Judah’s only queen takes the throne and I DO mean “takes.” She is Ahab’s daughter and will rule with the same kind of wickedness as her father used.
Athaliah is Ahaziah’s mother and the widow of Jehoram. She had influence over both these kings and therefore ‘controlled’ Judah for a total of 15 years. She walked in the ways of her father, Ahab, and did evil her whole time in Judah.
I wonder if it was her idea for Jehoram to kill all his brothers when he took the throne. When Ahaziah was killed she took it MUCH farther and tried to kill off the whole royal family. This would ensure she remained king and prevent anyone else from opposing her. Apparently though she only killed off the male individuals in the royal family as Ahaziah’s daughter was free and safe.
When Athaliah skipped over the girls she also opened the door for subterfuge. I will say that she MUST have hired out the task of killing all the royal family to her trusted soldiers because I cannot conceive of her not realizing one of her grandsons was missing from the count otherwise. Is it possible that another child was put in his place to make the count accurate? Was Athaliah so aloof from her family that she didn’t know the true number of her family? Or did God blind her to this fact all together? That is the most plausible explanation to me.
God started with Abraham alone when he built the nation of Israel. I’m certain that being reduced to one male descendant of David’s to continue His march towards His promise posed no problems He couldn’t overcome. He could have struck Athaliah down at any time but He chose to leave her on the throne for six years. He gave her grandson time to grow in secret, under the direct influence of the high priest.
The end of Athaliah would be the end of the house of Ahab. But his bloodline would continue in the kings of Judah. He was the grandfather of Ahaziah and therefore the single surviving child would carry Ahab’s genetic material too.
I want to turn our attention away from this despicable woman and focus on another. The woman I want to look at is Jehoshabeath. (Imagine learning to spell and write that as a child!) She is a woman of great character. She was a sister of Ahaziah. She was probably not a daughter of Athaliah though. She may have been alive when her father killed all his brothers. She was most probably alive when all but one of her brothers lost their lives. She had seen much death in her own family. And she chose to act to protect one innocent life. She showed great strength when the palace was being searched for she was able to keep the searchers from her own bedroom. “And just what do you expect to find by searching my chambers? I WILL NOT have you pawing through my belongings. Away with you for there is nothing here that concerns you.”
Jehoshabeath was of older for she was married to the priest Jehoiada. I don’t know how the office of high priest worked during this time. Jehoiada could have been high priest for life or he could have moved up into that position later on but this couple hid Ahaziah’s son, Joash, for six years. I wonder if they passed him off as their own son for a time. Were all in the Temple sworn to secrecy? Did they even have occasion to interact with Athaliah, as she NEVER sought the Lord?
I’m wondering what happened to Joash’s mother. Was she killed? Did she die in childbirth? Did she lead the soldiers on a merry chase? Was she a concubine who gave up her child as soon as he was born? Did she take her own life in order to spare her child’s? Did she know or have a hand in Jehoshabeath’s plan?
What motivated Jehoshabeath? Was it her outrage at Athaliah’s behavior? Was she thinking about the future of the kingdom and the line of David? Was she acting out of love for this helpless child? Or was she being led by the Spirit of the Lord? Did she come up with this plan herself or did she have help from her husband? Did she have to convince him to hide Joash after the deed was done? She was the hand of God for Joash.
Father God, THANK YOU for the people you place in history for good. People like Jehoshabeath. People like those who hid their neighbors during the Nazi’s brutality. Those who reach out even today in protection for those who cannot protect themselves. Satan DOES NOT control all! YOU set limits that he has NO power over. No matter how hard he tries he CANNOT stop Your plans. And Your plans for me are for good. Thank You for the people You have placed in my life too. EACH is special and has encouraged me to deepen my relationship with You.