Matthew Poole's Commentary
And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead:Elisha sendeth a young prophet with instructions to anoint Jehu king over Israel; whom he chargeth to destroy the house of Ahab, and fleeth, 2 Kings 9:1-10. Jehu is made king by the soldiers; killeth Joram in the field of Naboth, 2 Kings 9:11- 26; killeth also Ahaziah king of Judah, 2 Kings 9:27-29; causeth Jezebel to be thrown out of a window; who is devoured by dogs, 2 Kings 9:30-37.
Gird up thy loins; for haste, to take this opportunity when the kings of Israel and Judah were both absent, 2 Kings 8:29, and Jehu, as it seems, was left in chief command. Partly that the work may not be hindered, and partly for the security of thy own person. See 2 Kings 9:3.
And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber;Partly that the work may not be hindered, and partly for the security of thy own person. See 2 Kings 9:3.
Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not.I have anointed thee king over Israel: this was not his whole message; but the rest of it is particularly declared 2 Kings 9:7-10, and is to be understood here.
So the young man, even the young man the prophet, went to Ramothgilead.Which is here noted as an eminent act of obedience, whereby he run into a manifest hazard of his life.
And when he came, behold, the captains of the host were sitting; and he said, I have an errand to thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of all us? And he said, To thee, O captain.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel.Into the house, i.e. into an inner chamber in the house, 2 Kings 9:2.
He poured the oil on his head; thereby in God’s name letting him into the actual possession of the kingdom. For if Elijah did before this time anoint him, as some think, from 1 Kings 19:16, that unction did only confer a remote right to the kingdom, as Samuel’s unction did to David, 1 Samuel 16:13. Though others think Elijah did perform that command by Elisha, to whom he left it in charge, and Elisha waited God’s time and command for the actual execution of it, which he received at this time.
And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel.Smite, i.e. kill and destroy, as that word is used, Genesis 8:21, and elsewhere.
Thy master; thy former lord and king.
For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel:No text from Poole on this verse.
And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah:No text from Poole on this verse.
And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled.In the portion of Jezreel; in that part of land in or near the city, which belonged to Naboth.
Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord: and one said unto him, Is all well? wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? And he said unto them, Ye know the man, and his communication.To the servants of his lord; to the rest of the commanders and officers there present.
Is all well? is not this unlucky messenger come with some ill tidings?
Wherefore came this mad fellow? they perceived him to be a prophet by his habit, and gestures, and manner of speech. And these profane soldiers esteemed the Lord’s prophets madmen; partly, because of their neglect of themselves, and contempt of all worldly wealth and honour, which the wise men of this world so greedily seek, and of their strange and uncouth manner of living; partly, because of their holy exercises to which they devoted themselves, which they esteemed nothing but a religious frenzy; and partly, because of those unusual and seemingly ridiculous gestures and actions which the prophets sometimes used in raptures of spirit, or in the fervours of devotion. Compare Jeremiah 29:26 John 10:20 Acts 26:24.
Ye know the man, and his communication; you rightly guess that he was a madman, and so it appears by his discourse with me, which was, after the manner of that sort of man, vain and impertinent, to tell me of my sins, or of my duty, or such things as are not worth my speaking, or your hearing.
And they said, It is false; tell us now. And he said, Thus and thus spake he to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel.It is false: there is something extraordinary and of great importance in his message, as we plainly perceive by his calling thee into an inner chamber, by his great expedition, and by his gesture and carriage.
Tell us now: his concealment of the thing made them more greedy to know it.
Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.Then they hasted; being well-pleased with the thing; partly, from the advantage which hereby they expected; partly, from that desire of change which is in most men’s natures; and principally, by God’s providence inclining their hearts to Jehu.
Took every man his garment, and put it under him; a ceremony used in the eastern parts towards superiors, in token of great reverence to his person, that they would not have his feet to touch the ground, and that they put themselves and their concerns under his feet, and into his disposal. See Poole "Matthew 21:7".
On the top of the stairs; in some high and eminent place, whence he might be seen and owned by all the soldiers, who were called together upon this great occasion.
So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram had kept Ramothgilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria.Joram had kept Ramoth-gilead; which interpreters conclude to have been taken by Joram before this time, though the taking of it be not mentioned. This they gather, first, from the mention of the inner chamber, 2 Kings 9:2, and of the top of the stairs here; secondly, from 2 Kings 9:15, Let none go forth out of the city. But these arguments seem not to be cogent. Not the former, because there might be some suburbs or outbuildings belonging to the city, or not far from it, which the Israelite might have in their possession. Nor the latter, as we shall there see. And if it was taken, why should all Israel be there to keep it, for which a strong garrison was sufficient? The words therefore may be otherwise rendered, exactly according to the Hebrew,
Joram had kept, or did keep, (to wit, by his army left there,) or put guards, or laid siege at, or to, (for so the particle beth is oft used,)
Ramoth-gilead. And therefore he had all Israel, i.e. all the military force of Israel, with him, that he might both maintain the siege, and withal oppose Hazael, who sought to relieve it.
But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then let none go forth nor escape out of the city to go to tell it in Jezreel.When he fought with Hazael; when he came with an army, either to retake the city taken by Joram, or to raise the siege. Out of the city; or, from the city; either from within the city, or from before it, from the siege or army.
To go to tell it in Jezreel; that we may surprise him, and so more easily subdue him.
So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram.Went to Jezreel, accompanied with the horsemen of his army.
And there stood a watchman 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 an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?Inquire who it is comes, and if he come upon peaceable terms. For he feared, lest either the Syrians had prevailed there, or some sedition or rebellion was raised against him; which the example of Libnah, and his own guilty conscience, made him fear.
So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again.What hast thou to do with peace? what right hast thou, or thy master that sent thee, to peace?
Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.As his temper is hasty and fierce, so is his march.
And Joram said, Make ready. And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite.Against Jehu, or, to meet Jehu, to know his intentions, and by his presence to repress any seditious inclinations which might be in Jehu or his followers.
In the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite; in that field which formerly belonged to Naboth, part whereof was enclosed by Ahab, and made a garden.
And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?Is it peace? dost thou come to me with a peaceable mind, or in a way of hostility? For now, when it was too late, he began to suspect some treachery; which God hid from him before, to prepare him for destruction.
What peace? what cause hast thou to expect peace, when thou hast so long abetted, and dost still abet, and allow thy mother in her abominable practices?
The whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel, and her witchcrafts; which are to be understood, either, literally; spiritual whoredom, which is idolatry, being oft punished with corporal; see 2 Kings 9:30; and
witchcraft there was oft practised by idolaters. Or rather, mystically and spiritually of her idolatry, which is oft called whoredom, because it is a departing from God to whom we are all tied by many obligations; and witchcraft, either because it doth so powerfully bewitch and deceive men’s minds, or because it is a manifest entering into covenant with the devil. For idolatry being her chief sin, and the cause of all the rest, it seems improbable that Jehu would omit that in the indictment which he drew against her. He mentions not Joram’s, but his mother’s sins; partly, because they were more notorious and infamous; partly, because they were the principal cause why God inflicted, and he was come to execute, these judgments; partly, because by his connivance he had made them his own; and partly, because he could find no gross and odious matter wherewith to charge him, except about the worship of the calves; which he forbore to mention, both lest it should lose his interest amongst his officers and soldiers, who were devoted to that worship; and because he himself intended to keep it up.
And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah.Joram turned his hands; either that therewith he might turn the reins of the chariot, or that by this motion he might direct his charioteer to turn it from Jehu.
And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot.Between his arms; between his shoulders, when he was turned or turning back, the chariot being probably open behind, as many times they were.
Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him;When I and thou rode together after Ahab his father; which might be when Ahab went in his chariot, attended with his nobles or chief officers, (of which these were two,) to take a formal and solemn possession of Naboth’s land; for then the prophet Elijah met him, and denounced this judgment against him, 1 Kings 21:17, &c.
This burden, i.e. this grievous prophecy; for such are oft and truly called burdens, as Isaiah 13:1 15:1 Jeremiah 23:33,34 Na 1:1.
Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD.The blood of his sons; who, as it seems, were killed with their father by Jezebel’s advice, to make the possession of the vineyard more sure to Ahab, though it be not mentioned in its proper place, 1 Kings 21:13; for it is not unusual to bring in such fragments of history in succeeding writings which were neglected in the history of those matters. Thus we read of the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, Amos 1:1, which was not recorded in his history, in the Books of the Kings or Chronicles. Although he might well be charged with taking away the lives of his sons, because he took away the necessary supports of their lives. I will requite thee in this plat; of which See Poole "1 Kings 21:19".
Cast him into the plat of ground; where he shall lie unburied, and be a prey to the dogs or fowls, according to the prediction, 1 Kings 21:24.
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 did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.By the way of the garden-house; by some secret way, hoping to escape whilst they were busy about Joram.
Smite him also, as you have done Joram; for he also is of the house of Ahab, 2 Kings 8:18.
They did so; they smote or wounded him, but not mortally; either supposing that the wound was mortal; or being more remiss in executing Jehu’s sentence against him, because they were not so much concerned in his as in Joram’s design; or because they had some kindness for him, either for his own or for Jehoshaphat’s sake.
He fled to Megiddo, and died there.
Quest. How doth this agree with 2 Chronicles 22:9, He sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, for he was hid in Samaria, and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, &c.
Answ. Either, first, Samaria is there to be understood, not of the city, but of the kingdom or territory so called, 1 Kings 13:32, and elsewhere, in which Megiddo was; and so that may be noted to show that he could not flee into his own kingdom, where he might have been safe; but was forced to take up in another part of the kingdom of Israel, in the territory of Samaria, and there to hide himself. Or, secondly, If Samaria be the city, then the history is briefly and imperfectly described here, and the defects supplied there; (the Book of Chronicles being in great part written for that end, to supply things omitted in the Book of Kings;) and out of both the history may be thus completed: He fled first to Megiddo, and thence to Samaria, where he was caught, and thence brought to Jehu, and by his sentence was put to death at Megiddo, either because Jehu was there at that time upon some occasion, or for some other reason, which at this distance of time we cannot understand.
And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David.Which they did by Jehu’s permission for Jehoshaphat’s sake, 2 Chronicles 22:9.
And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah.Of this See Poole "2 Kings 8:25".
And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.Either hoping that by her majestic dress and carriage she might strike Jehu or his followers with such an awe, that they should not offer any injury to her person; or rather, because perceiving her case to be desperate, and that she could not live, was resolved to die with honour and gallantry.
And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?At the gate of the king’s palace.
Had Zimri peace, who slew his master? remember that thy brother traitor Zimri had but a very short enjoyment of the benefit of his treason, and was speedily and severely punished for it by my grandfather, Omri, 1 Kings 16:9,16, and do thou expect the same from some of my posterity.
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.For such used to attend upon queens in their chambers.
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 trode her under foot.They threw her down; being mercenary creatures, they quickly comply with Jehu’s command, sacrificing her life to save their own.
And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king's daughter.This he suddenly commanded: either because he had forgot the charge given him above, 2 Kings 9:10, or because having done his own business, he was careless about God’s work, and the fulfilling of his threatening.
For she is a king’s daughter: see 1 Kings 16:31. He doth not say, because she was a king’s wife, lest he should seem to show any respect to that wicked and cursed house of Ahab, which God had devoted to ignominy and utter destruction.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:This is the word of the Lord: this strange providence brings that to his mind which he had forgotten, or did not regard.
And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.These words are not extant in the place where this prophecy is first mentioned, 1 Kings 21:23, but are here added, either by Jehu, by way of explication and amplification; or rather, because Elijah spoke them, though they be not there recorded, as being for the substance of them contained in the former words; it being usual to insert some passages in following writings which had been omitted in the former.