Haydock 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.
Master. Jehu would lead them into a snare, and insultingly challenges them to battle, shewing how little he feared their power. (Calmet) --- He speaks ironically. (Du Hamel)
Morning, that all the people might see them. (Calmet) --- Jehu did not choose to admit the Samaritans into the city during the night. (Menochius)
Just executioners of the divine wrath. (Du Hamel) --- You know what is right. (Menochius) --- You are now in the same predicament with myself. (Haydock) --- All the chief men had thus rendered themselves odious to the people, who could not choose them for leaders. He captiously infers, from his astonishing success, (Calmet) that his conduct is pleasing to God. (Menochius) --- All the people seeing that so many had armed (Tirinus) against the house of Achab, might conclude that what they did was just. (Haydock)
Chief men, probably including those perfidious wretches, who had so basely betrayed their trust, and slain the 70 sons of Achab, "the nobles of the kingdom, his kinsmen, and friends." (Chaldean; Arabic) --- Friends. Some copies of the Septuagint have connoisseurs, of magicians, Leviticus xix. 31. --- Priests, princes of the court (2 Kings viii. 18.) and those who offered sacrifice to idols, (Calmet) being of Achab's descendants. (Menochius) --- He afterwards inveigled all the priests of Baal, to their entire ruin, ver. 19. (Haydock)
Cabin. Hebrew Beth-heked, (Haydock) a term which the Septuagint do not translate. It means, "house of tying," as the sheep were tied to be shorn. (Menochius) --- Eusebius places it in the great plain, 15 miles from Legion. (Calmet) --- It was not a despicable hut, (Haydock) but like the houses where Nabal and Absalom shore their sheep, 1 Kings xxv., &c. (Tirinus)
Brethren. The Arabs had destroyed all his brothers by the same mother; (2 Paralipomenon xxii. 1.) but these were near relations, and they durst not deny the fact. (Menochius) --- In 2 Paralipomenon xxii. 8., they are styled princes of Juda, and sons of the brethren of Ochozias. Jehu must have used surprising diligence (Calmet) and secrecy (Haydock) to prevent the many important transactions and changes which had lately taken place from being known at Jerusalem, or even at Beth-heked, ver. 12., which was so little distant from Samaria. (Calmet) --- Queen. The wife of Joram, or the children of Jezabel, (Menochius) with whom they were connected by affinity and friendship, to their great detriment. (Haydock)
Alive. That they might not attempt to defend themselves, (Menochius) as they might hope that Jehu would, at least, spare their lives. (Haydock) --- Of them, as they were in some degree related to Achab, (Menochius) or might endeavour to obstruct his dominion. (Tirinus)
Jonadab, a holy personage, Jeremias xxxv. 6. The Rechabites were a sort of religious, descended from Jethro and the Cinites. (Calmet) --- They dwelt in the country, and fed sheep, &c., Numbers x. 29. (Tirinus) --- John of Jerus.[Jerusalem?] (c. 25.) says that Jonadab was a disciple of Eliseus, and followed his institute in all things, except continency. (Menochius) --- Blessed him, wishing his peace and prosperity. (Menochius) --- It is not clear whether Jehu or Jonadab pronounced this blessing. (Haydock) --- Heart. Art thou friendly to my cause? --- Thy hand, in sign of concord, and to help him up into his chariot. (Calmet) --- It was of great consequence to obtain the approbation of a man (Haydock) who must have been so revered by the people. (Menochius) --- Jehu acted with the utmost policy. (Haydock)
I will worship him more. Jehu sinned in thus pretending to worship Baal, and causing sacrifices to be offered to him: because evil in not to be done, that good may come of it, Romans iii. 8. (Challoner) (Worthington) --- St. Jerome, &c., excuse him from mortal sin, as his intention was good. (Tirinus) --- If he had not thus dissembled, he could not have so effectually destroyed the adorers of Baal, who would have concealed themselves. But God rewarded his zeal, and not his falsehood. (Calmet) --- He might speak ironically; though Theodoret, &c., admit a lie. (Menochius)
Servants. The number had greatly decreased under Joram. (Menochius)
Proclaim. Literally, "sanctify (Hebrew) a prohibition" to work, or to be absent, (Calmet) "and they proclaimed it."
Other. Literally, "from top to top." Hebrew, "from mouth to mouth," (Haydock) like a vessel brimfull. (Calmet) --- Every corner was filled. All the priests and prophets made their appearance, through zeal to re-establish the honour of their idol, and for fear of death. (Menochius)
Wardrobe, of vestments used in the service of Baal. The worship chiefly consisted in such outward pomp. The priests were probably adorned like those at the pillars of Hercules, who were from the same country. Sil. Ital. iii., velantur corpora lino, &c.
Life. These 80 were stationed at the doors, while the rest slaughtered the unhappy idolaters, (Menochius) who were all by themselves, like the reprobate separated from the elect, at the last day. (Haydock)
Soldiers. Hebrew, "runners, (or foot-guards, 3 Kings i. 5,) and chief officers," Exodus xiv. 7. --- Out. Hebrew, "cast out" their carcasses, or "rushed out (themselves) into the city," which was styled "the temple of Baal;" or "penetrated into the fortress" and inmost recesses of that structure. (Osiander.) --- We read of such a fortress, Judges ix. 46. (Haydock) --- In every city where there was a temple of Baal, the fabric and idols were demolished. (Salien)
A jakes, or necessary [latrine]. (Haydock) --- See 1 Esdras vi. 11., and Daniel ii. 5.
Dan. This wicked policy, which was designed to prevent his subjects from submitting again to the kings of Juda, proved his ruin.
Generation. So Joachaz, Joas, Jeroboam II, and Zacharias, succeeded to the throne. This small temporal reward he obtained for the little good which he had done; while, on the other hand, he was punished for his manifold transgressions. Osee (i. 4,) reproaches him even for the blood which he had spilt in Jezrahel; for, though Achab and Joram were guilty, was Jehu innocent? Can this murder of Ochozias be justified? (Calmet) --- "What advantage was it to him that he received some little transitory reward of a temporal kingdom, for his obedience in exterminating the house of Achab; which he indeed exhibited to gratify his own lust of dominion?" (St Augustine, contra mend. ii. c. 2.) This holy doctor observes, that moral good works are thus rewarded. (Worthington)
Weary. Hebrew, "to retrench or destroy." Hazael took occasion, from the absence of Jehu (Calmet) from Galaad, and the disturbances on the west of the Jordan, to dismember the provinces on the east, and to commit the horrid ravages foretold by Eliseus, chap. viii. 12. (Haydock)
Aroer. See Josue xiii. 25. This was a most severe scourge, (Menochius) as all the eastern tribes were lost to Israel. (Haydock)