A Wicked Queen Mother vs A Godly PrincessWhen 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.2 Kings 11:1-2
For context, read all of 2 Kings 11
Do you remember God’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:11-16
? God made a covenant with David that a king from his family line will always be on the throne. In fact, the Messiah would come from his line. But that seems to be under a very great threat here. The heirs to David’s throne are being killed off by their own grandmother!
To help us understand what is going on here, I’ll summarize some history. At this time, God’s people were split into two kingdoms. Israel in the north and Judah in the south. King Ahab was a wicked king of Israel, married to the wicked Queen Jezebel. They were Baal worshipers who killed the prophets of the LORD. When King Ahab died, his son Ahaziah became king of Israel. When Ahaziah died, his brother, Joram took the throne. Ahaziah and Joram’s sister, Athaliah, married a man, Jehoram, the King of Judah. But just as her mother, Jezebel influenced King Ahab to allow Baal worship in Israel, so Athaliah influenced her husband, Jehoram to worship Baal in Judah.
When Athaliah’s husband, King Jehoram died, his son, also named Ahaziah, became King of Judah. But God was raising up a king in Israel, an army commander named Jehu whom He commanded to destroy the wicked house of Ahab. In carrying out his orders, Jehu killed King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah. He is also responsible for taking out the wicked Queen Mother, Jezebel.
Unfortunately, Jezebel’s daughter, Queen Athaliah was just as wicked as her mother. When she learned that her son had been killed by Jehu, she began to destroy all of her grandsons who were in line for the throne so she could rule! Remember that God had promised that the Messiah would be born from the descendants of David. If Athaliah had been successful, the royal Davidic line would have been cut off completely.
But God raised up a woman. Jehosheba, was a righteous woman from an exceedingly wicked family. She was the daughter of King Jehoram most likely from another mother than Athaliah. She stole her baby nephew, Joash, and hid him in the temple of the LORD where her husband was the high priest. She hid him there for six years. During that time, Athaliah ruled over Judah. Notably, she is the only reigning queen recorded for either Israel or Judah. Unfortunately, she is not known doing right in the eyes of the Lord. Far from it.
Where Athaliah followed in the footsteps of her mother and continued in the wicked ways of her family, Jehosheba made a better choice. She chose to do right in the eyes of the Lord. By rescuing her nephew, she did not just save an innocent child from infanticide. She saved the Davidic line. If Athaliah had discovered what Jehosheba had done, she would no doubt have both her and the high priest put to death. But Jehosheba acted courageously anyway and by doing so, preserved the family line of the future Messiah.
When Athaliah had been reigning for 7 years, Jehosheba’s husband, the high priest Jehoiada, was involved in a coup to dispose of Athaliah and crown the young Joash king. It was successful and Athaliah was put to death. Joash became the King of Judah when he was just 7 years old. In 2 Kings 12:2
, it says that “Joash did right in the sight of the LORD all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.”
The WORD about women in the story of Athaliah and Jehosheba is that we don’t get to choose the environment in which we are raised, but we do get to choose our own character. Athaliah and Jehosheba were both women raised in wicked family environments, but both made drastically different life choices. Athaliah chose to walk in the footsteps of her parents. Jehosheba chose to walk in the footsteps of the LORD and do what was right in His eyes. God would have found a way to preserve the Davidic line one way or another. But because Jehosheba chose to do what was right, she was able to be used by God in a mighty way. Her actions secured the family line that would deliver the Messiah to the whole world. ReflectHave you ever needed to make a courageous decision that went against the wishes of friends and family? Were you obedient to the Lord or to man? Pray Father, I want to be courageous in my obedience to You. Use me for Your purposes and make me brave enough to do right in Your sight even when it’s risky. Amen.