1. There were seventy of Ahab's sons in Samaria. Jehu sent to Samaria, to the authorities of the city, to the elders and to the guardians of Ahab's children. He said,
2. 'Now, when this letter reaches you, you have your master's sons with you; you also have chariots and horses, a fortified city and weapons.
3. See which of your master's sons is the best and worthiest, put him on his father's throne and fight for your master's dynasty!'
4. They were utterly terrified. 'We have seen how the two kings could not stand up to him,' they said, 'so how could we?'
5. Consequently the master of the palace, the governor of the city, the elders and the guardians sent word to Jehu, 'We are your servants. We shall do whatever you order us. We shall not proclaim a king; act as you think best.'
6. Jehu then wrote them a second letter. He said, 'If you are for me and if you are prepared to accept orders from me, take the heads of the men of your master's family and come to me at Jezreel by this time tomorrow.' (There were seventy of Ahab's sons being educated there by the leading men of the city.)
7. When this letter reached them, they took the king's sons and butchered all seventy of them, put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel.
8. The messenger came and told Jehu, 'They have brought the heads of the king's sons.' 'Leave them in two heaps at the entrance to the gate until morning,' he replied.
9. When morning came, he went out and, standing, said to all the people, 'No guilt attaches to you! I did indeed plot against my master and have killed him; but what about all these? Who struck them?
10. Know, then, that nothing will fail to be fulfilled of the prophecy uttered by Yahweh against the House of Ahab; Yahweh has done what he said through his servant Elijah.'
11. Jehu then killed every member of the House of Ahab surviving in Jezreel, all his leading men, his close friends, his priests; he did not leave a single one alive.
12. Jehu then set out for Samaria. As he was on his way, at Beth-Eked of the Shepherds,
13. he met the brothers of Ahaziah king of Judah. 'Who are you?' he asked. 'We are Ahaziah's brothers,' they replied, 'and we are on our way to pay our respects to the king's sons and the queen mother's sons.'
14. 'Take them alive,' he said. They took them alive, and he slaughtered them at the storage-well of Beth-Eked, forty-two of them; he did not spare a single one.
15. Leaving there, he came on Jehonadab son of Rechab who was on his way to meet him. He greeted him and said, 'Is your heart true to mine, as my heart is to yours?' Jehonadab replied, 'Yes.' 'If so,' Jehu said, 'give me your hand.' Jehonadab gave him his hand, and Jehu took him up beside him in his chariot.
16. 'Come with me,' he said, 'and witness my zeal for Yahweh,' and took him along in his chariot.
17. When he entered Samaria, he killed all the survivors of Ahab's family there; he destroyed it, as Yahweh had told Elijah it would happen.
18. Then Jehu assembled all the people. 'Ahab did Baal some small service,' he said, 'but Jehu will do him a great one.
19. Now call me all the prophets of Baal and all his priests. Not one is to be absent: I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal. If anyone is absent, he will forfeit his life.' This was a trick on Jehu's part to destroy the devotees of Baal.
20. 'Summon a sacred assembly for Baal,' he commanded; and they summoned it.
21. Jehu sent messengers throughout Israel, and all the devotees of Baal arrived, not a man was left who did not attend. They crowded into the temple of Baal until it was full from wall to wall.
22. Jehu then said to the keeper of the wardrobe, 'Bring out vestments for all the devotees of Baal'; he brought out the vestments for them.
23. Jehu then went into the temple of Baal with Jehonadab son of Rechab and said to Baal's devotees, 'Make quite sure that there are no devotees of Yahweh in here with you, but only devotees of Baal.'
24. He then proceeded to present sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty of his men outside, having said, 'Whoever lets one of the people go whom I am now putting within your clutches, will pay for it with his life.'
25. When he had finished making the burnt offering, he gave the order to the guards and equerries, 'Go in, strike them down! Let no one out!' The guards and equerries went in, putting everyone to the sword all the way to the sanctuary of Baal's temple.
26. They took the sacred pole out of Baal's temple and burned it.
27. They demolished Baal's image and demolished Baal's temple too, making it into a latrine, which it still is today.
28. Thus Jehu rid Israel of Baal.
29. Even so, Jehu did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel, the golden calves of Bethel and Dan.
30. Yahweh said to Jehu, 'Since you have done well in carrying out what pleases me, and have done everything I required to be done to the House of Ahab, your sons will occupy the throne of Israel down to the fourth generation.'
31. Jehu, however, did not faithfully and wholeheartedly follow the law of Yahweh, God of Israel; he did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel.
32. At that time Yahweh began to whittle Israel down, and Hazael defeated the Israelites throughout the territory east of the Jordan:
33. the whole territory of Gilead -- of the Gadites, the Reubenites and the Manassehites -- from Aroer on the River Arnon: Gilead and Bashan.
34. The rest of the history of Jehu, his entire career, all his prowess, is this not recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?
35. Then he fell asleep with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria; his son Jehoahaz succeeded him.
36. Jehu's reign over Israel in Samaria lasted twenty-eight years.