Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the senior officers of the city,a the elders, and the guardians of Ahab's sons.b2
The letters said: "Your master's sons are in your possession, along with horses and chariots, a fortified city, and weapons. Now when this letter reaches you,
look for the best and most capable of your master's sons. Place him on his father's throne. Then fight for your master's family."
But they were frozen with fear. They said, "Not even two kings could resist him! How can we?"
So the palace administrator, the mayor, the elders, and the guardians sent a letter back to Jehu that read, "We are your servants. We will do whatever you tell us. We won't make anyone king. Do whatever seems right to you."
Jehu wrote them a second letter: "If you are loyal to me and ready to obey me, take the heads of your master's sons and bring them to me at Jezreel at this time tomorrow." Now the king's seventy sons were with the city leaders who were raising them.
So when the letter came to them, they took the king's sons and slaughtered all seventy of them. They placed their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu at Jezreel.
A messenger came and told Jehu, "They have brought the heads of the king's sons." He responded, "Pile them in two stacks at the entrance of the gate where they will stay until morning."
In the morning he went out and stood there to address all the people. "You are innocent. I'm the one who plotted against my master and killed him, but who killed all these people?
Know this: Nothing that the LORD has said against Ahab's dynasty will fail to come true. The LORD has done what he said he would do, speaking through his servant Elijah."
Then Jehu struck down all those belonging to Ahab's family who were left in Jezreel, so that not one of his leaders, close acquaintances, or priests remained.
Next Jehu set out for Samaria. Beth-eked of the Shepherds was on his way.
There Jehu met up with the brothers of Judah's King Ahaziah. "Who are you?" he asked. "We're Ahaziah's relatives," they replied. "We've come down for a visit with the king's sons and the queen mother's sons."
Jehu then commanded, "Take them alive!" His soldiers took them alive, then slaughtered them at the well of Beth-eked. There were forty-two of them, but not one was left.
Jehu departed from there and encountered Rechab's son Jehonadab. Jehu greeted him, and asked, "Are you as committed to me as I am to you?" Jehonadab responded, "Yes, I am." "If so," said Jehu, "then give me your hand." So Jehonadab put out his hand, and Jehu pulled him up into the chariot.
Jehu said, "Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD." So Jehu had Jehonadab ride with him in his chariot.
When Jehu arrived in Samaria, he killed all those belonging to Ahab who were left in Samaria until they were completely wiped out, in agreement with the LORD's word that was spoken to Elijah.