Judah’s Queen Athaliah

     While Jezebel was the wife of northern Israel’s king Ahab, southern Judah also experienced a woman in the predominant role as queen.  Her name was Athaliah.
     Athaliah’s lineage is very significant.
     Much care needs to be exercised when studying the kings of both the north and the south.  For example both the north and the south had kings named Ahaziah and Joram (Jehoram) and they served during the same time period.
     At the present time we’ll be discussing the kings of the south, i.e. Judah.  If kings of the north are part of this narrative, they will be clearly identified and delineated.
     In 853 BC king Jehoram began his reign over Judah.
      “He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.  And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife, and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.”  2 Kings 8:17-18
     What a situation.  The king of Judah married a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel whose name was Athaliah.  It is little wonder that Jehoram followed in the ways of Ahab, his father-in-law.
     In all this the LORD would fulfill his promise to Abraham and David.
     “Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah, for the sake of his servant David, as He promised him to give a lamp to him and his sons forever.” 
2 Kings 8:19
     Little more is said about the activities of Jehoram, except that he had a son named Ahaziah to succeed him.
     “Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name was Athaliah…and he walked in the way of the house of Ahab…for he was the son-in-law of the house of Ahab.”  2 Kings 8:26-27
     Inasmuch as Ahaziah was of the house of Ahab, he was killed by Jehu at the same time that Jehu killed Israel’s king Joram with the arrow through the heart.
     At this time Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother took extreme action.  Remember Athaliah was a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel while being married to Judah’s king Joram. 
     “When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs.”  2 Kings 11:1
     In her rage she killed all those in the royal line of Judah.  What she didn’t realize was that there remained one small child name Joash (Johash) who was preserved to continue the royal line.
     A sister of Ahaziah, an aunt of Joash, took the child and hid him in the house of the LORD for six years while Athaliah reigned over Judah.
     What a marvelous providential act!
     The name of the aunt of Joash who hid him away was Jehosheba who was married to the High Priest Jehoiada.
     In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign Jehoiada acted.  He revealed the young king to the people and there was great jubilation.  The event was also accompanied with great security inasmuch as the queen did not at this time know what was going on.
     “Then the escorts stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, all around the king…and he (Jehoiada) brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him…they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, ‘Long live the king!’”  2 Kings 11:11-12
     When the queen heard the commotion and saw what was going on she cried out, “Treason! Treason!”
     At that point the High Priest Jehoiada commanded the officers of the army:
     “Take her outside under guard, and slay with the sword whoever follows her’…So they seized her; and she went by way of the horses’ entrance into the king’s house, and there she was killed.”  2 Kings 11:15-16
     King Joash reigned forty years in Jerusalem.
     God’s sovereignty in the affairs of man is incomprehensible.  He had promised Abraham and his descendants Isaac and Jacob that Israel’s future Messiah would be born of Jacob’s son Judah and so it was.
     Nothing did, or will, thwart God’s immutable purpose for His chosen.
     “…Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah…has prevailed…” 
Revelation 5:5
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