Jul. 12. Athaliah Seizes Throne in Judah; Succeeded by Joash

II Kin. 11:1-12:21; II Chron. 22:10-24:27

Jehu had killed the entire house of Ahab including Ahaziah, king of Judah. When Athaliah saw that her son Ahaziah was dead, she seized the throne of Judah. She attempted to kill the descendants of David who would be a threat to her power. However, Jehosheba, the daughter of former King Jehoram of Judah and the wife of Jehoiada, the priest hid Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash. He, also Athaliah’s grandson, was the only direct descendant of David who was spared from the queen’s slaughter.

After six years, the high priest, Jehoiada arranged to have the seven-year-old Joash anointed as king of Judah. The new king was properly anointed, crowned and given the Testimony (copy of the law). Joash was king, but the priest was in charge at first. Athaliah was promptly killed to remove any threat that she could pose against the king.

Jehoiada reestablished the covenant between the Lord, the king and the people that they would follow the Lord. Many years earlier, the worship of Baal had been introduced into Judah by Jehoram and his wife Athaliah. The people destroyed the temple of Baal and all images and altars associated with it. They also killed Mattan, the priest of Baal. There was great rejoicing in the land as they began a new chapter in their lives freed from the oppression of Athaliah. Jehoiada restored the temple worship of God as it had been commanded in the Law of Moses.

During the first few years of Joash’s rein, he was advised and led by Jehoiada, the high priest. He remained faithful to God as long as Jehoiada lived. It is important that young people have someone influential in their lives who will lead them in the right way.

As the young king grew older, he was distressed at the condition of the temple of God. The last few kings before him had turned from the worship of God and had worshipped the god, Baal. Their neglect of the temple had caused it to fall into severe disrepair. Joash instituted a fundraising campaign to secure money to pay for the temple’s repair.

In the twenty-third year of Joash’s reign, he began to oversee the temple’s repair because the priests had neglected to take that responsibility. Eventually, the repairs were complete.

Jehoiada was a great man. He had been a close adviser to King Joash, but at the age of one hundred thirty years, he died. He was buried with the kings because he had done much good during his lifetime.

Unfortunately, many men are influenced by bad advice after their chief source of counsel has died—whether a godly father or godly mother or in the case of Joash, the high priest of God. He listened to the leaders of Judah and turned to worshipping idols instead of continuing to worship the living God. Even after hearing warnings from the prophets and later Jehoiada’s son, Zechariah, they did not return to the Lord.

Jehoiada had protected, mentored, led and advised Joash for many years. When his son delivered the message, “Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you,” Joash had the messenger stoned to death. How soon sometimes one forgets the kindness of another person.

The spring of the next year, the Lord allowed the Syrians to invade Judah. They killed the leaders of the land and took the spoils back to Damascus. Joash’s own servants assassinated him and he was succeeded to the throne by his son, Amaziah.