Now there were in Samaria seventy sons of the house of Ahab. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria: to the officials of Jezreel, to the elders and to the guardians of Ahab’s children. He said,
“You have your master’s sons with you and you have chariots and horses, a fortified city and weapons. Now as soon as this letter reaches you,
choose the best and most worthy of your master’s sons and set him on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s house.”
But they were terrified and said, “If two kings could not resist him, how can we?”
So the palace administrator, the city governor, the elders and the guardians sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants and we will do anything you say. We will not appoint anyone as king; you do whatever you think best.”
Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.” Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them.
When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel.
When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the princes.” Then Jehu ordered, “Put them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning.”
The next morning Jehu went out. He stood before all the people and said, “You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these?
Know, then, that not a word the LORD has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The LORD has done what he announced through his servant Elijah.”
So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor.
Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds,
he met some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and asked, “Who are you?” They said, “We are relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to greet the families of the king and of the queen mother.”
“Take them alive!” he ordered. So they took them alive and slaughtered them by the well of Beth Eked—forty-two of them. He left no survivor.
After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Rekab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, “Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?” “I am,” Jehonadab answered. “If so,” said Jehu, “give me your hand.” So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot.
Jehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD.” Then he had him ride along in his chariot.
When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab’s family; he destroyed them, according to the word of the LORD spoken to Elijah.