Melachim 2/Kings 2-Chapter 9: Yeihu becomes king

1.      Elisha has Yeihu anointed as king of Israel:

  • Elisha sends Yonah on a mission to anoint Yeihu as king: [At the time that Yoram the king of Israel was sick in Yizrael] Elisha the prophet summoned one of his disciples who was a prophet [i.e. Yonah ben Amiti[1]] and told him to quickly prepare himself to travel to Ramoth-Gilead and for him to take with him a jar of oil for the purpose of anointing Yeihu, the son of Yehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi as king [over Israel]. [This Yehoshafat was not the same Yehoshafat who was the king of Judah, and some say he was from Shevet Menashe.] Elisha told him,“You shall come and raise up Yeihu from among his brothers and bring him into an inner chamber. You shall then take the cruse of oil and pour it over the head of Yeihu. You shall tell him that Hashem has anointed him as king over Israel. After you finish telling him this, you shall open the door and flee. Do not delay.”
  • The student prophet heads off on the mission: The student of Elisha went on his mission and traveled to Ramoth- Gilead. When he arrived, the officers of the army were sitting together. He said to the group of officers that he has a message for one of them. Yeihu asked as to whom he has a message for, and the lad responded that he has a message for him.
  • Yeihu is anointed as king: They got up and headed to the house and the lad poured oil over Yeihu’s head. The lad then said to him that Hashem has anointed him as king over the people of Israel.
  • Yeihu is instructed to decimate the household of Achav: The lad instructed Yeihu that G-d has commanded him to decimate the house of Achav, to avenge the blood of the prophets and of Hashem’s servants who were killed by Izevel. Hashem stated, “The entire house of Achav shall perish; and I will cut off from Achav all males. I shall do to the house of Achav just as I did to the house of Yeravam, the son of Nevat, and to the house of Baasha the son of Achiyah. The dogs will eat Izevel in the territory of Yizrael and no one will bury her.”
  • The lad flees: After the lad had concluded his mission of relaying the prophecy, he opened the door and fled, as he was instructed by his master Elisha.
  • Yeihu is questioned as to what the meeting was about: Yeihu went out to meet the rest of his colleagues, and one of them asked him as to if everything is well and as to why the madman came to him [He wanted to know what type of prophecy he received from the prophet and if it was good or bad.[2] He referred to him as a madman as prophets are occasionally referred to as crazy, as it is common for prophets to act like the insane during their prophecy.[3]] Yeihu replied that they should not pay any attention to his words as they already know his personality [and that he is crazy[4]]. However, his colleagues accused Yeihu of lying to them and insisted on hearing what the lad had to say. So, with lack of choice, Yeihu told them that the lad relay to him a prophecy that Hashem has anointed him as king over Israel.
  • The ministers appoint Yeihu as king: When the ministers, who were the colleagues of Yeihu, heard of the prophecy, they hurriedly took their garments and placed them under Yeihu, on the top step [to help lift him up, so he sits higher than them as is befitting of a king[5]]. They then sounded the shofar and proclaimed Yeihu as king.

2.      Yeihu kills Yoram king of Israel:

  • The time of the rebellion of Yeihu: Yeihu, the son of Yehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi revolted against Yoram the king of Israel, while Yoram and all Israel were guarding in Ramoth- Gilead to prevent the enemy soldiers of Chazael the king of Aram, from breaking through.
  • The plot: King Yehoram returned to Yizrael to recuperate from his wounds that the Arameans inflicted upon him when he fought with Chazael king of Aram. Yeihu told the people [in Ramot Gilad[6]] that if they desire [for him to become the new king[7]], then let no survivor leave the city to go to Yizrael and inform the king of my arrival [with plans to assassinate him].
  • Yeihu and Achaziyah arrive to Yizrael: Yeihu traveled to Yizrael, where Yoram the king was lying in recovery. At that same time, Achaziah, the king of Yehuda went down to see Yoram.
  • Yoram sees a large entourage coming towards him and sends a rider to greet them: The lookout was standing on the tower in Yiszrael, and he saw Yeihu’s troop arriving towards them. He informed Yoram of the arrivals and Yoram told him to send a rider towards them to see as to [who they are and as to] their wellbeing [and as to what is it that they want].
  • The rider does not return: The horse rider went towards Yeihu and asked him in the name of the king as to if all is doing well with them. Yeihu answered him by saying, “What difference does it make to you as to how we are doing? Come behind us and join [in the rebellion against the king].” The lookout reported to the king that while he saw the rider reach the entourage the rider did not return.
  • A second rider is sent who also does not return: The king sent a second horse rider to greet the group and ask as to who they are and what they want. The rider arrived to Yeihu and asked him in the name of the king as to if all is doing well. Yeihu again responded to him as he did to the previous rider, “What difference does it make to you as to how we are doing? Come behind us and join [in the rebellion against the king].” The lookout again reported to the king that while he saw the rider reach the entourage the rider did not return. The lookout then added his assessment as to whom the entourage belonged to saying that “The driving of the entourage is like the driving of Yeihu the [grand[8]]son of Nimshi, who drives like a madman.”
  • Yoram goes himself to greet the entourage together with Achazia: Yehoram the king of Israel decided to personally ride in his chariot to greet Yeihu and see what was going on. Achaziah, the king of Yehuda, also joined him in his own chariot. They rode towards Yeihu, and found him in the territory of Navos the Yizralite. When Yehoram saw Yeihu, he asked him as to how he was doing, “Is there peace, Yeihu?” Yeihu replied to the king with insolence saying, “You are not worthy of peace. Is there peace is with the harlotries of Izevel your mother and her numerous sorceries?”
  • Yoram flees and is killed in the process: Yehoram realized that Yeihu has rebelled against him and so he turned his hands around on the harness of the horse and began to flee. As he was fleeing, he quickly warned Achaziah that he should flee as well as Yeihu has rebelled. Yeihu then put all of his strength into his bow, and struck Yehoram between his arms, and the arrow penetrated through his heart. Yoram [died and] fell in his chariot, onto his knees in a prostrating position.
  • Yeihu has the body of the king thrown into the field of Navos: Yeihu told his minister named Bidkar to carry the body of the king and discard it in the territory of the field of Navos the Yizralite. “For you remember when you and I were riding together behind Achav his father, when Hashem said a prophecy against him [through his prophet Eliyahu[9]] saying, “I indeed saw the blood of Navos and the blood of his children [who were also killed, or who could have been born and were not able to[10]] last night? I will seek retribution from you on this very plot of land.” Now [said Yeihu to his minister], pick up the corpse of Yoram and throw him into this plot of land as Hashem had instructed.”

3.      Yeihu kills Achaziyah, king of Yehuda:

  • Achaziah, the king of Yehuda, saw what was happening and he fled through the garden, and Yeihu chased after him. Yeihu then gave the instructions to strike him and kill him while he is in his chariot [as also Achaziah was from the household of Achav, and served idolatry[11]]. And so indeed, they struck him at the ascent of Gur which is near Yivleam, and Achaziah fled to Megiddo while injured and died there from his injuries. [In truth, Achaziah was captured in the city of Shomron, or alternatively killed in the city of Shomron, and the Mefarshim give different explanations as to how to merge this into the verses here, in order so it is not a contradiction.[12]]
  • Achaziah is buried in Jerusalem: The servants of Achaziah carried him in a chariot to Yerushalayim, and they buried him there in a grave together with his ancestors in the city of David. [Achaziah merit to be buried, unlike Yoram, due to the merit of his father Yehoshafat.[13]]
  • The year of the reign of Achaziah: Achaziah became king over Yehuda in the eleventh year of Yoram the son of Achav.

4.      Yeihu has Izevel killed:

  • Yeihu came to Yizrsel, and Izevel [the evil wife of Achav] heard [of his arrival in that he had killed Yoram and was most likely coming to kill her as well.]
  • Izevel puts on makeup and tries to appease Yeihu: Izevel put makeup on her eyes and adorned her head seductively with a kerchief , and looked out of the window [in wait for Yeihu’s arrival]. Yeihu arrived at the gate [where Izevel was located] and she called out to him and said, “How are you Zimri the killer of his masters?” [She metaphorically referred to Yeihu as Zimri, as he too had murdered his master, Basha, and intended to gain favor in his eyes by doing so hinting to him that she does not hold it against him as this is the way of the world.[14]]
  • Yeihu has Izevel thrown out the window and killed: Yeihu lifted his head up to the window and asked [those in the building] as to who is on his side. There were two or three ministers who looked out towards him [hinting to him that they are there to do his bidding]. Yeihu instructed them to push her out the window, and so they pushed her out. When she fell, some of her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses, and the horses trampled her.
  • Only bones remain of Izevel, and she is not buried: Yeihu sat down to eat and drink and instructed those with him to go out and bury Izevel, being that she is the daughter of a king. However, when they went out to fetch her body in order to bury her, the only thing that remained of her body was her skull, feet, and the palms of the hands [as the remainder of her body was eaten by dogs as Eliyahu had prophesized[15]]. [These parts of her body remain, in merit of that she would dance using her head, hands, and feet, in front of the bride and groom in order to rejoice them by their wedding.[16]] The messengers entrusted with the job of burying her returned and told Yeihu of what was left of her and Yeihu said that this was in fulfillment of the prophecy of God as he spoke through his prophet, Eliyahu the Tishbite, saying that “in the territory of Yizrael the dogs will devour the flesh of Izevel.” The corpse of Izevel remained like dung on the field in the territory of Yizrael. All this was done by God in order so she does not have a resting place which can be marked as the area of Izevel.

[1] Rashi 9:1

[2] Metzudos Dovid 9:11

[3] Radak 9:11

[4] Rashi 9:11

[5] Metzudos Dovid 9:12

[6] Rashi 9:15

[7] Rashi 9:15

[8] Metzudos Dovid 9:20

[9] Metzudos Dovid 9:24

[10] See Radak and Metzudos Dovid 9:26

[11] Metzudos Dovid 9:27

[12] See Rashi, Ralbag, Metzudos Dovid, and Radak on 9:27

[13] Ralbag 9:27

[14] See Rashi and Radak 9:31

[15] Metzudos Dovid 9:35

[16] Rashi 9:35

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