Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Ramoth-gilead--a city of great importance to the Hebrew people,
east of Jordan, as a fortress of defense against the Syrians. Jehoram
had regained it
But the Israelitish army was still encamped there, under the command of
Elisha . . . called one of the children of the prophets--This errand
referred to the last commission given to Elijah in Horeb
box of oil--(See
2. carry him to an inner chamber--both to ensure the safety of the
messenger and to prevent all obstruction in the execution of the
3. I have anointed thee king over Israel--This was only a part of the
message; the full announcement of which is given
flee, and tarry not--for fear of being surprised and overtaken by the
spies or servants of the court.
4-6. So the young man . . . went to Ramoth-gilead--His ready
undertaking of this delicate and hazardous mission was an eminent proof
of his piety and obedience. The act of anointing being done through a
commissioned prophet, was a divine intimation of his investiture with
the sovereign power. But it was sometimes done long prior to the actual
possession of the throne
and, in like manner, the commission had, in this instance, been given
also a long time before to Elijah
who, for good reasons, left it in charge to Elisha; and he awaited
God's time and command for executing it [POOLE].
10. in the portion of Jezreel--that is, that had formerly been the
vineyard of Naboth.
11. Is all well? &c.--Jehu's attendants knew that the stranger
belonged to the order of the prophets by his garb, gestures, and form
of address; and soldiers such as they very readily concluded such
persons to be crackbrained, not only from the sordid negligence of
their personal appearance and their open contempt of the world, but
from the religious pursuits in which their whole lives were spent, and
the grotesque actions which they frequently performed (compare
13. they hasted, and took every man his garment--the upper cloak
which they spread on the ground, as a token of their homage to their
top of the stairs--from the room where the prophet had privately
anointed Jehu. That general returned to join his brother officers in
the public apartment, who, immediately on learning his destined
elevation, conducted him to the top of the stairs leading to the roof.
This was the most conspicuous place of an Oriental structure that could
be chosen, being at the very top of the gate building, and fully in
view of the people and military in the open ground in front of the
The popularity of Jehu with the army thus favored the
designs of Providence in procuring his immediate and enthusiastic
proclamation as king, and the top of the stairs was taken as a most
convenient substitute for a throne.
14, 15. Joram had kept Ramoth-gilead--rather, "was keeping," guarding,
or besieging it, with the greater part of the military force of Israel.
The king's wounds had compelled his retirement from the scene of
action, and so the troops were left in command of Jehu.
16. So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel--Full of ambitious
designs, he immediately proceeded to cross the Jordan to execute his
commission on the house of Ahab.
17-24. there stood a watchman on the tower of Jezreel--The Hebrew
palaces, besides being situated on hills had usually towers attached to
them, not only for the pleasure of a fine prospect, but as posts of
useful observation. The ancient watchtower of Jezreel must have
commanded a view of the whole region eastward, nearly down to the
Jordan. Beth-shan stands on a rising ground about six or seven miles
below it, in a narrow part of the plain; and when Jehu and his retinue
reached that point between Gilboa and Beth-shan, they could be fully
descried by the watchman on the tower. A report was made to Joram in
his palace below. A messenger on horseback was quickly despatched down
into the plain to meet the ambiguous host and to question the object of
their approach. "Is it peace?" We may safely assume that this messenger
would meet Jehu at the distance of three miles or more. On the report
made of his being detained and turned into the rear of the still
advancing troops, a second messenger was in like manner despatched, who
would naturally meet Jehu at the distance of a mile or a mile and a
half down on the plain. He also being turned into the rear, the
watchman now distinctly perceived "the driving to be like the driving
of Jehu, the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously." The alarmed
monarch, awakened to a sense of his impending danger, quickly summoned
his forces to meet the crisis. Accompanied by Ahaziah, king of Judah,
the two sovereigns ascended their chariots to make a feeble resistance
to the impetuous onset of Jehu, who quickly from the plain ascended the
steep northern sides of the site on which Jezreel stood, and the
conflicting parties met "in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite,"
where Joram was quickly despatched by an arrow from the strong arm of
Jehu. We were impressed with the obvious accuracy of the sacred
historian; the localities and distances being such as seem
naturally to be required by the incidents related, affording just time
for the transactions to have occurred in the order in which they are
25. cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite,
&c.--according to the doom pronounced by divine authority on Ahab
but which on his repentance was deferred to be executed on his son.
26. the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the
Lord--Although their death is not expressly mentioned, it is
plainly implied in the confiscation of his property (see
27. Ahaziah--was grandnephew to King Joram, and great-grandson to
Ibleam--near Megiddo, in the tribe of Issachar
and Gur was an adjoining hill.
30. Jezebel painted her face--literally, "her eyes," according to a
custom universal in the East among women, of staining the eyelids with
a black powder made of pulverized antimony, or lead ore mixed with oil,
and applied with a small brush on the border, so that by this dark
ligament on the edge, the largeness as well as the luster of the eye
itself was thought to be increased. Her object was, by her royal
attire, not to captivate, but to overawe Jehu.
35. found no more of her than the skull, and the palms of her hands,
&c.--The dog has a rooted aversion to prey on the human hands and
2Ki 9:36, 37.
36. This is the word of the Lord--(See
Jehu's statement, however, was not a literal but a paraphrased
quotation of Elijah's prophecy.