There were seventy sons of the house of Ahab living in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to the officials of Samaria,* to the elders, and to the guardians of the sons of Ahab, saying: Since your master's sons are with you, and you have at your disposal chariots, horses, a fortified city, and weapons, when you receive this letter, choose the best and most appropriate son of your master, place him on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house.”
But they were extremely frightened, and said to themselves, “If two kings couldn't defeat him, how could we?”
So the palace and the city leaders, the elders, and the guardians sent a message to Jehu: “We are your servants, and we will do whatever you tell us. We're not going to make anyone king. Do what you think is best.”
Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side, and if you are going to obey what I say, bring the heads of your master's sons to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.” The seventy king's sons were being raised by the leading men of the city. When the letter arrived, they seized the king's sons and killed all seventy of them, placed their heads in baskets, and sent them to Jehu at Jezreel.
A messenger came in and told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the king's sons.”
Jehu gave the order, “Put them in two piles at the entrance to the city gate until the morning.”
In the morning Jehu went out to speak to the people who had gathered. “You haven't done anything wrong,” he told them. “I was the one who plotted against my master and killed him. But who killed all these? 10 Rest assured that nothing of what the Lord has prophesied against the house of Ahab will fail, for the Lord has done what he promised through his servant Elijah.”
11 So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who was left of the house of Ahab, as well as all his high officials, close friends, and priests. This left Ahab without a single survivor.
12 Then Jehu left and went Samaria. At Beth-eked of the Shepherds, 13 he met some relatives of Ahaziah, king of Judah.
Who are you?” he asked them.
“We're relatives of Ahaziah,” they replied. “We've come to visit the sons of the king and of the queen mother.”
14 Take them alive!” Jehu ordered. So they took them alive, then killed them at the well of Beth-eked. There were forty-two men. He didn't allow any of them to live.
15 He left there and came across Jehonadab, son of Rekab, who was coming to meet him. Jehu greeted him and asked him, “Are you as committed to me, as I am to you?”
Yes I am,” Jehonadab replied.
In that case, give me your hand,” said Jehu. So he stretched out his hand, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot.
16 Come with me and see how dedicated I am to the Lord!” Jehu said, and had him ride in his chariot.
17 When Jehu arrived in Samaria, he went around killing everyone who was left of Ahab's family until he had killed all of them, just as the Lord had said through Elijah.
18 Jehu had all the people gather together and told them, “Ahab worshiped Baal a little, but Jehu will worship him a lot. 19 So summon all the prophets of Baal, all his servants and all his priests. Make sure no one is missing, because I'm organizing a great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who doesn't attend will be executed.” But Jehu's plan was a trick to destroy the followers of Baal.
20 Jehu gave the order, “Call a religious assembly to honor Baal!” So they did so. 21 Jehu sent the announcement through the whole of Israel. All the followers of Baal camenot a single man was missing. They went into the temple of Baal, filling it from end to end. 22 Jehu said to the keeper of the wardrobe, “Distribute clothes for all the servants of Baal.” So he brought out clothes for them.
23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab, son of Rekab, went into the temple of Baal. Jehu told the followers of Baal, “Look around and make sure that no one who follows the Lord is here with you, only the worshipers of Baal.”
24 They were inside presenting sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had positioned eighty men outside and cautioned them, “I'm handing these men over to you. If you let any of them escape, you will pay for his life with yours.”
25 As soon as Jehu had finished presenting the burnt offering, he ordered his guards and officers, “Go in and kill them all! Don't let even one escape!” So they killed them with their swords. The guards and officers threw their bodies outside, and then they went into the inner sanctuary of the temple of Baal. 26 They dragged out the idol pillars and burned them. 27 They smashed the sacred pillar of Baal, and tore down the temple of Baal and turned it into a toilet, which it still is to this day.
28 This was how Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel, 29 but he did not end the sins that Jeroboam, son of Nebat, had made Israel committhe worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.
30 The Lord said to Jehu, “Since you have done well, and have carried out what is right in my sight, and have accomplished all that I planned for the house of Ahab, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”
31 But Jehu was not completely committed to following the law of the Lord, the God of Israel. He did not end the sins that Jeroboam had made Israel commit.
32 At that time the Lord began to reduce the extent of Israel. Hazael defeated the Israelites throughout their territory 33 east of the Jordan, all the land of Gilead (the region occupied by Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh), and from Aroer through the Arnon Valley up to Gilead and Bashan.
34 The rest of what happened in Jehu's reign, all that he did and what he accomplished, are recorded in the Book of Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
35 Jehu died and was buried in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz succeeded him as king. 36 Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria for twenty-eight years.
* 10:1 “Samaria.” The Hebrew text identifies “Jezreel,” but Jehu was already there. 10:9 “You haven't done anything wrong”: literally, “You are righteous.”