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." Commented Jun 6, 2018 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. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 12:24

5 Answers 5


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.

  • This is a good answer. However, it may also be the case that Hosea was unaware of Elijah's prophecy, or he may have considered that even though Elisha anointed Jehu to his task, he carried it out with far more bloodshed than intended. Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 21:34

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
    Commented Nov 10, 2018 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
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 11:01

A predestined historical pattern in the Book of Kings

My thesis: Both the fall of Jehu's house and Hosea's prediction of it were a fait accompli when the Books of Kings were written. The author of the Books of Kings was aware these facts. Hosea, however, probably did not know of the young prophet's supposed endorsement of Jehu's actions since his authorization was not publicly announced. Moreover God may have felt that Jehu went far beyond his mandate in "smiting" the house of Ahab.

To begin, Hosea lived prior to the fall of the northern kingdom. The Books of kings could not have been written prior to the Babylonian Exile. So Hosea wrote before the Books of Kings were completed.

A key to understanding the how the Book of Kings looked at Jehu's eventual fall is the following verse:

I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah: (2 Kings 9:9)

Who were these kings?

Jeroboam I was succeeded as king of Israel son by his Nadab. Baasha overthrew him and slaughtered all the remaining relatives of Jeroboam. So far, the parallel is clear. Jeroboam is in the position of Ahab, and Baasha is in the position of Jehu, who slew Ahab's successor as well as Queen Jezebel and all of Ahab's progeny. Then an strange coincidence follows: A prophet named Jehu(!) declares that Baasha, like King Jehu, had to be punished:

Then the word of the Lord came to Jehu the son of Hanani: ... surely I will take away the posterity of Baasha and the posterity of his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Baasha and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the fields.” (1 Kings 16: 1-4)

Thus, the author of Kings, writing long after time of both Jehu and Hosea, was certainly aware of the parallel between Baasha's demise and Jehu's fall. He must also have known of Hosea's prophecy, since Hosea wrote long before he did. He is letting us know that, from his standpoint looking back, this was all this predestined; it was strongly hinted at by the young prophet. History was going repeat itself.

How Hosea himself thought of the events is more difficult to know. Since the account in Kings could not have been published until centuries later, Hosea was probably not aware of the words uttered by the "young prophet." These words were spoken privately when he anointed Jehu (2 Kings 9:6). They may not have become public until much later, perhaps when the Books of Kings was disseminated.

In thinking about the OP question, we need to avoid putting the cart before the horse. Hosea prophesied long before the Books of Kings were written. If he did not know of the young prophet's private authorization of Jehu's coup, he may have believed that Jehu's massacre was a sin, just as we would today. Indeed, God himself may have felt so, for even the young prophet did not specify that Jehu was to massacre all of Ahab's descendants. He declared: "the whole house of Ahab shall perish" but not by whose hand.

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