Elisha sends to anoint Jehu. (1-10) Jehu and the captains. (11-15) Joram and Ahaziah slain by Jehu. (16-29) Jezebel eaten by dogs. (30-37)
Verses 1-10 In these and the like events, we must acknowledge the secret working of God, disposing men to fulfil his purposes respecting them. Jehu was anointed king over Israel, by the Lord's special choice. The Lord still had a remnant of his people, and would yet preserve his worship among them. Of this Jehu was reminded. He was commanded to destroy the house of Ahab, and, as far as he acted in obedience to God, and upon right principles, he needed not to regard reproach or opposition. The murder of God's prophets is strongly noticed. Jezebel persisted in idolatry and enmity to Jehovah and his servants, and her iniquity was now full.
Verses 11-15 Those who faithfully deliver the Lord's message to sinners, have in all ages been treated as madmen. Their judgment, speech, and conduct are contrary to those of other men; they endure much in pursuit of objects, and are influenced by motives, into which the others cannot enter. But above all, the charge is brought by the worldly and ungodly of all sorts, who are mad indeed; while the principles and practice of the devoted servants of God, prove to be wise and reasonable. Some faith in the word of God, seems to have animated Jehu to this undertaking.
Verses 16-29 Jehu was a man of eager spirit. The wisdom of God is seen in the choice of those employed in his work. But it is not for any man's reputation to be known by his fury. He that has rule over his own spirit, is better than the mighty. Joram met Jehu in the portion of Naboth. The circumstances of events are sometimes ordered by Divine Providence to make the punishment answer to the sin, as face answers to face in a glass. The way of sin can never be the way of peace, ( Isaiah 57:21 ) . What peace can sinners have with God? No peace so long as sin is persisted in; but when it is repented of and forsaken, there is peace. Joram died as a criminal, under the sentence of the law. Ahaziah was joined with the house of Ahab. He was one of them; he had made himself so by sin. It is dangerous to join evil-doers; we shall be entangled in guilt and misery by it.
Verses 30-37 Instead of hiding herself, as one afraid of Divine vengeance, Jezebel mocked at fear. See how a heart, hardened against God, will brave it out to the last. There is not a surer presage of ruin, than an unhumbled heart under humbling providences. Let those look at Jezebel's conduct and fate, who use arts to seduce others to commit wickedness, and to draw them aside from the ways of truth and righteousness. Jehu called for aid against Jezebel. When reformation-work is on foot, it is time to ask, Who sides with it? Her attendants delivered her up. Thus she was put to death. See the end of pride and cruelty, and say, The Lord is righteous. When we pamper our bodies, let us think how vile they are; shortly they will be a feast for worms under ground, or beasts above ground. May we all flee from that wrath which is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.
2 Kings 9:1-23 . JEHU IS ANOINTED.
1. Ramoth-gilead--a city of great importance to the Hebrew people, east of Jordan, as a fortress of defense against the Syrians. Jehoram had regained it ( 2 Kings 8:29 ). But the Israelitish army was still encamped there, under the command of Jehu.
Elisha . . . called one of the children of the prophets--This errand referred to the last commission given to Elijah in Horeb ( 1 Kings 19:16 ).
box of oil--(See 1 Samuel 10:1 ).
2. carry him to an inner chamber--both to ensure the safety of the messenger and to prevent all obstruction in the execution of the business.
3. I have anointed thee king over Israel--This was only a part of the message; the full announcement of which is given ( 2 Kings 9:7-10 ).
flee, and tarry not--for fear of being surprised and overtaken by the spies or servants of the court.
4-6. So the young man . . . went to Ramoth-gilead--His ready undertaking of this delicate and hazardous mission was an eminent proof of his piety and obedience. The act of anointing being done through a commissioned prophet, was a divine intimation of his investiture with the sovereign power. But it was sometimes done long prior to the actual possession of the throne ( 1 Samuel 16:13 ); and, in like manner, the commission had, in this instance, been given also a long time before to Elijah ( 1 Kings 19:16 ), who, for good reasons, left it in charge to Elisha; and he awaited God's time and command for executing it [POOLE].
10. in the portion of Jezreel--that is, that had formerly been the vineyard of Naboth.
11. Is all well? &c.--Jehu's attendants knew that the stranger belonged to the order of the prophets by his garb, gestures, and form of address; and soldiers such as they very readily concluded such persons to be crackbrained, not only from the sordid negligence of their personal appearance and their open contempt of the world, but from the religious pursuits in which their whole lives were spent, and the grotesque actions which they frequently performed (compare Jeremiah 29:26 ).
13. they hasted, and took every man his garment--the upper cloak which they spread on the ground, as a token of their homage to their distinguished commander ( Matthew 21:7 ).
top of the stairs--from the room where the prophet had privately anointed Jehu. That general returned to join his brother officers in the public apartment, who, immediately on learning his destined elevation, conducted him to the top of the stairs leading to the roof. This was the most conspicuous place of an Oriental structure that could be chosen, being at the very top of the gate building, and fully in view of the people and military in the open ground in front of the building [KITTO]. The popularity of Jehu with the army thus favored the designs of Providence in procuring his immediate and enthusiastic proclamation as king, and the top of the stairs was taken as a most convenient substitute for a throne.
14, 15. Joram had kept Ramoth-gilead--rather, "was keeping," guarding, or besieging it, with the greater part of the military force of Israel. The king's wounds had compelled his retirement from the scene of action, and so the troops were left in command of Jehu.
16. So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel--Full of ambitious designs, he immediately proceeded to cross the Jordan to execute his commission on the house of Ahab.
17-24. there stood a watchman on the tower of Jezreel--The Hebrew palaces, besides being situated on hills had usually towers attached to them, not only for the pleasure of a fine prospect, but as posts of useful observation. The ancient watchtower of Jezreel must have commanded a view of the whole region eastward, nearly down to the Jordan. Beth-shan stands on a rising ground about six or seven miles below it, in a narrow part of the plain; and when Jehu and his retinue reached that point between Gilboa and Beth-shan, they could be fully descried by the watchman on the tower. A report was made to Joram in his palace below. A messenger on horseback was quickly despatched down into the plain to meet the ambiguous host and to question the object of their approach. "Is it peace?" We may safely assume that this messenger would meet Jehu at the distance of three miles or more. On the report made of his being detained and turned into the rear of the still advancing troops, a second messenger was in like manner despatched, who would naturally meet Jehu at the distance of a mile or a mile and a half down on the plain. He also being turned into the rear, the watchman now distinctly perceived "the driving to be like the driving of Jehu, the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously." The alarmed monarch, awakened to a sense of his impending danger, quickly summoned his forces to meet the crisis. Accompanied by Ahaziah, king of Judah, the two sovereigns ascended their chariots to make a feeble resistance to the impetuous onset of Jehu, who quickly from the plain ascended the steep northern sides of the site on which Jezreel stood, and the conflicting parties met "in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite," where Joram was quickly despatched by an arrow from the strong arm of Jehu. We were impressed with the obvious accuracy of the sacred historian; the localities and distances being such as seem naturally to be required by the incidents related, affording just time for the transactions to have occurred in the order in which they are recorded [HOWE].
25. cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, &c.--according to the doom pronounced by divine authority on Ahab ( 1 Kings 21:19 ), but which on his repentance was deferred to be executed on his son.
26. the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the Lord--Although their death is not expressly mentioned, it is plainly implied in the confiscation of his property (see 1 Kings 21:16 ).
2 Kings 9:27-35 . AHAZIAH IS SLAIN.
27. Ahaziah--was grandnephew to King Joram, and great-grandson to King Ahab.
Ibleam--near Megiddo, in the tribe of Issachar ( Joshua 17:11 , Judges 1:27 ); and Gur was an adjoining hill.
30. Jezebel painted her face--literally, "her eyes," according to a custom universal in the East among women, of staining the eyelids with a black powder made of pulverized antimony, or lead ore mixed with oil, and applied with a small brush on the border, so that by this dark ligament on the edge, the largeness as well as the luster of the eye itself was thought to be increased. Her object was, by her royal attire, not to captivate, but to overawe Jehu.
35. found no more of her than the skull, and the palms of her hands, &c.--The dog has a rooted aversion to prey on the human hands and feet.
2 Kings 9:36 2 Kings 9:37 . JEZEBEL EATEN BY DOGS.
36. This is the word of the Lord--(See 1 Kings 21:23 ). Jehu's statement, however, was not a literal but a paraphrased quotation of Elijah's prophecy.