Athaliah, Queen of Judah.
Ahab was king of the northern ten tribes called Israel and Jehoshaphat was king of the southern kingdom called Judah. Ahab ruled from Samaria while Jehoshaphat’s palace was in Jerusalem. The distance between these two cities is only 30 miles as the crow flies, not more than 40 miles along the ancient valley roads called the way of the Patriarchs.
Jezebel was not content with being Queen of the North and ruling only half of the country, she wanted to control it all. Her father had been King of the Sidonians to the North of Israel in what is now Lebanon, and since her father’s death, her brother had taken his place. She had influence there but none to speak of yet in Judah. How could she get her hands on that Kingdom too?
Jezebel had a daughter named Athaliah whom she raised in idolatry. While Athaliah was growing up she was continually surrounded by almost 1000 false prophets, 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Ashera. These lewd, crude and rude demon inspired men ate at the table of King Ahab. In this mix, Athaliah was indoctrinated in the evil which her mother was sworn to uphold.
In accordance with her selfish ambitions, Jezebel concocted a plan to get her hands on the Kingdom of Judah by using her daughter as both bait and trap. Jezebel convinced her husband, King Ahab, to make an alliance with King Jehoshaphat. While on one of his visits to Samaria, Jezebel had Ahab arrange a marriage between King Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, and her daughter, Athaliah.
So, when King Jehoshaphat died, guess who became queen? Right … Athaliah. Sure, her husband was King, but that paled in comparison to her being Queen of Judah.
At this point in history, Jezebel was the older sister of the King of the Sidonians and acted as such; Jezebel was also the mother of the King of Israel, and the mother of the Queen of Judah. She was at the top of her game; she had strategized and had won! Her wickedness was felt all throughout the Middle East and none would dare challenge her.
King Jehoram ruled eight years, 4 years during his father’s life, and 4 years afterwards. During his reign he killed his 5 brothers and seized the property his father had given them. He was so evilly influenced by his wife that he participated in idol worship and was a miserable man. He ended up dying from a dysentery type of disease, his body was so ravaged that he was denied burial in the royal sepulcher among the Kings of Judah.
At King Jehoram’s death his youngest son Ahaziah, the son of Athaliah who had been brought up in her house, became king. King Ahaziah did evil in the sight of the Lord as did his grandparents, Ahab and Jezebel. He reigned only one year.
When God raised up Jehu to rid the land of the house of Ahab, he killed King Joram of Israel, Ahab’s son and King Ahaziah, King of Judah, before going on to kill Jezebel that same day.
When Athaliah heard that her son, King Ahaziah of Judah was killed, she declared herself Queen of Israel took over the Kingdom. In order to solidify her claim to the throne, she immediately put all of her grandchildren to death along with anyone who carried the bloodline of David. This was a wicked and evil woman who evidently grew tired of manipulating and controlling husbands, sons and kings, so she decided to do away with them all together and just rule the Kingdom on her own.
But, what could one expect? She was only following a family tradition. Captured by and commanded to repeat the same mistakes and practice the same evils as her mother before her, and her grandfather before her, as did her siblings and the children who were raised in that evil house of idolatry.
Brought up at her wicked mother’s feet in the palace of Jezebel, taught by the prophets of Baal and the groves, Athaliah turned out to be a wicked and evil woman herself – as did her children … all that is but one!
After Ahaziah’s death, now Queen Athaliah took the throne for herself and began her reign of terror for 7 years.
Athaliah = afflicted of the Lord
2 Kings 8:25 Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.
The Bible introduces an interesting woman in this passage. Athaliah lived during a time when Israel's kings turned away from God. In fact, her grandfather was the notorious Ahab's son in law.
Of note, #22 = light [which kind? true or false?]. Note that Ahaziah. Joash, and Amaziah, omitted in Matt. 1:8, all died violent deaths [9:27; 12:20; 14:19])
2 Kings 11:1. The slaying of the seed-royal.
2,3-. Joash. Rescue of.
13,14. Athaliah. Alarm.
15. Joash. Capture of the murderess.
16. The slaying of the usurper.
Though all the sons and family of Ahab had been killed in Israel, God will use one of Ahab and Jezebel's own daughters to get the job done down in Jerusalem and Judah.
2 Kings 11:1 And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.
One of the 10 occasions of death being caused by a woman. See Judg.4:21. Ahaziah was the king of Judah, the man that Jehu killed when he was visiting his relative, king Joram of Israel. Jehu killed him as he was fleeing from Jezreel, and caught him in Megiddo. So now this woman, the daughter of Jezebel herself was the one that would try to killed off all the sons that had the right to ascend to the throne of Judah. She is killing off her own kin. However Athaliah had a daughter that thinks that she is doing a great thing, for she is going to save one male child to nurse him and hide him away until he is seven.
2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.
Jehoshaba is not the daughter of Athaliah, because she was married to the high priest Jehoiada, for we know this from II Chronicles 22:11. Jehoiada then would be the brother in law to king Ahaziah, and therefore the uncle of this child that he was hiding in the temple that he was in charge of. Also be alert and recognize that this baby was there and among the sons that had been slaughtered, and assumed to be dead when he was taken from the pile those dead sons, to be raised from among the dead children.
There is no way that Athaliah, the daugher of Jezebel, also being a Baal worshipper, would have allowed one of her own daughers to have married a high priest of God. So she was a daughter of Joram, the son of Jehoshaphat but not the Joram of the house of Israel. Know that the seed of Ahab was done away with, however this infant is not of the seed of Ahab, and every thing will be well. There is just a small problem here in figuring out the family tree of Ahab, and that problem is to see who is of the tree of Ahab and who is not. Athaliah was of the seed of Ahab, whereas Jehosheba and Joash were not, but of the lineage of Jehoshaphat.
3 And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.
Of course Jehosheba lived with her husband Jehoiada the high priest, all the while this child Joash was being raised in the bedchambers of the Temple priests. Athaliah was in her palace and on the throne of Judah completely unaware that Joash was sucking his bottle and having his diapers changed off in the temple. This went on for six years.
During the six years that Athaliah reigned, she stripped the temple clean of all the vessels of God and moved them to the house of Baal, to be used for the sacrifices to heathen gods. The temple had been left alone and the condition of the temple had become in bad shape. Athaliah had refuse to go to the temple of God, and that is why Joash was not discovered over this six year period. Yet in this complete fallen state, the priests and their families continued to live there, and do their duties the best that they could. So we can see how their feelings would be against queen Athaliah and the wickedness that she brought to the nation of Judah. Again this is God's way of destroying the seed of Ahab, for He used this wicked old woman to kill off her own male kin, while all the time allowing one small child to rise from the heap of the dead bodies of the sons of Ahab. Think of the wickedness in her heart.
God allowed all those sons to be killed because they had become worse and more wicked than Ahab was. Their grandmother was Jezebel and she taught them to be very wicked, and deeply grounded in the worship of Baal. Those sons that were slaughter by Athaliah would have been the leaders of God's people, leading them away from God and into those Zidonian Kenite ways of Baal, and their grandmother Jezebel. They were terrible and they got exactly what they deserved and God wanted them to have.
Remember that their king visiting up north in the nation of Israel had already been purged by Jehu, and the reason for the killing in the first place was at the direction from God through his prophet Elisha. God does not destroy innocent little children, but Athaliah did. Athaliah killed all the children which had an heir to her throne in Judah, whether of Ahab and Jezebel ties or not. The only thing that mattered to her was that she become queen, and that there would be no seekers to the throne to dethrone her.
2 Kings 11:13 And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD.
The protection of the child had gone on for those six years, and now that the child was seven years old, the people of the Temple are going to make this little fellow their king. When the anointing ceremonies and the crowning takes place, of course queen Athaliah heard the noise that came from the temple, and when she saw the guards standing guard at the temple, she came over to the temple of God. Remember her place of worship was over on the other side of the mount, at the temple of Baal. She never waited for someone to come and tell her that she had problems, she was a take over type, just like her mother Jezebel. She was there by herself, without her guards, or her army following her. However those that stood guard over the king, were those of her own army.
14 And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.
As Athaliah stood and observed this little pike standing by the pillar in his little kings garments, in the same manner that a king was suppose to stand, she knew instantly what was taking place. She then understood that there was a child left over that slipped by her killing of the royal sons of the kingdom, and they had just anointed and crowned him king. Her plan to completely control the kingdom had failed, and now she is about to be dethroned.
15 But Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the LORD.
This order from Jehoiada comes from the high priest, and with God blessings. The order was to take the queen out of God's house and away from the premises. Form a line of ranks, and don't allow her to get out of your circle, and don't allow her blood to be spilt within the house of the Lord. If there is any one that follows her, kill them with the sword. This is the high priest giving God's order to them. However no one was to be killed within the Lord's house.
16 And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king's house: and there was she slain.
They took old Athaliah not by the main gate to the castle, but out the back door where the horses are kept, and come and go from the city. Finally out there in the horse barn, she was slain.
2 Kings 11:20 And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet: and they slew Athaliah with the sword beside the king's house.
This was a happy time in Judah, for all influences of Jezebel and her daughters were gone. Worship was established in all the land for sacrificing God's way in the temple at Jerusalem.
The story is repeated in 2 Chronicles.
2 Chronicles 22:2 Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.
Remember that king Omri of the house of Israel had his son Ahab marry Jezebel, the wicked queen that went through out the kingdom murdering priests and prophets. So Jezebel's grandson would be this King Ahaziah that is beginning his reign in Jerusalem, for his mother Athaliah was married to Jehoshaphat's son Jehoram. Though it states "daughter" it is really his granddaughter.
2 Chronicles 22:10 But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.
When mother Athaliah saw what they did to her youngest son, she plotted the death of all the royal seed line that lived in Judah. Just as Satan had tried all the way back to the killing of Abel by Cain in the garden of Eden, Satan their father was trying to destroy the royal seed line that would continue to sit over the Israel, and the line of the Seed of the promised Messiah that would be born in Bethlehem some 788 years later. Jesus pointed out who these Kenite people were in John 8:44.
John 8:43 "Why do ye [Jesus speaking to scribes and Pharisees] not understand My speech? even because ye cannot hear My word. Ye are of your father the devil [Satan], and the lust of your father [Cain] ye will do. He [Cain] was a murderer from the beginning [Genesis 4:8-10], and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him [Cain]. When he [Cain] speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own [Satan]: for he [Satan] is a liar, and the father of it."
Do you see why Athaliah wanted to kill off the royal seed line now, for she is of her mother Jezebel, and Jezebel's interest are hers.
11 But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.
The safest of all places to keep this small child that would be heir to the throne of Judah was in the house of God. Jehoshabeath was the daughter of King Jehoram, and married to a priest of God. So this would be her little brother that the wicked Queen Athaliah was after. Sure Athaliah was successful in murdering off the sons of the king, and all the seed line to the throne, but she over looked on little child, nestled away in the arms of his sister in the house of the Lord. This lad Joash will grow to know the ways of God, just like Jehoshaphat, and the priests will teach him will the laws and commandments of God.
God has his women down through the ages, that are picked out to do the one thing that only she could do. There are many such women in the bible, and Jehoshabeath is one of those women, selected to do their job for the Lord. Women of God, like Deborah who led the army of God when the generals refuse to lead into battle for fear for their lives. Then we think of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, who ran the spike through the head of Sisera, when he was trying to kill the men of God. These women and others can be read of in Judges 5:1 - 31.
2 Chronicles 23:12 Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the LORD:
The protection of this king had gone on for the past six years, and now that child was seven years old, and he was now the king over Judah. When the anointing and crowning ceremonies were over, of course Athaliah heard the noise and came running to the Temple to see what was going on there.
13 And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of musick, and such as taught to sing praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, Treason.
This is exactly as recorded by the prophets in II Kings 11:14. Picture Athaliah standing at the back of the Temple and observing this little child standing by the pillar in his little king's garments. He was trained to have the same manner that a king was suppose to stand, and she knew instantly what was taking place. She knew she missed this child when she was out murdering all his brothers that were heir to the throne.
Remember that Athaliah was the daughter of Jezebel, from the seed of the throne of the Kenites. It was under king Omri of Israel that king Ethbaal of the Kenites of Hamath sealed their kingdoms through the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel. Later king Ahab tried to make an alliance with Jehoshaphat of Judah, but allowing their sons and daughters to intermarry. So here stands the murderous queed Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel, who is loosing her throne to this young child. The desire of the people was to kill her right on the spot for they now have a king, but Jehoiada told them; "slay her not in the house of the Lord." Have respect for God's house.
14 Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges: and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the LORD.
15 So they laid hands on her; and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king's house, they slew her there.
Her military leaders took this wicked queen not by the main gate of the castle, but out the back door where the horses are dept, that come and go from the city. Out there behind the horse barn wicked Queen Athaliah was slain.
Ezra 8:7 And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males.