] but, as we have already noted, those officials were there for greater protection in the stronghold of Samaria during the war in progress. There is no need whatever to adjust the text as in the RSV and other versions. Ahab's court, in a sense occupied two capitals, both Samaria and Jezreel.

"We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any man king" (2 Kings 10:5). These were the same pusillanimous cowards who had obeyed to the letter the vicious orders of Jezebel to murder Naboth and his sons. "These elders of Jezreel had been wickedly obsequious to Jezebel in Naboth's murder (1 Kings 21:11), and that same base spirit made them just as pliable and ready to obey Jehu's order for the murder of Ahab's whole family."[7]

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-10.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria,.... These might not be all his immediate sons, but some of them his grandsons, as such are sometimes called in Scripture:

and Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel; who fled thither, perhaps on Jehu's coming to Jezreel, having slain Joram, being the metropolis of the kingdom, to consult about a successor, or how to oppose Jehu, and to frustrate his designs: but the Septuagint version is, "to the rulers of Samaria", which seems most likely to be the true reading:

to the elders; the civil magistrates of the city of Samaria:

and to them that brought up Ahab's children: who had the care of their education; who either always dwelt at Samaria, being the royal city, or were sent with their charge thither, when Joram went to Ramothgilead, for safety, supposing he should be worsted by the Syrians; or they fled thither with them upon the death of Joram:

saying; as follows.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-10.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Ahab had seventy a sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's [children], saying,

(a) The Scripture calls them sons who are either children or nephews.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-10.html. 1599-1645.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

In following up the commission Jehu had received from the Lord for the destruction of Ahab's house, we are told in this chapter how he caused 70 of his sons to be beheaded. He destroyeth, the worshippers of Baal. But yet himself, the close of the chapter relates, departed not from the sins of Jeroboam.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-kings-10.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 10:1 And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab’s [children], saying,

Ver. 1. And Ahab had seventy sons.] By several wives. God had threatened to root out his house, yet he promised himself the establishment of his house; and thereupon so followed the work of generation that he left seventy sons behind him.

In Samaria.] The chief city, where they were for safety and for noble education.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-10.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 10:1. Sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel From the context some have thought, that the letters were sent to the rulers of Samaria; and this they think the more probable, as the LXX render it Samaria, and not Jezreel. Le Clerc conjectures, that the rulers of Jezreel, who had the care of Ahab's children, might have been fled with them to Samaria. In the Vulgate it is read, to the nobles, or chief men of the city; a reading which Houbigant follows, and thinks is confirmed by the 5th verse. See his note, and Pilkington's Remarks.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-10.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

2 KINGS CHAPTER 10

Jehu by his letters causeth seventy of Ahab’s sons to be slain: the fact is excused by Elijah’s prophecy, 2 Kings 10:1-11. Also forty-two of king Ahaziah’s brethren, 2 Kings 10:12-14. By subtlety he slayeth all the priests and prophets of Ahab; breaketh down his images and temple, 2 Kings 10:18-28. He followeth the sin of Jeroboam, 2 Kings 10:29-31. Hazael oppresseth Israel: Jehoahaz suceeedeth Jehu, 2 Kings 10:32-36.

Ahab had seventy sons; either, first, properly sons by several wives; or rather, secondly, grandsons are comprehended, who are oft called sons, and grandfathers fathers, in Scripture. In Samaria; either because they were bred up there, that being the chief city of the kingdom; or because upon the tidings of Joram’s slaughter they fled thither, or were by their friends conveyed from several parts thither, as to the strongest place; in which it may seem by Jehu’s message they intended to defend themselves and Ahab’s children, and to set up one as king in Joram’s stead; or rather, because they were left there by Joram when he went to Ramoth-gilead, that if the Syrians had prevailed against him, they might have safety in that very strong and great city, and he by their means succour from it.

Unto the rulers of Jezreel, Heb. the princes of Jezreel, i.e. the great persons and officers of the court, which then was and had been for some time at Jezreel, who either had fled thither with Ahab’s sons, upon the news of Jehu’s actions and successes; or rather, had been sent by Joram with his sons to Samaria, to take care of them there.

To the elders; either by age, or rather by office; the rulers or senators of Samaria.

To them that brought up Ahab’s children; that had a more particular care of the several children under the inspection of the princes or rulers here mentioned.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-10.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1.Seventy sons in Samaria — The word sons here, as often, is meant to include all Ahab’s living posterity — sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons. Some of these children of Ahab were no doubt very young.

Wrote letters — Intercourse by means of written epistles was at this period very common.

Sent to Samaria — Where was the chief seat of government, the royal palace, and the court, and where the nobles of the kingdom were generally to be found. The kings of Israel had a palace at Jezreel, (1 Kings 21:1,) and often abode there, but that did not diminish the importance of Samaria. It was more of a summer residence of the king and his family than the chief capital of the kingdom.

The rulers of Jezreel — Or, princes of Jezreel, nobles of the kingdom, whose common residence was Jezreel, but who, for some reason not stated, were now at the royal palace at Samaria, where, doubtless, they were often wont to resort.

To the elders — The elders of the city of Samaria. These are not to be identified with the rulers or princes just mentioned, but were men of less dignity and power, having their authority confined to matters pertaining more especially to Samaria.

Them that brought up Ahab’s children — That is, the guardians and instructors, who had the oversight and training of the young princes. Thus Jehu’s letters were directed to three classes of persons, all of them more or less responsible for the care of the royal family, namely, the nobles, the elders, and the guardians. Expositors have been much troubled to explain why Jehu sent letters from Jezreel to Samaria to the princes of Jezreel. Some have proposed to read rulers of Israel instead of rulers of Jezreel. Keil emends the text according to the Septuagint and Vulgate, and reads rulers of the city, יזרעאל being a corruption of העיר אל. But it seems better to understand that the rulers of Jezreel were the supreme court officers of the kingdom, and that they were so called because they commonly resided in Jezreel. It need not seem strange that they were at this time in Samaria, for many supposable items of official business may have called them to the chief seat of the nation; or, perhaps, as some have supposed, they had fled thither from the face of Jehu.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-10.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 10:1. Ahab had seventy sons — Grandsons are probably comprehended here under the name of sons, as is usual in the Scriptures: though, by several wives, he might have as many sons as Gideon had. These sons or grandsons were now in Samaria, either because they had been bred up there, that being the chief city of the kingdom; or because they had fled thither, upon receiving tidings of the slaughter of Joram; or had been conveyed thither, from different parts, by their friends, as to the strongest place. Here, as appears probable from Jehu’s message, they intended to defend themselves and Ahab’s children, and to set up one as king in Joram’s stead. Jehu wrote letters unto the rulers of Jezreel — Hebrew, the princes of Jezreel, that is, the great persons and officers of the court, which then was, and for some time had been, at Jezreel. These, it seems, had either fled to Samaria upon the news of Jehu’s actions and successes, or had been sent thither by Joram with his sons, to take care of them there. To the elders — Termed such from their age, or rather from their office, being the magistrates or senators of Samaria. And to them that brought up Ahab’s children — That had a more particular care of the several children under the inspection of the princes and elders here mentioned.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-10.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Seventy sons, as he had many wives. Gedeon had 70. (Calmet) --- Grand-children might also be included. (Du Hamel) --- But this is not necessary. (Calmet) --- City, Hebrew, "of Jezrahel," a word which has probably been substituted instead of "Israel," which is more conformable to the Septuagint and Vulgate. Those who adhere to the Hebrew pretend that the princes had all fled from Jezrahel. --- Children. This is the sense generally given to Nutritios Achab, which literally signifies, "nursing-fathers (preceptors, counsellors, &c.) of Achab," ver. 5. The king's children were perhaps educated in the most noble families, (ver. 6.) and in the best cities, 2 Paralipomenon xi. 23. Isaias (xlix. 23.) foretelling the happiness of the Israelites after the captivity, says, that kings and queens will nurse them.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-10.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

sons. Put by Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Part), for grandsons and greatgrandsons.

unto. Some codices, with Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "and unto".

rulers = elders.

of Jezreel. Doubtless they had fled to Samaria, being in great fear (2 Kings 10:4) from what Jehu had done in Jezreel.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-10.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's children, saying,

Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. Since it appears (2 Kings 10:13) that grandsons are included, it is probable that this number comprehended the whole posterity of Ahab. Their being all assembled in that capital might arise from their being left there on the king's departure for Ramoth-gilead, or from their taking refuge in some of the strongholds of that city on the news of Jehu's conspiracy.

Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel. [The Septuagint has: pros tous archontas Samareias, which is probably the correct reading.] It may be inferred from the tenor of Jehu's letters that their first intention was to select the fittest of the royal family and set him up as king; or perhaps this challenge of Jehu was designed as a stroke of policy on his part to elicit their views, and try whether they were inclined to be pacific or hostile. The bold character of the man, and the rapid success of his conspiracy terrified the civic authorities of Samaria and Jezreel into submission.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-10.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

X.

JEHU MASSACRES THE FAMILY OF AHAB, THE KINSMEN OF AHAZIAH, AND BAAL-WORSHIPPERS.

(1) Ahab had seventy sons.—His posterity in general are meant. Ahab had been dead about fourteen years (2 Kings 3:1; 1 Kings 22:51), and had had two successors on the throne. The name Ahab seems to be used here as equivalent to the house of Ahab. Many of the number might be strictly sons of Ahab, as he no doubt had a considerable harem.

Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria.—Jehu was crafty as well as fierce. He could not venture to the capital without first sounding the inclinations of the nobles of the city.

Unto the rulers of Jezreel.—“Jezreel” is an ancient error. The LXX. has “unto the rulers of Samaria.” So Josephus. Thenius accordingly suggests that the original reading was, “and sent from Jezreel to the princes of Samaria.” The Vulg. gives “ad optimates civitatis,” which seems preferable. Before “the elders” we must restore “and unto” with some MSS., the LXX., Syriac, and Vulg. The original text would then run: “and sent to the princes of the city and unto the elders,” &c. Reuss, on the other hand, reads “Israel” for “Jezreel.”

Them that brought up Ahab’s children.—Literally, them who brought up Ahab (i.e., the house of Ahab). The word occurs in Numbers 11:12; Isaiah 49:23 (“nursing father”). The nobles entrusted with this charge would be responsible for the good behaviour of their wards. Ahab may have dreaded the evils of an education in the harem, and possible disputes about the succession.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-10.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's children, saying,
seventy sons
Judges 8:30; 10:4; 12:14
in Samaria
5:3; 1 Kings 13:32; 16:28; 2 Chronicles 22:9
the rulers
Deuteronomy 16:18; 1 Kings 21:8-14
them
Heb. nourishers.
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 21:21 - Behold;  1 Kings 21:29 - in his son's days;  Ecclesiastes 6:3 - a man;  Jeremiah 29:25 - Because;  Galatians 4:1 - That

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 10:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-10.html.