Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. One. The Rabbins say Jonas; who at this rate, must have been very young, as he prophesied 50 years afterwards, under Jeroboam II. (Calmet) — Eliseus did not go himself, to avoid giving umbrage, and in obedience to God’s order. (Menochius)
Ver. 2. Brethren. The captains, ver. 5.
Ver. 3. Bottle. See 1 Kings x. 1. Elias had received orders to anoint Jehu, 3 Kings xix 16. (Calmet) — There. The utmost expedition was necessary, that Joram might be surprised, as well as Ochozias, and their devoted families. (Menochius)
Ver. 7. Jezabel, who had persecuted the prophets unto death, 3 Kings xviii. 4.
Ver. 8. Israel. See Deuteronomy xxxii. 36., and 3 Kings xiv. 10., for an explanation of these expressions. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Field, between the inner and the outer wall. Her body shall be left exposed to be eaten by the dogs.
Ver. 11. Madman. The extravagant motions of the false prophets caused even the true ones to be treated with contempt. Warriors are but too apt to give way to sentiments of irreligion, (Menochius) and to despise men who lead a retired and penitential life. (Haydock) — How often were Ezechiel and Jeremias treated as fools, (Ezechiel xxxiii. 30., and Jeremias xxix. 26.; Calmet) as well as our divine Saviour? The pagans looked upon those who were inspired by Apollo in the same light. (Haydock) — Ut primum cessit furor & rabida ora quierunt, Virgil, Æneid vi. “What authority has this fury, which you call divine, that the insane should behold what escapes the observation of the wise, and that he who has lost common (human) sense should possess divine?” ea videat insanus, & is qui humanos sensus amiserit, divinos assecutus sit? (Cicero, Divin. ii.)
Ver. 12. False. We know not who he was, or what he said; though, from his conduct, we judge that he was one of the prophets. Hence they so readily acquiesced in saluting Jehu king. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Garment, out of respect, as the multitude honoured Jesus Christ, Matthew xxi. 7. The pagans sometimes did the like when they carried their idols in procession. (Plutarch, in Alcib.) The king of Persia walked on carpets in the court of the guards, who were styled immortal. (Atheneus 12.) — Trumpet, according to custom, 3 Kings i. 40. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Conspired, with the captains. (Menochius) — Besieged, as it is observed above, chap. xxviii. 29. Hebrew, “had kept (Haydock) or observed;” watching the motions of Hazael, lest he should return, or succour the citadel.
Ver. 17. Watchman. Such were very common, (2 Kings xviii. 24., and 1 Machabees xii. 26.) and as the army was at Ramoth, the attention of the people would be drawn that way. (Calmet) — Troop. Septuagint, “the dust of the,” &c. (Menochius)
Ver. 18. Peace? As this expression sufficiently vindicated the designs of Jehu, he would not suffer the messenger to return before him. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. Furiously. The Chaldean and Arabic say, “he marcheth slowly.” But the whole conduct of Jehu was marked with eagerness and severity, like that of Cato of Utica, (Grotius) and the utmost expedition was requisite.
Ver. 22. Jehu? The king supposed that he had meet with some defeat, (Calmet) or that he wished to announce the good tidings in person. (Menochius) (Salien, the year before Christ 902.) — Vigour? How can Israel prosper? (Haydock)
Ver. 23. Hand. Or ordered his charioteer to flee with all speed. (Menochius)
Ver. 25. Sitting. Hebrew, “rode together after,” as if they were two abreast. (Calmet) — Burden, or dreadful misfortune. (Menochius)
Ver. 26. Children. We do not read these words before, or that the children of Naboth were slain; but it is very usual to supply in one place what has been omitted in another, and Achab was not required to make restitution, (Calmet) as there were no heirs probably left. (Menochius) (Worthington)
Ver. 27. House. Septuagint retain “Baithgan,” the original term, as if it were the name of that road. (Menochius) — Ochozias wanted to reach the palace by that garden, which was the source of the miseries of Achab’s family. — There. Being brought back from Samaria, 2 Paralipomenon xxii. 9., (Calmet) or lurking in that kingdom, (Menochius) and slain by Jehu, as being the grandson of Jezabel. Great troubles took place in Juda, in consequence of his death. (Calmet)
Ver. 29. Eleventh, or rather the twelfth, (chap. viii. 25.; Houbigant) unless he had been associated with his father on the throne a year before his death. (Calmet) (Du Hamel)
Ver. 30. Stone, or antimony, to make the eyes look black and large. If (Calmet) Jezabel thought that she would thus command respect or love, (Abulensis) she was extremely imprudent and rash, in her present condition. Pride might suggest that she ought not to appear unadorned. (Calmet) (Tirinus) — The women of the Eastern countries delight much in painting, (Pliny, [Natural History?] xi. 37., and xxxiii. 6.) and some men have not been ashamed to follow their example. (St. Cyprian) — Sardanapalus had his eyes and his eye-lids painted. (Atheneus xii.) The Arabs, &c., think that this black colour protects the eyes against the sun-beams. (Valle ii. Ep. 17.) To express the affection of Jezabel, Hebrew has, “she placed her eyes in antimony,” (fuc, or puc, whence the Latin fucus is visibly derived) as if she plunged them in it. (Calmet)
Ver. 31. Master. Being convinced that she could not gain the affections of Jehu, (Haydock) and thinking that he would not lay hands on a woman, (Menochius) she insolently, or in despair, (Haydock) upbraids him as a new Zambri, who might expect a similar fate, 3 Kings xvi. (Calmet) — The name of Zambri was used proverbially to denote an ungrateful rebel; as with us Judas is used for a traitor. (Tirinus)
Ver. 32. This. “Who dares address me with such provoking language?” Hebrew, “Who with me, who?” will punish the wretch? The eunuchs, who had hitherto waited upon Jezabel, immediately shewed their readiness to take part with her enemy: so little dependence can be placed on servants in the hour of adversity, when they have long been witnesses of their masters’ crimes. — Hoofs. Hebrew, “and the horses, and he trod her under foot.” (Haydock) — Jehu shewed the example. (Menochius)
Ver. 34. Bury. He had forgotten the prediction of Elias, ver. 36. (Salien) — Daughter of Ethbaal, wife of Achab, mother of Joram king of Israel, and mother-in-law of Joram king of Juda, and grandmother of his son Ochozias. (Calmet) — Her great connexions seemed to entitle her to the rights of sepulture. (Haydock)
Ver. 35. Hands. All the rest had been presently devoured, or carried off by dogs. (Haydock) — Her precious jewels had been plundered by the soldiers. (Menochius)
Ver. 36. Field, or space between the walls, 3 Kings xxi. 23. (Calmet)
Ver. 37. Jezabel? So fallen (Menochius) and degraded, though once possessed of so much power and beauty! sic transit gloria mundi. Hebrew and Septuagint, “that they shall not say, This is Jezabel!” (Haydock) — No monument shall recall her to the remembrance of men. (Calmet) — Her body cannot be recognized. This will be the fate of the greatest mortal beauties, a few days after their departure. St. Francis Borgia durst not take an oath that the corpse which he had to attend, was that of the late beautiful empress Isabella: so much was it already disfigured. This sight was the beginning of his conversion, and of that eminent sanctity to which he attained, by despising all that the world can give or take away. (Haydock) — The Spanish interpreters call Achab’s widow, Isabella: and she seems to have been the sister, or relation, of Dido, who founded Carthage about this time; (Tirinus) Salien says in the 16th year of Jehu, the year before Christ 887. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:Jehu is anointed king of Israel, to destroy the house of Achab and Jezabel. He killeth Joram, king of Israel, and Ochozias, king of Juda. Jezabel is eaten by dogs.
1 And *Eliseus the prophet, called one of the sons of the prophets, and said to him: Gird up thy loins, and take this little bottle of oil in thy hand, and go to Ramoth Galaad.
2 *And when thou art come thither, thou shalt see Jehu, the son of Josaphat, the son of Namsi: and going in, thou shalt make him rise up from amongst his brethren, and carry him into an inner chamber.
3 Then taking the little bottle of oil, thou shalt pour it on his head, and shalt say: Thus saith the Lord: I have anointed thee king over Israel. And thou shalt open the door and flee, and shalt not stay there.
4 So the young man, the servant of the prophet, went away to Ramoth Galaad,
5 And went in thither: and behold the captains of the army were sitting, and he said: I have a word to thee, O prince. And Jehu said: Unto whom of us all? And he said: To thee, O prince.
6 And he arose, and went into the chamber: and he poured the oil upon his head, and said: Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: I have anointed thee king over Israel, the people of the Lord.
7 And thou shalt cut off the house of Achab, thy master, and I will revenge the blood of my servants, the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezabel.
8 *And I will destroy all the house of Achab, and I will cut off from Achab, him that pisseth against the well, and him that is shut up, and the meanest in Israel.
9 And I will make the house of Achab, like *the house of Jeroboam, the son of Nabat, and like the house of* Baasa, the son of Ahias.
10 And the dogs shall eat Jezabel, in the field of Jezrahel, and there shall be no one to bury her. And he opened the door and fled.
11 Then Jehu went forth to the servants of his lord: and they said to him: Are all things well? why came this madman to thee? And he said to them: You know the man, and what he said.
12 But they answered: It is false; but rather do thou tell us. And he said to them: Thus and thus did he speak to me: and he said: Thus saith the Lord: I have anointed thee king over Israel.
13 Then they made haste, and taking every man his garment, laid it under his feet, after the manner of a judgment-seat, and they sounded the trumpet, and said: Jehu is king.
14 So Jehu, the son of Josaphat, the son of Namsi, conspired against Joram. *Now Joram had besieged Ramoth Galaad, he, and all Israel, fighting with Hazael, king of Syria:
15 And was returned to be healed in Jezrahel of his wounds; for the Syrians had wounded him, when he fought with Hazael, king of Syria. And Jehu said: If it please you, let no man go forth or flee out of the city, lest he go, and tell in Jezrahel.
16 And he got up, and went into Jezrahel: for Joram was sick there, and Ochozias, king of Juda, was come down to visit Joram.
17 The watchman therefore, that stood upon the tower of Jezrahel, saw the troop of Jehu coming, and said: I see a troop. And Joram said: Take a chariot, and send to meet them, and let him that goeth say: Is all well?
18 So there went one in a chariot to meet him, and said: Thus saith the king: Are all things peaceable? And Jehu said: What hast thou to do with peace? go behind and follow me. And the watchman told, saying: The messenger came to them, but he returneth not.
19 And he sent a second chariot of horses: and he came to them, and said: Thus saith the king: Is there peace? And Jehu said: What hast thou to do with peace? pass, and follow me.
20 And the watchman told, saying: He came even to them, but returneth not: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu, the son of Namsi; for he drives furiously.
21 And Joram said: Make ready the chariot. And they made ready his chariot: and Joram, king of Israel, and Ochozias, king of Juda, went out, each in his chariot, and they went out to meet Jehu, and met him in the field of Naboth, the Jezrahelite.
22 And when Joram saw Jehu, he said: Is there peace, Jehu? And he answered: What peace? so long as the fornications of Jezabel, thy mother, and her many sorceries, are in their vigour.
23 And Joram turned his hand, and fleeing, said to Ochozias: There is treachery, Ochozias.
24 But Jehu bent his bow with his hand, and shot Joram between the shoulders: and the arrow went out through his heart, and immediately he fell in his chariot.
25 And Jehu said to Badacer, his captain: Take him, and cast him into the field of Naboth, the Jezrahelite: for I remember, when I and thou, sitting in a chariot followed Achab, this man’s father, that the Lord laid this burden upon him, saying:
26 *If I do not requite thee in this field, saith the Lord, for the blood of Naboth, and for the blood of his children, which I saw yesterday, saith the Lord. So now take him, and cast him into the field, according to the word of the Lord.
27 But Ochozias, king of Juda, seeing this, fled by the way of the garden-house: and Jehu pursued him, and said: Strike him also in his chariot. And they struck him in the going up to Gaver, which is by Jeblaam: and he fled into Mageddo, and died there.
28 And his servants laid him upon his chariot, and carried him to Jerusalem: and they buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers, in the city of David.
29 In the eleventh year of Joram, the son of Achab, Ochozias reigned over Juda;
30 And Jehu came into Jezrahel. But Jezabel, hearing of his coming in, painted her face with stibic stone, and adorned her head, and looked out of a window 31 At Jehu coming in at the gate, and said: *Can there be peace for Zambri, that hath killed his master?
32 And Jehu lifted up his face to the window, and said: Who is this? And two or three eunuchs bowed down to him.
33 And he said to them: Throw her down headlong; and they threw her down, and the wall was sprinkled with her blood, and the hoofs of the horses trod upon her.
34 And when he was come in to eat, and to drink, he said: Go, and see after that cursed woman, and bury her; because she is a king’s daughter.
35 And when they went to bury her, they found nothing but the skull, and the feet, and the extremities of her hands.
36 And coming back they told him. And Jehu said: *It is the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elias, the Thesbite, saying: In the field of Jezrahel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezabel.
37 And the flesh of Jezabel shall be as dung upon the face of the earth in the field of Jezrahel; so that they who pass by shall say: Is this that same Jezabel?
1: Year of the World 3120.
2: 3 Kings xix. 16.
8: 3 Kings xxi. 21.
9: 3 Kings xv. 29. — ** 3 Kings xvi. 3.
14: 4 Kings viii. 28.
26: 3 Kings xxi. 22.
31: 3 Kings xvi. 10.
36: 3 Kings xxi. 23.