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After Jehu killed King Joram and his mother Jezebel, he planned to eliminate all the sons of Ahab.

2 Kings 10:1 Now there were in Samaria seventy sons of the house of Ahab. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria: to the officials of Jezreel, a to the elders and to the guardians of Ahab’s children. He said, 2“You have your master’s sons with you and you have chariots and horses, a fortified city and weapons. Now as soon as this letter reaches you, 3 choose the best and most worthy of your master’s sons and set him on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s house.”

Was Jehu serious about this?

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He was obviously serious because an army cannot fight without a commander. 2 Kings 10:3 is a Hebrewism for an invitation to war.

Benson observes:

2 Kings 10:3. Fight ye for your master’s house — This he said, because, perhaps, he had received notice of their intentions to do so, and that they were consulting about a successor to Joram: or to try them, whether they would do so, or would be true to him and his designs: or, which is still more likely, he insults over them, and denounces war against them with scorn and derision, being secure of the event, and knowing that they were not able to oppose him.

The pulpit commentary observes:

Verse 3. - Look even out the belt and meetest of your master's sons, and set him on his father's throne. "Choose," i.e., "among the sons of Joram the strongest, the boldest, and the ablest, and make him king in his father's zoom; take him for your leader against me; do not hesitate and beat about the bush; but at once make up your minds, and let me know what I have to expect." And fight for your master's house. There had been a civil war before the dynasty of Omri succeeded in settling itself on the throne (1 Kings 16:21, 22). Jehu believes, or affects to believe, that there will now be another. He does not deprecate it, but invites it. Probably he felt tolerably confident that the garrison of Samaria, even if called upon by the municipality, would not venture to take up arms against the army of Ramoth-Gilead, which had declared itself in his favor. Still, supposing that it did, he was not fearful of the result.

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Was Jehu serious about this?

Yes, because he knew no matter what they did, he would win. No one dared oppose him.

2 Kings 10:6 Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.”

He was playing a chess game where his material advantage was so far ahead that he could tell his opponent his next move ahead and still checkmate no matter what his opponent chose to do.

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