Story Sixteen

 •  12 min. read  •  grade level: 6
JEHU, THE FURIOUS DRIVER OF HIS CHARIOT
You remember that when the Lord came to the prophet Ē̇-lī́ jah at Mount Hṓ reb in the wilderness, the Lord gave to Ē̇-lī́ jah a command to anoint or call Hăź a-el to be king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ and Jḗ hū to be king of Ĭś̝ ra-el. But to prepare the way for these changes of rule a long time was needed, and Ē̇-lī́ jah was taken home to heaven before these men were called to be kings.
The time to call these men had now come, and Ē̇-lī́ sha undertook the pork that had been left to him by E-lī́ jah. He went to Dā̇-măś cus, the chief city of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ; and Ben=hā́ dăd, the king of heard that the great prophet of Ĭś̝ ra-el had come, for the fame of Ē̇-lī́ shȧ's deeds had made his name known through all those lands.
At that time King Bĕn=hā́ dăd was ill; and he sent one of his chief princes, whose name was Hăź a-el, to ask Ē̇-lī́ shȧ whether he would be well again. Hăź a-el came to meet Ē̇-lī́ sha with a rich present, which loaded forty camels, and he spoke to Ē̇-lī́ shȧ with great respect, saying, "Your son, Bĕn=hā́ dăd, king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ, has sent me to you to ask, 'Shall I become well again from this sickness? '”
And Ē̇-lī́ shȧ said to Hăź a-el, "You may tell Bĕn=hā́ dăd that he will get well; nevertheless, the Lord has shown me that he will surely die.”
Then Ē̇-lī́ shȧ looked steadily upon Hăź a-el’s face, until Hăź a-el felt ashamed, and Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, wept as he looked upon him. Hăź a-el said to him, "Why does my lord weep?" "I weep," said Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, "because I know the evil that you will do to the people of Ĭś̝ ra-el. You will take their castles, and set them on fire; you will kill their young men, and you will destroy their children.”
Hăź a-el was surprised' at this, and said, "I am nothing but a dog; and how can I do such great things?”
And Ē̇-lī́ shȧ answered him, "The Lord has shown me that you shall be king over Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ.”
Then Hăź a-el went to King Bĕn=há dăd, and said to him, "The man of God told me that you will surely be well from your sickness.”
And on the next day Hăź a-el took the cover from the bed, and dipped it in water, and pressed it tightly over Bĕn=hā́ dăd's face, so that he died; and Hăź a-el reigned in his place as king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ. As soon as Hăź a-el became king, he made war upon the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes; and a battle was fought at Rā́ moth=ḡĭĺ e-ăd, the same place where King Ā́ hăb had been slain more than ten years before. In this battle Jē̇-hṓ ram, the king of Ĭś̝ ra-el, was wounded; and he was taken to Jĕź re-el, beside the great plain of Ĕs-dra-ḗ lon, there to recover from his wounds. Ā-ha-zī́ ah, who was at that time king of Jū́ dah, and who was a nephew of Jē̇-hṓ ram, went to Jĕź re-el to visit him while he was ill from his wounds.
By this time Ē̇-lī́ sha, the prophet, had returned from his visit to Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ He knew that the time had now come to finish the work in Ĭś̝ ra-el left to him by Ē̇-lī́ jah; and he called one of the sons of the prophets to him, and said, "Rise up, and go to the camp at Rā́ moth=ḡĭĺ e-ad; and take with you this little bottle of oil. And when you reach Rā́ moth=ḡĭĺ e-ăd, find one of the captains of the army, Jḗ hū, the son of Jē̇-hŏsh́ a-phăt, the son of Nĭḿ shī; and lead him into a room alone, and pour the oil on his head, and say, 'Thus saith the Lord, I have anointed you as king over Ĭś̝ ra-el.' When you have done this, come back to me at once without waiting.”
Then the young man, who was a prophet like Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, took the bottle of oil in his hand and went to Rā́ moth=ḡĭĺ e-ăd. In the camp of Ĭś̝ ra-el he found the captains of the army sitting together. He came suddenly among them, and said, "O captain, I have an errand to you.”
And Jḗ hū, one of the captains, said to him, "To which one of us is your errand?”
He said to Jḗ hú, "My errand is to you alone, O captain.”
Then Jḗ hū went with the young prophet into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said, "Thus saith the Lord, the God of Ĭś̝ ra-el, 'I have anointed you as king over my people Ĭś̝ ra-el. And you shall destroy the family of Ā́ hăb, because they destroyed the prophets of the Lord. And I will make the house of Ā́ hăb like the house of Jĕr-o-bṓ am, who made Ĭś̝ ra-el to sin. And the wild dogs shall eat Jĕź e-bĕl in the city of Jĕź re-el, and there shall be no one to bury her!”
And after he had said this, the prophet opened the door, and went away as suddenly as he had come. Jḗ hū came back to the other captains, and sat down again. One of the captains said to him, "Is all well? Why did this wild fellow call you out?”
Jḗ hū said to them, "You know the man, and you know what he said to me.”
"No, no," they all said, "we do not know. Tell us what he said.”
Then Jḗ hū told them what the prophet had said, and that he had anointed him as king. This pleased all the captains. At once they took off their outer garments, and spread them as a carpet on the stairs of the house, and at the head of the stairs they placed Jḗ hū; and they blew the trumpets and called out to the army, "Jḗ hū is the king!”
Jḗ hū said to the captains, "Do not let anyone go out of the camp to bear word to Jē̇ hṓ ram. I will go myself.”
Then Jḗ hū made ready his chariot, and rode swiftly toward Jĕź re-el, his company riding after him. The watchman on the tower at Jĕź re-el saw him coming, and he called out to King Jē̇-hṓ ram, "I see a company coming toward the city.”
Jē̇-hṓ ram thought that they were bearing news of the war with the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝. He sent out a man on horseback to meet the company. The man came, and said, "Is all well?”
Jḗ hū answered him, "What difference is it to you? Come after me.”
Then the man turned, and joined Jḗ hū's company; and so did another man whom Jē̇-hṓ ram sent when the first man did not return. And the watchman called out to Jē̇-hṓ ram again, "Two men have gone out to meet the company that is drawing near, but they have not come back; and the man at the head drives like Jḗ hū, the son of Nĭḿ shī, for he drives furiously.”
Then Jē̇-hṓ ram became anxious; he sent for his chariot, and went out to meet Jḗ hū; and with him went Ā-ha-zī́ ah, the king of Judah, each in his own chariot. It came to pass that they met Jḗ hū in the very place which had been the vineyard of Nā́ bŏth; the same place where Ā́ hăb had met Ē̇-lī́ jah, when that same Jḗ hū was standing behind Ahab in his chariot. As Jē̇-hṓ ram drew near to Jḗ hū, he called to him, "Is all well, Jḗ hū?”
"Can anything be well," answered Jḗ hū, "as long as your mother Jĕź e-bĕl lives, with all her wickedness?”
When Jē̇-hṓ ram heard this he saw that Jḗ hū was his enemy. He cried out to King Ā-ha-zī́ ah, and turned his chariot, and fled. But he was too late, for Jḗ hū drew his bow with all his strength and sent an arrow to his heart. Jē̇-hṓ ram fell down dead in his chariot. Then Jḗ hū said to Bĭd́ kär, whom he had made his chief captain, "Take away the body of Jē̇-hṓ ram, and throw it into the field where the body of Nā́ bŏth was thrown. Do you remember how when you and I were riding in the chariot behind Ā́ hăb, his father, the Lord said, 'I have seen the blood of Nā́ bŏth on this spot, and the punishment of Ā́ hăb and his sons shall be in this place'?”
When Ā-ha-zī́ ah, the king of Jū́ dah, saw Jē̇-hṓ ram fall, he, too, turned and fled. But Jḗ hū pursued him, and ordered his followers to kill him. So Ā-ha-zī́ ah, the son of Jē̇-hŏsh́ a-phăt, and grandson of Ā́ hăb (for his mother, Ăth-a-lī́ ah, was a daughter of Jĕź e-bĕl), he also died at the hand of Jḗ hū. His servants took the body of Ā-ha-zī́ ah to Jē̇-rṳ sā̇-lĕm, and buried it there.
When Jḗ hū rode into the city of Jeź rĕ-el Queen Jĕź e-bĕl knew that her end had come; but she met it boldly, like a queen. She put on her royal robes, and a crown upon her head, and sat by the window, waiting for Jḗ hū to come. As he drew near, she called out to him, "Good day to you, Jḗ hū, you who are like Zĭḿ rī, the murderer of your master!”
You have read of Zĭḿ rī who slew King Ḗ lah, and was himself burned in his palace seven days after. (See Story Three in this Part.) Jḗ hū looked up to the window, and called out, "Who is on my side? Who?”
And some men looked out to him, and he said, "Throw her out of the window.”
They threw her down, and her blood was spattered on the wall and on the horses. King Jḗ hū came into the palace, and sat down as master, and ate and drank. Then he said, "Take up the body of that wicked woman, Jĕź e-bel, and bury her, for, though wicked, she was the daughter of a king.”
But when they looked on the pavement there was nothing left of her except her skull, and the bones of her feet and her hands, for the wild dogs of the city had eaten her body; and thus the wicked life of Jĕź e-bĕl came to an end, and the word of the Lord by the prophet Ē̇-lī́ jah came to pass. And Jḗ hū slew all the sons of Ā́ hăb, and their children with them, so that not one of Ā́ hăb's family was left alive. When Jḗ hū saw that he was safe and strong on the throne, he sent out a message to all the worshippers of Bā́ al, the idol which Jĕź e-bĕl and the house of Ā́ hăb had brought into Ĭś̝ ra-el. This message was, "Ā́ hăb served Bā́ al a little, but Jḗ hū will serve him much. Now, let all the priests of Bā́ al meet in the temple of Bā́ al in Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ.”
They came by hundreds, hoping that Jḗ hū would be their friend as Ā́ hăb and his family had been. But when they were all in the temple, he brought an army of his soldiers, and placed them on guard around it; and when no one could escape, he gave the order, "Go into the temple and kill all the priests of Bā́ al; let not one get away alive.”
And this was done in a cruel manner. He killed all the prophets and priests of Bā́ al, and tore down the temple of Bā́ al in Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ. But though Jḗ hū broke up the worship of Bā́ al, he did not worship the Lord God of Ĭś̝ ra-el as he should. He continued to serve the golden calves which Jĕr-o-bṓ am had set up long before at Bĕth́= el and at Dan. And the Lord sent a prophet to Jḗ hū, who said to him, "Because you have done my will in destroying the house of Ā́ hăb, and in destroying those that worshipped Bā́ al, your children to the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Ĭś̝ ra-el.”
On account of the many sins of the people of Ĭś̝ ra-el the Lord began in the days of Jḗ hū to take away the land of the Ten Tribes. Hăź a-el, the new king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ, made war on Jḗ hū and conquered all the land on the east of the Jôŕ dan, from the brook Äŕ nŏn to the land of Bā́ shän in the north; so all that was left of Ĭś̝ ra-el was the country on the west of Jôŕ dan, from Bĕth́=el northward to Dăn.