2 “Now, when this letter reaches you—since your master’s sons are with you and you also have chariots and horses, and a fortified city and weapons
ב וְעַתָּה כְּבֹא הַסֵּפֶר הַזֶּה אֲלֵיכֶם וְאִתְּכֶם בְּנֵי אֲדֹנֵיכֶם וְאִתְּכֶם הָרֶכֶב וְהַסּוּסִים וְעִיר מִבְצָר וְהַנָּשֶׁק׃
3 select the best and the most suitable of your master’s sons and set him on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house.”
ג וּרְאִיתֶם הַטּוֹב וְהַיָּשָׁר מִבְּנֵי אֲדֹנֵיכֶם וְשַׂמְתֶּם עַל־כִּסֵּא אָבִיו וְהִלָּחֲמוּ עַל־בֵּית אֲדֹנֵיכֶם׃
4 But they were overcome by fear, for they thought, “If the two kings could not stand up to him, how can we?”
ד וַיִּרְאוּ מְאֹד מְאֹד וַיֹּאמְרוּ הִנֵּה שְׁנֵי הַמְּלָכִים לֹא עָמְדוּ לְפָנָיו וְאֵיךְ נַעֲמֹד אֲנָחְנוּ׃
5 The steward of the palace and the governor of the city and the elders and the guardians sent this message to Yehu: “We are your subjects, and we shall do whatever you tell us to. We shall not proclaim anyone king; do whatever you like.”
ה וַיִּשְׁלַח אֲשֶׁר־עַל־הַבַּיִת וַאֲשֶׁר עַל־הָעִיר וְהַזְּקֵנִים וְהָאֹמְנִים אֶל־יֵהוּא לֵאמֹר עֲבָדֶיךָ אֲנַחְנוּ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־תֹּאמַר אֵלֵינוּ נַעֲשֶׂה לֹא־נַמְלִיךְ אִישׁ הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ עֲשֵׂה׃
6 He wrote them a second time: “If you are on my side and are ready to obey me, take the heads of the attendants of your master’s sons and come to me in Yizrael tomorrow at this time.” Now the princes, seventy in number, were with the notables of the town, who were rearing them.
ו וַיִּכְתֹּב אֲלֵיהֶם סֵפֶר שֵׁנִית לֵאמֹר אִם־לִי אַתֶּם וּלְקֹלִי אַתֶּם שֹׁמְעִים קְחוּ אֶת־רָאשֵׁי אַנְשֵׁי בְנֵי־אֲדֹנֵיכֶם וּבֹאוּ אֵלַי כָּעֵת מָחָר יִזְרְעֶאלָה וּבְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ אֶת־גְּדֹלֵי הָעִיר מְגַדְּלִים אוֹתָם׃
7 But when the letter reached them, they took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them; they put their heads in baskets and sent them to him in Yizrael.
ז וַיְהִי כְּבֹא הַסֵּפֶר אֲלֵיהֶם וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת־בְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיִּשְׁחֲטוּ שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ וַיָּשִׂימוּ אֶת־רָאשֵׁיהֶם בַּדּוּדִים וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ אֵלָיו יִזְרְעֶאלָה׃
8 A messenger came and reported to him: “They have brought the heads of the princes.” He said, “Pile them up in two heaps at the entrance of the gate before morning.”
ח וַיָּבֹא הַמַּלְאָךְ וַיַּגֶּד־לוֹ לֵאמֹר הֵבִיאוּ רָאשֵׁי בְנֵי־הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיֹּאמֶר שִׂימוּ אֹתָם שְׁנֵי צִבֻּרִים פֶּתַח הַשַּׁעַר עַד־הַבֹּקֶר׃
9 In the morning he went out and stood there; and he said to all the people, “Are you blameless? True, I conspired against my master and killed him; but who struck down all of these?
ט וַיְהִי בַבֹּקֶר וַיֵּצֵא וַיַּעֲמֹד וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־כָּל־הָעָם צַדִּקִים אַתֶּם הִנֵּה אֲנִי קָשַׁרְתִּי עַל־אֲדֹנִי וָאֶהְרְגֵהוּ וּמִי הִכָּה אֶת־כָּל־אֵלֶּה׃
יב וַיָּקָם וַיָּבֹא וַיֵּלֶךְ שֹׁמְרוֹן הוּא בֵּית־עֵקֶד הָרֹעִים בַּדָּרֶךְ׃
13 Yehu came upon the kinsmen of King Achazyahu of Yehuda. “Who are you?” he asked. They replied, “We are the kinsmen of Achazyahu, and we have come to pay our respects to the sons of the king and the sons of the queen mother.”
14 “Take them alive!” he said. They took them alive and then slaughtered them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two of them; he did not spare a single one.
יד וַיֹּאמֶר תִּפְשׂוּם חַיִּים וַיִּתְפְּשׂוּם חַיִּים וַיִּשְׁחָטוּם אֶל־בּוֹר בֵּית־עֵקֶד אַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁנַיִם אִישׁ וְלֹא־הִשְׁאִיר אִישׁ מֵהֶם׃
15 He went on from there, and he met Jehonadab son of Rechab coming toward him. He greeted him and said to him, “Are you as wholehearted with me as I am with you?” “I am,” Jehonadab replied. “If so,” [said Yehu,] “give me your hand.” He gave him his hand and [Yehu] helped him into the chariot.
16 “Come with me,” he said, “and see my zeal for Hashem.” And he was taken along in the chariot.
טז וַיֹּאמֶר לְכָה אִתִּי וּרְאֵה בְּקִנְאָתִי לַיהֹוָה וַיַּרְכִּבוּ אֹתוֹ בְּרִכְבּוֹ׃
19 Therefore, summon to me all the Neviim of Baal, all his worshipers, and all his Kohanim: let no one fail to come, for I am going to hold a great sacrifice for Baal. Whoever fails to come shall forfeit his life.” Yehu was acting with guile in order to exterminate the worshipers of Baal.
כ וַיֹּאמֶר יֵהוּא קַדְּשׁוּ עֲצָרָה לַבַּעַל וַיִּקְרָאוּ׃
22 He said to the man in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out the vestments for all the worshipers of Baal”; and he brought vestments out for them.
כב וַיֹּאמֶר לַאֲשֶׁר עַל־הַמֶּלְתָּחָה הוֹצֵא לְבוּשׁ לְכֹל עֹבְדֵי הַבָּעַל וַיֹּצֵא לָהֶם הַמַּלְבּוּשׁ׃
23 Then Yehu and Jehonadab son of Rechab came into the temple of Baal, and they said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search and make sure that there are no worshipers of Hashem among you, but only worshipers of Baal.”
24 So they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. But Yehu had stationed eighty of his men outside and had said, “Whoever permits the escape of a single one of the men I commit to your charge shall forfeit life for life.”
כד וַיָּבֹאוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת זְבָחִים וְעֹלוֹת וְיֵהוּא שָׂם־לוֹ בַחוּץ שְׁמֹנִים אִישׁ וַיֹּאמֶר הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִמָּלֵט מִן־הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מֵבִיא עַל־יְדֵיכֶם נַפְשׁוֹ תַּחַת נַפְשׁוֹ׃
25 When Yehu had finished presenting the burnt offering, he said to the guards and to the officers, “Come in and strike them down; let no man get away!” The guards and the officers struck them down with the sword and left them lying where they were; then they proceeded to the interior of the temple of Baal.
26 They brought out the pillars of the temple of Baal and burned them.
כו וַיֹּצִאוּ אֶת־מַצְּבוֹת בֵּית־הַבַּעַל וַיִּשְׂרְפוּהָ׃
va-yi-t’-TZU AYT ma-tz’-VAT ha-BA-al va-yi-t’-TZU et BAYT ha-BA-al vai-si-MU-hu l’-mo-tza-OT ad ha-YOM
כז וַיִּתְּצוּ אֵת מַצְּבַת הַבָּעַל וַיִּתְּצוּ אֶת־בֵּית הַבַּעַל וַיְשִׂמֻהוּ למחראות [לְמוֹצָאוֹת] עַד־הַיּוֹם׃
10:27 They destroyed the pillar of Baal
While Hashem requires only the Jewish people to keep the Torah’s many commandments, there are seven laws that, according to Jewish tradition, are universal and incumbent upon all of mankind (Sanhedrin 56a). These seven “Noahide laws” ensure that society functions with a basic level of morality and religious values. Maimonides writes that anyone who keeps these laws properly is considered “righteous among the nations” and earns a share in the world to come. These seven universal commandments are:
- Establish courts of justice
- Do not curse God
- Do not engage in idol worship
- Do not engage in acts of sexual immorality such as adultery and incest
- Do not murder
- Do not steal
- Do not eat the limb of a live animal
The requirement to renounce idolatry and serve the Lord exclusively is included in these laws. Hashem has no tolerance for idolatry, which brings with it sins such as human sacrifice, especially in the Land of Israel. In fact, engaging in idol worship results in exile from the land (see Deuteronomy 29:23-27). Furthermore, there is a commandment to destroy places of idol worship found in the Holy Land. God has made clear that there can be no tolerance for idolatry in the “palace of the King,” particularly when it ensnares the hearts of the Children of Israel.1 comment
30 Hashem said to Yehu, “Because you have acted well and done what was pleasing to Me, having carried out all that I desired upon the House of Achav, four generations of your descendants shall occupy the throne of Yisrael.”