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
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
THE WHOLE ROYAL FAMILY: Her own
A BEDROOM: "Bedchamber" (AV). A closet or storage
chamber, off the sleeping area, where mats and quilts were kept (StrScr
JEHOIADA: The husband of Jehosheba (2Ch
THE SUR GATE: A side exit from the palace to the
WHEREVER HE GOES: That is, back and forth between
temple and palace.
A COPY OF THE COVENANT: "The testimony" (AV). Prob
meaning a copy of the written Law of God.
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
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
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
THE PRIEST OF BAAL: Jezebel began Baal-worship in
Israel, and Athaliah began the same in Judah.