> We will find that even then, Till's exegetical
>construct is a highly substandard one. We will analyze,
>in the following order (according to their length),
>Till's responses to the remaining three items from
>2. The killing of Ahaziah.
>7. The killing to 42 princes of Judah.
>6. The killing of Ahab's supporters, who were not his
> Aha, Ahaziah!
> In a supplemental reply, Till advanced the following
>argument. Noting that the parallel account of Ahaziah's
>death in 2 Chron. 22:6-9 indicates that Ahaziah walked in
>the ways of the house of Ahab, and that his death was
>"ordained by God," Till writes:
> "So if Yahweh was so miffed as [sic] the house of Ahab that
>he would have commissioned Jehu to go and kill every
>male, both BOND AND FREE, in the house of Ahab, he surely
>wouldn't have minded if Jehu threw in Ahaziah for good
>measure and killed him too.
> "...If Ahaziah's downfall was ordained by God, then
>it wasn't very nice of God to cut off the house of Jehu's
>century later for Jehu's massacre of Ahaziah."
> At this point the sophisticated reader is certainly
>astonished that a man of Till's seasoned years would
>advance such a juvenile "argument". Such fractured logic
>may appeal to those with less mature mindsets (who
>perhaps used similar "logic" when caught by their
>guardians while commissioning some forbidden, "out of
>bounds" act), but it holds no water in the real world of
>authority and obedience.
It's easy to say that logic is "fractured" or that an argument is
"juvenile." After all, I have already pointed out that a major part of
Turkel's strategy has been to say over and over how "shallow" or
"superficial" or "fractured" or "juvenile" my logic is, as if he thinks that
if he says this enough times, someone might believe it. I'm willing to let
readers of our exchanges decide who is using superficial and fractured logic.
> Ahaziah, though a grandson of Jezebel and a
>potential avenger of his brother-in-law Joram, was not of
>the house of Ahab; he was of his own house in Judah, in
>line with the social rules of the time regarding
>households. (Of course, had he somehow been part of the
>house of Ahab, then Jehu would have been obliged by his
>commission to get rid of Ahaziah's slaves, servants, etc.
>- see below - but there's no sign of THAT kind of action
>in the text, which is significant since it would have
>required an invasion of Judah to pull off!) Therefore,
>in killing Ahaziah, Jehu went beyond what God ordered -
Of course, it went beyond what "God ordered"; that's why the writer of 2
Kings said absolutely nothing ANYWHERE in his account of the Jezreel
massacre to indicate that he thought Jehu had erred or "sinned" or "exceeded
his mandate" by killing Ahaziah. However, the writer did make the following
>2 Kings 10:30 Yahweh said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in carrying
out what I consider right, and in accordance with all that was in my heart
have dealt with the house of Ahab, your sons of the fourth generation shall
sit on the throne of Israel."
This statement, by the way, was made in the SAME chapter in which the writer
recorded the killing of Ahaziah and all of the others whom Jehu massacred at
Jezreel. It is strange, then, that if the killing of Ahaziah went beyond
what Yahweh had wanted Jehu to do, the writer of this account did not
mention it. This is especially puzzling since the comment just quoted was
sandwiched between two verses that faulted Jehu for not ending the worship
of the golden calves.
Furthermore, as Turkel noted, Ahaziah of Judah was the grandson of Jezebel,
and as such, he was a descendant of Ahab and would have been considered part
of the house of Ahab. I don't know if Turkel did it intentionally, but in
saying that Ahaziah was the grandson of Jezebel, without mentioning that
this would have made him the grandson of Ahab, his statement may have thinly
concealed from readers the fact that Ahaziah was a direct descendant of
Ahab. He, in fact, bore the same relationship to Ahab as did the 70 sons of
Joram of Israel, whose heads Jehu piled in two heaps at the entrance of the
gate to Jezreel (2 Kings 10:7-10). The only difference was that Ahaziah was
Ahab's grandson by virtue of his mother's having been Ahab's daughter,
whereas the 70 sons of Joram of Israel had descended from Ahab through
Ahaziah's uncle Joram (the brother of Ahaziah's mother). Since Yahweh's
orders were to "cut off" [kill] from Ahab every male BOND AND FREE, this
umbrella commandment would have included Ahaziah. Since he was conveniently
located in Jezreel at the time, where he was visiting his uncle (Joram),
Jehu could kill Ahaziah without having to invade Judah. As my replies to
this section of Turkel's "essay" continue, I will be showing that the
destruction of one's house in the "Semitic mind," which Turkel likes to talk
about, included the killing of everyone associated with the person whether
related by blood or not.
>That it fit in with what God ordained is
>irrelevant, and proof of nothing more than that:
Does anyone see any kind of rebuttal in this statement? The statement in 2
chronicles 22:7 literally reads, "The destruction of Ahaziah was of [from]
God," and Young's Literal Translation renders it, "And from God hath been
of Ahaziah." The Jewish Publication Society version translated it, "The
LORD caused the downfall of Ahaziah...." So the Chronicle writer said that
the destruction of Ahaziah was "of" or "from" God or was "caused" by God,
but what we are going to see now is just another case of Turkel desperately
trying to show that the Bible does not mean what it clearly says.
> (a) As might be expected, the will of an omnipotent
>deity is done regardless of what irritating actions of
>rebellion we puny rogues might take!
It doesn't matter how much something might be the "will" or the "want" of a
person, even an omnipotent deity; if that something should happen, it cannot
rightly be said that it was "of" or "from" that person or "caused" by that
person unless he did something to make it happen. I may, for example, want
Bill Clinton to resign the presidency (which actually I don't want him to
do), but if he should later resign, it cannot properly be said that his
resignation was "of" or "from" Till or "caused" by Till, since I have done
nothing at all that could be construed as a cause of his resignation.
That's so obvious that it hardly needs further comment, but inerrantists
often have trouble recognizing the obvious if it in any way discredits the
> (b) The fact that according to the Israelite
>mindset, God is the source of primary causality. Death,
>even if by accident or disease, was ultimately by the
>decree of Yahweh, and an unexplained or untimely death
>(like Ahaziah's) was always thought of as a sentence.
Well, I certainly agree with this statement. The "Israelite mindset" was
such that the hand of Yahweh was seen in everything; however, if something
happened purely by accident and an Israelite writer said that it was "of
God" or "from God," would that not be an error? Perhaps Turkel will want to
think about this and retract his statement above, because if the death of
Ahaziah occurred purely by circumstances that Yahweh had nothing to do with,
then the Chronicler erred in saying that the destruction of Ahaziah was "of
God," because it wasn't "of God" unless God in some way acted to make it
happen. If not, why not?
>Hence the Chronicles writer simply reflects the common
>Israelite belief of his day and in no way reflects upon
>the matter of Jehu's obedience or lack thereof.
Than what we have in 2 Chronicles 22:7 is an erroneous statement. If not,
why not? Maybe Turkel would care to explain. Nevertheless, I'm curious to
know why Turkel can't just admit that 2 Kings 10:30 also "reflects the
common Israelite belief" of the time. Jehu eradicated the lineage of a
cruel, tyrannical king; hence, in the mind of an Israelite writer, Jehu's
actions had been "according to all that was in [Yahweh's] heart." It was,
in other words, an Israelite's explanation for why the massacre had
occurred, just as Manasseh's wickedness was the writer's explanation for why
Yahweh would abandon Judah to a pagan king. If, however, no god had
anything to do with either event, then the writer's claim that both events
had been caused by Yahweh would be incorrect statements and therefore errors
in the Bible. The point is that if 2 Chronicles 22:7 wasn't an error
because it merely expressed "the common Israelite belief" of the time, then
why has Turkel taken us down his long tangent to nowhere in his quibbling
about the meaning of "paqad" when a simpler explanation would have been that
2 Kings 10:30 merely expressed a "common Israelite belief of the times,"
i.e., the hand of Yahweh was in everything?
> Moreover, this can be said: Advancing such "logic"
>as Till's, one (even a state-appointed executioner) could
>justify entering into a maximum-security prison and
>killing every inmate on death row, then shrugging it off
>with the maxim, "It was what the state had ordained
>anyway. I'm sure they wouldn't mind."
The analogy is imperfect, because if an official account of my massacre of
"every inmate on death row," say, an account written by the governor or a
proclamation issued by the state legislature, should say, "Now the
destruction of the prison inmates was 'of [from] the legislature' or 'of
[from] the governor,' to say the very least, this statement would be an
expression of approval of the massacre. If not, why not?
> Such logic, again, is reserved to those of immature mindset,
>and offers nothing in the way of an actual answer to the fact
>that in killing Ahaziah, Jehu exceeded his commission.
>It was by all means a course of political wisdom, but it
>plainly was done in violation of Jehu's orders. (And of
>course, we argue that the condemnation was not JUST for
>the killing of Ahaziah - Till argues here with the
>presumption that the remainder of the arguments are
As I proceed in my point-by-point response to this section of Turkel's
will show rather conclusively that Jehu's marching orders were extensive
enough to have put Ahaziah under the umbrella. For one thing, as I showed
above, Ahaziah was Ahab's grandson, so that made him fair game for a divine
order to destroy completely the house of Ahab. Turkel seems to think that
he has a major point in his favor on this issue, so I will put it to rest
now. I showed above that Ahaziah was Ahab's grandson, because Ahaziah's
father had married Ahab's daughter. Turkel may not want to consider Ahaziah
a part of the house of Ahab, but the writer(s) of 2 Kings did, as the
following statement shows.
>8:25 In the twelfth year of King Joram son of Ahab of Israel, Ahaziah son
of King Jehoram of Judah began to reign.
>26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign; he reigned one
year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King
Omri of Israel.
>27 He also walked in the way of the house of Ahab, doing what was evil in
the sight of Yahweh, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was son-in-law to
the house of Ahab.
We see in the last statement that Ahaziah's "evil" ways were attributed to
the fact that he was a "son-in-law to the house of Ahab." Thus, this
writer considered Ahaziah to be a part of the house of Ahab. Why Ahaziah
was called a "son-in-law to the house of Ahab" is something that only the
writer would probably know, because Ahaziah's father Jehoram of Judah was
actually the son-in-law of Ahab; Ahaziah was actually a grandson of the
house of Ahab, because his mother (Athaliah) was Ahab's daughter. However,
it is sufficient to note that the "inspired" writer referred to Ahaziah in
such a way as to identify him as a part of the house of Ahab, so if Jehu had
been ordered to "cut off from Ahab every male both BOND AND FREE of the
house of Ahab" and to make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam and
like the house of Baasha (2 Kings 9:8-9), how did Jehu "go beyond his
mandate" in killing a grandson of Ahab whom the "biblical historian" had
earlier identified as a part of the house of Ahab?
If this isn't sufficient to convince Turkel, then he should take note of the
clear command cited immediately above for Jehu to make the house of Ahab
like the house of Baasha. The destruction of Baasha's house was recorded in
1 Kings 16:10-11.
>10 Zimri came in and struck him [Elah, Baasha's son] down and killed him,
in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah, and succeeded him.
>11 When he began to reign, as soon as he had seated himself on his throne,
he killed all the house of Baasha; he did not leave him a single male of his
KINDRED or his friends.
The account of the destruction of the house of Baasha specifically states
that not a SINGLE MALE of the "kindred" of Baasha or of his friends was left
alive, so if Jehu's orders were to "cut off" every male from the house of
Ahab and to make the house of Ahab LIKE the house of Baasha, how did Jehu
"go beyond his mandate" in killing a grandson of Ahab? Would a grandson of
Ahab not be a kinsman of Ahab? Turkel has argued, of course, that the
"friends" that Zemri killed in the house of Baasha were not the same kind of
"friends" that Jehu killed in the house of Ahab (2 Kings 10:11), because the
original texts did not use the same word for "friends" in both accounts.
That is a quibble that I will address when it comes up later in Turkel's
article. For now, I just want to clarify Ahaziah's relationship to Ahab.
He was a grandson of Ahab, which would certainly have been a kinsman, and
the writer of 2 Kings, as noted above, associated him with the house of
Ahab, so if Jehu was commanded to "cut off" EVERY male in the house of Ahab
and to make the house of Ahab like the house of Baasha and if the
destruction of the house of Baasha included the killing of every male of the
kindred of Baasha, how can Turkel argue that Jehu went "beyond his mandate"
when he killed a grandson (a kinsman) of Ahab? Furthermore, the Chronicler,
in recording Yahweh's displeasure with Ahaziah, attributed his wickedness to
his mother Athaliah, who "was his counsellor to do wickedly" (2 Chron.
22:2-3). He went on to say that Ahaziah "did evil in the sight of Yahweh,
AS DID THE HOUSE OF AHAB, for they were his counsellors after the death of
his father, to his destruction" (v:4). So this writer obviously attributed
Ahaziah's downfall to having followed the "counsel" of the house of Ahab.
Somehow, Turkel was able to find in Hosea 1:4 "nuances" in Hebrew that
showed that the prophet was really upset with what the descendants of Jehu
had done AFTER Jezreel and not with Jehu's actions per se at Jezreel, yet
Turkel can't seem to find in all of these biblical statements about
Ahaziah's kinship with the house of Ahab and his pursuance of the advice or
counsel of the house of Ahab any justification for Jehu to have killed
Ahaziah when he was acting on a mandate to kill EVERY male in the house of
Ahab and to make it like the house of Baasha. Amazing!
> Out of Bounds?
> In answer to Miller's item #7, Till advanced the
> " We should keep in mind that Hosea said that Yahweh
>would soon avenge THE BLOOD OF JEZREEL upon the house of
>Jehu. In other words, Yahweh's vengeance would come down
>on the house of Jehu because of "the blood of Jezreel."
>However, some of the atrocities in Miller's list above
>include massacres th[at] were done outside of
>Jezreel...these 42 princes were not killed at Jezreel,
>which was located north of Samaria."
> And so, Till tells us, because this massacre was not
>at Jezreel, then this event cannot be considered part of
>the "blood of Jezreel." But is this truly the case?
> Significantly, Till does not quote the text of 12-14
>itself, which offers us some answers:
> Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At "Beth
>Eked of the Shepherds," he met some relatives of Ahaziah
>king of Judah and asked, "Who are you?" They said, "We
>are relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to greet
>the families of the king and of the queen mother." "Take
>them alive!" he ordered. So they took them alive and
>slaughtered them "by the well of Beth Eked"--forty-two
>men. He left no survivor.
> This massacre of 42 princes, then, took place at a
>very specific location: Beth Eked. The usual designated
>site of Beth Eked is Beit Qad, about 4 miles from the
>city of Jezreel, close enough to Jezreel and probably
>literally dependent upon the larger city for its survival
>(within the bounds of a tribal military/protection
>covenant alliance), so that Hosea could easily include it
>within the parameters of his supposed Jezreel
>condemnation. Yes, the skeptic quibbles; but it is still
>NOT Jezreel the city. Four miles could be seen as a long
>way. Why should we include it in these parameters?
This is a matter that I'm not going to spend a lot of time on, and the
reason why may surprise Turkel. I consider his response to this part of my
article to be a reasonable possibility. The context of the story of Jehu
will show that Jezreel was used to refer to the city. Before Jehu received
his "mandate," Joram (king of Israel) was wounded in a battle with the
Syrians at Ramoth-gilead, so he "returned to Jezreel to recover from the
wounds" (8:29). King Ahaziah (of Judah) who was fighting in an alliance
with Joram, then "went down to Jezreel to visit Joram" (v:29). I doubt if
the writer intended for us to understand that Joram and Ahaziah just went
somewhere into the valley of Jezreel. This is confirmed by 9:16, which
tells us that after being anointed by the "son of the prophets," Jehu
"mounted his chariot and drove to Jezreel, for Joram was lying ill there."
The verse just before this reminds readers that "King Joram had gone back to
Jezreel to recover from the wounds." Both of these statements suggest that
the city of Jezreel and not the valley was where Joram was recovering and
where Jehu went in his chariot.
The next verse states that a "watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel
and spied the company of Jehu as he came." Since it's unlikely that the
tower this watchman was on was out in the valley someone, this is sufficient
to assume that the action was taking place within the city. As the story
continues, the context clearly infers that the city of Jezreel and not the
valley was being referred to. The heads of the sons of Jehoram, for
example, were "sent to Jezreel" (10:7) and put into two heaps "at the
entrance of the gate" (v:8), so it is unlikely that this was a reference to
a gate elsewhere in the valley and not in the city of Jezreel. Furthermore,
there are biblical texts that clearly specified the "valley of Jezreel" when
that region and not just the city was intended (Josh. 17:16; Judges 6:33),
so the evidence certainly favors interpreting Jezreel in reference to Jehu's
actions in the royal massacre to be the city proper. The word Jezreel
appears 36 times in the OT, and 17 of those references are in the accounts
of the massacre carried out at Jezreel by Jehu. Nevertheless, as I stated
above, Turkel's insistence that Jezreel could have been a term intended to
include the region around the city is a reasonable possibility, so I won't
engage in quibbling on this issue, because I don't have to. As I have
shown, the evidence is sufficient to show that the killing of Ahaziah, a
kinsman and a biblically recognized member of the "house of Ahab," would not
have exceeded Jehu's "mandate."
> I submit that such argumentation is a desperate type
>of quibble of the "close only counts in horseshoes"
>variety, but for those of a more nitpicking bent, here is
>an answer: Beth Eked is part of a larger geographic
>entity called Jezreel. "Jezreel" is a name not only for
>a specific city, but also a valley and a rather large
>region - one that extends from the Jordan Valley to Mount
>Carmel. This was an extensive territory - and Beth Eked
>was within the designated Jezreel Valley and in the heart
>of the wider Jezreel region. It is significant in this
>context that Hosea would mention that Israel will be
>defeated in the Valley of Jezreel, which would indicate
>(assuming, for the sake of argument, Till's
>interpretation of Hosea 1:4) that the city alone was not
>considered the single focal point of judgment.
My comments above cover Turkel's statement immediately above, and I
separated it from the section before this just to make two points: (1)
Turkel is a fine one to accuse me of quibbling, because he has shown himself
to be an expert in it. All of his talk about Hebrew "nuances" has been
quibbling of the crassest kind. (2) The story of Jehu mentions Jezreel over
and over, and as I showed above, the contexts in which the name appears
makes it rather obvious that the city proper was being referred to. Turkel
has claimed that it could have referred to the valley or region, and I have
acknowledged that this is a possibility. However, it does seem strange
that after having used Jezreel so many times in the story in reference to
the region and not just to the city (as Turkel is claiming), as soon as the
action of the story obviously shifted to localities that were outside the
city of Jezreel, the writer stopped using Jezreel in this regional sense and
used other place names like Beth Eked. Why would he have done that if he
had been using "Jezreel" to refer to a general region rather than to a
> Furthermore, Hosea had his own motive for selecting
>Jezreel as the focal point: Jezreel means "God sows" -
>and thus the point emerges from Hosea that what he
>describes are a result of what God sows. (In line with
>the above notion of "paqad" as "visit," the sowing could
>be good or bad - depending on how the house of Jehu
>behaves in response to the oracle.)
Yes, I have repeatedly pointed this out, and I have clearly demonstrated
that the context in which "paqad" was used was sufficient to show where its
meaning was "good or bad." All of the evidence that I have cited, which
Turkel, of course, considers "superficial" because it relied heavily on how
dozens of translations rendered Hosea 1:4, has clearly shown that the
prophet used "paqad" to convey the idea of vengeance or retribution.
> Hosea naming his child "Jezreel" was much the same
>as naming a child today "Vietnam" or "Watergate" [Crai.12P, 11]
>- neither of which by any means requires pinpointing of/restriction to
>an exact geographic location for all of the events concerned!
Let's just suppose that a modern prophet--and there are always prophets who
think they know God's will--should name a child Vietnam or Watergate and
then give this as his reason for so doing: "For yet a little while, God will
visit on the American people the blood of Vietnam [or the iniquity of
Watergate]." Would there be much doubt that this modern prophet disapproved
of Vietnam or Watergate? The disapproval is the point of inconsistency, and
Turkel can't seem to understand this as he quibbles his way along. The
writer of 2 Kings 10:30 obviously approved of Jehu's actions in what he did
to the house of Ahab, but the prophet Hosea disapproved of it. So whether
the "blood of Jezreel" referred to just the city or to a broader area is
besides the point. Turkel cannot claim perfect harmony and consistency in
the Bible if it says in one place that Jehu did to the house of Ahab
"according to all that was in [Yahweh's] heart" but say in another place
that what Jehu did at Jezreel was such that Yahweh was going to avenge the
blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu and bring the kingdom of Israel to an
>Indeed, since "Beth Eked" means "house of
>shearing" [sheep!], there wasn't much punch in arranging
>something involving THAT particular name! Added punch in
>selecting "Jezreel" is the fact that in the Hebrew, a
>punning reference is made with "Israel" that further
>emphasizes the point that it is Israel that will be the
>subject of the "sowing." [Morr.PPH, 79] In light of
>this, we might well expect Hosea to restrict his comments
>to the central and seminal geographic entity with which
>Jehu's actions were associated - even in regards to what
>he did elsewhere and later on in the same general effort.
Well, yes, we have noticed many times that Turkel "might well expect" many
things, but he always seems to be a bit short on evidence to support his
"expectations." After all that he has said, the fact still remains that the
prophet Hosea said that Yahweh would visit on the house of Jehu the blood of
Jezreel, and the meaning of that should be as obvious as the texts I cited
earlier where Yahweh said that he would "visit" upon people the sins and the
iniquities they or their "fathers" had committed.
> However we look at it, then, the massacre of the 42
>princes thus remains within the geographical parameters
>of disobedience for Jehu and of the supposed condemnation
>from Hosea, and thus offers no solace for Till's
>argument. (Moreover, to use Till's logic, is it really
>credible that Hosea would condemn the house of Jehu for
>the massacre in the city of Jezreel proper, yet have
>nothing to say regarding an incident in such close
>proximity, or of events in Samaria, where another great
>slaughter by Jehu took place?)
However we look at it? I have conceded to Turkel the possibility that
Jezreel could have been inclusive enough to include the surrounding area, so
there is no need for me to comment on this further. After all, I see no
disgrace in conceding a point to a debating opponent. As for whether the
massacre of the 42 princes exceeded what Jehu had been ordered to do, there
are other reasons sufficient to include them in what Turkel refers to as
Jehu's "mandate." These "princes" were called "brethren" in 2 Kings
10:13; in 2 Chronicles 22:8, they were called "princes" and "sons of the
brethren of Ahaziah." Since the Bible record states that all of Ahaziah's
brothers had been killed in a raid by the Arabians (2 Chron. 21:161-7), the
writer probably didn't mean that these were literal brothers of Ahaziah, so
the expression "sons of the brethren of Ahaziah" could have meant nephews or
some other kinsmen. So this brings us back to the point with which I ended
Part 18 of my replies to Turkel. Ahaziah was a grandson of Ahab, and so,
unless Jehoram of Judah had had other wives besides Athaliah (Ahab's
daughter), Ahaziah's brothers would have been Ahab's "kinsmen" too, and so
would their sons. At any rate, as I continue my replies, I will show that
the "umbrella" mandate that was given to Jehu was broad enough to cover
ANYONE who was in any way associated with kinsmen of Ahab. These 42
"princes" were found "ministering" to Ahaziah (2 Chron. 22:8), so that
certainly would have made them associates or servants or friends, and as we
will see, any such association with the member of a "house" was sufficient
cause for extermination when Yahweh went on a rampage and ordered the
extermination of that house.
TILL (introductory comment)
Turkel has argued throughout his article that (1) "commentators of all
stripes" are in agreement with his position in the matter of what the
prophet Hosea meant in 1:4, and (2) my reliance on what various translations
say in Hosea 1:4 is "superficial scholarship" that does not carry nearly the
weight as his references to Bible commentaries, because (he claims) the
scholarship that goes into the writing of a commentary is far superior to
that of Bible translators. I have shown in my previous responses that this
is an untenable position, and on the alt.bible.errancy list, I was joined by
Henry Neufeld (in an unsolicited posting) in exposing the falsity of this
claim. Neufeld's posting was redirected to the Errancy list and sent to
Turkel also. Those reading my responses to Turkel who missed seeing
Neufeld's posting may contact me if they would like to have a copy of it.
Meanwhile, readers are asked to keep in mind, as I continue, that Turkel's
comments about his "commentators of all stripes" and superior references
have been shown to be untenable.
> "Who's in the House?"
> By far the most significant argument by Till is that
>related to item 6, recounting Jehu's obliteration of the
>house of Ahab's "great/chief men, close friends, and
>priests." It is also the place where Till makes his most
>incredible blunder - and thereby proves the folly of
>merely comparing English translations in one's studies.
Comments like this one are the reason why I appended the introductory
comment above. Turkel has really presented nothing in this debate except
constant ad hominem harangues and appeals to "authorities" in agreement with
him, whom he arbitrarily calls superior scholars. It is as if Turkel seems
to think that if he attacks me personally and says that his scholarship is
superior to mine often enough, someone may believe him. There is, however,
no substitute for logical argumentation, and we have seen very little of
this from Turkel.
> The question at hand is: Are these three parties -
>chief men, close friends, priests - to be considered part
>of the "house of Ahab"?
As I respond to Turkel's quibble on this point, everyone should bear in mind
that Yahweh had told Jehu to "smite the house of Ahab" and that the "WHOLE
house of Ahab" was to "perish" (2 Kings 9:7-8). The passage went on to
present Yahweh as saying, "I will cut off from Ahab EVERY male both BOND AND
FREE, and I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son
of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah" (vs:8-9). In
other words, the orders were VERY inclusive and were an almost exact
repetition of the original pronouncement of doom that the prophet Elijah had
presented in person to Ahab (1 Kings 21:21-23). In Elijah's statement,
Yahweh had even said that he would "utterly sweep away and cut off every
MALE both BOND AND FREE from Ahab" (v:21). So as I continue to rebut
Turkel's quibble, everyone should keep in mind the thoroughness and
completeness of the instructions that Jehu had allegedly received from Yahweh.
Turkel has quibbled that Ahaziah of Judah could not have been considered a
part of the house of Ahab, but in prior postings, I have shown the
following: (1) Jehu was told to make the house of Ahab like the house of
Baasha, and when Zemri destroyed the house of Baasha, he "smote all the
house of Baasha" and "left him not a SINGLE male, neither of his KINFOLKS
nor of his friends." (2) Ahaziah was the son of Athaliah, a daughter of
Ahab (2 Chron. 22:2), and so Ahaziah was certainly a "kinsman" of Ahab. (3)
Biblical writers attributed Ahaziah's "evil in the sight of Yahweh" to the
fact that he was "of the house of Ahab" (2 Kings 8:27) and that he was
"counseled to do wickedly" by his mother and others of the house of Ahab (2
Chron. 22:3-4). In view of all of these biblical claims, it is completely
unreasonable to think that any biblical writer thought that Jehu had
exceeded his "mandate" by killing Ahaziah and that Yahweh was so angry that
this had been done, he brought both the house of Jehu and the kingdom of
Israel to an end. Certainly, Yahweh took his good sweet time deciding to
destroy the house of Jehu for the excesses of its founder, because almost a
hundred years intervened between Jehu's massacre at Jezreel and the
assassination of Zechariah, the last descendant of Jehu to reign in Israel.
So if we can reasonably conclude anything in this matter, it would surely be
that the extensiveness of the "umbrella" commandment that Jehu received from
Yahweh to make the house of Ahab like the houses of Jeroboam and Baasha
would certainly have exonerated Jehu from any divine blame for having killed
a grandson of Ahab, who walked in Ahab's ways under the counsel and
directions of his mother and other advisors from the house of Ahab.
Turkel's position on this point is a desperate quibble that needs no further
As I continue responding to this part of Turkel's article, I will show that
his attempt to distinguish (through "nuances" in Hebrew) between the
"friends" of Baasha (whom Zemi killed) and the "friends" of Joram of Israel
(Ahab's son), whom Jehu killed at Jezreel, is also another desperate quibble
intended to make the Bible not say what it obviously does say.
TURKEL [quoting me]
>Let us first look at how Till seeks to begin addressing the matter:
> "What these inerrantist quibblers have apparently
>never noticed is that verse 9 states that the "house of
>Ahab" was to be abolished in the way that the house of
>Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, and the house of Baasha, the
>son of Abijah, were destroyed. I will give details of
>that later, but first, let's notice two things: (1)
>What this "son of the prophets" said upon anointing Jehu
>was the same as Elijah's pronouncement of doom upon the
>house of Ahab. (2) The word "house" as used in
>expressions like "the house of Ahab" or "the house of
>Jehu" carried a broader denotation than just the
>descendants of the head of the house. It also included
>those who were servants or associates of the head of the
> Till follows with examples of places where someone
>other than a blood relation was a member of a "house":
>Sarah as part of Pharaoh's house, Abraham's 318 servants
>in his house, etc. He concludes:
> "If inerrantists would read what a good Bible
>dictionary or encyclopedia says about the meaning of
>'house' as it was used in the situations mentioned above,
>they would not have made the mistake of assuming that
>Jehu had been ordered to kill only those who were male
>descendants of Ahab."
>Let's notice a few things here:
> 1) First of all, I find it hilarious that Till, who
>has previously objected to the citation of the "Semitic
>mindset" and nuances in the original language, here,
>when it serves his own purposes, willfully adopts a
>viewpoint derived from such mindset/nuances! This broad
>use of "house," though known in a way in some of our
>Western monarchies (i.e., "the house of Windsor"),
>nevertheless reflects a uniquely ancient practice. Why
>is Till here so willing to adapt explanations to the
>sociological and linguistic facts, but not elsewhere when
>it might be injurious to his case?
Turkel seems to think that he knows all about my works on the subject of
biblical errancy, enough so that he repeatedly talks about my "superficial
scholarship," but those who have really followed my writing on this subject
know that a very common type of rebuttal that I use against the inerrantist
who pretends to know that the Bible doesn't really mean what it obviously
says is to examine how writers used key words and expressions in passages
where inerrantists attempt to deny the face-value meaning of language. So
when I examined how that "house" was used in the OT, I was doing nothing
that I haven't done many times before. What I oppose is the biblicist who
attempts to explain away an obvious discrepancy by arbitrarily asserting
that to the "Hebrew or Semitic mind," such and such language would have
implied or suggested a meaning that will save the day for the inerrantist.
When this is done, the biblicist rarely presents any substantial evidence to
support his claim; he simply asserts that it is true. This is essentially
what Turkel has done in the matter of what "paqad" meant to the "Semitic
mind." He presented brief, fragmented quotations from authors of
commentaries who were struggling just as desperately as he is to resolve a
serious inconsistency in the Bible, but neither he nor his sources have
presented any real evidence that the passages in question did contain
"nuances" that prove that all major translations of Hosea 1:4 erred in the
way that they rendered the passage. On the other hand, I did present
textual evidence from the OT to show that the expression "house of" was used
to denote not just an immediate family but a much broader group that would
have included the immediate family, descendants of the "house's" namesake,
friends, and relatives, and in doing this, I didn't rely on what certain
authors may have thought about this. I used the Bible itself to show that
the expression "house of" had this broad, extensive meaning. Turkel, on the
other hand, quotes articles and books written by writers urgently wanting to
defend the traditional view of the Bible when there is no information in the
Bible to support his case.
> 2) As for the rhetoric re: consulting a "good
>Bible dictionary," etc. - there would be no need. I am
>well aware of this usage of "house" (Hebrew: "bayith") -
>and that is why I am also aware that Till's argument here
>is a sham. Only a reckless neophyte would make such an
>abominable error as Till has in this instance.
"Reckless neophyte"? Hmmm, I wonder why Turkel called me that if he is
"well aware" of how "house" was used in Hebrew? As for whether my "argument
here is a sham," why don't we just wait to see if Turkel is able to make
that charge stick? We have already seen him accuse me of "superficial
scholarship" only to have himself exposed as the one whose scholarship is
> What of the definition of "house"? It does indeed
>have a broader meaning: It may refer to an actual
>building, of course, but about a quarter of the OT usages
>imply something different or more abstract. "Building a
>house" means the same thing as "raising a family."
>"House" is even used to refer to a spider's web (Job
>8:15). While there is indeed a broader meaning
>available, Till, regrettably, does not tell us what
>"Bible dictionary or encyclopedia" he gets his source
Gee, why should I name any specific Bible dictionary or encyclopedia in this
matter when just about any that one may consult in this matter will agree
that "house of" in the OT conveyed not just an immediate family but a much
broader group of relatives, servants, and associates? Also, if Turkel
agrees that the expression "does indeed have a broader meaning," why is he
making such an issue of this? I can only assume that he has done so only as
another opportunity to launch an ad hominem attack that might possibly
influence some of his "adoring flock" to believe he is right in saying that
my works on biblical inerrancy aren't worth commenting on. He says this and
then turns around and devotes over 80K of web space to responding to
something that he doesn't think is worthy of comment. I'll let the readers
reach their own conclusions about what this tells us about what Turkel
really believes in this matter.
>However, having consulted no less than a
>dozen such sources, and a variety of others - ranging in
>persuasion from the liberal *Interpreter's Dictionary of
>the Bible* to the conservative *Nelson's Illustrated
>Bible Dictionary* - I find, yes, references to servants
>being part of a "house," along with slaves (as household
>property), foreign guests (in line with Eastern rules of
>hospitality), concubines (as Sarah would have been
>considered in Pharaoh's house), adopted orphans, and
So if Turkel consulted "no less than a dozen such sources and a variety of
others" and found that they all confirmed that "house of" denoted this
broader sense, exactly what is his beef in this matter? Why spend so much
time complaining about something I have said that he himself finds all major
references works in agreement with. I would suspect that if we had a
listing of all of the sources he checked in this matter, we would find
represented in them "commentators of all stripes," and isn't that supposed
to determine accuracy and truth?
> What I do not find is this peculiar word
>that Till uses, "associates". Associates? What are
>these? Is this a specific socio-economic class from the
>Ancient Near East? For someone who denigrates others for
>"vagueness" Till has certainly chosen a weasel-word that
>practically screams "vague" in our ears!
Ah, so Turkel finally comes to the point and ends his tirade in this matter
with another quibble. I used the word "associate" in explaining the
inclusiveness that the expression "house of" connoted in the OT, and he
apparently can't find this term in the Bible. Possibly, it didn't occur to
him that I am writing in English, and in so doing, I will quite often use
words that can't be found in translations of the Hebrew text, but that
doesn't mean that the ideas or concepts they denote are not taught in the
OT. Turkel can't find "nuance" or "Semitic mind" or "collocation" or
"linguistic details" or any of dozens of other expressions that he has used
throughout his article in reference to what he obviously thinks is taught in
the OT, but I'm sure he thinks that his usage of those expressions was
justified on the grounds that the concepts that they convey are found in the
Bible, yet he finds fault with me for having used the word "associate" in
reference to those who would have been included in the Hebrew concept of
"house." If there is any doubt left in the minds of inerrantists following
this discussion that Turkel has done very little in his article but try to
quibble his way through a response, his comments on this point should remove
If Turkel would consult a basic dictionary--and I hardly need to specify one
by name--he will find that "associate" can convey the sense of "companion"
or "comrade" or "colleague" or "friend." Well, heck, he may complain at
this point because I am saying that "associate" can mean "friend," which is
going to recur as a key word as my rebuttal continues, so perhaps I should
tell him specifically what dictionary to consult to find that "friend" is
used in the definition of "associate," so if he will consult *Webster's New
Universal Unabridged Dictionary,* he will see that it defines "associate" as
"a friend; a partner; a colleague; a fellow-worker." Hence, if "friends"
were killed in the destruction of the house of Baasha, as we have already
noted, then it would be appropriate to say that associates of Baasha were
killed in the massacre. If not, why not?
At any rate, as I respond to Turkel's quibble about the different words that
were used to denote Baasha's and Joram's "friends" who were killed in the
respective massacres, we will see that, given the meaning of the word
"associate" in English, it was entirely appropriate for me to use the word
"associate" in discussing the inclusiveness of the word "house" in Hebrew.
I will show that the killing of any who were "associated" with the house of
Ahab in official or friendly senses were fair game for a man who was
carrying out an allegedly divine command to destroy EVERY male both BOND AND
FREE in a "house."
TURKEL (after quibbling about my use of "associates" in defining "house")
> That said, Till embarks upon a skein of blatherskeit
>destined to prove his point that a "house" consisted of
>more than just blood relatives.
If Turkel wishes to see "blatherskite," he should review his lengthy
quibbles about my failure to cite sources when I gave a definition of
"house" that he admitted he agrees with, his constant ad hominem attacks,
and his incessant references to "scholars" who say this or that but never
give any textual reasons to support "this and that." Someone sent a posting
to alt.bible.errancy that said he was stripping Turkel's "arguments" of all
self-praise, ad hominem attacks on me, and appeals to authority and was
posting below what was left. Below, there was nothing but blank space, and
that pretty well sums up what we have seen from Turkel. Nothing but
self-praise, ad hominem attacks and insults, and incessant citations of
writers and books in agreement with his position--that has been the extent
of Turkel's attempts to explain away the inconsistencies in the biblical
references to Jehu's massacre at Jezreel, but we have seen very little
attempt at logical argumentation.
> He cites examples of slaves, of which there is no question in fact,
>but of which there is also no relevance for the Jehu case. We
>are not arguing that Jehu was condemned for killing
>slaves; we are arguing here that his condemnation was in
>part the result of his killing of the house of Ahab's
>"great men, close friends, and priests."
Here is another example of Turkel's quibbling. I never implied or meant to
imply that Jehu killed slaves of Joram of Israel. I was simply defining the
word "house" as it was used in the OT to show that the word was used to
include not just an immediate family but the extended family, including
servants and slaves, and associates, but Turkel wastes our time with a
quibble like this (actually a straw man) as if it was relevant to anything I
have said relative to the house of Ahab.
>Till tries to slip in this trio under the rubric of the "house" along
>with the slaves, but no dice: The direct questions need
>to be asked. What of these parties? Were they part of
>the "house" of Ahab?
Why wouldn't they have been? If "kinsmen" and "friends" were a part of the
house of Baasha (1 Kings 16:11), and if the destruction of Jeroboam's house
was so extensive that nothing was left to Jeroboam "that breathed" (1 Kings
15:29), and if all that was done to the house of Jeroboam was "according to
the saying of Yahweh which he spoke by his servant Ahijah" (1 Kings 15:29),
and if Jehu was to make the house of Ahab like unto the houses of Jeroboam
and Baasha, then why would the killing of Joram's "great men, close friends,
and priests" have exceeded Jehu's mandate? Is Turkel unaware that priests
were a part of the king's inner circle or entourage of advisors? He seems
to be, because we will later see him arguing that priests were members of
the "house of the Lord." When we reach that point in his article, I will
say more about this, but for now I will suggest that Turkel review the reign
of David as recorded in 2 Samuel and notice the king-advisor relationship
that existed between David and Abiathar. After the rebellion led by his son
Absalom was over, David instructed Abiathar and Zadok (another priest) to
deliver a reprimand to the elders of Israel for not acting quickly to have
him restored to his house in Jerusalem from which he had had to flee
temporarily (2 Sam. 19:11-15). Second Chronicles 18:14-17 listed those who
had positions of importance in David's court.
>14 So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and
equity to all his people.
>15 Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was
>16 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Shavsha
>17 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites;
and David's sons were the chief officials in the service of the king.
The parallel account in 2 Samuel 20:23-25 listed Zadok and Abiathar as the
priests, and with good reason. Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech, not the
other way around, and by this time in David's reign, Saul had killed
Ahimelech for aiding David in his flight from Saul (1 Sam. 21:1-6;
22:11-19), but this is just another biblical inconsistency that I will let
Turkel try to work out if he wishes. Perhaps he can find some "nuance" in
Hebrew that will show us that a text that says that Ahimelech was the son of
Abiathar didn't really mean that Ahimelech was the son of Abiathar but that
Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech. At any rate, the text above shows that
the Israelite kings had priests in their inner circle of advisors,
and Zadok and Abiathar or Ahimelech (take your pick) filled this position
during the reign of David. Upon David's death, one of Solomon's first acts
after murdering his half-brother Adonijah (who had tried to claim the
throne) was to "thrust out Abiathar from being priest to Yahweh" (2 Kings
2:27), because Abiathar had supported Adonijah in the power struggle (1
Kings 5:7). Solomon put Zadok into the "room of Abiathar" (2 Kings 2:35),
so the kings of Israel took their priests very seriously and chose those who
could be trusted to be loyal to them as their advisors. Does Turkel think
for one moment that in those barbaric times one who was seizing control of a
government by force would not have exterminated those who had been close
advisors and ministers of the king. After all, Jehu's massacre at Jezreel
was nothing but a usurpation of the throne that was done under the guise of
having been ordered by the national god, but Turkel is stuck with how the
Bible tells the story, and the massacre was first told as something that was
entirely pleasing to Yahweh but then later was presented in another light by
One more comment is necessary here. If Turkel were just a bit more familiar
with the Bible, he would understand that usually when coups such as Jehu's
took place, no one who was in a position to pose any threat to the usurper
was spared. When Jehoram of Judah (Ahaziah's father) became king upon the
death of his father Jehoshaphat, he had six brothers whom "he killed with
the sword," as well as "divers also of the princes of Israel" (2 Chronicles
21:4). In other words, Jehoram eliminated all possible competition. The
Bible claims that even after the massacre of Ahaziah and his entourage, a
power play took place in Jerusalem. His infamous mother Athaliah (Ahab's
daughter), seeing that her son was dead, "killed all the royal seed of
Judah" (2 Kings 11:1; 2 Chron. 22:10), took control, and "reigned over the
land." The power of the priesthood was demonstrated in this story, because
Jehoshabeath, the sister of Ahaziah, took her nephew Joash, and hid him and
his nurse in her bedchamber. Later, with the assistance of the priests,
Joash was hidden "in the house of God six years" (2 Chron. 22:12). Then in
the 7th year, Jehoiada (the high priest) organized a rebellion in the royal
guard that overthrew Athaliah and put Joash on the throne. Athaliah was
assassinated in the palace (2 Chron. 22:15).
I could relate other examples of coups that were carried out with the
assassination of not just the king but also his complete entourage. Any
rebel worth his salt at that time would have understood that priests loyal
to an overthrown monarch would not be desirable persons to have around, but
I will be saying more about this when I come to Turkel's quibble on this
point. As the situation now stands, Turkel has certainly not shown that
Jehu "overstepped his bounds" by killing friends, officials, and priests who
were in Joram's inner circle, and especially not if Jehu had received a
"mandate" to utterly sweep away the WHOLE house of Ahab.
> The fact that the Kings writer separates this group
>from the "house of Ahab" grouping should indicate to us
>that the men/friends/priests group was not considered to
>be part of the house of Ahab -
Well, let's just see how this line of argumentation holds up. We noticed
above that when Solomon succeeded David as king, he ordered the death of his
half-brother Adonijah and removed Abiathar as the king's priest. Before
David died, he had allegedly reminded Solomon that the faithful general Joab
had killed Abner and Amasa, and so Solomon was told not to let Joab's "hoary
head go down to Sheol in peace" (2 Kings 2:6). Verses 28-33 tell of
Solomon's execution of David's orders.
>28 Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though
he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of Yahweh,
and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
>29 And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of
Yahweh; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son
of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.
>30 And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of Yahweh, and said unto him, Thus
saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And
Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he
>31 And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and
bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed,
from ME, and from THE HOUSE OF MY FATHER.
>32 And Yahweh shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two
men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my
father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of
the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.
>33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the
head of his seed for ever: but upon David, AND UPON HIS SEED, AND UPON HIS
HOUSE, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the LORD.
>34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew
him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.
Notice that Solomon allegedly said in verse 31 that killing Joab would take
away the innocent blood he had shed from "ME and from the house of my
father." Now according to Turkel's logic, the separation of "me" and "the
house of my father" would mean that Solomon was not a part of David's house,
but that would be a ridiculous twist to put on the passage, because 2 Samuel
7:12-17 and 1 Chronicles 22:6-12 show that Solomon was not only a part of
David's house but that he was the specific "seed" through whom the throne
and house of David were to be established forever. Furthermore, verse 33
above has Solomon saying that the killing of Joab would return upon his head
and his seed the blood that Joab had shed but there would be peace forever
upon "David, AND UPON HIS SEED, AND UPON HIS HOUSE." According to Turkel's
logic, the separation of David's seed from his house would mean that David's
seed was not considered a part of his house, but that too would be a
ridiculous interpretation. What we have in these verses is a clear example
of repetitive emphasis, and there is no reason to think that the same was
not true in 2 Kings 10:11, where it was said that Jehu struck ALL that
remained of the house of Ahab, ALL his great men, his familiar friends, and
his priests until he [Jehu] left him [Ahab] none remaining. The separate
listing of the groups serves to emphasize the extent of the destruction of
the house of Ahab. it was so thorough that Jehu had left "him none
> and is in fact the closest
>thing to a "condemnation" of excess that we can expect
>from the Kings writer in his dry, analytical style.
So Turkel has come full circle to quibble again that the reason why there is
no clear condemnation of Jehu's excess was because it just wasn't the
writer's style to do so. Here Turkel calls it a "dry, analytical style."
Well, pardon me, but I would think that an "analytical style" would be one
that would go into details, but that obviously isn't what Turkel, the master
linguist meant. He earlier referred to it as a "dry and monotonous" style
that wasn't interested in passing judgments: "It is not his nature to
comment, except for the monotonous, summary repetition of whether a king did
good or evil in the eyes of the Lord which was applied to all of the kings
evaluated, and he generally lets the data speak for itself without need for
further explanation." This was in Part 6 of my response to Turkel, and
readers may review it to see that I completely demolished this claim by
showing how that the writer of 2 Kings was very specific and impassioned in
his denunciation of Manasseh's wickedness (and others) and equally specific
in praising Josiah for his righeous reforms. A review of Part 6 will show
that I listed several specific offenses of Manasseh, so Turkel can't get by
on this issue by claiming that the writer of 2 Kings was so dry and
impassioned that he just didn't bother to list specific wrongs that kings
committed. The writer didn't condemn Jehu, because, as 10:31shows, the
writer thought that Jehu had done to the house of Ahab according to ALL that
was in Yahweh's heart.
>Nevertheless, let us pursue the matter further. Till
>says nothing at all about the great men or priests; and
>it is just as well, for there is no indication that these
>were part of Ahab's house, or part of any king's house.
>Let's consider some relevant data:
As I have shown above, those within an inner circle of advisors were indeed
considered part of a king's house. Accordingly, when Zemi abolished the
house of Baasha, he included in his massacre all of the king's kinsmen and
friends, and when coups were executed, the usurpers were often inclusive
enough to kill anyone who had been associated with the deposed king. This
is a quibble that just won't fly.
>Let's consider some relevant data:
> * Of particular notice - and something Till fails to
>notice, even though he uses the material as evidence (see
>below) - is the story of Zemri eliminating the house of
>Baasha in 1 Kings 16. Note that Zemri was one of
>Baasha's "officials" and that he killed Baasha's "whole
>family" (NIV - the word is the Hebrew "bayith," as noted,
>equalling "house"). Obviously, though he served Baasha's
>house in an official capacity (he had charge of half of
>King Elah's chariots), Zimri was NOT part of Baasha's
>"house" - or else his rule would have been considered a
>continuation of Baasha's house! The evidence here
>indicates that a king's house did NOT include those who
>were not blood-related but were serving in an official
>capacity, such as Zemri.
A reasonable person, which Turkel certainly isn't, would recognize that in
the books of Samuel and Kings we are reading "history" as interpreted by a
superstitious writer who thought that his national god had a hand in
everything that happened in political struggles, and so when kings rose to
power, he saw this as the will of Yahweh, and when kings fell, he thought
this was due to Yahweh's displeasure with them, usually for having "done
that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh." Thus assassinations and coups
d'etats like those we have already noted were always interpreted as events
that happened under the direction of Yahweh. The possibility that such
events happened as just the normal course of political power struggles was
probably incomprehensible to the mind of such a writer, but only a gullible
person living in our enlightened times could so interpret history. Just a
bit of common sense will show that ancient superstition was behind the
interpretation of these power struggles. The writer(s) of Kings repeatedly
noted that such and such a king would do evil in the sight of Yahweh, yet
some of these kings enjoyed lengthy reigns. Jeroboam, for example, did such
evil in the sight of Yahweh that, so the "historian" said, Yahweh vowed to
cut off from Jeroboam ever male both bond and free in his house and to
utterly sweep away his house (1 Kings 14:10), yet Jeroboam reigned for 42
years and "slept with his fathers" (1 Kings 14:20). It wasn't until Nadab
his son had succeeded him that Baasha executed Yahweh's promise to utterly
destroy the house of Jeroboam (15:27-30). The same was true of Baasha.
After destroying the house of Jeroboam, he became the king, but he too did
that which was evil in Yahweh's sight (1 Kings 15:33), so, lo and behold,
Yahweh announced that he would make the house of Baasha like the house of
Jeroboam (16:1-3), but Baasha reigned for 24 years and slept with his
fathers (15:33). Nothing is said in the biblical account to suggest that
Baasha suffered any kind of violent death in retribution for the evil he
did. It wasn't until Baasha's son Elah had succeeded him that Yahweh's
punishment was presumably executed on the house of Baasha, but it was Elah
who bore the brunt of it, not Baasha. The writer alleged that Elah had also
done that which was evil in Yahweh's sight (16:13), but he got to reign for
just two years before Yahweh's wrath fell upon him, whereas Baasha reigned
for 24 years, doing that which was evil in Yahweh's sight.
I could cite other examples (including even Ahab), but these are sufficient
to show the silliness of thinking that some omniscient, omnipotent deity was
pulling the strings on all of these events. For one thing, why would Yahweh
have chosen Baasha to "exalt out of the dust" and to "make a prince over
Israel" if Yahweh knew that Baasha was immediately going to turn into just
another bad egg who would do that which was evil in his sight. It just
doesn't speak well for Yahweh's alleged omniscience, but that's what we are
asked to believe. Jeroboam was so evil in Yahweh's sight that Yahweh
selected Baasha to destroy Jeroboam's house but didn't have him do it until
Jeroboam had lived a long life and Nadab was reigning as the successor king,
and then Baasha immediately turned so evil that Yahweh had to pronounce a
curse of destruction on his house too, which wasn't executed until Baasha
had reigned for 24 years, died an apparently natural death, and his son Elah
What is a more likely explanation for what happened here? It is far more
reasonable to think that Jeroboam was recognized as a bad king, but as
history has shown time and time again, being a bad ruler doesn't necessarily
bring any kind of cosmic retribution down upon the guilty monarch. Thus, it
was probably recognized that Jeroboam did some things that were displeasing
to his subjects, especially to the Yahwistic worshipers, but he nevertheless
lived a full and complete life. Then after Nadab became king and reigned
for just two years, Baasha pulled a bloody coup and seized control of the
kingdom before Nadab had had time to solidify his hold on the kingdom. In
the mind of the "biblical historian," such an event had to have an
explanation, and so the writer reasoned that this event had to be punishment
on the house of Jeroboam for the sins that Nadab's father had committed. In
the matter of Baasha's house and its destruction, the writer put the same
slant on it. Like Baasha, Zimri led a coup against Elah (Baasha's son) within
two years of Elah's succession to the throne, so in all probability he too had
decided to usurp the throne before Elah could cement his control over the
kingdom. To the "biblical historian," however, there had to be another
explanation: Yahweh was behind it all, executing judgment against the "houses"
of predecessor kings who had done evil in Yahweh's sight.
If, however, we concede for the sake of argument that all this business of
executing vengeance on the houses of Jeroboam and Baasha was actually willed
and directed by an omniscient, omnipotent deity called Yahweh, it would
nevertheless be true that Yahweh would have needed an instrument to execute
his will in such matters (since this always seemed to be the way that Yahweh
destroyed "houses" in those days), so if Yahweh selected Zimri to execute
his judgment against the house of Baasha, we would hardly expect him to have
Zimri fall on his sword and commit suicide so that it could be said that the
house of Baasha in its entirety had fallen. As it was, however, Zimri had
control of the government for only seven days when Omri, the captain of the
host, led an expedition against Zimri in Tirzah, and Zimri burned the castle
down around him to keep himself from falling into the hands of Omri
(16:15-18), so we could say that if Zimri, as a servant of Elah (v:9),
should have been considered a member of his house (according to my
definition), that wouldn't really matter, because he too was killed in the
coup that destroyed the house of Baasha.
> * Similarly, Omri, the man who overthrew Zimri 7
>days after he took charge, is listed as the "captain of
>the host." (1 Kin. 16:16) Obviously Omri was not part of
>the house of Baasha either, since Zimri was already have
>supposed to taken care of them. (That is, unless we'd
>like to suppose that Zimri appointed Omri, sent him some
>30-50 miles away to Gibbethon...and he gained the
>confidence of the host enough to lead them back to Tizrah
>against Zimri...all within that 7-day span! Needless to
>say, it is far more likely that Omri was *already*
>captain of the host under Baasha - and that this
>therefore indicates that officials of the king were NOT
>considered part of his "bayith.")
If there is any accuracy in this tale--and where the Bible is concerned
that's always a question mark--I would be inclined to agree that Omri was
the captain of the host when Elah was king and probably even when Baasha was
king. However, let it be noted that Zimri was described as a "servant" of
Elah (v:9), who was apparently in charge of half of Elah's chariots. I
can't find any reference to Omri that described him as a "servant" of Elah.
As the "captain of the host," he was undoubtedly a field commander, and that
would explain why he was "encamped against Gibbethon," which would mean that
he was away from Tirzah, the capital, at the time of the coup and hadn't yet
had time to become one of Zemri's insiders.. As a matter of fact, Baasha
(Elah's father) had led his coup against Nadab (Jeroboam's successor son),
while "Nadab and all Israel were laying siege against Gibbethon," so
evidently some effort was put into trying to capture this Philistine city.
If Omri was still involved in this endeavor, which 16:15-16 suggests, then
he would have been away from Tirzah during Zemri's coup and certainly would
not have had time to be associated with him well enough to have been
considered a member of his house. The same would be true of Elah, whom
Zemri assassinated. Elah had reigned for only two years, so he probably had
had no time to make changes in his father's chain of
command. So if Omri had been involved in a siege of Gibbethon during Elah's
short reign, that would have kept him from becoming a part of Elah's inner
circle. Turkel is trying to press this point to force my broader
definition of "house" to include just anyone who was serving in the king's
army, and I have certainly not indicated any such belief. If Turkel can't
see the difference in considering all of a king's "great men, familiar
friends, and priests" as a part of his house and considering men like Zemri
and Omri members of the house of Baasha, he has some serious comprehension
problems. At any rate, Omri did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh
(1 Kings 16:25), but he died an apparently natural death after a reign of 11
years, and Ahab his son reigned in his stead. Needless to say, Ahab also
did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, but like his father Omri, he
got away scot free, and Yahweh brought down upon Ahab's son Joram all of the
evil done by Ahab and Omri. It was just Yahweh's way.
A final comment on this point is in order. Turkel seems to have lost sight
of what he is arguing. He has argued that Jehu went beyond his "mandate"
and killed those who weren't really a part of Ahab's house, but he can't
prove this by arguing that if a "house" included every single servant and
soldier in the king's service, then Baasha, Zemri, and Omri didn't go far
enough in exterminating the houses of Jeroboam and Baasha because they
should have killed themselves too. Such a quibble needs no further comment.
> * Similarly, note within the text of our concern in
>2 Kings, that in verses 1-2, Jehu writes a letter to "the
>officials of Jezreel" (or some manuscripts read, "the
>city" - more likely, since Jehu is IN Jezreel already! -
>Jone.12K, 2/465) and to "the elders and to the guardians
>of Ahab's children." He tells them, "As soon as your
>master's sons are with you and have chariots and horses,
>a fortified city and weapons, 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." Note here:
>The king is referred to as the "master" ('adown) of these
>elders and guardians that Jehu writes to. A reply comes
>from "the palace administrator, the city governor, the
>elders and the guardians" deferring to Jehu's power.
>They acknowledge themselves as Jehu's "servants" and that
>they will do his will.
> Now note in verse 9 that Jehu tells the people of
>the city of the killing of the 70 sons, "It was I who
>conspired against my master ('adown) and killed him, but
>who killed all these?" Jehu refers to Israel's now-dead
>king as having been his "master" using exactly the same
>Hebrew word as used to describe the elders, guardians,
>etc. in their relation to the king. As with Zimri above,
>this demonstrates the existence of a class of people who
>served the king yet were not of his "house" - otherwise,
>we are left with the same sort of situation in which Jehu
>himself, having had the king as his "master" in his role
>as a commander in the Israeli army, was himself a member
>of the very "house" he was commissioned to destroy!
>Clearly, though these people served the king of Israel,
>they were NOT considered to be of the "house" of the
First of all, I have to wonder if Turkel would argue that what Jehu said was
"inspired truth." That seems to be the thrust of his argument, because he
strains to make a point out of Jehu's use of the same word "adown" as the
"inspired writer" used in narrating this part of his story, but an important
hermeneutic principle recognizes that only what an inspired writer said was
inspired truth but that what a character in the inspired writer's narrative
may have said wasn't necessarily truth. In other words, this hermeneutic
principle states that the inspired writer's account of what a character said
is a truthful representation of what the character said but that what was
said may not itself have been truth. So if it is going to be Turkel's
position that what Jehu said to the leaders in referring to Joram as his
"master" was "inspired truth," then why wouldn't he have to argue that
everything that Jehu said in this speech was also "inspired truth"? Let's
have a look at the entire speech.
>2 Kings 10:9 Then in the morning when he [Jehu] went out, he stood and
said to all the people, "You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my
master and killed him; but who struck down all these?
>10 Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of
Yahweh, which Yahweh spoke concerning the house of Ahab; for Yahweh has done
what he said through his servant Elijah."
>11 So Jehu killed all who were left of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all
his leaders, close friends, and priests, until he left him no survivor.
In other words, Jehu was claiming that he was doing only that which Yahweh
had said through Elijah would be done. Accordingly, the "historian" went on
to say, Jehu killed all who were LEFT of the house of Ahab in Jezreel...
until he left him [Ahab] NO SURVIVOR. No survivor of what? The statement
hardly makes sense unless it is understood to mean no survivor in what could
rightly be considered the house of Ahab whom Yahweh had said through Elijah
would be utterly swept away. Furthermore, the most likely meaning of "all
his leaders, close friends, and priests," which the writer inserted between
"house of Ahab" and "until he left him no survivor" was that it was an
emphatic repetition intended to communicate what Jehu and the "historian"
considered to be the full extent of the "house of Ahab." Hence, if Turkel
is going to consider Jehu's words as "inspired truth" when he referred to
Joram as his "master," he will have to consider the rest of the statement
inspired truth too. That statement from Jehu was that nothing of the word
of Yahweh, which Yahweh had spoken through Elijah concerning the house of
Ahab, would fall to the earth. All of it would be done! Accordingly, Jehu
killed ALL who were LEFT at that point in the house of Jehu, and that
included all his great men, close friends, and priests. If not, why not?
What is really amusing is to see Turkel, who spent so much space trying to
show us that "paqad" was an almost incomprehensible word in Hebrew, now
trying to put a very narrow meaning on the word "adown," which in addition
to meaning "master" also carried the sense of lord or sovereign, and it was
frequently used in the OT in reference to kings and those in positions of
political importance. When so used in the KJV, the word "lord" was the
translators' choice to convey its meaning, but the context would clearly
show that it was used in the same sense that an English speaker would use
"my lord" when referring to royalty. In 2 Chronicles 2:14, Huram , the king
of Tyre, sent to Solomon a skilled worker to assist in the building of the
temple, and Huram described him as a skillful man like "the skillful men of
my lord [adown] David, your father." Certainly, Huram (a sovereign king)
didn't intend to convey the idea that David was his master who had owned
him. In 1 Chronicles 21:3, Joab addressed David as "my lord [adown] the
king." In 2 Samuel 19:18-19, Shimei twice addressed David as "my lord the
king." There are too many such examples in the OT to notice even a fraction
of them, but these are sufficient to show the colossal inconsistency of
Turkel to present an argument like this after his lengthy attempt to show
that "paqad" was a word so difficult to define that we can't really be sure
what Hosea 1:4 meant. If the word "adown" could have meant "lord" in the
sense of a sovereign, and if that word would fit in the context of Jehu's
speech to the leaders of Jezreel, then Turkel's quibble has gone down the
drain. The fact is that "lord" was actually used in 2 Kings 10 in some
NAB: Going out in the morning, he [Jehu] stopped and said to all the people:
"You are not responsible, and although I conspired against my lord [adown]
and slew him, yet who killed all these?"
YOUNG'S LITERAL: And it cometh to pass in the morning, that he [Jehu] goeth
out, and standeth, and saith unto all the people,"Righteous are ye; lo, I
have conspired against my lord [adown], and slay him--and who smote all
HENDRICKSON'S INTERLINEAR also used "lord" [adown] in both the word-for-word
and the marginal translations. Segond's French translation used the word
"seigneur," which means "lord."
Turkel must now admit that all of his quibbling about the meaning of "paqad"
was invalid or else acknowledge that his "argument" based on the use of
"adown" in 2 Kings 10 proves nothing.
> * Let us turn now to the account in 2 Kings, and the
>groups under scrutiny. "Great men" refers to the nobles
>of the kingdom [Jone.12K, 2/467].
Well, if Jones said this, it must be true, but we notice, as usual, that all
Turkel has done is to cite an authority without even including in the
quotations the reason that the authority gave for concluding this. I
suspect that Turkel didn't quote Jones's reasons for saying this, because
the statement is actually a secondhand reference that Turkel derived from
some book he read. I think it likely that Turkel doesn't even have the full
context of Jones's statement, which incidentally was published by Eerdmans
in Grand Rapids, MI, and we all know what a bastion of unbiased scholarship
is found in books that come out of Grand Rapids.
I would be inclined to think that "nobles" would have been included in the
"great men" but that the expression would not have been limited to nobles.
We have already noted that the 42 men whom Jehu killed for ministering to
Ahaziah after he was wounded were called "princes" (2 Chron. 22:8) and that
when Ahaziah's father Jehoram succeeded to the throne of Judah, he killed
all of his brothers and "divers princes" with the sword. These "princes"
were undoubtedly nobles, so I would consider this an exclusive term and
"great men" a broader one that could have included nobles but others too.
Turkel likes to look for nuances in Hebrew, so perhaps he should consider
that the word for "great" in this passage was "gadol," which could also
convey the sense of
older or elder. Turkel referred to the letters that Jehu sent to the
leaders of Jezreel whom he ordered to kill the sons of Joram, but 10:1
refers to them as "the rulers of Jezreel, EVEN the elders." We could hardly
think that these were all nobles, yet the "biblical historian" referred to
these rulers (elders) as "the great men of the city" who had "brought up"
Joram's sons. In all probability, then, the writer meant for "great men" to
be more inclusive than just "nobles." Let's assume, however, that the term
did mean only nobles. So what? We have already noted that usurpers had a
habit of killing everyone, even "princes," who might stand in their way
of seizing control of the country. Why would Jehu's massacre have been any
different, and would the "historian" have viewed it any differently from the
way he had interpreted the massacres of the houses of Jeroboam and Baasha,
which he considered ordained by Yahweh and which had included wholesale
massacres of everyone who had had any affiliations of importance with the
kings being wiped out? If Jehu had been told to make the house of Ahab like
unto the houses of Jeroboam and Baasha, then how could he have exceeded his
"mandate" by killing some "great men" or "nobles"? The destruction of the
houses of Jeroboam and Baasha had included the same.
>We have seen above
>that such people were not considered to be members of the
>royal household; the OT and anthropological data offers
>no evidence for such a position.
Let Turkel explain to us just why Jehu's speech to the rulers (elders) of
the city of Jezreel could not be considered "data" that offer evidence that
the associates of a king (great men, close friends, and priests) were not
considered fair game when a usurper had received a divine "mandate" to
utterly sweep away the king's house and let nothing of his survive. I'm
been over this so often that there is no need to rehash it here. I'll just
quote Jehu's words again.
>2 Kings 10:10 Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the
word of Yahweh, which Yahweh spoke concerning the house of Ahab; for Yahweh
has done what he said through his servant Elijah."
>11 So Jehu killed all who were left of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all
his leaders, close friends, and priests, until he left him no survivor.
The word "so" at the beginning of verse 11 ties the statement it introduces
back to verse 10. Since Jehu swore that nothing of the word of Yahweh
spoken through Elijah concerning the house of Ahab would fall to the earth
and then immediately killed ALL who were LEFT of the house of Ahab in
Jezreel, including ALL his leaders, close friends, and priests, and left
Ahab NO SURVIVOR, that is clear evidence that Jehu considered the leaders,
close friends, and priests to be among those whom Yahweh had commanded him
to utterly sweep away. If I go over this often enough, Turkel might
actually see the obvious meaning of the statement.
Well, let me retract that statement. Turkel will never see the obvious
meaning of the statement, because the obvious meaning of the statement is in
direct conflict with an arbitrary assertion that Turkel must cling to in
order to save his precious inerrancy doctrine.
> The move was politically astute, since any one of these men could have
>done as Jehu himself did and risen up against him, but it
>was still outside the bounds of his commission.
Then are we to assume that Yahweh, who omnisciently knows all things, would
have given Jehu a "mandate" to utterly sweep away the house of Ahab but
would have limited it only to those who were direct descendants of Ahab, a
limitation that would have left alive men who could have risen up against
Jehu and returned the kingdom to what it was under the rulership of the
house of Ahab? If so, Yahweh could have used a refresher course in military
> * Priests, of course, were of the "house of the
>Lord" (cf. Jer. 29:26, Zec. 7:3), of their own familial
>households (cf. Aaron), and were state officials. Thus
>there are places in the OT where it is indicated that a
>king has appointed a priest or given orders to one, but
>there is no indication whatsoever that this degree of
>loyalty or duty indicated membership in the "bayith" of
Turkel admits that priests were "state officials," but despite evidence to
the contrary, he denies that they were considered a part of a king's house
Before Turkel would give on this quibble, one would have to find a place
where the Bible says, "Priests were members of a king's house." Off hand, I
don't know where the Bible directly says that wives were members of the
king's house, but surely no one would deny that they were. The following
passages certainly show that priests were considered an important part of a
king's inner circle of advisors.
>2 Samuel 20:23 Now Joab was in command of all the army of Israel; Benaiah
son of Jehoiada was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites;
>24 Adoram was in charge of the forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was
>25 Sheva was secretary; Zadok and Abiathar were priests;
>26 and Ira the Jairite was also David's priest.
Whether the word in verse 26 should be "nagyid" (ruler or minister) or
"kohen" (priest) is a matter of textual dispute. The NRSV (quoted above)
accepts "priest" as the correct reading, as do the RSV, NASV, NAB, REB,
Hendrickson's Interlinear, the Jerusalem Bible, and others, including even
the version of the Jewish Publication Society. Hence, this text presents
evidence to dispute Turkel's claim found in Reply 22 that there are no
biblical examples of anyone's having had his personal priest, except for
Micah of Ephraim in the days when every man did what was right in his own
eyes (Judges 17 & 18). This text
As noted in Part 22, 2 Chronicles 18:14-17 listed those who had positions of
importance in David's court, and priests were included in the group.
>>14 So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and
>equity to all his people.
>>15 Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was
>>16 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Shavsha
>>17 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites;
>and David's sons were the chief officials in the service of the king.
Solomon's inner circle of advisors was listed in 1 Kings 4:1-6.
>4:1 King Solomon was king over all Israel,
>2 and these were his high officials: Azariah son of Zadok was the priest;
>3 Elihoreph and Ahijah sons of Shisha were secretaries; Jehoshaphat son of
Ahilud was recorder;
>4 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was in command of the army; Zadok and Abiathar
>5 Azariah son of Nathan was over the officials; Zabud son of Nathan was
priest and king's friend;
>6 Ahishar was in charge of the palace; and Adoniram son of Abda was in
charge of the forced labor.
>7 Solomon had twelve officials over all Israel, who provided food for the
king and his household; each one had to make provision for one month in the
The word for "palace" in verse 6 was "bayith" (house), the very term under
discussion. "Bayith" was also the word for "household" in verse 7, so we
have a list of "high officials" in Solomon's government, and in listing them
the text twice used the word "bayith" (house). Included in the list were
Another problem in this text is that it states that Zadok and Abiathar were
priests among the "high officials" in Solomon's government, but we have
already noticed that 1 Kings 2:27 stated that when Solomon succeeded to the
throne, he "thrust out Abiathar from being priest to Yahweh," but this is
just another of those problems that we will leave to inerrantists like
Turkel to explain. Did Solomon "thrust out" Abiathar or not? I'm sure
Turkel will have no problem finding "nuances" in Hebrew that will explain
that there was no problem.
> The only possible exception to this rule is
>found in Judges 17-18, where Micah hired his own Levite
>who tended the family shrine. This Levite had his own
>house (Judg. 18:15) and MAY have been considered part of
>Micah's own house - but note that this priest was HIRED
>by Micah, and that this story is told as part of a book
>that collects stories exemplifying its theme: The people
>of Israel in that time each did as they saw fit! Clearly
>Micah's actions are intended to be seen as a deviation
>from the norm - and in any event, the Levite, if he was a
>member of Micah's house, likely would have been so as a
>sojourner rather than as a priest.
Well, as I have shown above and in Part 22, there are passages in the OT
that indicate that kings had their own priests, so Turkel's attempts to
prove that Jehu's killing of Joram's priests went beyond his "mandate" is an
assertion that he has yet to prove. In view of the praise that the writer
of the story of Jezreel heaped upon Jehu, Turkel's efforts to prove this
quibble have fallen far short of the mark. This "historian," contrary to
Turkel's uninformed assertion, didn't hesitate to condemn in detail the
offenses committed by Manasseh, Ahab, and others, so there is no reason to
think that his style was so "dry and monotonous" that he just didn't express
disapproval of obvious "excesses" that Jehu committed in carrying out his
"mandate." This is something that Turkel read in a commentary, thought that
it provided a way to "explain" the blood-of-Jezreel problem, and so he took
it up and parroted it without bothering to see how accurate it was. By now,
he has seen that it wasn't at all an accurate judgment of the literary style
of the Kings' writer.
> Then what of Jehu's obliteration of the priests in 2
>Kings? Jehu's acts against the priests had political
>motives, since a priest could effect a coup (cf. 2 Kings
>11:4-20) by citing improper worship practices. This has
>specific application here: A king or a usurper needed
>priestly support for their own political ends. Although
>it was obvious trickery on Jehu's part and probably not a
>sincere sacrifice, the priests that had served under the
>previous kings of Israel could have cited Jehu's apparent
>sacrifice to Baal as an improper practice and used it as
>an excuse to depose him! In killing off these priests,
>Jehu was simply using the means of political murder to
>head off any trouble from that direction.
If the massacre at Jezreel happened, it would have been, beyond a reasonable
doubt, a simple political maneuver on Jehu's part to remove any potential
opponents to the usurpation of the throne of Israel. However, that is
besides the point. Turkel is stuck with whatever interpretation the
"inspired" writer put on the story, and he obviously thought that Yahweh
wanted Jehu to do what he did. Jehu, whose very words Turkel seems to think
had to be inspired truth (as we have previous noted), said to his servants
after the son of the prophet had anointed him king, "Thus and thus he [the
son of the prophet] spoke to me, saying, Thus says Yahweh, I have anointed
thee king over Israel" (2 Kings 9:12). Turkel's slant on this story again
makes Yahweh look like an absolute nincompoop. He sent a "son of the
prophets" to anoint Jehu king over Israel and to command him to utterly
sweep away the house of Ahab and make it like the houses of Jeroboam and
Baasha, but the all-knowing Yahweh selected for the task another man whom
this god in all of his splendorous omniscience had to know would turn out to
be just another bad egg. The omniscient Yahweh just didn't have any luck
with his kingly choices. He exalted Baasha out of the dust, as we have
already noted, and made him prince over Yahweh's people of Israel (1 Kings
16:2), but almost immediately Baasha turned bad and did that which was evil
in Yahweh's sight. Then he selected Jehu to execute another massacre, but
even before the job was done, Jehu (so turkel claims) botched the job and
went beyond his "mandate." It seems that Yahweh just didn't have much luck
with his selections of kings. Of course, it just might be too that since
the writer of 2 Kings heaped praise on Jehu for doing all that was right in
Yahweh's sight concerning the house of Ahab, this "historian" just didn't
share Turkel's opinion that Jehu had exceeded his "mandate." The readers
have their choice. They can let the text that this historian wrote speak
for itself, or they can let Turkel find imagined "nuances" in it that make
it not mean what it obviously says.
> So what have we learned?
Well, we have learned that Turkel can deny the obvious meaning of a text and
find far-fetched meanings that no one would ever think of except those bent
on denying that discrepancies exist in an ancient text written in
prescientific times by superstitious men. We have also learned that he can
cite commentaries that agree with his position, but there is nothing
exceptional or scholarly about this, because anyone can do the same, No
matter what a person's religious position may be, he can always find books
and commentaries that agree with it. If it is an inerrantist position, one
need look no further than Grand Rapids, MI, to find books to quote in
support of his belief. We have also learned that Turkel can fill a page
with fragmented quotations from books and commentaries but that he rarely
bothers to give the substance of what these commentators said in support of
And we have learned that Turkel calls this kind of "apologetics" scholarship.
> Neither of these two parties comes under the roof of the "house of Ahab" nor
>of any royal household, literally or figuratively.
The many biblical quotations that I have given in support of my position
>In killing these people, Jehu clearly exceeded the demands
>of his commission and destroyed those outside the house
No doubt that was why the "historian" who recorded this story claimed that
Yahweh had praised Jehu for his actions and told him that he had done to the
house of Ahab according to ALL that was in Yahweh's heart and that as a
reward, his sons for four generations would sit on the throne of Israel (2
Kings 10:31). Yes, indeed, it was probably because Jehu had "clearly
exceeded the demands of his commission" that caused the "historian" of the
Jezreel massacre to heap this kind of praise on Jehu.
Doesn't Turkel wish that he had a biblical statement as direct as this that
he could cite in support of his position?
> * That leaves only the matter of "close friends."
>Here alone does Till take up the gauntlet: "In the case
>of Yahweh's destruction of the house of Baasha, there can
>be no doubt at all that those who were not male
>descendants of Baasha were included in the destruction of
>Baasha's house," Till writes.
So that everyone can get an uninterrupted review of Turkel's quibble on this
point, I am going to post his entire "counterargument" with only very brief
comments occasionally inserted and then respond to it in detail at the end.
You will see that his "argument" is that the Hebrew word for "friends" in
the account of Zimri's destruction of the house of Baasha was different from
the word for "friends" in 2 Kings 10:11, which tells of Jehu's massacre of
"friends" of the house of Ahab. In other words, the argument (as I will show)
is as ridiculous as if someone should claim that if one English speaker said
that his "friends" were killed in a car crash, his meaning would be different
from that of another English speaker who said that his "pals" or "buddies"
or "comrades" were killed in a car crash. Such a quibble would be obvious
to those who speak English, because we would understand that both speakers
had intended to convey essentially the same relationships between the
speakers and the ones who had died in the accidents.
> For relevant proof, he cites 1 Kings 16:11 -
> "As soon as he began to reign and was seated on the
>throne, he killed off Baasha's whole family. He did not
>spare a single male, whether relative or FRIEND."
> Of this, he writes: Verse 11 is clear enough. Zimri
>killed "all the house of Baasha," and in doing so he
>didn't leave alive "a single male of his kindred or HIS
Everyone should keep in mind that Ahaziah of Judah was certainly a
"relative" or a kinsman of Ahab, because his mother was Ahab's daughter, so
Jehu didn't exceed his "mandate" by killing Ahaziah, because he was a
kinsman of Ahab. After all, if a grandson is not a kinsman, then what is he?
> Thus does Till find that Jehu destroyed the house of
>Ahab with the same thoroughness as the house of Baasha
>was destroyed. The match is perfect - or is it? In
>fact, what we have here is Till's most enormous blunder
>of all, and startling proof that one cannot simply
>consult the stark English translations for answers.
>Aside from totally ignoring the matters of the great men
>and priests, Till commits an error that would have been
>avoided had he done so much as consult a Hebrew
>concordance. It turns out that both Zimri and Jehu were
>similar in that they were acting politically - but the
>fact is that they were getting rid of two different kinds
It is at this point that Turkel begins his quibble, i.e., two different
"kinds" of people were killed by Zimri and Jehu, and this can be known by
virtue of the fact that the Hebrew text used different words to denote
"friends." We will soon see just who has committed an "enormous blunder."
If Turkel had taken his own advice and used a concordance to study how these
words were used throughout the OT, he would never have made the blunder of
claiming that the words denoted "two different kinds of people."
> Let's get behind the English and expose the error in
>Till's data. In 1 Kings 16:11, what is killed are
>"ga'al" (next of kin/kindred) and "reya." This latter
>word translates out to brother, companion, lover,
>neighbor, etc. as shown in the Strong's exposition:
> 7453. rea', ray'-ah; or reya', ray'-ah; from H7462;
>an associate (more or less close):--brother, companion,
>fellow, friend, husband, lover, neighbour, X (an-) other.
> Note the level of affiliation expressed: These are
>people of rather close relationship. The word is used
>elsewhere in this sense; here are some citations of
>places where it appears:
> Gen. 38:12, 20 - When Judah had recovered from his
>grief, he went up to Timnah, to the men who were shearing
>his sheep, and his friend ("reya") Hirah the Adullamite
>went with him...Meanwhile Judah sent the young goat by
>his friend ("reya") the Adullamite in order to get his
>pledge back from the woman, but he did not find her.
> Note here: This is a person whom Judah trusts with
>his property and his personal affairs!
> Ex. 22:7 - "If a man gives his neighbor ("reya")
>silver or goods for safekeeping and they are stolen from
>the neighbor's house, the thief, if he is caught, must
>pay back double."
> Note: Are you going to give silver or goods to
>someone you are not close friends with?
When I respond to all of this nonsense later, please notice how that Turkel
gets creamed on this "argument."
> Deut. 13:6 - If your very own brother, or your son
>or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend
>("reya") secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and
>worship other gods," gods that neither you nor your
>fathers have known...
> Note: Here this kind of person is classified with
>family members as someone so close that they might have a
>certain power to persuade you.
> 2 Ki. 7:3 - Now there were four men with leprosy at
>the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other,
>"Why stay here until we die?"
> Note: The word is not transliterated here, but is
>used to refer to the four lepers outside the gates of the
>city - men with a common bond.
What on earth does Turkel mean here? Transliteration occurs when a word in
one language is spelled in the alphabetic characters of another language, so
certainly transliteration was not involved in the translation that he is
quoting. However, translation was certainly involved, because the homograph
"reya" sometimes denoted the sense of "other" or "another." There are even
some versions that translate "reya" as "neighbor." Hendrickson's
Interlinear, for example, so translated it--"they said each man to his
neighbor." At any rate, please follow carefully when I comment below on
this passage that Turkel presented as a proof text.
> Prov. 3:28 - Do not say to your neighbor ("reya"),
>"Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"-- when you now
>have it with you.
> Note: Here the word specifies someone who lends
>things to you. In the next verse after the above it
>refers to someone who lives near you.
Well, not exactly. A "reya" in this passage was instead a neighbor to whom
things were lent. In other words, the "reya" in this verse was the one who
received the thing that was lent and not the one who did the lending.
> Prov. 14:20 - The poor are shunned even by their
>neighbors ("reya"), but the rich have many friends.
> Note: Here there is a distinct difference made
>between "reya" (neighbors) and "'ahab" (friends). The
>latter is an even stronger word indicating affection.
> Prov. 17:17-8 - A friend ("reya") loves at all
>times, and a brother is born for adversity. A man lacking
>in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security
>for his neighbor ("reya").
> Note: Here is a very precise description of what a
>"reya" was all about - and a description of how far
>foolish people take this relationship because of trusting
>overmuch! (By the way - the word "loves" above is that
> Conclusion: Clearly some close associational link
>is implied by this word, and in many cases we see
>relationships that fit in under the parameters of the
>broad definition of "house" in the OT context.
This is far enough for readers to understand the essence of Turkel's
argument. His contention is that the "friends" killed in Zimri's massacre
of the house of Baasha were what Hebrews called "reya," and by selectively
choosing just a few of the many passages in the OT where "reya" was used, he
has attempted to prove that a "reya" was a person with whom someone who had a
very close personal relationship, but just because these particular verses
concerned especially close relationships in no way means that "reya" was used
exclusively by the Hebrews to convey that meaning. To see this, all we need
do is look at some other passages in which "reya" was used. All of the
following passages used "reya" where indicated by brackets.
>Exodus 20:16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor [reya].
>17 You shall not covet your neighbor's [reya] house; you shall not covet
your neighbor's [reya] wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or
anything that belongs to your neighbor [reya].
If, as Turkel claims, "reya" always denoted someone with whom a person had a
close personal friendship, then he would have to say that the commandment
above did not forbid one's bearing false witness against a person just as
long as the person was not someone with whom he had a close relationship.
Likewise, one could covet another person's wife just as long as that person
wasn't a close friend.
>Leviticus 19:13 You shall not defraud your neighbor [reya]; you shall not
steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until
Since Turkel claims that a "reya" was a person with whom someone had an
especially close relationship, I suppose he would say that one could defraud
a person just as long as he was not a close personal friend.
>Proverbs 3:29 Do not plan harm against your neighbor who lives trustingly
Just because someone lives beside another person doesn't necessarily mean
that they are close friends. In such cases, then, Turkel's logic would make
it all right for one to plan harm against such a neighbor, just as long as
there was no especially close feeling for this person.
Turkel accused me earlier of blundering, but readers are about to see that
in his effort to present himself as a linguist who can find "nuances" in
Hebrew that escape the notice of most other people, he has committed the
king of all blunders. This happened when he quoted 2 Kings 7:3, which I will
copy and paste below so that readers won't have to scroll backwards to find
> 2 Ki. 7:3 - Now there were four men with leprosy at
>the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other,
>"Why stay here until we die?"
Turkel's comment on this verse was the following:
> Note: The word is not transliterated here, but is
>used to refer to the four lepers outside the gates of the
>city - men with a common bond.
I have already commented on Turkel's misuse of the word "transliterated," a
strange error for someone who prides himself on his linguistic abilities,
but now I want to notice how that the application that he made of this
passage shows an incredible linguistic stupidity on his part. I have
already noted that languages have homographs, i.e., different words that are
spelled and pronounced alike, such as "bear" and "bear" and "mean," "mean,"
and "mean" in English. In Hebrew, the homograph "reya" sometimes conveyed
the sense of "another" or "each other." The KJV rendition of 2 Kings 7:3
uses "another" in translating "reya" and says that the lepers were saying
"one to another." Since the four men in this group were lepers, Turkel
concludes that "reya" (translated "another") was a word in Hebrew that
conveyed the idea of "common bond," but this is as ridiculous as if someone
should say that in a statement in English that speaks of people in a group
speaking "one to another," the word "another" conveys a sense of "common
bond." What if the group were obviously rivals or adversaries as in, "The
cops and robbers were yelling one to another"? Would this mean that the
cops and robbers shared a common bond? Certainly not.
To see that there was no essential difference in the way that "reya" was
used in Hebrew when it conveyed the sense of "another" or "other," we have
only to examine a few passages.
>Exodus 21:18 When individuals quarrel and one strikes the other [REYA]
with a stone or fist so that the injured party, though not dead, is confined
>19 but recovers and walks around outside with the help of a staff, then
the assailant shall be free of liability, except to pay for the loss of
time, and to arrange for full recovery.
The word "reya" was used here in reference to individuals who quarrel to the
point of coming to blows or even wielding stones as weapons. If I used
Turkel's logic, then, I could argue that the word "reya" connoted people who
had feelings of strong hostility for each other. In other words, this
passage by Turkel's logic would show that the word means the exact opposite
of what he is claiming.
>Exodus 18:5 Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to
me to inquire of God.
>16 When they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one
person and another [REYA], and I make known to them the statutes and
instructions of God."
So again we see that the word "reya" was used in reference to people who are
disputing with each other, and so the word here certainly does not denote
the sense of close personal relationship or "common bond" that Turkel has
tried to claim by deceptively choosing passages that used the word where
such relationships were involved. The gullible may fall for this ploy, but
those who have reserved judgment on Turkel's apologetic abilities can now
clearly see that his quibble has no merit.
>Judges 6:28 When the townspeople rose early in the morning, the altar of
Baal was broken down, and the sacred pole beside it was cut down, and the
second bull was offered on the altar that had been built.
>29 So they said to one another [REYA], "Who has done this?" After
searching and inquiring, they were told, "Gideon son of Joash did it."
In this passage, "reya" was used in the sense of townspeople speaking "to
one another." Although theoretically possible, we could hardly imagine that
all the people in a town had close personal feelings of one another; hence,
we have another example, among many that I could cite, where "reya" was used
only in the sense of "another" without connoting special closeness. If
there is still any doubt that Turkel is grasping straws in this matter, the
next example should convince even the most stubborn biblicist.
>Genesis 15:> Then he said to him [Abraham], "I am Yahweh who brought you
from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess."
>8 But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?"
>9 He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three
years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
>10 He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over
against the other [REYA]; but he did not cut the birds in two.
>11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
In this passage the word "reya," used in the sense of "other," referred to
pieces of dead meat that Abraham laid on a sacrificial altar. I wonder how
much close friendship these chucks of meat felt for each other.
I could cite many other examples to show the absurdity of the slant that
Turkel is trying to put on the word "reya," but it is time now for the coup de
grace. If Turkel is willing to trust his personal savior Jesus, then he
will have to admit that the word "reya" had a much broader meaning than the
one that Turkel has tried to give it through his selective quotations above.
The following passage shows that Jesus thought that "reya" went far beyond
conveying the narrow definition that Turkel is trying to put on the word.
>Luke 10:25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said,
"what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
>26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?"
>27 He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and
with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and
your neighbor as yourself."
The NT was written in Greek, of course, but in the last part of his answer
to the lawyer's question, Jesus quoted Leviticus 19:18, "You shall love your
neighbor as yourself: I am Yahweh." The word translated "neighbor" in this
passage was "reya," the same word that was used in passages referred to
above that referred to bearing false witness against a neighbor or coveting
the wife of one's neighbor. As the following verses show, the lawyer who was
questioning Jesus on this occasion, asked him to explain what "neighbor"
>28 And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you
>29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
The answer that Jesus gave to the question was the well known parable of the
>30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and
fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away,
leaving him half dead.
>31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him,
he passed by on the other side.
>32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by
on the other side.
>33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he
was moved with pity.
>34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on
them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took
care of him.
>35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and
said, 'Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever
more you spend.'
>36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell
into the hands of the robbers?"
>37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do
So in this story, Jesus clearly taught that a neighbor ("reya") was not just
a person for whom one had close personal feelings but just anyone, even a
stranger, who needed help. It is obvious then that Turkel's selective
quoting of OT passages in which "reya" was used has backfired in his face
and that there is no basis at all for his contention that the word in 1
Kings 16:11 was referring only to very close personal friends of Baasha,whom
Zimri had killed.
Turkel's quibble on this point continued as he tried to prove that the
"friends" of Joram, whom Jehu killed in 2 Kings 10:11, were an entirely
different kind of "friend," but I will address this quibble in my next reply
to show that "reya" and "yada" were sometimes used interchangeably.
> What, then, of the "friends" of Ahab's house in 2
>Kings, who were killed by Jehu? These were not "reya" at
>all, but "yada" - an entirely different Hebrew word, with
>an entirely different connotation!
Having clearly failed to establish that "reya" in Hebrew connoted especially
close personal friendships, Turkel now turns to "yada," the kind of
"friends" whom Jehu killed in 2 Kings 10:11, to try to show that this word
had an entirely different meaning from "reya." Later, I will show that the
words were used interchangeably in the OT in reference to the same
relationships and associations, but first let's look at Turkel's quibbles on
>Let's look at the exposition from Strong's:
3045. yada', yaw-dah'; a prim. root; to know (prop.
>to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of
>senses, fig., lit., euphem. and infer. (including
>observation, care, recognition, and causat. instruction,
>designation, punishment, etc.) [as follow]:--acknowledge,
>acquaintance (-ted with), advise, answer, appoint,
>assuredly, be aware, [un-] awares, can [-not], certainly,
>for a certainty, comprehend, consider, X could they,
>cunning, declare, be diligent, (can, cause to) discern,
>discover, endued with, familiar friend, famous, feel, can
>have, be [ig-] norant, instruct, kinsfolk, kinsman,
>(cause to, let, make) know, (come to give, have, take)
>knowledge, have [knowledge], (be, make, make to be, make
>self) known, + be learned, + lie by man, mark, perceive,
>privy to, X prognosticator, regard, have respect,
>skilful, shew, can (man of) skill, be sure, of a surety,
>teach, (can) tell, understand, have [understanding], X
>will be, wist, wit, wot.
Now let's look at Strong's definition of "reya" so that we can make some
> 7453. rea', ray'-ah; or reya', ray'-ah; from H7462;
>an associate (more or less close):--brother, companion,
>fellow, friend, husband, lover, neighbour, X (an-) other.
First, we notice that the homograph "yada" had a much broader range of
meanings, so common sense should tell us that it would be more inclusive
than "reya," to which Turkel attempted to assign the limited meaning of
"close personal friendship," but we notice that Strong parenthetically
limited "reya" in the sense of "an associate" with the qualifying expression
"more or less." Hence, Turkel's own primary authority seems to disagree
with Turkel's claim that "reya" clearly conveyed the sense of "closeness."
To Strong, it was merely closeness "more or less." At any rate, one of
Strong's definitions of "yada" was "familiar friend," which was the
expression used to translate the word in the ASV, but wouldn't a "familiar
friend" be a "close personal friend"? I point this out only to call
attention to the flagrant quibbling that we have seen in Turkel's article.
He argued that a "reya" was a close personal friend and then claimed that
this somehow connoted a different relationship than a "yada," which was a
"familiar friend." Obviously, Turkel is splitting hairs to try to find
"nuances" that simply didn't exist in the Hebrew language, and when I show
that "reya" and "yada" were sometimes used interchangeably in the OT, his
entire house of cards will collapse on him. But first let's look at enough
of his "argument" to get the drift of it.
> Who are these people? Since "yada" occurs some 932
>times (!) in the OT, and is usually transliterated as the
So once again, Turkel, the linguistic expert who claims the ability to find
subtle nuances in Hebrew, shows us that he doesn't even know what the word
"transliterate" means. Transliteration occurs when a word in one language
is spelled in the alphabetic characters of another language. "Yada," for
example, is an English transliteration of a Hebrew word, and "know" would be
an English TRANSLATION of this word. If Turkel doesn't know this rather
simple linguistic fact, how can we trust him to be the expert in Hebrew
"nuances" that he claims he is?