The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Kings

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2 Kings 11

2Ki 11:1

Vv 1-3: "The king of Judah has been killed, his alliance with the king of Israel having involved him in the latter's fate. Jehu had also murdered 'the brethren of Ahaziah,' forty-two in number. Next, Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah and a daughter of Ahab, killed all the males of the royal family, and planted herself on the throne. She had Jezebel's force of character, unscrupulousness and disregard of human life. She was a tigress of a woman, and, no doubt, her six years' usurpation was stained with blood and with the nameless abominations of Baal worship. Never had the kingdom of Judah been at a lower ebb. One infant was all that was left of David's descendants. The whole promises of God seemed to depend for fulfilment on one little, feeble life. The tree had been cut down, and there was but this one sucker pushing forth a tiny shoot from 'the root of Jesse.'

"We have in the passage, first, the six years of hiding in the temple. It is a pathetic picture, that of the infant rescued by his brave aunt from the blood-bath, and stowed away in the storeroom where the mats and cushions which served for beds were kept when not in use, watched over by two loving and courageous women, and taught infantile lessons by the husband of his aunt, Jehoiada the high priest. Many must have been aware of his existence, and there must have been loyal guarding of the secret, or Athaliah's sword would have been reddened with the baby's blood. Like the child Samuel, he had the Temple for his home, and his first impressions would be of daily sacrifices and white-robed priests. It was a better school for him than if he had been in the palace close by. The opening flower would have been soon besmirched there, but in the holy calm of the Temple courts it unfolded unstained. A Christian home should breathe the same atmosphere as surrounded Joash, and it, too, should be a temple, where holy peace rules, and where the first impressions printed on plastic little minds are of God and His service" (MacL).

The careful planning of Jehoiada the priest paid off. It would have been easy for him to reason that as Athaliah was on the throne and there was no obvious son to sit on the throne that there was nothing he could do about it. However, being provided with one of the king's sons, he was willing to wait and plan for seven years before implementing his plan to remove Athaliah from the throne.

May we have the foresight and determination to plan to do the will of God even if it seems that our work will not come to fruition for many years.

THE WHOLE ROYAL FAMILY: Her own grandchildren!

2Ki 11:2

A BEDROOM: "Bedchamber" (AV). A closet or storage chamber, off the sleeping area, where mats and quilts were kept (StrScr 53).

2Ki 11:4

JEHOIADA: The husband of Jehosheba (2Ch 22:11).

2Ki 11:6

THE SUR GATE: A side exit from the palace to the temple.

2Ki 11:8

WHEREVER HE GOES: That is, back and forth between temple and palace.

2Ki 11:12

A COPY OF THE COVENANT: "The testimony" (AV). Prob meaning a copy of the written Law of God.

2Ki 11:14

THERE WAS THE KING, STANDING BY THE PILLAR, AS THE CUSTOM WAS: It seems that it was traditional for the king to stand by a pillar -- perhaps as a security measure against attack: 2Ki 23:3.

ATHALIAH TORE HER ROBES AND CALLED OUT, "TREASON! TREASON!": Ironically, she was pronouncing her own sentence, and demonstrating the end of her authority -- just as Caiaphas (Mar 14:63).

2Ki 11:16

HORSES: Who, just like Athaliah, should never have been in the king's house (Deu 17:16).

AND THERE SHE WAS PUT TO DEATH: Jehoiada -- the High Priest who acted as king -- destroys the wicked harlot who has reigned for six years!

2Ki 11:18

THEY SMASHED THE ALTARS AND IDOLS TO PIECES: This destruction of instruments of idol worship happens a number of times, but sadly, each time man has created more to destroy. There are certainly many lessons for us to learn if we will. Do we do any better? Are we destroying the idols and the 'high places' in our lives -- at which we idolize and worship our own desires?

THE PRIEST OF BAAL: Jezebel began Baal-worship in Israel, and Athaliah began the same in Judah.

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