2Ki 10:1-17. Jehu Causes
Seventy of Ahab's Children to Be Beheaded.
1-4. Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria—As
it appears (2Ki 10:13),
that grandsons are included it is probable that this number
comprehended the whole posterity of Ahab. Their being all assembled in
that capital might arise from their being left there on the king's
departure for Ramoth-gilead, or from their taking refuge in some of the
strongholds of that city on the news of Jehu's conspiracy. It may be
inferred from the tenor of Jehu's letters that their first intention
was to select the fittest of the royal family and set him up as king.
Perhaps this challenge of Jehu was designed as a stroke of policy on
his part to elicit their views, and to find out whether they were
inclined to be pacific or hostile. The bold character of the man, and
the rapid success of his conspiracy, terrified the civic authorities of
Samaria and Jezreel into submission.
5. he that was over the house—the
governor or chamberlain of the palace.
the bringers-up of the
children—Anciently, and still also in many Eastern countries,
the principal grandees were charged with the support and education of
the royal princes. This involved a heavy expense which they were forced
to bear, but for which they endeavored to find some compensation in the
advantages of their connection with the court.
6. take ye the heads of the men, your master's
sons—The barbarous practice of a successful usurper
slaughtering all who may have claims to the throne, has been frequently
exemplified in the ancient and modern histories of the East.
8. Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of
the gate, &c.—The exhibition of the heads of enemies is
always considered a glorious trophy. Sometimes a pile of heads is
erected at the gate of the palace; and a head of peculiarly striking
appearance selected to grace the summit of the pyramid.
9-11. said to all the people, Ye be righteous,
&c.—A great concourse was assembled to gaze on this novel and
ghastly spectacle. The speech which Jehu addressed to the spectators
was artfully framed to impress their minds with the idea that so
wholesale a massacre was the result of the divine judgments denounced
on the house of Ahab; and the effect of it was to prepare the public
mind for hearing, without horror, of a similar revolting tragedy which
was soon after perpetrated, namely, the extinction of all the
influential friends and supporters of the dynasty of Ahab, including
those of the royal house of Judah.
13, 14. We are the brethren of
Ahaziah—that is, not full, but step-brothers, sons of Jehoram
by various concubines. Ignorant of the revolution that had taken place,
they were travelling to Samaria on a visit to their royal relatives of
Israel, when they were seized and put to death, because of the
apprehension that they might probably stimulate and strengthen the
party that still remained faithful in their allegiance to Ahab's
children of the queen—that is, of the
queen mother, or regent, Jezebel.
15-18. Jehonadab the son of Rechab—(See
2:55). A person who, from his
piety and simple primitive manner of life (Jer 35:1-19), was highly esteemed, and
possessed great influence in the country. Jehu saw in a moment the
advantage that his cause would gain from the friendship and countenance
of this venerable man in the eyes of the people, and accordingly paid
him the distinguished attention of inviting him to a seat in his
give me thine hand—not simply to aid
him in getting up, but for a far more significant and important
purpose—the giving, or rather joining hands, being the recognized
mode of striking a league or covenant, as well as of testifying fealty
to a new sovereign; accordingly, it is said, "he [Jehonadab] gave him
[Jehu] his hand."
2Ki 10:18-29. He Destroys the
Worshippers of Baal.
19. call unto me all the prophets of
Baal—The votaries of Baal are here classified under the
several titles of prophets, priests, and servants, or worshippers
generally. They might be easily convened into one spacious temple, as
their number had been greatly diminished both by the influential
ministrations of Elijah and Elisha, and also from the late King Joram's
neglect and discontinuance of the worship. Jehu's appointment of a
solemn sacrifice in honor of Baal, and a summons to all his worshippers
to join in its celebration, was a deep-laid plot, which he had resolved
upon for their extinction, a measure in perfect harmony with the Mosaic
law, and worthy of a constitutional king of Israel. It was done,
however, not from religious, but purely political motives, because he
believed that the existence and interests of the Baalites were
inseparably bound up with the dynasty of Ahab and because he hoped that
by their extermination he would secure the attachment of the far larger
and more influential party who worshipped God in Israel. Jehonadab's
concurrence must have been given in the belief of his being actuated
solely by the highest principles of piety and zeal.
22. Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers
of Baal—The priests of Baal were clad, probably, in robes of
white byssus while they were engaged in the functions of their office,
and these were kept under the care of an officer in a particular
wardrobe of Baal's temple. This treacherous massacre, and the means
taken to accomplish it, are paralleled by the slaughter of the
Janissaries and other terrible tragedies in the modern history of the
29. Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam … Jehu
departed not from after them—Jehu had no intention of
carrying his zeal for the Lord beyond a certain point, and as he
considered it impolitic to encourage his subjects to travel to
Jerusalem, he re-established the symbolic worship of the calves.