Jehu: Wikis


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Kings of Ancient Israel

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Northern Kingdom of Israel

Jehu (Hebrew: יֵהוּא, Modern Yehu Tiberian Yəhû ; "Yahweh is He") was king of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat [1], and grandson of Nimshi. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 842-815 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 841-814 BC.[2] The principal source for the events of his reign comes from 2 Kings 9-10.

Possibly Jehu son of Omri, or Jehu's ambassador, kneeling at the feet of Shalmaneser III on the Black Obelisk.


Proclamation as king

The reign of Jehu's predecessor, Jehoram, was marked by the Battle of Ramoth-Gilead against the army of the Arameans; there Jehoram was wounded and afterwards returned to Jezreel to recover; there Ahaziah, the king of Judah and his nephew had also gone to attend on Jehoram (2 Kings 8:28f). The author of Kings describes that, while the captains (commanders) of the Israelite army were assembled away from the king's eyes, the prophet Elisha sent one of his students to this meeting. This student led Jehu away from his peers and anointed him king in an inner chamber, then immediately departed (2 Kings 9:5,6). 2 Kings is silent about the exact identity of this student. Jehu's companions, inquiring after the object of this mysterious visit, were told; they immediately and enthusiastically blew their trumpets and proclaimed him king (2 Kings 9:11-14).

Jezreel and the deaths of Jehoram and Jezebel

Shalmaneser III's (859-824 BC) Kurkh Monolith names King Ahab.

With a chosen band, Jehu set forth with all speed to Jezreel, where he slew Jehoram with his own hand, shooting him through the heart with an arrow (9:24).[3] The king of Judah, when trying to escape, was fatally wounded by one of Jehu's soldiers at Beth-gan. The author of Kings describes how Jehu entered the city without any resistance, and saw Jezebel, the mother of king Jehoram, presenting herself from a window in the palace and receiving him with insolence; Jehu commanded the eunuchs of the royal palace to cast her down into the street; the fall was fatal, and her mangled body was devoured by the dogs (9:35-7).

Now master of Jezreel, Jehu wrote to the chief men in the capital Samaria, and commanded them to count the heads of all the royal princes of the kingdom. They did things beyond what they were told, bringing him seventy heads piled up in two heaps at his gate. Shortly afterwards, Jehu encountered the "brethren of Ahaziah" at "the shearing-house" (10:12-14), and slaughtered another forty-two people connected with the Omrides (10:14).

Jehu's quest was rooted in more than his quest for power and the favor of the God of Israel. This account frequently invokes the slogan of "avenging the blood of Naboth" (9:21,25,26), whose vineyard Jehoram's father Ahab had taken by force (1 Kings 21:4); this fact suggests that perhaps the burden of making the northern kingdom a regional power had grown too heavy for its citizens, and Jehoram's defeat at Ramoth-Gilead gave them an opportunity to throw this burden off.

Following Jehu's slaughter of the Omrides, he met Jehonadab the Rechabite, whom he took into his chariot, and they entered the capital together. This adds support to the inference that, at least at the beginning of his reign, Jehu was supported by the pro-Yahweh faction.[citation needed] Once in control of Samaria, he summoned all of the worshippers of Baal to the capital, slew them (2 Kings 10:19-25), and destroyed the temple of that deity (10:27).

Beyond his bloody coup d'etat, and his tolerance for the golden calves at Dan and Bethel (which drew the disdain of the author of Kings), little is known of the events of Jehu's reign. He was hard pressed by the predations of Hazael, king of the Arameans, who is said to have defeated his army "throughout all of the territories of Israel" beyond the Jordan river, in the lands of Gilead, Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh (10:32f).

This could explain why Jehu is offering tribute to Shalmaneser III on his Black Obelisk (where his name appears as mIa-ú-a mar mHu-um-ri-i or "Jehu son of Omri (Bit-Khumri"); Jehu was encouraging the enemy of the Arameans to be his friend. Strong international alliance would also have helped validate his military coup that year over the Omride king, Joram. It should be noted that Bit-Khumri was used by Tiglath-pileser 3 for non-Omride kings Pekah (733) & Hoshea (732),[4] hence House/Land/Kingdom of Omri could apply to later Israelite kings not descended from Omri.

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III

Jehu bows before Shalmaneser III.

Aside from the Hebrew Bible, Jehu appears in Assyrian documents, notably in the Black Obelisk where he is depicted as kissing the ground in front of Shalmaneser III. In the Assyrian documents he is simply referred to as "Jehu son of Omri," that is, Jehu of the House of Omri, an Assyrian name for the Kingdom of Israel. This tribute is dated 841 BC.[5]


"The speed of Jehu" was once a common idiom in America.[citation needed] Based on the phrase: "and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously." (2 Kings 9:20)


  1. ^ Jehu’s father was not the roughly contemporaneous King Jehoshaphat of Judah, whose own father was King Asa of Judah. “Generally Jehu is described as the son only of Nimshi, possibly because Nimshi was more prominent or to avoid confusing him with the King of Judah (R’Wolf)”. Scherman, Nosson, ed., “I-II Kings”, The Prophets, 297, 2006. See (2 Kings 9:2)
  2. ^ Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 082543825X, 9780825438257
  3. ^ Before this encounter, a watchman had warned Jehorem of Jehu's approach on a chariot, saying "he driveth furiously" (9:20). This is the origin of the term jehu to describe a coachman who drives fast or recklessly.
  4. ^ Kitchen, K A (2003) The Reliability of the Old Testament, Cambridge, Eerdmans, p24
  5. ^ Millard, Alan (1997) Discoveries from Bible Times, Oxford, Lion, p121
House of Jehoshaphat
Contemporary King of Judah: Ahaziah, Athaliah, Jehoash/Joash
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Israel
841 BC – 814 BC
Succeeded by

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JEHU, son of Jehoshaphat and grandson of Nimshi, in the Bible, a general of Ahab and Jehoram, and, later, king of Israel. Ahaziah son of Jehoram of Judah and Jehoram brother of Ahaziah of Israel had taken joint action against the Aramaeans of Damascus who were attacking Ramoth-Gilead under Hazael. Jehoram had returned wounded to his palace at Jezreel, whither Ahaziah had come down to visit him. Jehu, meanwhile, remained at the seat of war, and the prophet Elisha sent a messenger to anoint him king. The general at once acknowledged the call, "drove furiously" to Jezreel, and, having slain both kings, proceeded to exterminate the whole of the royal family (2 Kings ix., x.). A similar fate befell the royal princes of Judah (see Athaliah), and thus, for a time at least, the new king must have had complete control over the two kingdoms (cf. 2 Chron. xxii. 9). Israelite historians viewed these events as a great religious revolution inspired by Elijah and initiated by Elisha, as the overthrow of the worship of Baal, and as a retribution for the cruel murder of Naboth the Jezreelite (see Jezebel). A vivid description is given of the destruction of the prophets of Baal at the temple in Samaria (2 Kings x. 27; contrast iii. 2). While Jehu was supported by the Rechabites in his reforming zeal, a similar revolt against Baalism in Judah is ascribed to the priest Jehoiada (see JoASH). In the tragedies of the period it seems clear that Elisha's interest in both Jehu and the Syrian Hazael (2 Kings viii. 7 sqq.) had some political significance, and in opposition to the "Deuteronomic" the commendation in 2 Kings x. 28 sqq., Hosea's denunciation (i. 4) indicates the judgment which was passed upon Jehu's bloodshed in other circles.

In the course of an expedition against Hazael in 842 Shalmaneser II. of Assyria received tribute of silver and gold from Ya-u-a son of Omri, 1 Tyre and Sidon; another attack followed in 839. For some years after this Assyria was unable to interfere, and war broke out between Damascus and Israel. The Israelite story, which may perhaps be supplemented from Judaean sources (see Joasii), records a great loss of territory on the east of the Jordan (2 Kings x. 32 seq.). Under Jehu's successor Jehoahaz there was continual war with Hazael and his son Ben-hadad, but relief was obtained by his grandson Joash, and the land recovered complete independence under Jeroboam.

Jehu is also the name of a prophet of the time of Baasha and Jehoshaphat (I Kings xvi.; 2 Chron. xix., xx.). (S. A. C.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun


  1. A king of Israel in the 9th century B.C.

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Meaning: Jehovah is he.

  1. The son of Obed, and father of Azariah (1Chr 2:38).
  2. One of the Benjamite slingers that joined David at Ziklag (1Chr 12:3).
  3. The son of Hanani, a prophet of Judah (1 Kg 16:1, 7; 2Chr 19:2; 20:34), who pronounced the sentence of God against Baasha, the king of Israel.
  4. Jehu, King of Israel
This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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