In 2 Kings 9 we read (ESV):

11 When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they said to him, “Is all well? Why did this mad fellow come to you?” And he said to them, “You know the fellow and his talk.” 12 And they said, “That is not true; tell us now.” And he said, “Thus and so he spoke to me, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.’” 13 Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”

Clearly the actions of the commanders were indicating their collective support of Jehu's anointing as king.

There are many ways one can indicate one's support of a person anointed as king. But why did the commanders think it appropriate to show their support by removing their clothes and putting them under Jehu? They did it in a hurry too, as though it were obvious that this is just 'what you do' in that situation. Is it just one of those cultural oddities whose meaning is now long forgotten?

2 Answers 2


Placing one's garments on the ground for another to ride or walk on is a sign of subservience to the walker*. This can also be seen in the triumphal entry (Matthew 21:7-8; Mark 11:7-8; Luke 19:35-36; John 12:12-15).

Matthew 21:7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.

Matthew 21:8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

(John 12:13 also indicates that the people greeted Jesus by waving palm branches. Waving the palm branch was a sign of victory in Judea. After the Hasmoneans won a decisive battle in their war for independence (mid-second century BC), the people of the town nearby greeted them with palm branches.)

Why riding on cloaks started, I do not know. It is known that spreading your cloak before another to walk on shows that you recognize the other's authority over you.

*Expositor's Bible Commentary


The outer garment is a symbol of authority. Some believe that had Adam not sinned, he and Eve would have been clothed with robes of righteousness instead of animal skins. The theme of robes of authority can be traced through Adam to Noah, seen clearly in Joseph (who gains and loses his robe twice and finally gains authority over all Egypt), in David cutting Saul's robe, in the prophet giving ten pieces of his robe to Jeroboam, in Elijah's mantle, in Daniel, in Esther, and of course in Christ and His church, the members of which put Him on as a robe of righteousness.

For more on Adam's robe, see James B. Jordan, The Dominion Trap.

So, these men placing their cloaks under Jehu's feet is a sign of them submitting to him, and placing their trust in him as one who would take responsibility for them.

"Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul." Acts 7:58

It also highlights the other biblical theme here - putting all nations under the feet of the king.

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