1There were seventy of Ahab's sons in Samaria. Jehu sent to Samaria, to the authorities of the city, tothe elders and to the guardians of Ahab's children. He said, 2'Now, when this letter reaches you, you have your master's sons with you; you also have chariots andhorses, a fortified city and weapons. 3See which of your master's sons is the best and worthiest, put him on his father's throne and fight for your master's dynasty!' 4They were utterly terrified. 'We have seen how the two kings could not stand up to him,' they said, 'sohow could we?' 5Consequently the master of the palace, the governor of the city, the elders and the guardians sentword to Jehu, 'We are your servants. We shal do whatever you order us. We shall not proclaim a king; act asyou think best.' 6Jehu then wrote them a second letter. He said, 'If you are for me and if you are prepared to acceptorders from me, take the heads of the men of your master's family and come to me at Jezreel by this timetomorrow.' (There were seventy of Ahab's sons being educated there by the leading men of the city.) 7When this letter reached them, they took the king's sons and butchered al seventy of them, put theirheads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel. 8The messenger came and told Jehu, 'They have brought the heads of the king's sons.' 'Leave them intwo heaps at the entrance to the gate until morning,' he replied. 9When morning came, he went out and, standing, said to all the people, 'No guilt attaches to you! I didindeed plot against my master and have kil ed him; but what about al these? Who struck them? 10Know, then, that nothing will fail to be fulfil ed of the prophecy uttered by Yahweh against the Houseof Ahab; Yahweh has done what he said through his servant Elijah.' 11Jehu then kil ed every member of the House of Ahab surviving in Jezreel, all his leading men, hisclose friends, his priests; he did not leave a single one alive. 12Jehu then set out for Samaria. As he was on his way, at Beth-Eked of the Shepherds, 13he met the brothers of Ahaziah king of Judah. 'Who are you?' he asked. 'We are Ahaziah's brothers,'they replied, 'and we are on our way to pay our respects to the king's sons and the queen mother's sons.' 14'Take them alive,' he said. They took them alive, and he slaughtered them at the storage-wel of Beth-Eked, forty-two of them; he did not spare a single one. 15Leaving there, he came on Jehonadab son of Rechab who was on his way to meet him. He greetedhim and said, 'Is your heart true to mine, as my heart is to yours?' Jehonadab replied, 'Yes.' 'If so,' Jehu said,'give me your hand.' Jehonadab gave him his hand, and Jehu took him up beside him in his chariot. 16'Come with me,' he said, 'and witness my zeal for Yahweh,' and took him along in his chariot. 17When he entered Samaria, he kil ed al the survivors of Ahab's family there; he destroyed it, asYahweh had told Elijah it would happen. 18Then Jehu assembled al the people. 'Ahab did Baal some smal service,' he said, 'but Jehu wil dohim a great one. 19Now cal me al the prophets of Baal and al his priests. Not one is to be absent: I have a greatsacrifice to offer to Baal. If anyone is absent, he wil forfeit his life.' This was a trick on Jehu's part to destroy thedevotees of Baal. 20'Summon a sacred assembly for Baal,' he commanded; and they summoned it. 21Jehu sent messengers throughout Israel, and all the devotees of Baal arrived, not a man was left whodid not attend. They crowded into the temple of Baal until it was full from wal to wall. 22Jehu then said to the keeper of the wardrobe, 'Bring out vestments for al the devotees of Baal'; hebrought out the vestments for them. 23Jehu then went into the temple of Baal with Jehonadab son of Rechab and said to Baal's devotees,'Make quite sure that there are no devotees of Yahweh in here with you, but only devotees of Baal.' 24He then proceeded to present sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty of hismen outside, having said, 'Whoever lets one of the people go whom I am now putting within your clutches, wilpay for it with his life.' 25When he had finished making the burnt offering, he gave the order to the guards and equerries, 'Goin, strike them down! Let no one out!' The guards and equerries went in, putting everyone to the sword al theway to the sanctuary of Baal's temple. 26They took the sacred pole out of Baal's temple and burned it. 27They demolished Baal's image and demolished Baal's temple too, making it into a latrine, which it stilis today. 28Thus Jehu rid Israel of Baal. 29Even so, Jehu did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel, the goldencalves of Bethel and Dan. 30Yahweh said to Jehu, 'Since you have done wel in carrying out what pleases me, and have doneeverything I required to be done to the House of Ahab, your sons wil occupy the throne of Israel down to thefourth generation.' 31Jehu, however, did not faithful y and wholeheartedly fol ow the law of Yahweh, God of Israel; he didnot give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel. 32At that time Yahweh began to whittle Israel down, and Hazael defeated the Israelites throughout theterritory east of the Jordan: 33the whole territory of Gilead -- of the Gadites, the Reubenites and the Manassehites -- from Aroer onthe River Arnon: Gilead and Bashan. 34The rest of the history of Jehu, his entire career, al his prowess, is this not recorded in the Book ofthe Annals of the Kings of Israel? 35Then he fel asleep with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria; his son Jehoahaz succeeded him. 36Jehu's reign over Israel in Samaria lasted twenty-eight years.
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