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Jehu, meaning Jehovah is he, was the tenth king of Israel (that is, the northern kingdom of Israel, which was separate from the southern kingdom of Judah - see Kings of Israel and Judah). He was the son of Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 9:2), and grandson of Nimshi, although, according to ancient custom, he is sometimes referred to as the son of Nimshi. Jehu begins in the record of Bible History as a soldier in King Ahab's army, however God commanded Elijah to anoint him king over Israel, which was later done through Elisha, who was designated by God as Elijah's successor at the same time (1 Kings 19:16). Jehu's rise to power was one of the bloodiest in Israel's history, although in obedience to God's command to destroy the corrupt and wicked from the land.

Battle Axes Jehu Made King

At a time when Israel and Judah were at war with Syria (as has again happened a few times since the modern state of Israel was founded in 1948), King Joram of Israel was wounded in battle, and retired to Jezreel to recover. While there, his ally King Ahaziah of Judah went to express his concern (2 Kings 8:25-29).

With both kings away, the military commanders, including Jehu, met to discuss strategy. Just as this was happening, a young prophet sent by Elisha arrived, asked to see Jehu, and while speaking with him privately, he anointed him king over Israel and ordered him to destroy the house of Ahab, in accordance with God's will (2 Kings 9:1-10). When the other officers were told of what had been done, they proclaimed Jehu king (2 Kings 9:11-14).

Jehu then went to Jezreel. When Joram came out of the city in his chariot to meet Jehu, he was shot with an arrow and killed by Jehu himself (2 Kings 9:24). When the king of Judah, Ahaziah, who also happened to be there, saw what was happening, he fled in his chariot, but he too was hit with an arrow. He later died in Megiddo (2 Kings 9:27-29).

Jehu then entered Jezreel where he was immediately met by one of the most infamously wicked people of the Bible - Jezebel. Jehu ordered the palace eunuchs to throw her out of a window, which they unhesitatingly did, where she died in the street (2 Kings 9:30-37).

Continuing on, Jehu ordered the officials of the capital city of Samaria to kill all of the royal princes of the former king, thereby ending his dynasty. The next morning, their severed heads were delivered to Jehu in Jezreel (2 Kings 10:1-7). The slaughter continued the next day until the house of Ahab was completely destroyed, in keeping with God's condemnation of the house of Ahab and Jezebel, delivered through Elijah (2 Kings 10:10-14).

Jehu then turned his attention to the idolatry in the land. Upon entering Samaria, he lured all of the ministers of Baal to unwittingly assemble together, upon which they too were all killed, their idols were destroyed, and the temple of Baal was demolished (2 Kings 10:18-28).

Having been chosen by God as Israel's king, and having proven himself a very zealous servant of God, Jehu then ironically, and wrongfully, tolerated the worship of the golden calves at Dan and Bethel that had been set up as places of worship for the northern kingdom of Israel, so that their people wouldn't travel to Jerusalem which was within the southern kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 10:28-29).

Jehu died after a reign of twenty-eight years, and was buried in Samaria (2 Kings 10:34-36). His dynasty ruled Israel, the northern kingdom, for about a century.

Fact Finder: What was the name of Jehu's son who succeeded him as king?
2 Kings 10:35

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