3

2 Kings 9
An assistant prophet (young prophet / prophet's servant / son of the prophet) is sent by Elisha to anoint Jehu and say "Thus saith the Lord, I have anointed thee king over Israel" (verse 3). When the time comes, the prophet goes into a much more detailed message about the ensuing violence and Ahab's/Jezebel's destruction (verses 6-10).

How are we to understand the additional details? Here are some scenarios:

  1. Elisha gave a more detailed message, understood to be recorded in a shortened form in verse 3. This seems like the most obvious answer, but the way the passage is arranged made me wonder. It seems to emphasize the difference, or perhaps there is an explicit/implied "and so forth" in the recording of Elisha's instructions.
  2. The assistant prophet embellished the message. If so, on what basis? Was it with the understanding that he was altering the message or was it just a natural elaboration given the circumstances? Was it with a measure of "prophetic common knowledge" that was circulating among the [sons of the] prophets at that time (like the knowledge that God would take Elijah in 2 Kings 2).
  3. God spoke through the assistant prophet in the moment, delivering a message beyond what Elisha had verbalized. This perhaps was typical of how the prophets operated. This explanation seems the most likely, since the prophesy came true. If so, is there significance to the fact that the full message was hidden until the actual anointing?

How is the reader intended to understand this passage? Does the original language/literary style give any clues?

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The message to Jehu was regarding Jezebel and Ahab's household's destruction not directly Ahab's. Ahab died earlier in 1 Kings 22:34-38

The answer could be scenario 1, 2, or 3.

In answer to scenario 1, Elisha could have given more instructions. There is no way to tell unless the text says it somewhere.

In answer to scanario 2, the "added-on" words might have actually been common knowledge amongst the people. Jehu refers to messages from God about Ahab's household and Jezebel given through Elijah - not Elishah or the assistant prophet.

  • Elijah prophesied the destruction of Jezebel and Ahab's household in 1 Kings 21:16-24.
  • Jezebel's destruction is described by Jehu in 2 Kings 9:36. He says,

"This is the word of the LORD that he spoke through his prophet Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dog's will devour Jezebel's flesh." (KJV)

Jehu makes no mention of the assistant prophet, so it seems that what the assistant prophet told him was not "new" knowledge, regarding Jezebel's death.

  • Jehu also speaks of God's message given through Elijah about Ahab's household in 2 Kings 10:10. He says

"Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done which he spake by his servant Elijah." (KJV)

Once again there is no mention of the message being through Elisha or the assistant Prophet.

In answer to scanario 3, as shown in the above verses the prophecies were given by Elijah before the assistant prophet spoke them. However this doesn't preclude the possibility that Spirit of God came upon him and gave him the words at the time.

I am not learned enough to speak on the literary style, however scenario 2 seems to have the strongest argument, and the assistant prophet did not add or take away from the prophecy given through Elijah.

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