Ahab's royal family in the city of Samaria had a total of 70 sons. Jehu wrote some letters to the officials of the city. He also sent them to the elders there. And he sent them to those who took care of Ahab's children. He said,
"Your master's sons are with you. You also have chariots and horses and weapons. And you are living in a city that has high walls around it. As soon as you read this letter, here's what I want you to do.
Choose the best and most respected son of your master. Place him on his father Joram's throne. Then fight for your master's royal house."
The leaders of Samaria were terrified. They said, "King Joram and King Ahaziah couldn't stand up against Jehu. So how can we?"
The city governor and the person who was in charge of the palace sent a message to Jehu. The message was also from the elders and those who took care of Ahab's children. It said, "We will serve you. We'll do anything you say. We won't appoint anyone to be king. Do what you think is best."
Then Jehu wrote them a second letter. It said, "You say you are on my side. You say you will obey me. If you really mean it, bring me the heads of your master's sons. Meet me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow." There were 70 royal princes. They were with the most important men of the city. Those men were in charge of raising them.
When Jehu's letter arrived, the men went and got the princes. They killed all 70 of them. They put their heads in baskets. Then they sent them to Jehu in Jezreel.
When the messenger arrived, he spoke to Jehu. He told him, "The heads of the princes have been brought here." Then Jehu ordered his men, "Put them in two piles. Stack them up at the entrance of the city gate until morning."
The next morning Jehu went out. He stood in front of all of the people. He said, "You aren't guilty of doing anything wrong. I'm the one who made plans against my master Joram. I killed him. But who killed all of these?
I want you to know that the LORD has spoken against Ahab's royal house. Not a word of what he has said will fail. The LORD has done exactly what he promised through his servant Elijah."
So Jehu killed everyone from Ahab's family who was in Jezreel. He also killed all of Ahab's chief men. And he killed Ahab's close friends and his priests. He didn't leave anyone in Ahab's family alive.
Then Jehu started out for Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds,
he saw some people. They were relatives of Ahaziah, the king of Judah. Jehu asked them, "Who are you?" They said, "We are Ahaziah's relatives. We've come down to visit the families of the king and of his mother."
"Take them alive!" Jehu ordered. So his men took them alive. Then they killed them by the well of Beth Eked. They killed a total of 42 men. Jehu didn't leave anyone alive.
After Jehu left there, he came upon Jehonadab. He was the son of Recab. Jehonadab was on his way to see Jehu. Jehu greeted him. He asked, "Are you my friend? You know I'm your friend." "I am," Jehonadab answered. "If that's true," said Jehu, "hold out your hand." So he did. Then Jehu helped him up into the chariot.
Jehu said, "Come along with me. See how committed I am to serve the Lord." He had him ride along in his chariot.
Jehu came to Samaria. He killed everyone who was left there from Ahab's family. And so he wiped out Ahab's royal house. That's what the LORD had said would happen. He had spoken that message to Elijah.