‘When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the LORD for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.’ 2 Kings 11:1-3
Athaliah And Joash
Although the text says that ‘Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah’, we must remember that sometimes daughters were called ‘mother’. Here we find that Athaliah was actually the daughter of Ahab, 2 Kings 8:18 / 2 Kings 8:26. She reigned as queen of Judah in the south from 853 to 841 B.C.
It appears that because she was Ahab’s daughter, her husband Jehoram didn’t get involved with Jehu, when he was killing the descendants of Ahab, 2 Chronicles 22:10-23:21.
To make sure Athaliah remained in power, she killed all the sons of Jeroham, not the sons of Athaliah. The royal seed would include the descendants of Jehoshaphat of the Davidic line. Whilst she killed all the sons of Jeroham, Jehosheba, who was Jehoiada’s wife and Joash’s aunt, 2 Chronicles 22:11, took Joash away from Athaliah and hid him.
This is clearly God working through Jehosheba, as He was preserving the seedline of David, God had promised that through David One would come to sit on his throne, 2 Samuel 7:13.
‘In the seventh year Jehoiada sent for the commanders of units of a hundred, the Carites and the guards and had them brought to him at the temple of the LORD. He made a covenant with them and put them under oath at the temple of the LORD. Then he showed them the king’s son. He commanded them, saying, ‘This is what you are to do: You who are in the three companies that are going on duty on the Sabbath—a third of you guarding the royal palace, a third at the Sur Gate, and a third at the gate behind the guard, who take turns guarding the temple—and you who are in the other two companies that normally go off Sabbath duty are all to guard the temple for the king. Station yourselves around the king, each of you with weapon in hand. Anyone who approaches your ranks is to be put to death. Stay close to the king wherever he goes.’ The commanders of units of a hundred did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each one took his men—those who were going on duty on the Sabbath and those who were going off duty—and came to Jehoiada the priest. Then he gave the commanders the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and that were in the temple of the LORD. The guards, each with weapon in hand, stationed themselves around the king—near the altar and the temple, from the south side to the north side of the temple. Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’ 2 Kings 11:4-12
The Carites were also known as the Kerethites, 1 Kings 1:38, they were basically soldiers who were employed by kings as their protectors. They were Philistine soldiers who were very loyal to David and David’s dynasty, 2 Samuel 15:18 / 1 Samuel 30:14 / Ezekiel 25:16 / Zephaniah 2:5.
Jehoiada comes up with a great plan on how he can overthrow Athaliah. He hid Joash until he was older and he goes on to secure the loyalty of the commanders and the palace guard by making a covenant with them. He plans to overthrow the Baal worship which Athaliah was involved with, because of this he was easily able to secure the loyalty of the priests of Jerusalem, 2 Chronicles 23:4.
The priests wouldn’t normally have had weapons, but the text tells us that the weapons had been stored in the tabernacle by David, and later placed in the temple by Solomon.
When the day came for the anointing of Joash as king, he was anointed by the High Priest and an official announcement was made with the approval of the people and so, Joash was now made king at the time seven years old.
‘When Athaliah heard the noise made by the guards and the people, she went to the people at the temple of the LORD. She looked and there was the king, standing by the pillar, as the custom was. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her robes and called out, ‘Treason! Treason!’ Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops: ‘Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.’ For the priest had said, ‘She must not be put to death in the temple of the LORD.’ So they seized her as she reached the place where the horses enter the palace grounds, and there she was put to death.’ 2 Kings 11:13-16
When queen Athaliah heard the noise, she knew what was happening but wasn’t very happy, she tore her robes and cried out ‘treason, treason’. It’s clear that she was caught totally off guard and as a result, everything she did to try and stop Jehoiada from establishing the kingship of Joash was useless.
In order to keep the temple from becoming desecrated, she is taken outside the temple and killed. Athaliah was very much like her parents, Ahab and Jezebel, she was a murderer and promoted idolatry, Ezekiel 18:4.
‘Jehoiada then made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people that they would be the LORD’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. Then Jehoiada the priest posted guards at the temple of the LORD. He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and together they brought the king down from the temple of the LORD and went into the palace, entering by way of the gate of the guards. The king then took his place on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace. Joash was seven years old when he began to reign.’ 2 Kings 11:17-21
The covenant that Jehoiada made with the Lord, the king and the people, was simply a renewal of that covenant which the Lord had made with Israel through Moses, Exodus 34:1-27.
Even though Solomon had built a temple to God, it appears that Baal became so popular that the people demanded that temples be built in order to worship Baal. Here the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down.
Joash was now king at the age of seven, however, he was under the wise guidance of Jehoiada and he was a good ruler as long as Jehoiada lived.
Go To 2 Kings 12