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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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JEHU. 1. A prophet, the son of Hanani ( 1 Kings 16:1 etc.). 2. A Judahite ( 1 Chronicles 2:38 ). 3. A Simeonite ( 1 Chronicles 4:35 ). 4. One of David’s heroes ( 1 Chronicles 12:3 ). 5. A king of Israel. Like the other founders of dynasties in that country, he obtained the throne by the murder of his monarch. It is evident that a considerable party in Israel bad long been dissatisfied with the house of Ahab. This was partly on account of its religious policy, but perhaps even more for its oppression of its subjects, so emphatically illustrated by the story of Naboth. The leader of the opposition was Elijah, and after him Elisha. Jehu, when in attendance upon Ahab, had heard Elijah’s denunciation of the murder of Naboth ( 2 Kings 9:25 f.). Later he was general of the army, and commanded in the operations at Ramoth-gilead in the absence of king Jehoram. The latter had gone to Jezreel on account of wounds he had received. Elisha saw this to be the favourable moment to start the long-planned revolt. His disciple anointed the general, and the assent of the army was easily obtained. The vivid narrative of Jehu’s prompt action is familiar to every reader of the OT. The king was taken completely by surprise, and he and his mother were slain at once ( 2 Kings 9:1-37 ; 2 Kings 10:1-36 ).

The extermination of Ahab’s house was a foregone conclusion. The skill of Jehu is seen in his making the chief men in the kingdom partners in the crime. The extermination of the royal house in Judah seems uncalled for, but was perhaps excused by the times on account of the close relationship with the family of Ahab. It has been suggested that Jehu purposed to put an end to the independence of Judah, and to incorporate it fully with his own kingdom. But we have no direct evidence on this head. Hosea saw that the blood of Jezreel rested upon the house of Jehu, and that it would be avenged (Hosea 1:4 ).

Elisha’s activity extended through the reign of Jehu, but the narrative of the prophet’s life tells us little of the king. From another source the Assyrian inscriptions we learn that Jehu paid tribute to Shalmaneser in the year 842 b.c., which must have been the year of his accession. He probably hoped to secure the great king’s protection against Damascus. But he was disappointed in this, for after a single expedition to the West in 839 the Assyrians were occupied in the East. The latter portion of Jehu’s reign was therefore a time of misfortune for Israel.

H. P. Smith.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jehu'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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Tuesday, January 28th, 2020
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