Saturday, April 15, 2017


Women In An Era Of Political Decline

Athaliah: (Ath-uh-LIE-ah) "The only  woman to ever rule over Judah"

Key Scripture: 2 Kings 8:26; 11; 2 Chronicles 22; 23:13-21; 24:7

Her Name Means: "taken away of the Lord, or Jehovah has afflicted."

Her Character: She was bad to the bone, heartless, ruthless, wicked and evil.

Her sorrow: That her attempt to destroy the royal line of Judah failed.

Her joy: That her ruthlessness paid off, at least for a time, making her the ruler of Judah.

Pre-Story: Athaliah was Queen of Judah from 842-836 BC. When young, Athaliah asked for moral advice of her parents, she inquired of murderers. When she first listened to her mother’s prayers, she heard her pray to the Baal god. When she went to worship with her mother she went to the groves of idolatry. When the prophets of God were discussed at Athaliah’s house, they were spoken of with disgust and mockery. When they talked about dreams and aspirations, they spoke of material riches and power—the earthly things Baal represented. Young Athaliah’s teaching was not about the great victories of Jehovah or his people, and her prayers were not addressed to the Father in Heaven.

Her Story: Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and so was half Israelite and half Phoenician. She personified all the evil of her ill-famed parents and transferred the poison of idolatry into Jerusalem’s veins.

She married Jehoram, son of the pious Jehoshaphat king of Judah. Her marriage to King Jehoram Judah was a political marriage that formed an alliance between the two countries. They had one son, Ahaziah, who proved to be as dedicated to paganism as her mother.

After reigning for eight years Jehoram died, of an incurable disease (2 Chr. 21:18-20). While he reigned, Athaliah, who had the stronger self-determination of the two, dominated him. Athaliah inherited from her evil mother the strength of will and fanatical devotion to the worship of Baal and eventually led Judah into idolatry.

Her son Ahaziah became king and only reigned for a year. Wounded in battle by Jehu, he fled to Megiddo, where he died.

When Athaliah used the occasion of her son’s death to take power for herself. She became covetous of the throne, but the sons of Ahaziah (her own grandsons) stood in her way. Because of her worship of Baal, it seemed nothing to her to kill young children.

With fanatical ambition she seized the opportunity and massacred all the legal heirs, or so she thought.This merciless, cruel-hearted woman sought to eliminate the last trace of the House of David through which the promised Messiah was to come (2 Kings 8:19).

Unknown to Athaliah, as she set out to massacre all her grandsons, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the high priest, and sister of Ahaziah, had hidden the youngest until he was seven years old (2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chr. 22:11).

Jehoiada’s plan was to restore the throne to the rightful heir and to crown Joash (Jehoash) when the opportune moment came. His intent was to declare the remaining son of Ahaziah the lawful king of Judah (2 Kings 11:21).

Athaliah came into the Temple as the coronation of Joash took place, and rending her robe, she cried: “Treason! Treason!”

To save the temple from being defiled with her evil blood, the guards slew her just outside the temple door. The horses trampled over her body where she lay dead at the gates. In her miserable death Athaliah still bore a resemblance to her mother Jezebel, who was abandoned to the dogs.

Athaliah was left in a horse-path, to be trampled upon. Like her mother she died a queen, but without the love of her people or the blessing of God. She had shoved the whole nation into idolatry. She trampled on all faith. She violated all morality. She reigned as a monarch within Israel/Judah for six years (2 Kings 11:1-3).

"So all of the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet. For they had put Athaliah to death with the sword." 2 Chronicles 23:21.

Her Place in God's Divine Plan: Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being murdered, and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. He was hidden with her in the house of God for six years: This little-known woman (known as Jehosheba in 2 Kings 11:2) had an important place in God’s plan of the ages.

Through her courage and ingenuity, she preserved the royal line of David through which the Messiah would come. Though Ahaziah was a bad king who made evil alliances, he was still a descendant of David and the successor of his royal line. For the sake of David, God remembered His promise and spared this one young survivor to the massacre of Athaliah. The line of David was almost extinguished and continued only in the presence of a small boy named Joash, but God preserved that flickering flame.

Lesson We Can Learn from Her Legacy: Among the lessons one can gather from the record of the murderess is that we reap what we sow. A further lesson we learn from her stained history is that no one can thwart God’s purposes of grace.

Ambition can be a positive thing. However, Athaliah is an example of selfish ambition run riot. In the end, her actions not only cost her the throne, but her life as well. Our actions and dealings with people should also be “Christ-like.” If we try to get ahead by deploying riotous ambition, such as Athaliah, we might be successful in this life, but in the end, such a course of action could cost us our souls!

Birthplace: Samaria, Jordan
Death place: Jerusalem, Israel
Spouse: Jehoram
Parents: Jezebel (Mother) · Ahab (Father)
Children: Ahaziah of Judah (Son)
Siblings: Ahaziah of Israel (Brother) · Jehoram of Israel (Brother)
Reigned Queen: 841–835 BCE