Yeihu annihilates the family of Achav and the worshippers of Baal

Melachim 2 Chapter 10

  1. Yeihu kills all 70 sons, and all the descendants, of Achav:
  • Achav had seventy sons in Shomron.
  • Yeihu taunts the sons of Achav and their protectors to wage war against him: Yeihu wrote letters and sent them to Shomron. The letters were sent to the elderly officials of Yizrael, and to the caretakers of Achav’s children [who were all located at the time in the city of Shomron[1]]. The letter read as follows: “When this letter reaches you [begin to prepare for war against me[2]]. You have Achav’s sons with you on your side, and chariots, horses, fortified cities, and arms. Now, select the best and the most suitable of Achav’s sons, and appoint him to his father’s throne, and come fight for your master’s monarchy.” [Yeihu sent this letter in order to discover if the people of Shomron would support his monarchy or would fight against him.[3]]
  • The recipients are frightened and capitulate to Yeihu: The recipients of the letter were very very frightened [understanding that Yeihu was in essence bringing them to war in order to annihilate them as he did to the two kings], and they said to each other, “Behold the two kings [Yoram and Achaziah] were unable to overcome him, how will we overcome him?” The people of the city, including the minister appointed over the palace, and the minister appointed over the city, and the elders of the city as well as the caretakers of the children, sent to Yeihu the following letter in reply: “We are your servants, and whatever you tell us we will do. We will not appoint anyone of Achav’s children as king and you may do whatever pleases you.”
  • Yeihu sends a second letter asking the ministers to kill Achav’s sons: Yeihu sent a second letter to them, instructing them as follows: “If you are truly on my side and obey my orders, then bring me tomorrow to Yizrael the heads of the sons of Achav. Now, Achav has seventy sons who are being raised by the elders of the city.” [Yeihu wrote all this information in order to relate to the city leaders that he knows exactly how many sons Achav had and how many heads he is expecting on the morrow.]
  • The 70 sons of Achav are killed and their heads are delivered to Yeihu: When the city leaders received the letter, they took the king’s sons and slaughtered them. A total of seventy men, who were all the sons of the King, were killed. The city leaders placed the heads of the sons in pots and sent them to Yeihu, to Yizrael. A messenger came and told Yeihu that they have brought him the heads of Achav’s sons. Yeihu instructed for the pots with the heads to be arranged into two piles at the entrance of the gate, until the morning.
  • Yeihu speaks to the people: In the morning, Yeihu went out and stood outside to give a speech to the people. Yeihu told the people, “You all view yourselves as righteous [and innocent of murder, and view me as a murderer for killing the kings[4]]. However, I only revolted against my master and slew him, but who slew all these beheaded individuals [if not you the people, the leaders of Shomron]. You should all know that all of G-ds words which he spoke regarding Achav shall be fulfilled, and indeed Hashem has fulfilled that which He spoke through His servant Eliyahu.”
  • Yeihu kills the remaining descendants of Achav and all of his affiliates: Yeihu killed all those remaining of the house of Achav in Yizrael, and all his dignitaries, and relatives, and priests [of the Bamos], until he did not leave over any survivors.
  • Yeihu returns to Shomron: Yeihu got up and traveled to Shomron and arrived by the home on the road where the shepherds would meet to share the sheep.

  1. Yeihu kills all of the brothers of Achaziah:
  • Yeihu meets the brothers of Achaziah in Shomron: Yeihu met the brothers of Achaziah [in Shomron], king of Yehuda, and asked them as to who they are? They replied that they are the brothers of Achaziah, and that they have come down [to Shomron] to meet up with the sons Achav and the sons of Izevel [as they heard that Yoram was killed, but did not yet hear of the news of the murder of all the sons of Achav, and the muder of Izevel.[5]]
  • Yeihu instructs for them to be killed: Yeihu instructed his servants to seize the brothers alive, and they were all seized alive, forty-two in number. All forty-two men were slaughtered in the pit of the meeting-place of the shepherds. Yeihu did not leave over even one of the brothers, and they were all killed. [They were killed being that they too were descendants of Achav.[6]]
  • Yeihu meets Yehonadav the son of Rachav: Yeihu went from there and met Yehonadav the son of Rachav who was coming towards him. Yeihu greeted him and asked him as to whether he agrees with his actions and as to whether he is on his side and loves him as he loves him. Yehonadav responded in the affirmative that he is on his side and asked Yeihu to take his hand and bring him up to his chariot, and so Yeihu lifted him up to his chariot. Yeihu said to his friend Yehonadav, “Come with me on my travels and see how I am zealous for the sake of G-d [to take vengeance against the house of Achav and against all of the prophets of Baal].” And so off they went to ride in the chariot.
  • Yeihu annihilates all the descendents of Achav: Yeihu came to Shomron and killed all of the remaining descendents of Achav in the city of Shomron, until they were completely annihilated as God had spoken in the prophecy to Eliyahu.

  1. Yeihu assassinates all of the prophets of Baal:
  • Yeihu tricks the people and asks them to assemble all of the prophets of Baal: Yeihu assembled all the people, and asked them to bring to him all of the prophets of Baal, saying “Achav only slightly worshipped the Baal [and therefore his descendants were killed[7]], however, I, Yeihu, will worship him a lot [and therefore I will be protected]. Now summon to me all the prophets of the Baal, all his worshippers and all his priests; let no one be missing, as I have a great sacrifice which I would like to bring to the Baal.” The king was so serious about his request that he stated that anyone who will be absent and not show up, will be killed. All this was done by Yeihu as a sly and cunning act to help exterminate the Baal worshippers.
  • The worshipers of Baal are all gathered together in the Temple of Baal: Yeihu proclaimed an assembly for the sake of Baal, and all the worshipers were called upon to assemble. Yeihu sent messengers throughout all Israel, and all the Baal worshippers gathered, with no one left who did not come. They entered the temple of the Baal, and the temple of the Baal was filled from entrance to entrance.
  • The costumes of the Baal worshipers: Yeihu said to the person appointed over the wardrobe of the Baal worshipers to bring out their costumes for all the Baal worshippers to wear. And, so he brought out the costumed for all to wear. [Yeihu did so in order so all of the Baal worshipers will all be easily recognized, and will be able to be identified and not be able to escape being killed.[8]]
  • All non Baal worshipers are asked to leave: Yeihu and Yehonadab the son of Rechav came to the temple of the Baal, and he told the Baal worshippers to search and see whether there are any of the servants of Hashem present with them, as he desires only for the Baal worshippers alone to be present. [This was done in order so none of the servants of God be accidentally killed with the masses of Baal worshipers.[9]]
  • The ceremony at the Temple of the Baal: The worshipers of Baal came to perform sacrifices and an offer burnt-offerings. Now, Yeihu had appointed for himself eighty men outside the temple and told them that their job is to prevent any of the worshipers from escaping and that if any of them escape it will cost them their life.
  • The worshipers of Baal are all decimated: When the worshipers finished offering their sacrifices to the Baal, Yeihu instructed his officers and ministers to kill all of the worshipers and not allow any of the men to escape. And, so they struck all of the worshipers with the blade of the sword, and they threw their bodies.
  • The city of Baal and all of its accessories are destroyed: They then were hurriedly sent to the city of the temple of the Baal, and they took out the monuments of the temple of the Baal and burnt each and every one of them. They tore down the monument of the Baal, and they tore down the temple of the Baal and turned it into a bathroom until this very day.

[1] Radak 10:1

[2] See Rashi 10:2

[3] Metzudos Dovid 10:3

[4] Rashi 10:9

[5] Radak 10:13

[6] Metzudos Dovid 10:14

[7] Metzudos Dovid 10:18

[8] Metzudos Dovid 10:22

[9] Metzudos Dovid 10:23

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