“But it was ordained by God that the downfall of King Ahaziah should come about through his going to visit King Jehoram. For when he came there he went out with King Jehoram to meet Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom Yahweh had anointed to destroy the house of King Ahab. When Jehu was executing judgment on the house of King Ahab, he met the officials of Judah and the sons of King Ahaziah’s brothers, who attended King Ahaziah. Then he killed them. He searched for King Ahaziah. He was captured while hiding in Samaria. He was brought to Jehu and put to death. They buried him. They said. ‘He is the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who sought Yahweh with all his heart.’ The house of King Ahaziah had no one able to rule the kingdom.”
Now we are loosely following 2 Kings, chapter 9. Jehu, the anointed commander of the Israelite army, killed King Jehoram of Israel. Then he saw the officials of Judah and tried to kill them. King Ahaziah of Judah took off when he saw what had happened to his uncle. It is strange that he fled north to Samaria when Judah was south. He died there and not in Megiddo in northern Manasseh, as in 2 Kings. There is no mention here that they carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, where he was buried with his ancestors in the city of David as in 2 Kings. However, they allowed him to be buried because of his holy grandfather, King Jehoshaphat.
“King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. Jehu son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him. He said to King Jehoshaphat. ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate Yahweh? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from Yahweh. Nevertheless some good is found in you. You destroyed the sacred poles out of the land. You have set your heart to seek God.’”
Now, after this episode with King Ahab, we are back to King Jehoshaphat and his life. None of these incidents can be found in 1 Kings. His daughter is now the Queen of Israel as the wife of King Jehoram of Israel. It is not clear how he escaped from the battle at Ramoth-Gilead. Here we have a reprimand by the prophet Jehu who is the son of Hanani. This is the same Hanani who reprimanded his father, King Asa. He now reprimands King Jehoshaphat for being involved with King Ahab. Although Jehu here is the prophet who speaks in the name of Yahweh, another Jehu will become king of Israel and try to wipe out the family of King Ahab including the daughter of King Jehoshaphat and his grandson. King Jehoshaphat got a mixed grade because he got rid of the sacred poles and was truly seeking God in his heart.
“They were Benjaminites, Saul’s kinsmen. The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, both sons of Shemaah of Gibeah. There was Jeziel and Pelet sons of Azmaveth, Beracah, Jehu of Anathoth, Ishmaiah of Gibeon, a mighty man among the Thirty and a leader over the Thirty. They also included Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad of Gederah, Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah the Haruphite. There was Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korahites. Finally there were Joelah and Zebadiah, sons of Jeroham of Gedor.”
Here David was attracting the relatives of Saul, who was a Benjaminite. There was another Ahiezer that was from the tribe of Dan in Numbers, but this is the only mention of this Benjaminite Ahiezer. Although 2 kings 3 other Benjaminites have this name, this Joash is only mentioned here. There is another officer in David’s army, but it is not clear if they are both the same people. This is the only mention of their father Shemaah. Although this is the only mention of Jeziel and Pelet, their father Azmaveth may have been one of David’s mighty warriors mentioned in the preceding chapter. Beracah was the name of a person and a place not far from Tekoa. This is the only mention of this particular Jehu since the more famous Jehu was king of Israel (841-814 BCE). Interesting enough, this Ishmaiah of Gibeon was not mentioned in the preceding paragraph about the mighty warriors, but is here mentioned as a leader of the Thirty. This Jeremiah is not the prophet Jeremiah. There were a couple of other Levites with the name of Jahaziel. There were a number of Levites called Jozabad, plus a man from Manasseh who helped David. However, Eluzai, Bealiah, and Haruphite are only mentioned here and nowhere else in the biblical literature. There were at least 5 different men with the name Jerimoth. There were 3 other people called Shemariah as well as 8 or 9 people with the name Shephatiah. There were also 5 Korahites, from the family of the rebellious Levite Korah. Elkanah was the name of the son of Korah as well as a number of Levites. Isshiah was also the name of a couple of Levites. There were 5 people with the name of Azarel. Joezer only shows up here. Jashobeam was also the name of one of David’s mighty warriors. This was the only mention of Joelah, but there were 8 other people with the name of Zebadiah.
“The leaders of the Simeon families were Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah the son of Amaziah, Joel, Jehu the son of Joshibiah, son of Seraiah, son of Asiel, Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, Ziza the son of Shiphi, son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah. Their clans increased greatly.”
Some of the more successful families were only mentioned here and not elsewhere, like Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah, Joshibiah, Asiel, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Jesimiel, and Shiphi. Many of the other names appear elsewhere but they are the not the most well know people with this name. The most famous Amaziah was the king of Judah (796-781 BCE), although there are a couple of other Levites with this name. There were 14 people with the name of Joel, with the most famous being the minor prophet whose book is Joel. There were 5 people with the name of Jehu, the most famous being King Jehu of Israel (841-814 BCE). 11 people had the name Seraiah, some of them Levites. 6 people had the name of Elioenai, while only 4 people had the name of Asaiah or Jedaiah. 3 people had the name Adiel or Shimri, while 2 had the name of Ziza. Although 9 people had the name of Benaiah, the most famous was the son of the priest Jehoiada, who played a major role in the rule of David. Allon was both a person and the name of a town. However, the most prevalent name was Shemaiah, because there were 25 different biblical persons with that name.
“Sheshan had no sons, only daughters. But Sheshan had an Egyptian slave, whose name was Jarha. So Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to his slave Jarha. She bore him Attai. Attai became the father of Nathan. Nathan became the father of Zabad. Zabad became the father of Ephlal. Ephlal became the father of Obed. Obed became the father of Jehu. Jehu became the father of Azariah. Azariah became the father of Helez. Helez became the father of Eleasah. Eleasah became the father of Sismai. Sismai became the father of Shallum. Shallum became the father of Jekamiah. Jekamiah became the father of Elishama.”
Now this lineage takes a new twist as we go through 13 generations from Sheshan who was 11 generations removed from Jacob or Israel. The son of (1) Sheshan was (2) Ahlai or Attai. First the son of Sheshan was Ahlai. Then the biblical author says that he had no sons, only daughters, so that one of the daughters married an Egyptian slave who bore a son named Attai. Is Ahlai the same as Attai, his grandson? His son was (3) Nathan, while his son was (4) Zabad, who in turn had a son called (5) Ephlal. His son was (6) Obed, who in turn had a son called (7) Jehu. His son was (8) Azariah, while his son was (9) Helez. His son was (10) Eleasah who had a son named (11) Sismai. His son was (12) Shallum, who in turn had a son (13) Jekamiah, who had a son named (14) Elishama. There were 4 biblical characters with the name of Nathan. It is not clear whether this Nathan is the prophet at the time of David, or one on his men in his army, or neither. King David had a son named Nathan also. Nathan’s son Zabad may have been one of David’s mighty men. Obed was the grandfather of David, but this Obed may have been one of his mighty men, which is more probable. This Jehu is not King Jehu (841-814 BCE) of Israel, since there were 5 biblical characters with the name Jehu. There were 25 biblical people with the name of Azariah, a very popular name. The names Helez and Eleasah appear once elsewhere but the name Sismai is unique here. Shallum is another popular name with over 15 people with that name that also included a King of Israel (743 BCE), but not this Shallum. Jekamiah is not that popular, but Elishama is the name of 7 biblical people. Certainly, this biblical author had a lot of interest in this lineage.
“In the twenty-third year of King Joash son of Ahaziah, of Judah, King Jehoahaz son of King Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria. He reigned seventeen years. He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. He followed the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he caused Israel to sin. He did not depart from them.”
Since King Joash in Judah ruled for 40 years, there will be a lot of changes in Israel. Notice that the kings in Israel almost have the same names. Just like the problem with the names Jehoram and Ahaziah. You can go back to chapter 10 to learn about King Jehu his father. King Jehoahaz ruled for 17 years, not that long, near the end of the reign of King Joash in Judah, so that they both die in the early 8th century BCE. We are now about 100 years removed from Solomon so that the split between Judah and Israel seems permanent. King Jehoahaz followed the evil ways of the Israelite founder King Jeroboam.
“King Jehu had stationed eighty men outside. He said. ‘Whoever allows any of those to escape whom I deliver into your hands forfeits his life.’ As soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, King Jehu said to the guards and to the officers. ‘Come in and kill them. Let no one escape.’ So they put them to the sword. The guards and the officers threw them out. They then went into the citadel of the temple of Baal. They brought out the pillar that was in the house of Baal. They burned it. They demolished the pillar of Baal. They destroyed the house of Baal. They made it a latrine to this day.”
Now suddenly this great religious sacrifice becomes a blood bath. King Jehu had 80 men stationed outside the temple. They were to kill everyone in the temple and not let anyone escape. If they let anyone escape they themselves would be killed. When King Jehu finished with his sacrifice, he called in the 80 guards to kill everyone in the temple, which the 80 guards did. There was no number of those who died given, but it must have been a lot. It would have been difficult for only these 80 to accomplish this massacre. They then destroyed the temple and the pillars of Baal. Once it was demolished they turned it into a latrine that still existed at the time of this biblical writer. There is no exact location of this temple. This is practically the same as Elijah had done at Mount Carmel in 1 Kings, chapter 18. It is also reminiscent of what Samson did in destroying the temple of Dagon in Judges, chapter 16.
“Then he set out and went to Samaria. On the way, when he was at Beth-eked of the Shepherds, King Jehu met relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. He said. ‘Who are you?’ They answered. ‘We are the kinsmen of King Ahaziah. We have come down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother.’ He said. ‘Take them alive.’ They took them alive. They killed them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two persons. He spared none of them.”
On his way to Samaria, King Jehu met some relatives of late King Ahaziah of Judah, thus relatives of the late King Jehoram. They were on their way to visit the Queen mother, Jezebel. There were 42 of them. First he wanted them alive. Then he killed them at Beth-eked, which is only mentioned here and not in any other biblical literature. Watch out if you had anything to do with King Ahab, Jezebel, King Ahaziah or King Jehoram.
“When the messenger came and told him. ‘They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.’ King Jehu said. ‘Lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning.’ Then in the morning, when he went out, he stood, and said to all the people. ‘You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master, and killed him. But who struck down all these? Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of Yahweh, which Yahweh spoke concerning the house of King Ahab. Yahweh has done what he said by his servant Elijah.’ King Jehu killed all who were left of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all his leaders, close friends, and his priests, until he left him no survivor.”
You guessed it, why not the whole family and friends? King Jehu had the heads of the 70 sons of King Ahab placed on a heap at the city gate. He went out there and said he was guilty of killed King Jehoram. However, Yahweh wanted the whole family of Ahab wiped out as pronounced by the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings, chapter 21. Then King Jehu wiped out and killed anyone close to the house of King Ahab. All the leaders, friends, and priests did not survive the wrath of King Jehu, Elijah, and Yahweh.
“Then King Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying. ‘If you are on my side, and if you are ready to obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons, and come to me at Jezreel tomorrow at this time.’ Now the king’s sons, seventy persons, were with the leaders of the city, who were charged with their upbringing. When the letter reached them, they took the king’s sons, and killed them, seventy persons. They put their heads in baskets. They sent them to him at Jezreel.”
The second letter was more ominous. King Jehu wanted the 70 heads of the 70 sons brought to Jezreel the next day. Wow! There was no fooling around. However, the leaders and care takers of the 70 sons did as King Jehu had requested. They put the chopped off heads into baskets and sent them to Jezreel. That must have been quite a nice sight.