Ahaziah rules Judah for one year until he is killed. Athaliah replaces him and attempts to wipe out the legitimate heirs to her throne. She is unaware that Joash is saved by Jehoshabeath.
Jehoshabeath saves Joash: “[She] kept him hidden from Athaliah so that he was not put to death.” (v. 11b)
III. Select Verses
7-9: The LORD caused the downfall of Ahaziah because he visited Joram. During his visit he went out with Jehoram to Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. In the course of bringing the house of Ahab to judgment, Jehu came upon the officers of Judah and the nephews of Ahaziah, ministers of Ahaziah, and killed them. He sent in search of Ahaziah, who was caught hiding in Samaria, was brought to Jehu, and put to death. He was given a burial, because it was said, “He is the son of Jehoshaphat who worshiped the LORD wholeheartedly.” So the house of Ahaziah could not muster the strength to rule.
10: When Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, learned that her son was dead, she promptly did away with all who were of the royal stock of the house of Judah.
11-12: But Jehoshabeath, daughter of the king, spirited away Ahaziah’s son Joash from among the princes who were being slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Jehoshabeath, daughter of King Jehoram, wife of the priest Jehoiada — she was the sister of Ahaziah — kept him hidden from Athaliah so that he was not put to death. He stayed with them for six years, hidden in the House of God, while Athaliah reigned over the land.
1-9. Ahaziah, king of Judah 1a. Coronation 1b. Rationale 2. Reign 2-6. Conviction: following in Ahab’s ways, helping Jehoram 7-9a. Ahaziah’s punishment 9b. Burial 9c. Summary statement 10-12. Athaliah, ruler of Judah 10. Athaliah attempts to kill the royal heirs 11-12. Jehoshabeath saves Joash and protects him for six years
In v. 10, Athaliah, the new ruler of Judah, attempts to wipe out the Davidic heirs to her throne. It has been suggested that Athaliah, who was the daughter of a king of Israel and not from the Davidic line (see 2 Kgs 8:18 = 2 Chr 21:6), was employing a tactic of legitimation common to the usurpers of the North. For three examples of this practice, see:
- 1 Kings 15:29 – As soon as he became king, he struck down all the House of Jeroboam; he did not spare a single soul belonging to Jeroboam until he destroyed it — in accordance with the word that the LORD had spoken through His servant, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite.
- 1 Kings 16:11 – No sooner had he become king and ascended the throne than he struck down all the House of Baasha; he did not leave a single male of his, nor any kinsman or friend.
- 2 Kings 10:17 – Arriving in Samaria, [Jehu] struck down all the survivors of [the House of] Ahab in Samaria, until he wiped it out, fulfilling the word that the LORD had spoken to Elijah.
VI. Works Used
Thiel, W. “Athaliah (Person),” ABD 1:511-512.
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