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|Haftarah-Shekalim-Historical Background II-Yehu Avenges Navot|
|Written by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg|
The prophet Elisha summoned a man from the company of the prophets (Midrash: This was Yonah) and said to him, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take this flask of olive oil with you and go to Ramoth Gilead. When you get there, look for Yehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. Go to him, get him away from his companions and take him into an inner room. Then take the flask and pour the oil on his head and declare, ‘This is what God says: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run; don’t delay!”
So the young prophet went to Ramoth Gilead. When he arrived, he found the army officers sitting together. “I have a message for you, commander,” he said.
“For which of us?” asked Yehu.
“For you, commander,” he replied.
Yehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet poured the oil on Yehu’s head and declared, “This is what God, the Lord of Israel, says:
‘I anoint you king over God’s people Israel.
You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all God’s servants shed by Jezebel.
The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free.
I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Yeravam son of Nevat and like the house of Baasha son of Achiyah.
As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.’”
Then he opened the door and ran.
When Yehu went out to his fellow officers, one of them asked him, “Is everything all right? Why did this maniac come to you?”
“You know the man and the sort of things he says,” Yehu replied.
“That’s not true!” they said. “Tell us.”
Yehu said, “Here is what he told me: ‘This is what God says: I anoint you king over Israel.’”
They quickly took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Yehu is king!”
So Yehu son of Yehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, conspired against Yoram. (Now Yoram and all Israel had been defending Ramoth Gilead against Hazael king of Aram, but King Yoram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him in the battle with Hazael king of Aram.)
Yehu said, “If you desire to make me king, don’t let anyone slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.”
Then he got into his chariot and rode to Jezreel, because Yoram was resting there and Ahaziah king of Judah had gone down to see him.
When the lookout standing on the tower in Jezreel saw Yehu’s troops approaching, he called out, “I see some troops coming.”
“Get a horseman,” Yoram ordered. “Send him to meet them and ask, ‘Do you come in peace?’”
The horseman rode off to meet Yehu and said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’”
“What do you have to do with peace?” Yehu replied. “Fall in behind me.”
The lookout reported, “The messenger has reached them, but he isn’t coming back.”
So the king sent out a second horseman. When he came to them he said, “This is what the king says: ‘Do you come in peace?’”
Yehu replied, “What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me.”
The lookout reported, “He has reached them, but he isn’t coming back either. The driving is like that of Yehu son of Nimshi—he drives like a maniac.”
“Hitch up my chariot,” Yoram ordered. And when it was hitched up, Yoram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah rode out, each in his own chariot, to meet Yehu. They met him at the plot of ground that had belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite.
When Yoram saw Yehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Yehu?”
“How can there be peace,” Yehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”
Yoram turned about and fled, calling out to Ahaziah, “Treachery, Ahaziah!”
Then Yehu drew his bow and shot Yoram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot.
Yehu said to Bidkar, his chariot officer,
“Pick him up and throw him on the field that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were riding together in chariots behind Ahab his father when God spoke this prophecy against him:
‘Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, declares God, and I will surely make you pay for it on this plot of ground, declares God.’
Now then, pick him up and throw him on that plot, in accordance with the word of God.”
When Ahaziah king of Judah saw what had happened, he fled up the road to Beth Haggan. Yehu chased him, shouting, “Kill him too!” They wounded him in his chariot on the way up to Gur near Ibleam, but he escaped to Megiddo and died there. His servants took him by chariot to Jerusalem and buried him with his ancestors in his tomb in the City of David. In the eleventh year of Yoram son of Ahab, Ahaziah had become king of Judah. (II Kings 9:1-29)
Yehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds, he met some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and asked, “Who are you?”
They said, “We are relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to greet the families of the king and of the queen mother.”
“Take them alive!” he ordered. So they took them alive and slaughtered them by the well of Beth Eked—forty-two of them. He left no survivor.
After he left there, he came upon Yehonadav son of Rekav, who was on his way to meet him. Yehu greeted him and said, “Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?”
“I am,” Yehonadav answered.
“If so,” said Yehu, “give me your hand.” So he did, and Yehu helped him up into the chariot. Yehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for God.” Then he had him ride along in his chariot.
When Yehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab’s family; he destroyed them, according to the word of God spoken to Elijah. (10:12-17)