The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Fourth Book of Kings
Over in Samaria, Achab had still seventy male descendants to his name. So Jehu dispatched a letter to the chiefs and elders there, and to those who had the young princes in their charge; these were the terms of it:
Here is work to be done when this letter reaches you. You have the royal family among you; chariots and horses, strongholds and weapons of war, are at your disposal.
Why then, you must pick out the likeliest among the princes, whichever enjoys your favour most, and put him on his father’s throne; then take up arms in the royal cause, and do battle.
At this, they were thrown into consternation; here were two kings swept away by Jehu’s onset, and what resistance could they hope to offer him?
So all of them, guardians of the princes, chieftains and elders, sent word to Jehu, We are thy servants, awaiting thy commands; it is not for us to set up a king; do what is thy pleasure.
And this was the second letter he sent them, If you are loyal lieges of mine, cut off the heads of the princes, and bring them to me at Jezrahel this time to-morrow. These leading men of the city had the seventy princes in their keeping,
and when the letter reached them, they killed all seventy, and sent back their heads in baskets to Jehu at Jezrahel.
He, when news came to him that the princes’ heads had been brought there, would have them left in two heaps at the city gate till morning,
then, at dawn, he went out and confronted the people. You are without bias, he said to them; tell me, if I conspired against my master, who is to blame for the death of all these?✻
You see for yourselves that no word of the Lord’s curse upon the house of Achab has missed the mark; what the Lord prophesied through his servant Elias, he has here fulfilled.
Then Jehu put to death all that was left of Achab’s race in Jezrahel, with all that had been nobles, courtiers and priests in his reign, till no trace of him was left.
Then he made his way to Samaria; and when he reached the shepherds’ lodging by the road side,
he fell in with some of Ochozias’ kindred, that had been king of Juda. And when he asked who they were, and they told him kinsmen of Ochozias, that were on their way to greet the sons and brothers of the king,
he gave orders for their arrest. So they were seized as prisoners, forty-two of them in all, and their throats were cut over the pool by the shepherds’ lodging; not one of them was left alive.
Passing on thence, he met Jonadab, son of Rechab, coming to greet him, and gave him welcome. Is thy heart true to me, he asked, as mine to thee? And when he learned that it was so, Give me thy hand, and lifted him up, by his outstretched hand, into the chariot.
Come with me, he said, and witness my zeal in the Lord’s cause. So, in his own chariot,
he brought Jonadab to Samaria. And all of Achab’s household that were left in Samaria he destroyed to a man, so fulfilling that curse which the Lord pronounced through Elias.
Next, Jehu called a general assembly of the people, and told them, It was but scant worship Achab paid to Baal; Jehu means to pay him greater worship yet.
Summon me all Baal’s prophets, all his worshippers, all his priests; at this great sacrifice I mean to offer Baal, none must be absent; it is death to the man whose place is found empty. All this was but a design Jehu had in hand, for destroying Baal’s worshippers.
So he would have a solemn feast proclaimed in Baal’s honour, and this summons of his
went out all through the confines of Israel; all Baal’s worshippers came in answer to it, not a man was left behind. And all made their way into Baal’s temple, till it was full from end to end.
Then Jehu bade the wardrobe-keepers bring out garments for all Baal’s votaries, and when these had been brought,
he and Jonadab the son of Rechab went into Baal’s temple, and bade the worshippers look well to it that none of the Lord’s servants were among them, only the followers of Baal.
And where they had entered, there was offering and burnt-sacrifice to be made. Without, Jehu had posted eighty men, telling them, If you let any of my quarry slip through your hands, it shall be life for life.
And now, when the burnt-sacrifice was done, he gave orders to his bodyguard and his officers to go in and make an end of them; not one must escape. So these, his bodyguard and his captains, put them to the sword. Then they went to the Keep of Beth-baal,✻
and took out Baal’s statue from the temple, to burn it,
and crush it to pieces. As for Baal’s temple, they pulled it down, and made it a house of easement, as it is to this day.
Thus Jehu abolished the worship of Baal in Israel.
Yet he would not forgo the sins of Jeroboam son of Nabat, that taught Israel to sin; at Bethel and at Dan the golden calves had their worship still.
For thy zeal in doing my will, the Lord told him, for carrying out my just decrees against the line of Achab, I will let thy heirs keep the throne of Israel up to the fourth generation;
and still this Jehu was too careless to follow the law of Israel’s God with his whole heart, by abandoning the sins of Jeroboam, that taught Israel to sin!
It was in his days that the Lord began to grow aweary of Israel; and Hazael struck at all their frontiers,
where these lay east of the Jordan, Galaad, and Gad, and Ruben, and Manasses, and Aroer on the river Arnon, the whole territory of Galaad and Basan.
What else Jehu did, all his history and the record of his great deeds, is to be found in the Annals of the kings of Israel.
And at last he was laid to rest with his fathers at Samaria, and the throne passed to his son Joachaz;
he had reigned over Israel, there in Samaria, for twenty-eight years.
The Holy Bible