Athaliah’s Reign of Terror
JUNE 6 - Nº 157 [2 Kings 11:1-16; 2 Chronicles 22:10 – 23:16]
When Athaliah realized that her son Ahaziah was dead (see #155 - Jehu Shakes Things Up), she decided to grab the throne of Judah for herself. But first she had some business to take care of. God had promised that a descendant of King David would always sit on the throne. She was not one of David’s descendants. But all of her grandchildren were—through her deceased husband Jehoram. She was afraid the people of Judah would depose her and crown one of them. So she ordered the guards to put all of her grandchildren to death!! Ahaziah’s stepsister, Jehosheba, was a faithful worshiper of God and was married to Jehoiada, the high priest. She overheard Athaliah’s wicked plot and ran to the palace. She grabbed Ahaziah’s baby named Joash and begged his nurse to follow her. They got out just before the guards arrived to murder the royal princes. Jehosheba hid the baby boy and his nurse in a bedroom until everything settled down. Then she snuck them into the Temple. Jehoiada and Jehosheba secretly raised him there for six years. Meanwhile, Athaliah was confident she had killed off all of David’s descendants and that there was no one left who could lawfully claim to be the king. So she continued her wicked reign . . . until one fateful Sabbath day when Jehoiada led a military coup! Jehoiada realized that it was time to act. He called a meeting of all the military commanders he trusted. He also invited the Levites and the leaders from all the Israelite towns. At the meeting he introduced the seven-year-old prince. He explained that the boy was Ahaziah’s son and therefore a descendant of King David. He told how Joash had survived the brutal attack six years before. Jehoiada asked all the men at the meeting to sign a covenant that they would support Joash as Judah’s king. Then the high priest revealed his plan. He assigned different men to guard the doors, the courtyards of the Temple, the palace, and the city gates while Joash’s coronation took place. A special force was designated to guard the new king. Jehoiada passed out all of King David’s spears and shields that were stored in the Temple. When everyone was ready, Jehoiada and his sons brought Joash out and placed the crown on his head. They gave him a copy of their covenant and proclaimed that he was their new king. Everyone clapped and shouted, “Long live the king!” They began to blow trumpets, and the Temple musicians led them in songs of praise. When Athaliah heard all the shouting and cheering, she went out to see what was happening. People were running through the streets, celebrating, and talking about the new king. She ran to the Temple and saw the child standing by the pillar designated only for kings. He had a crown on his head. She ripped her clothes and screamed, “Treason! Treason!” Jehoiada sent the commanders after her and said, “Get that woman out of here. It is not right to kill someone in the Temple.” So they dragged her outside and killed her at the horse corral. Athaliah’s reign of terror had come to an end.
God promised David that he would have a descendant on the throne forever. Not even the best efforts of Satan could keep that promise from being fulfilled. Do you trust God’s promises? Does knowing that He can and will keep all of His promises (especially the promise of eternal life) give you courage to live for Him every day?