Jehu Anointed

At this time Elisha sent the young prophet Jonah to Ramoth-Gilead to secretly anoint the commander of the Jewish armies, Jehu, as the next king of Israel. The prophet Jonah hastened to Ramoth-Gilead, where he found Jehu surrounded by his captains. He called the young general into an inner-room, and there produced a vial of oil with which he anointed the new king. While doing so, the young prophet announced his prophecy: "Thus said G‑d, the G‑d of Israel: 'I have anointed thee over the divine people of Israel. Thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all G‑d's servants, at the hand of Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab shall perish...'"

Having completed his mission, Jonah left immediately just as Elisha had commanded him.

When the dazed Jehu came out of the room, the captains and elders of Israel demanded to know what tidings the prophet had brought him. Jehu told them that he had been anointed king over Israel and ordered to exterminate the house of Ahab. At once all the elders of the people and the entire army blew the trumpets and cheered: "Jehu is king! Long live King Jehu!"

Jehu commanded that no one should leave the place or inform King Joram of what had occurred. He took a company of men with him, crossed the Jordan, and drove at top speed to Jezreel.

The watchman on the tower of the city spied the company rapidly nearing the city and warned the king. Joram ordered a messenger on horseback to ride out and inquire of Jehu the meaning of his sudden arrival. The messenger reached Jehu and asked: "Is it peace?" Jehu's reply was: "What have you to do with peace? Fall in behind me."

The watchman called out that the messenger was not returning, and another was sent. The second messenger was retained by Jehu in the same way.

Joram's End

Joram became alarmed and at once ordered his chariot. Sick though he was, he rode out to meet Jehu, and his nephew Ahaziah accompanied him in his own chariot. Joram met Jehu near the estate of Naboth.

"Is it peace, Jehu?" King Joram asked.

"What peace can there be as long as thy mother is permitted to continue her shameless acts and witchcraft?" Jehu exclaimed in reply. "Treachery!" Joram cried, and he turned round and fled. But the next moment Jehu's well aimed arrow pierced his heart, and King Joram fell dead. "Cast the body in the field of Naboth!" Jehu commanded his captain Bidkar. Once again the life of the innocent Naboth, murdered by Joram's father, had been avenged.

Ahaziah, king of Judah, having witnessed the assassination of his uncle, lost no time in fleeing for his life. However, he was mortally wounded in his chariot, and although he continued to flee, he soon fell dead near Megiddo. His body was then taken to Jerusalem, where it was laid to rest in the tombs of the kings of the House of David. Ahaziah, Ahab's grandson on his maternal side, thus shared a fate similar to that which had befallen the other members of the accursed family of Ahab, though he was spared their ignominy after death.

Jezebel's End

But Jehu's mission was not yet completed. He went to Joram's palace in Jezreel, where the painted face of the doomed queen Jezebel, peering through the window, greeted him. "Welcome, thou Zimri, thy master's assassin!" Jezebel cried defiantly. She wanted to remind him of the fate of Zimri, the army captain who had slain King Elah and who had himself been slain after seven days' reign.

Ignoring her insult, Jehu called to the palace servants: "Throw her down!"

The next moment she lay dead, her body trampled by the horses and her blood sprinkled on the palace wall.

Jehu entered the palace and later sent out his servants to bury the queen. "After all she is a king's daughter!" he said. But the servants returned saying: "Nothing is left of her body but her skull, feet, and the palms of her hands!" Jehu, overawed, called out: "The words of Elijah the Tishbite have been fulfilled! For thus did he say: 'In the estate of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel'!"

In the capital city of Samaria there were still many followers of the house of Ahab, including Ahab's seventy sons. Jehu sent word to the elders of Samaria that if they did not like him, they could appoint a king from among the seventy royal princes; but knowing how easily Jehu had disposed of the two kings, the elders of Samaria decided they had better submit to his sovereignty and put the seventy sons of Ahab to death.

None was now left of the royal house of Ahab except Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah of Judah. For a time she succeeded in enforcing a reign of terror in Judah, but finally she was overthrown and put to death. Thus the family of Ahab was completely wiped out, just as the prophet Elijah and his disciple Elisha had prophesied, because Ahab and Jezebel had put to death hundreds of the true prophets of G‑d and filled the sacred land of Israel with idols, in utter disregard of every commandment of G‑d.