After Elisha had instructed the young prophet to annoint Jehu as king of Israel,Jehu is also instructed to go & avenge the blood of the prophets & Lord's servants who had been killed by Jezebel.

2 Kings 9:6-8 (KJV)

6 And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel. 7 And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. 8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel:

But later in the book of Hosea God announces that he will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed at Jezreel.

Hosea 1:4 (KJV)

4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.

It seems Jehu had carried out the instruction as given by the prophet

2 Kings 10:10-11 (KJV)

10 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 that which he spake by his servant Elijah. 11 So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.

So why was his house to be punished for the bloodshed at Jezreel?

  • Incidentally, the end of that first passage is a good example of one failing of the KJV. Should be "I will cut off from Israel every [derogative] man of Ahab's house in Israel, bound or free." Jun 6 '18 at 23:00
  • "Jehu 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.”"- 2 Kings 9:15. Jehu had conniving Machiavellian -esque motives behind his "revenge killings" from the beginning. Jun 15 '19 at 12:24

Excellent question.

The problem is further confounded by the fact that in 2 Kings 10:30 Jehu is even rewarded for his action in Jezreel, so how can Jehu be both rewarded and punished for the same act?

Some commentaries suggest that though Elijah prophesied that this will happen to the house of Ahab, it still does not vindicate the perpetrator from his immoral actions,

and though this was done according to the will of God, and for which he received the kingdom, and it was continued in his family to the fourth generation; yet, inasmuch as this was not done by him from a pure and hearty zeal for the Lord and his worship, and with a sincere view to his glory, but in order to gain the kingdom, increase his power, and satiate his tyranny and lust... It may be observed, that God sometimes punishes the instruments he makes use of in doing his work; they either over doing it, exercising too much cruelty; and not doing it upon right principles, and with right views, as the kings of Assyria and Babylon, Isaiah 10:5. (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)

It should be added that this was also the case with Egypt. Though God has ordained already in the days of Abraham that the Israelites will be enslaved by them (Gen. 15:12), the Egyptians were nevertheless punished severely for their cruel acts.

However this still does not solve the problem with 2 Kings 10:30 where Jehu is clearly rewarded for his acts. For this reason, some came to regard these two accounts as irreconcilable,

The destruction of the house of Ahab is considered by the author of 2 Kings to be a righteous act. Yahweh even rewards Jehu with four generations of kings to sit on the throne of Israel (2 Kings 10:30), and Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jereboam II, Zachariah all descendants of Jehu ruled Israel for a total of 102 years (including the reign of Jehu). The prophet Hosea though writes in Hosea 1:4–5 that the house of Jehu was punished by God through the hands of the Assyrians for the bloodshed carried out by Jehu at Jezreel. (Wikipedia - Jehu)

And in Cambridge bible,

Hosea (in whom natural peculiarities have been purified and not extinguished by the spirit of prophecy) regards the conduct of Jehu in a different light from the writer of 2 Kings 10:30. The latter praises Jehu for having ‘done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in by mind’; he speaks on the assumption that Jehu had the interests of Jehovah’s worship at heart, and that he destroyed the house of Ahab as the only effectual means of advancing them. The former blames Jehu apparently on the high moral ground that Jehovah ‘desires mercy (love) and not sacrifice’ (Hosea 6:6). He speaks as the Israelites of his time doubtless felt. They no more recognized Jehu as a champion of Jehovah than did the priests of Baal whom he basely entrapped (2 Kings 10:18, &c.). But Hosea doubtless felt in addition that the idolatry to which the house of Jehu was addicted rendered a permanent religious reform hopeless. Image-worship could not be suppressed by such halfhearted worshippers of Jehovah, and hence, Jehovah’s moral government of His people must have made it certain to Hosea that even on this ground alone the dynasty of Jehu could not escape an overthrow.


16So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram.
17And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company.
And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace?
21And Joram said, Make ready.
And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite.
22And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu?
And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?
23And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah.
24And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot. 25Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him; 26Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD.
27But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot.
And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there. 28And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David.

-- 2 Kings 9:16-17,21-28 (KJV)

This is the incident (the bloodshed at Jezreel) for which Jehu was called to account, not the destruction in regard to Ahab recorded in 2 Kings 10. Where in the LORD's charge to Jehu concerning Ahab is there an instruction to also slay the king of Judah?

Jehu's zeal for blood caused him to act outside of the LORD's instructions, and Hosea records the consequences of his doing so.

  • 1
    Great answer. At some point in my past before I was more familiar with the details of this story, I suddenly realized I had been confusing Jezebel and Jezreel as the same thing and had been confusing Ahab and Ahaziah as the same person since the names are so similar. Jehu killed Jezebel as God commanded. In a completely seperate instance Jehu killed Ahaziah (not Ahab) at Jezreel, and God did not condone this. When you are not familiar with these people and places it is easy to mix them up.
    – colboynik
    Nov 10 '18 at 16:46

The instructions given to Jehu was quite explicit

"Thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord at the hand of Jezebel" (2 Kings 9:7)

But in carrying out this instruction, Jehu exceeded his bounds. He succeeded in killing everyone who was related to Ahab but also went further to kill all who were loyal to him.

" So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinfolks, and his priests until he left him none remaining" (2 Kings 10:11)

This cuts across to me as a step towards the elimination of all manner of resistance and rebellion when he becomes king which is ambitious on his part for the wrath of man cannot work out the righteousness of God. People who were not marked out for destruction were killed in the process.


Is God happy or sad at what Jehu did : answer both “The Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.” ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭10:30-31‬ ‭NIV‬‬ https://www.bible.com/111/2ki.10.30-31.niv So Jehu did well but once he fell into the same idolatry trap, it cancelled out the good work he had done to eradicate it. Thus the net result was bloodshed.

  • This does not actually answer the apparent contradiction which the question poses. See the other two answers by bach and enegue for the correct answer. Please see the Tour and the Help (below, bottom right) as to the purpose and the functioning of the site. Welcome to BH.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 14 '20 at 11:01

I recently ran into this question and found the following article's arguments to be compelling.


The primary argument is essentially that Hosea was not, in fact, condemning Jehu's destruction of the house of Ahab, but rather he was expressing that the same punishment that befell the house of Ahab (by Jehu's hand) would now be visited upon the house of Jehu, presumably because of Jehu's disobedience in other areas which were made explicitly clear in 2 Kings 10:31.

  • Hello drew, welcome to BHSE, glad to have you with us. If you haven't already, please make sure to take our tour, to see how we are a little different from other sites you may know. Thanks! (hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour)
    – sara
    Oct 6 '19 at 7:09
  • link is broken.
    – wcochran
    May 3 at 14:48
  • Thanks, unfortunately it seems the article is no longer available.
    – drewk
    Jul 19 at 16:19

I think this makes the most sense of everything I've read on it so far. The other link must have pointed to a similar explanation. If you go back to the Hebrew it literally says, "I will visit the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu." The argument is that the house of Jehu is receiving the same punishment as the house of Ahab received in the Valley of Jezreel. The house of Jehu under this interpretation would not be being punished for what was done at Jezreel, rather Jehu's house would be receiving the same fate because they had continued to sin.

Shepherds Theological Seminary article "Was Jehu Punished for the Bloodshed of Jezreel?"

  • Welcome to Bible Hermeneutics SE and thank you for your contribution. Could you summarize the article you mentioned so others that come across this question will know what you are referencing? Also, when you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    Jul 22 at 3:06

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