Jehoshaphat, the 4th king of Judah, was a godly king who “did not turn aside from doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (1Ki. 22:43). But, he made one big mistake: he tried to make peace with wicked King Ahab, and married his son, Jehoram, to Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah.
Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab & Jezebel of Israel. This would have to rank near the top of any “Evil Family” list in the Bible… maybe in all of history! She followed the path shown to her by her parents, and influenced her husband to “walk in the ways of the kings of Israel” (2Ki. 8:18). He led the people to worship Baal.
Jehoram reigned for 8years, then died at age 40. When he died, his son, Ahaziah, succeeded him. But, Ahaziah was killed in his first year as king.
Athaliah was Judah’s 7th Ruler.
I. The Evil Queen (2Ki. 11:1-3)
– The Ones She Murdered (v.1)
During this attack, Athaliah’s brother was killed… her mother, Jezebel, was killed… and at least 70 other half-brothers/sisters in Israel were killed! Her reaction? She set out to destroy the rest of the royal heirs… sons & grandsons… so she would be assured to get the throne!! She reigned as queen for 6years.
– The One She Missed (v.2,3)
1 of the heirs, a grandson, was taken and hidden by one of Athaliah’s daughters, Jehosheba. This grandson, Joash, was hidden in the temple – evidently the last place Athaliah would think to go or look. He was hidden until he was 7yrs old.
Imagine how big a thing this was… The last remaining heir – of the tribe of Judah – being spared. If the royal succession of the tribe of Judah had been wiped out here, what might that meant concerning the Messiah/Jesus???
II. The Executed Queen (2Ki. 11:4-18)
– The Priest (v.4)
The high priest, Jehoiada, organized a coup.
– The Plan (v.5-16)
* Regarding Joash (v.5-12)
* Regarding Athaliah (v.13-16)
Athaliah was executed immediately after Joash was crowned the boy-king, much to the rejoicing of the people.
– The Pact (v.17,18)
Following Athaliah’s death, Jehoiada made covenants between God, the boy king, and the people… and they destroyed the idols of Baal.
Joash would become the youngest king of Judah, their 8th king… at 7yrs old!
Parents set the course of their children’s lives (2Ki. 11:1; 2Chron. 22:3,4)
Athaliah’s parents were idol worshipers (Baal). They were wicked, evil people… even willing to murder to get what they wanted. So, how did Athaliah turn out? Just like mom & dad! Maybe even worse!! Everything they did, she did… maybe worse. The actions and values of parents are usually passed on to their children. We make our own choices… but environment does have an influence!
Choosing a Godly spouse should be high on one’s list in a life-mate (2Ki. 8:16-18; 11:18; 2Chron. 21:5,6,12-15; 24:7)
We assume that Athaliah’s husband, Jehoram, was raised in a Godly home. So, what happened to him? Why didn’t he follow in the ways of his father, Jehoshaphat… or his grandfather, Asa? Why didn’t he also do right in the eyes of the Lord? It was his choice… but he also married the wrong woman!
A potential spouse’s relationship with God should rank higher than how he/she looks… or the family’s money… or education… or career plans… or whatever else 2 people might have in common.
Selfish ambition brings destruction (2KI. 11:1,16)
In that day, when an under-age heir was to assume his throne, a regent would be appointed to rule until he was ready. When Ahaziah was killed, Athaliah would have been named Regent. But, that wasn’t enough for her. She was willing to do whatever it took to ensure she would be named Queen.
Ambition can be a good thing! Our country was started on the belief that our freedoms + ambition could do/create anything. But, ambition is not the same as selfish ambition. Selfish ambition crosses the line… sometimes a deep, dark line.
The consequences of sin…. It’s amazing how far the consequences of 1 person’s sins can go. An alcoholic… a busybody… a greedy person… etc.; 1 sin that affects the 1 who sins the sin… but also those around him/her.
You can read Athaliah’s story in 2Kings 11:1-16; 2Chronicles 22:10-12; 23:1-15; 24:7.