This woman, Athaliah, was the mother of Ahaziah and the daughter of Jezebel. You’ll remember that Ahaziah was the evil king killed by Jehu. We talked about that in episode 419. And of course, we talked about that accused woman Jezebel on episode 417.
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. As evil as Jezebel was, Athaliah was just as bad. When she heard of the the death of Ahaziah, she knew that her proximity to power was about to slip through her fingers so she ordered all the heirs to the throne to be killed.
As we are in the Christmas season, doesn’t that remind you of something that happened around the time of Jesus’ birth? Sure. When Herod heard that a new king had been born, he ordered all the boys two years old and younger to be killed, in hopes of preserving his throne.
Had Athaliah succeeded in killing all the heirs, there would have been no descendent of David to take the throne. But of course, God had promised David that there would always be one of his heirs in place. But she was not successful. The sister of the the dead king Ahaziah hid Joash, one of Ahaziah’s sons in order to keep him safe. (This reminds me of the time Moses was hidden when he was a baby.)
Where was Joash hidden? In the temple! He stayed there for six years, while Athaliah reigned in Judah. Her rule was a tyrannical one, and Baal worship again became strong.
It was in the seventh year that Jehoiada the priest made the move that brought an end to Athaliah and her rule, and put Joash on the throne.
In chapter 12, Joash is called Jehoash here in the NASB. Don’t let that confuse you. This is one and the same person.
Remember that he had been raised in the temple? This is probably why he saw to it that the temple was repaired.
Since he was only a boy when he took the throne, Jehoiada the priest was Joash’s advisor. Jehoiada was a good man and while he lived, Joash followed the Lord. In 2 Chronicles we learn that Jehoiada died when he was 130 years old. After his death, Joash turned from God and began to worship Baal. This explains his weakness in dealing with king Hazael of Syria at the end of chapter 12, and the uprising of his servants who killed him.
He had a miraculous beginning and a tragic end. Perhaps this is why the apostle Paul warns us to run the race, keeping our eyes on the prize. It is obvious that Joash did not.