What does the Bible tell us about Athaliah?
[A] She was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (2 Kings 8:26).
[B] She married Jehoram (Joram), the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah.
[C] She was the mother of Ahaziah, the fifth king of Judah, who was slain by Jehu’s men.
What did Athaliah do when she learned of her son’s death?
After Ahaziah’s death, Athaliah “rose and destroyed all the royal offspring,” that is, everyone who had survived Jehu’s purge (2 Kings 11:1 and 2 Chronicles 22:10). She usurped the throne and had all of her grandchildren killed so that no one would threaten her unlawful reign. She was as wicked as her mother and brought the dynasty of David to the brink of ruin. Athaliah reigned for six years (2 Kings 11:3).
Practical Consideration: Evil always looks for an opportunity.
Athaliah wasted no time in usurping the throne of Judah when she learned of the death of her son. Evil always looks for an opportunity to promote its godless agenda and will go to any extreme to gain an advantage.
Who was Jehosheba and what role did she play when Athaliah seized the throne of Judah?
Jehosheba was the daughter of King Joram and sister of Ahaziah. Some feel that she was not the daughter of Athaliah, but of Joram by another wife. When Athaliah began her murderous purge of Ahaziah’s offspring, Jehosheba stole and hid away a son of Ahaziah named Joash. She hid the boy and his nurse in the house of the Lord during the six-year reign of Athaliah (2 Kings 11:2 and 2 Chronicles 22:12). Joash, a helpless baby, would eventually become the instrument of Athaliah’s fall (see Psalm 8:2).
Practical Consideration: One person can make a difference.
One person can make a difference in the face of great odds. Jehosheba placed herself at great risk when she rescued Joash from Athaliah’s murderous purge. Jehoiada also placed himself at great risk when he hid the infant heir to the throne within the walls of the house of God. Each of these individuals made a difference. They played a key role in insuring that David would continue to have an heir on the throne.
Who was Jehoiada and what role did he play in restoring the throne of Judah to a descendant of David?
Jehoiada was the high priest and the husband of Jehosheba (2 Chronicles 22:11). He helped to hide and protect Joash. In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada set a plan in motion to restore the throne of Judah to a descendant of David. This plan included:
[A] Jehoiada brought together military, religious, and civil leaders into the house of the Lord and made a covenant with them and put them under an oath (probably of loyalty and support for the coup) and then showed them the king’s son (2 Kings 11:4 and 2 Chronicles 23:2).
[B] He organized the military and religious leaders in such a fashion as to insure the protection of Joash (2 Kings 11:5-8 and 2 Chronicles 23:4-8).
[C] He armed some of the participants with the weapons of David that were stored in the house of the Lord (2 Kings 11:9-10 and 2 Chronicles 23:9). Probably no one imagined that the weapons of David would be used years later to insure that he had an heir on the throne.
[D] Once everyone was armed and in position on the Sabbath, Jehoiada brought Joash out and crowned and anointed him king. Notice also that he “gave him the testimony,” that is, put the law of the Lord in the young king’s hands. All of the people shouted their support by saying, “Long live the king!” (2 Kings 11:12 and 2 Chronicles 23:10-11).
Practical Consideration: We must not be afraid to stand for right.
Jehoiada was indeed a courageous man. He patiently waited for the right moment to set in motion the events that would depose the wicked Athaliah and restore the throne to its rightful heir. When that moment came, he boldly stood for what is right and motivated the people to do what was necessary to put Joash on the throne.
How did Athaliah respond to the commotion surrounding the coronation?
When Athaliah heard all of the noise and commotion, she went to the house of the Lord to see what was happening (2 Kings 11:13). It was then that she discovered that her purge had not been as thorough as she had believed. Her grandson Joash was wearing the crown and had the support of the people. Athaliah then tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!” (2 Kings 11:14). Jehoiada promptly issued an order that she be executed (but not in the house of the Lord) along with anyone who might follow her (2 Kings 11:15). Athaliah was put to death with the sword “at the entrance of the Horse Gate of the king’s house” (2 Chronicles 23:12-15 and 2 Kings 11:16, 20). Her death brought rejoicing in the land! (2 Kings 11:20). No one cried at her funeral!
What did Jehoiada and the people do following the death of Athaliah?
[A] “Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people, also between the king and the people” (2 Kings 11:17 and also 2 Chronicles 23:16).
[B] The people destroyed the house of Baal and killed Mattan the priest of Baal ( 2 Kings 11:18 and 2 Chronicles 23:17).
[C] Officers over the house of the Lord were appointed (2 Kings 11:18 and 2 Chronicles 23:18-19).
[D] Joash, the seven-year-old king, was seated on the royal throne in the king’s house (2 Kings 11:19 and 2 Chronicles 23:20).
[E] The people rejoiced at the events of the day (2 Kings 11:20 and 2 Chronicles 23:21).
Practical Consideration: We have a responsibility to use our influence for good.
Jehoiada used his influence to call the people back to God. He led the people and the young king to enter into a covenant with God. He placed the law of the Lord in the hands of the young king and charged him with the responsibility of being a godly leader. Jehoiada never used his influence to promote himself or to try to advance himself in religious and political ranks. He used his influence for altruistic ends.