2 Kings 9:14-10:31
Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah
14-16 King Joram[a] of Israel had been badly wounded in the battle at Ramoth, trying to defend it against King Hazael and the Syrian army. Joram was now recovering in Jezreel, and King Ahaziah of Judah was there, visiting him.
Meanwhile, Jehu was in Ramoth, making plans to kill Joram. He said to his officers, “If you want me to be king, then don’t let anyone leave this town. They might go to Jezreel and tell Joram.” Then Jehu got in his chariot and rode to Jezreel.
17 When the guard in the watchtower at Jezreel saw Jehu and his men riding up, he shouted to the king, “I see a bunch of men coming this way.”
Joram ordered, “Send someone out to ask them if this is a friendly visit.”
18 One of the soldiers rode out and said to Jehu, “King Joram wants to know if this is a friendly visit.”
“What’s it to you?” Jehu asked. “Just stay behind me with the rest of my troops!”
About the same time the guard in the watchtower said, “Your Majesty, the rider got there, but he isn’t coming back.”
19 So Joram sent out another rider, who rode up to Jehu and said, “The king wants to know if this is a friendly visit.”
“What’s it to you?” Jehu asked. “Just get behind me with the rest of my troops!”
20 The guard in the watchtower said, “Your Majesty, the rider got there, but he isn’t coming back either. Wait a minute! That one man is a reckless chariot driver—it must be Jehu!”
21 Joram commanded, “Get my chariot ready.” Then he and Ahaziah got in their chariots and rode out to meet Jehu. They all met on the land that had belonged to Naboth.[b] 22 Joram asked, “Jehu, is this a peaceful visit?”
“How can there be peace?” Jehu asked. “Your mother Jezebel has caused everyone to worship idols and practice witchcraft.”
23 “Ahaziah, let’s get out of here!” Joram yelled. “It’s a trap!” As Joram tried to escape, 24 Jehu shot an arrow. It hit Joram between his shoulders, then it went through his heart and came out his chest. He fell over dead in his chariot.
25-26 Jehu commanded his assistant Bidkar, “Get Joram’s body and throw it in the field that Naboth once owned. Do you remember when you and I used to ride side by side behind Joram’s father Ahab? It was then that the Lord swore to Ahab that he would be punished in the same field where he had killed Naboth and his sons. So throw Joram’s body there, just as the Lord said.”
27 Ahaziah saw all of this happen and tried to escape to the town of Beth-Haggan, but Jehu caught up with him and shouted, “Kill him too!” So his troops shot Ahaziah with an arrow while he was on the road to Gur near Ibleam. He went as far as Megiddo, where he died. 28 Ahaziah’s officers put his body in a chariot and took it back to Jerusalem, where they buried him beside his ancestors.
29 Ahaziah had become king of Judah in the eleventh year of the rule of Ahab’s son Joram.
Jehu Kills Jezebel
30 Jehu headed toward Jezreel, and when Jezebel heard he was coming, she put on eye shadow and brushed her hair. Then she stood at the window, waiting for him to arrive. 31 As he walked through the city gate, she shouted down to him, “Why did you come here, you murderer? To kill the king? You’re no better than Zimri!”[c]
32 He looked up toward the window and asked, “Is anyone up there on my side?” A few palace workers stuck their heads out of a window, 33 and Jehu shouted, “Throw her out the window!” They threw her down, and her blood splattered on the walls and on the horses that trampled her body.[d]
34 Jehu left to get something to eat and drink. Then he told some workers, “Even though she was evil, she was a king’s daughter,[e] so make sure she has a proper burial.”
35 But when they went out to bury her body, they found only her skull, her hands, and her feet. 36 They reported this to Jehu, and he said, “The Lord told Elijah the prophet that Jezebel’s body would be eaten by dogs right here in Jezreel. 37 And he warned that her bones would be spread all over the ground like manure, so that no one could tell who it was.”
Jehu Kills All of Ahab’s Descendants
10 Ahab still had seventy descendants living in Samaria. So Jehu wrote a letter to each of the important leaders and officials of the town,[f] and to those who supported Ahab. In the letters he wrote:
2 Your town is strong, and you’re protected by chariots and an armed cavalry. And I know that King Ahab’s descendants live there with you. So as soon as you read this letter, 3 choose the best person for the job and make him the next king. Then be prepared to defend Ahab’s family.
4 The officials and leaders read the letters and were very frightened. They said to each other, “Jehu has already killed King Joram and King Ahaziah! We have to do what he says.” 5 The prime minister, the mayor of the city, as well as the other leaders and Ahab’s supporters, sent this answer to Jehu, “We are your servants, Your Majesty, and we will do whatever you tell us. But it’s not our place to choose someone to be king. You do what you think is best.”
6 Jehu then wrote another letter which said, “If you are on my side and will obey me, then prove it. Bring me the heads of the descendants of Ahab! And be here in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.”
The seventy descendants of King Ahab were living with some of the most important people of the city. 7 And when these people read Jehu’s second letter, they called together all seventy of Ahab’s descendants. They killed them, put their heads in baskets, and sent them to Jezreel.
8 When Jehu was told what had happened, he said, “Put the heads in two piles at the city gate, and leave them there until morning.”
9 The next morning, Jehu went out and stood where everyone could hear him, and he said, “You people are not guilty of anything. I’m the one who plotted against Joram and had him killed. But who killed all these men? 10 Listen to me. Everything the Lord’s servant Elijah promised about Ahab’s family will come true.”[g]
11 Then Jehu killed the rest of Ahab’s relatives living in Jezreel, as well as his highest officials, his priests, and his closest friends. No one in Ahab’s family was left alive in Jezreel.
12-13 Jehu left for Samaria, and along the way, he met some relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah at a place where shepherds meet.[h] He asked, “Who are you?”
“We are relatives of Ahaziah,” they answered. “We’re going to visit his family.”
14 “Take them alive!” Jehu said to his officers. So they grabbed them and led them to the well near the shepherds' meeting place, where they killed all forty-two of them.
15 As Jehu went on, he saw Jehonadab son of Rechab[i] coming to meet him. Jehu greeted him, then said, “Jehonadab, I’m on your side. Are you on mine?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Then give me your hand,” Jehu answered. He helped Jehonadab into his chariot 16 and said, “Come with me and see how faithful I am to the Lord.”
They rode together in Jehu’s chariot 17 to Samaria. Jehu killed everyone there who belonged to Ahab’s family, as well as all his officials. Everyone in his family was now dead, just as the Lord had promised Elijah.
Jehu Kills All the Worshipers of Baal
18 Jehu called together the people in Samaria and said:
King Ahab sometimes worshiped Baal, but I will be completely faithful to Baal. 19 I’m going to offer a huge sacrifice to him. So invite his prophets and priests, and be sure everyone who worships him is there. Anyone who doesn’t come will be killed.
But this was a trick—Jehu was really planning to kill the worshipers of Baal. 20 He said, “Announce a day of worship for Baal!” After the day had been announced, 21 Jehu sent an invitation to everyone in Israel. All the worshipers of Baal came, and the temple was filled from one end to the other. 22 Jehu told the official in charge of the sacred robes to make sure that everyone had a robe to wear.
23 Jehu and Jehonadab went into the temple, and Jehu said to the crowd, “Look around and make sure that only the worshipers of Baal are here. No one who worships the Lord is allowed in.” 24 Then they began to offer sacrifices to Baal.
Earlier, Jehu had ordered eighty soldiers to wait outside the temple. He had warned them, “I will get all these worshipers here, and if any of you let even one of them escape, you will be killed instead!”
25 As soon as Jehu finished offering the sacrifice, he told the guards and soldiers, “Come in and kill them! Don’t let anyone escape.” They slaughtered everyone in the crowd and threw the bodies outside. Then they went back into the temple 26 and carried out the image of Baal. They burned it 27 and broke it into pieces, then they completely destroyed Baal’s temple. And since that time, it’s been nothing but a public toilet.[j]
28 That’s how Jehu stopped the worship of Baal in Israel. 29 But he did not stop the worship of the gold statues of calves at Dan and Bethel that Jeroboam had made for the people to worship.[k]
30 Later the Lord said, “Jehu, you have done right by destroying Ahab’s entire family, just as I had planned. So I will make sure that the next four kings of Israel will come from your own family.”
31 But Jehu did not completely obey the commands of the Lord God of Israel. Instead, he kept doing the sinful things that Jeroboam had caused the Israelites to do.
- 9.14-16 Joram: The Hebrew text has “Jehoram,” another spelling of the name.
- 9.21 the land. . . Naboth: See 1 Kings 21.
- 9.31 Zimri: An Israelite king who killed King Elah and his family so he could become king, but who ruled only seven days (see 1 Kings 16.8-20).
- 9.33 horses. . . her body: Two ancient translations; Hebrew “horses. Then Jehu trampled her body.”
- 9.34 she. . . daughter: Her father was King Ethbaal of Sidon (see 1 Kings 16.31).
- 10.1 the town: Two ancient translations; Hebrew “Jezreel.”
- 10.10 Everything. . . come true: See 1 Kings 21.17-24.
- 10.12,13 at a place where shepherds meet: Or “at Betheked of the Shepherds.”
- 10.15 Jehonadab son of Rechab: Or “Jehonadab the chariot driver.”
- 10.27 public toilet: Or “garbage dump.”
- 10.29 gold statues. . . to worship: See 1 Kings 12.26-30.
Trouble in Thessalonica
17 After Paul and his friends had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they went on to Thessalonica. A Jewish meeting place was in that city. 2 So as usual, Paul went there to worship, and on three Sabbaths he spoke to the people. He used the Scriptures 3 to show them that the Messiah had to suffer, but that he would rise from death. Paul also told them that Jesus is the Messiah he was preaching about. 4 Some of them believed what Paul had said, and they became followers with Paul and Silas. Some Gentiles[a] and many important women also believed the message.
5 The Jewish leaders were jealous and got some worthless bums who hung around the marketplace to start a riot in the city. They wanted to drag Paul and Silas out to the mob, and so they went straight to Jason’s home. 6 But when they did not find them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the Lord’s followers. They took them to the city authorities and shouted, “Paul and Silas have been upsetting things everywhere. Now they have come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his home. All of them break the laws of the Roman Emperor by claiming that someone named Jesus is king.”
8 The officials and the people were upset when they heard this. 9 So they made Jason and the other followers pay bail before letting them go.
People in Berea Welcome the Message
10 That same night the Lord’s followers sent Paul and Silas on to Berea, and after they arrived, they went to the Jewish meeting place. 11 The people in Berea were much nicer than those in Thessalonica, and they gladly accepted the message. Day after day they studied the Scriptures to see if these things were true. 12 Many of them put their faith in the Lord, including some important Greek women and several men.
13 When the Jewish leaders in Thessalonica heard that Paul had been preaching God’s message in Berea, they went there and caused trouble by turning the crowds against Paul.
14 Right away the followers sent Paul down to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. 15 Some men went with Paul as far as Athens, and then returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.
Paul in Athens
16 While Paul was waiting in Athens, he was upset to see all the idols in the city. 17 He went to the Jewish meeting place to speak to the Jews and to anyone who worshiped with them. Day after day he also spoke to everyone he met in the market. 18 Some of them were Epicureans[b] and some were Stoics,[c] and they started arguing with him.
People were asking, “What is this know-it-all trying to say?”
Some even said, “Paul must be preaching about foreign gods! That’s what he means when he talks about Jesus and about people rising from death.”[d]
19 They brought Paul before a council called the Areopagus, and said, “Tell us what your new teaching is all about. 20 We have heard you say some strange things, and we want to know what you mean.”
21 More than anything else the people of Athens and the foreigners living there loved to hear and to talk about anything new. 22 So Paul stood up in front of the council and said:
People of Athens, I see that you are very religious. 23 As I was going through your city and looking at the things you worship, I found an altar with the words, “To an Unknown God.” You worship this God, but you don’t really know him. So I want to tell you about him. 24 This God made the world and everything in it. He is Lord of heaven and earth, and he doesn’t live in temples built by human hands. 25 He doesn’t need help from anyone. He gives life, breath, and everything else to all people. 26 From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be.
27 God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him. He isn’t far from any of us, 28 and he gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. “We are his children,” just as some of your poets have said.
29 Since we are God’s children, we must not think that he is like an idol made out of gold or silver or stone. He isn’t like anything that humans have thought up and made. 30 In the past, God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing. But now he says that everyone everywhere must turn to him. 31 He has set a day when he will judge the world’s people with fairness. And he has chosen the man Jesus to do the judging for him. God has given proof of this to all of us by raising Jesus from death.
32 As soon as the people heard Paul say that a man had been raised from death, some of them started laughing. Others said, “We will hear you talk about this some other time.” 33 When Paul left the council meeting, 34 some of the men put their faith in the Lord and went with Paul. One of them was a council member named Dionysius. A woman named Damaris and several others also put their faith in the Lord.
- 17.4 Gentiles: See the note at 14.1.
- 17.18 Epicureans: People who followed the teaching of a man named Epicurus, who taught that happiness should be the main goal in life.
- 17.18 Stoics: Followers of a man named Zeno, who taught that people should learn self-control and be guided by their consciences.
- 17.18 people rising from death: Or “a goddess named ‘Rising from Death.’”
A Prayer for the Nation
144 I praise you, Lord!
You are my mighty rock,[a]
and you teach me
how to fight my battles.
2 You are my friend,
and you are my fortress
where I am safe.
You are my shield,
and you made me the ruler
of our people.[b]
3 Why do we humans mean anything
to you, our Lord?
Why do you care about us?
4 We disappear like a breath;
we last no longer
than a faint shadow.
5 Open the heavens like a curtain
and come down, Lord.
Touch the mountains
and make them send up smoke.
6 Use your lightning as arrows
to scatter my enemies
and make them run away.
7 Reach down from heaven
and set me free.
Save me from the mighty flood
8 of those lying foreigners
who can’t tell the truth.
9 In praise of you, our God,
I will sing a new song,
while playing my harp.
10 By your power, kings win wars,
and your servant David is saved
from deadly swords.
11 Won’t you keep me safe
from those lying foreigners
who can’t tell the truth?
12 Let’s pray that our young sons
will grow like strong plants
and that our daughters
will be as lovely
in the corner of a palace.
13 May our barns be filled
with all kinds of crops.
May our fields be covered
with sheep by the thousands,
14 and every cow have calves.[c]
Don’t let our city be captured
or any of us be taken away,
and don’t let cries of sorrow
be heard in our streets.
15 Our Lord and our God,
you give these blessings
to all who worship you.
27 It makes a lot of sense
to be a person of few words
and to stay calm.
28 Even fools seem smart
when they are quiet.