Relationships –Athaliah and family?

In the twelfth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign. Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. He followed the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was related by marriage to Ahab’s family.

  • 2 Kings 8:25-27

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so she could not kill him. He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.

  • 2 Chronicles 22:10-12

Jehoiada and his sons brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; they presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him and shouted, “Long live the king!”
When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and cheering the king, she went to them at the temple of the Lord. She looked, and there was the king, standing by his pillar at the entrance. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and musicians with their instruments were leading the praises. Then Athaliah tore her robes and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”
Jehoiada the priest sent out the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops, and said to them: “Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest had said, “Do not put her to death at the temple of the Lord.” So they seized her as she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and there they put her to death.

  • 2 Chronicles 23:11-15

A Quote

[2 Kings 11:1]: ”Athaliah – A granddaughter of Omri (8:26) and daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. She was zealous to rule after the death of her son, Ahaziah (9:27) and was dedicated to seeing the worship of Baal officially sanctioned in Judah. … She reigned for six years (v. 3) c. 841-835 B.C. … destroyed all the royal heirs. The previous deaths of Jehoram’s brothers (2 Chr. 21:4) and Ahaziah’s brothers and relatives (10:12—14; 2 Chr. 21:17) left only her grandchildren for Athaliah to put to death to destroy the Davidic line. Though the Lord had promised that the house of David would rule over Israel and Judah forever (2 Sam. 7:16), Athaliah’s purge brought the house of David to the brink of extinction.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary

What Do We Know about their Relationship?

With all her brothers-in-law deceased, and her children, Athaliah sought to kill anyone that had a chance to contest her hold on the throne.  That meant killing all her male grandchildren.

As Jezebel used what she was taught by her parents to bring Baal worship to the forefront of Israel, Athaliah was doing the same to Judah.  The priests of the Lord were still present.

Jehosheba was Athaliah’s daughter.

What Can We Infer about their Relationship?

The killing of rivals to the throne has been done in other settings.  Did Athaliah get the idea from her grandfather, Jezebel’s father, king of the Sidonians, or was it an established practice before that?

The Ottoman Empire (rise period from 1299-1453, finally removed in 1920) used that practice.  The new emperor killed all his brothers to solidify the throne.  But did the Ottoman’s read the Scripture above or was it a long-standing practice?

In What Ways Can We Fill in the Gaps about their Relationship?

Yes, for someone who is power hungry or is so evil by worship of false gods, killing your grandchildren could be done without a second thought.  With such evil people, there seems to be no filter, no limitations, and with evil women, no mother or grandmother instincts.

What Can We Learn from this Relationship?

Lord Acton spoke of absolute power corrupting absolutely.  This is a prime example.  When 2 Corinthians 6:14 talks of being unequally yoked, it meant believer versus nonbeliever, nothing about skin color.  The Christian in an unequal relationship will either be brought down or any Christian witness is neutralized.

What Have We Learned thus far?

We have learned to:

  • Own our own mistakes and not blame others.
  • Be faithful to God, and worship properly, in the proper spirit.
  • Go to God in prayer, especially before any major decisions.
  • Do not show favoritism among family members, but always go to God.
  • Forgiveness is extremely important for none of us are perfect except for God.
  • Beyond physical love, there are other expressions of love, and respect is very important.
  • A relationship requires maintenance, nurturing, and an acceptance of the roles.
  • Be humble and listen to wise advice, and even wait when necessary.
  • At times, we must be bold and trust God, and we must obey.
  • And to love, love, and love.
  • Be trustworthy.  Trust is required.
  • And don’t worry.  God has this situation, and He has us in the palm of His hand.
  • And remember to forgive others and confess our sins.
  • And never go against what God instructs us to do.
  • And truly believe that God can show you mercy and accept the mercy offered.  Yet remember that it is indeed mercy.
  • Not blindly trust our buddies from our youth as advisors and there may be emotional ties that make their advice sound better than it is.
  • Understand that good cannot compromise with evil.

A Closing Prayer

We look to You for guidance.  When facing pure evil, give us wisdom to know only You can deal with such matters.  Give us the wisdom, whenever possible to avoid such confrontation.  But in the midst of the confrontation, help us be wise enough to keep our mouth shut and let You do the talking.
In Thy Name we pray,

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

One Comment

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  1. Thanks for sharing this idea. Anita

    Liked by 1 person

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