Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
II Kings viii: 7
to 15; ix: 1, to x: 36
Lord came to the prophet Elijah at Mount Horeb in
the wilderness, the Lord gave to Elijah a command to
anoint or call Hazael to be king of Syria, and Jehu
to be king of Israel. But to prepare the way for
these changes of rule a long time was needed, and
Elijah was taken home to heaven before these men
were called to be kings.
The time to call these men had now come, and Elisha
undertook the work that had been left to him by
Elijah. He went to Damascus, the chief city of
Syria: and Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, heard that
the great prophet of Israel had come, for the fame
of Elisha's deeds had made his name known through
all those lands.
At that time King Ben-hadad was ill; and he sent one
of his chief princes, whose name was Hazael, to ask
Elisha whether he would be well again. Hazael came
to meet Elisha with a rich present, which loaded
forty camels, and he spoke to Elisha with great
respect, saying, "Your son, Ben-hadad, king of
Syria, has sent me to you to ask, 'Shall I become
well again from this sickness?' "
And Elisha said to Hazael, "You may tell Ben-hadad
that he will get well; nevertheless, the Lord has
shown me that he will surely die."
Then Elisha looked steadily upon Hazael's face,
until Hazael felt ashamed, and Elisha wept as he
looked upon him. Hazael said to him, "Why does my
lord weep?" "I weep, said Elisha, "because I know
the evil that you will do to the people of Israel.
You will take their castles, and set them on fire;
you will kill their young men, and you will destroy
Hazael was surprised at this, and said, "I am
nothing but a dog; and how can I do such great
And Elisha answered him, "The Lord has shown me that
you shall be king over Syria."
Then Hazael went to King Ben-hadad, and said to him,
"the man of God told me that you will surely be well
from your sickness."
And on the next day Hazael took the cover from the
bed, and dipped it in water, and pressed it tightly
over Ben-hadad's face, so that he died; and Hazael
reigned in his place as king of Syria. As soon as
Hazael became king, he made war upon the Israelites;
and a battle was fought at Ramoth-gilead, the same
place where King Ahab had been slain more than ten
years before. In this battle Jehoram, the king of
Israel, was wounded; and he was taken to Jezreel,
beside the great plain of Esdraelon, there to
recover from his wounds. Ahaziah, who was at that
time king of Judah, and who was a nephew of Jehoram,
went to Jezreel to visit him while he was ill from
By this time Elisha, the prophet, had returned from
his visit to Syria. He knew that the time had now
come to finish the work in Israel left to him by
Elijah; and he called one of the sons of the
prophets to him, and said, "Rise up, and go to the
camp at Ramoth-gilead; and take with you this little
bottle of oil. And when you reach Ramoth-gilead,
find one of the captains of the army, Jehu, the son
of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi; and lead him into
a room alone, and pour the oil on his head, and say,
'Thus saith the Lord, I have anointed you as king
over Israel.' When you have done this, come back to
me at once without waiting."
Then the young man, who was a prophet like Elisha,
took the bottle of oil in his hand and went to
Ramoth-gilead. In the camp of Israel he found the
captains of the army sitting together. He came
suddenly among them, and said, "O captain, I have an
errand to you."
And Jehu, one of the captains, said to him, "To
which one of us is your errand?"
He said to Jehu, "My errand is to you alone, O
Then Jehu went with the young prophet into the
house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said,
"Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, 'I have
anointed you as king over my people Israel. And you
shall destroy the family of Ahab, because they
destroyed the prophets of the Lord. And I will make
the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam, who
made Israel to sin. And the wild dogs shall eat
Jezebel in the city of Jezreel, and there shall be
no one to bury her.' "
And after he had said this, the prophet opened the
door, and went away as suddenly as he had come. Jehu
came back to the other captains, and sat down again.
One of the captains said to him, "Is all well? Why
did this wild fellow call you out?"
Jehu said to them, "You know the man, and you know
what he said to me."
"No, no," they all said, "we do not know. Tell us
what he said."
Then Jehu told them what the prophet had said, and
that he had anointed him as king. This pleased all
the captains. At once they took off their outer
garments, and spread them as a carpet on the stairs
of the house, and at the head of the stairs they
placed Jehu; and they blew the trumpets and called
out to the army, "Jehu is the king!"
Jehu said to the captains, "Do not let any one go
out of the camp to bear word to Jehoram. I will go
Then Jehu made ready his chariot, and rode swiftly
toward Jezreel, his company riding after him. The
watchman on the tower at Jezreel saw him coming, and
he called out to King Jehoram, "I see a company
coming toward the city."
Jehoram thought that they were bearing news of the
war with the Syrians. He sent out a man on horseback
to meet the company. The man came, and said, "Is all
Jehu answered him, "What difference is it to you?
Come after me."
Then the man turned, and joined Jehu's company; and
so did another man whom Jehoram sent when the first
man did not return. And the watchman called out to
Jehoram again, "Two men have gone out to meet the
company that is drawing near, but they have not come
back; and the man at the head drives like Jehu, the
son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously."
Then Jehoram became anxious; he sent for his
chariot, and went out to meet Jehu; and with him
went Ahaziah, the king of Judah, each in his own
chariot. It came to pass that they met Jehu in the
very place which had been the vineyard of Naboth;
the same place where Ahab had met Elijah, when that
same Jehu was standing behind Ahab in his chariot.
As Jehoram drew near to Jehu, he called to him, "Is
all well, Jehu?"
"Can anything be well," answered Jehu, "as long as
your mother Jezebel lives, with all her wickedness?"
When Jehoram heard this he saw that Jehu was his
enemy. He cried out to King Ahaziah, and turned his
chariot, and fled. But he was too late, for Jehu
drew his bow with all his strength and sent an arrow
to his heart. Jehoram fell down dead in his chariot.
Then Jehu said to Bidkar, whom he had made his chief
captain, "Take away the body of Jehoram, and throw
it into the field where the body of Naboth was
thrown. Do you remember how, when you and I were
riding in the chariot behind Ahab, his father, the
Lord said, 'I have seen the blood of Naboth on this
spot, and the punishment of Ahab and his sons shall
be in this place?' "
When Ahaziah, the king of Judah, saw Jehoram fall,
he, too, turned and fled. But Jehu pursued him, and
ordered his followers to kill him. So Ahaziah, the
son of Jehoshaphat, and grandson of Ahab (for his
mother, Athalish, was a daughter of Jezebel), he
also died at the hand of Jehu. His servants took the
body of Ahaziah to Jerusalem, and buried it there.
When Jehu rode into the city of Jezreel Queen
Jezebel knew that her end had come; but she met it
boldly, like a queen. She put on her royal robes,
and a crown upon her head, and sat by the window,
waiting for Jehu to come. As he drew near, she
called out to him, "Good day to you, Jehu, you who
are like Zimri, the murderer of your master!"
You have read of Zimri, who slew King Elah, and was
himself burned in his palace seven days after. Jehu
looked up to the window, and called out, "Who is on
my side? Who?"
And some men looked out to him, and he said, "Throw
her out of the window."
They threw her down, and her blood was spattered on
the wall and on the horses. King Jehu came into the
palace, and sat down as master, and ate and drank.
Then he said, "Take up the body of that wicked
woman, Jezebel, and bury her, for, though wicked,
she was the daughter of a king."
But when they looked on the pavement there was
nothing left of her except her skull, and the bones
of her feet and her hands, for the wild dogs of the
city had eaten her body; and thus the wicked life of
Jezebel came to an end, and the word of the Lord by
the prophet Elijah came to pass. And Jehu slew all
the sons of Ahab, and their children with them, so
that not one of Ahab's family was left alive. When
Jehu saw that he was safe and strong on the throne,
he sent out a message to all the worshippers of
Baal, the idol which Jezebel and the house of Ahab
had brought into Israel. This message was, "Ahab
served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him much.
Now, let all the priests of Baal meet in the temple
of Baal in Samaria."
They came by hundreds, hoping that Jehu would be
their friend as Ahab and his family had been. But
when they were all in the temple, he brought an army
of his soldiers, and placed them on guard around it;
and when no one could escape, he gave the order, "Go
into the temple and kill all the priests of Baal;
let not one get away alive."
And this was done in a cruel manner. He killed all
the prophets and priests of Baal, and tore down the
temple of Baal in Samaria.
But though Jehu broke up the worship of Baal, he did
not worship the Lord God of Israel as he should. He
continued to serve the golden calves which Jeroboam
had set up long before at Bethel and at Dan. And the
Lord sent a prophet to Jehu, who said to him,
"Because you have done my will in destroying the
house of Ahab, and in destroying those that
worshipped Baal, your children to the fourth
generation shall sit on the throne of Israel."
On account of the many sins of the people of Israel
the Lord began in the days of Jehu to take away the
land of the Ten Tribes. Hazael, the new king of
Syria, made war on Jehu, and conquered all the land
on the east of the Jordan, from the brook Amon to
the land of Bashan in the north; so all that was
left of Israel was the country on the west of
Jordan, from Bethel northward to Dan.