King Jehu: Chariot Driver

This aritcle is about Jehu, a crazy chariot driver who becomes King of Israel. He also leds a religous revolution.

When Solomon's son, Rehoboam, became King the nation Israel began to weaken. Some of the elders pleaded with him to be kind and just, but Rehoboam refused. And because of his harsh leadership, Israel was divided into two nations. Only two tribes, Benjamin and Judah, remained loyal to the house of David.

They became known as the Southern Kingdom or Judah. The other ten tribes formed a separate nation, known as the Northern Kingdom or Israel.

Many dynasties would rule the Northern Kingdom, and all their Kings were wicked. But in the days when the house of Ahab ruled, the idol worship in Israel would peak. A bloodthirsty killer would be anointed King. The Northern Kingdom would return to God for a short time.

Jehu first comes on the scene in II Kings Chapter 9. He is Ramoth Gilead socializing with some of his fellow military officers. A young man approaches and ask to speak with him privately. Once they are alone Jehu learns that the young man is a prophet who is connected with Elisha. The prophet tells him the Lord has anointed him the new King of Israel. He is also commissioned to destroy the house of Ahab. According to Elisha's instructions the prophet flees after he delivers the message.

At first Jehu hesitates, but he does tell his friends about the prophet's message. Soon trumpets are blown and the people at Ramoth Gilead shout, "Jehu is King!"

Once he has a following the killings began. First Jehu goes to Jezreel where Ahab's son, King Joram is recovering from battle wounds. At the same time his nephew Ahaziah, King of Judah, is visiting him.

As Jehu approaches Jezreel he recognized because of his wild chariot driving. Joram is warned that the crazy chariot driving General Jehu was approaching with an army. A messenger is sent to find if Jehu is coming on a peaceful visit. Jehu orders him to follow him and the messenger obeys. A second messenger is sent and he also switches his loyalty to Jehu.

When the messengers do not return, Joram and Ahaziah go out to meet Jehu themselves. But as they approach they realize that Jehu has not come on a peaceful mission. Jehu strikes Joram with an arrow and he dies in his chariot. Ahaziah escapes to Megiddo but is wounded. He dies and his body is taken back to Jerusalem.

Jezebel, Ahab's widow, is in Jezreel, and learns that Jehu is leading a revolution.

Jezebel puts on her makeup in hopes to win Jehu over. She is standing out on a balcony when Jehu approaches. She asks if he comes in peace, but Jehu orders the two eunuchs that are with her to kill her. They throw her out the window.

Jehu goes into celebrate his victory, when he decides that Jezebel deserves a burial. Some men go outside to do this task, but all that was left of Jezebel was her skull, feet, and hands. Years earlier the prophet Elijah had predicted this would happen after she and Naboth were murdered.

(Naboth was killed because he would not sell his vineyard to Ahab. Jezebel killed him so Ahab would stop whining.)

The bloodbath of Jehu did stop there. Ahab had seventy who lived in Samaria and Jehu send a message that he was coming to kill them. But before he reached the city the heads of Ahab's seventy sons were delivered to him in Jezreel. The seventy skulls were place in a pile right outside the city.

Jezebel promoted Baal worship while her husband was King of Israel. Jehu pretended that he favored Baal worship and requested that the priest hold a special service. After the priests of Baal were assembled inside their temple, Jehu had them killed. Their temple was destroyed and was made into a public toilet.

Jehu continued to kill are those who were affiliated with the house of Ahab. God promised that his descendant for the next four generations would rule Israel.

Even though Jehu publicly promoted God, in his personal life he worshipped the golden calves of Jeroboam (an earlier King.)

Little is known about Jehu's background. We do know that his father's name was Jehoshaphat and his grandfather was Nimshi. Jehu was King of Israel twenty-eight years.

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