Athaliah’s Evil Reign in Judah

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Shifting to the events in Judah we find Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel in control.  She came to Judah in a marriage alliance, and established a power base during her husband Jehoram’s role and continued to hold this power during the brief reign of her son, Ahaziah.  At his death, Athaliah took immediate action to exterminate the entire royal family.  She would have been successful had it not been for Jehosheba, her sister, who took the young infant Joash and protected him from the slaughter.

For six years Athaliah was in virtual control and pursued her practice of Baal worship.  No doubt she heard about the violent reforms of Jehu to the north and this increased her zeal for Baal worship. Then a hero emerged in the person of Jehoiada, the priest, and the husband of Jehosheba.  Summoning the palace guards, he plotted the overthrow of Athaliah.  At the changing of the guard, the young prince, Joash, was brought out, anointed and proclaimed king.  Joash was seven years old at the time.  After the solemn coronation ceremony, the group erupted in shouts of “Long live the king!"  Athaliah came out to find out what was going on only to be greeted by the new king standing by the pillar reserved for royalty.  In spite of her protests, she was taken out of the temple area and to the stable entrance of the royal palace and was executed.  Until Joash was mature, Jehoiada was really the power behind the throne.


Athaliah’s attempt to kill all of Ahaziah’s sons was futile because God had promised that the Messiah would be born through David’s descendants (2 Sam. 7).  Our efforts to do things in this life are futile unless it is part of God’s plan.

II Kings 11:1-21 (English Standard Version)

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