2 KINGS CHAPTER 11.
The End of Athaliah of Judah.
JEHOASH BECOMES KING. — V. 1. And when Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, herself the daughter of Jezebel and the granddaughter of Omri, chap. 8, 26. 27, saw that her son was dead, Chap. 9, 27, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal, all the male members of the royal house, in order that she might retain her position of queen-mother and queen-regent. V. 2. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash (or Jehoash), the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons which were slain, the younger princes who were here put to death in addition to the older relatives executed by Jehu, chap. 10, 14; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bed-chamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain; his aunt saved his life by hiding him in the room where the bedding of the palace was stored, where no one lived. V. 3. And he was with her, with his nurse, who afterward became his attendant, hid in the house of the Lord, in the dwelling of the high priest, whose wife Jehosheba was, 2 Chron. 22, 11, six years, being kept in concealment during all this time. And Athaliah did reign over the land. V. 4. And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, the officers and the most powerful part of the army, and brought them to him into the house of the Lord, his position as high priest making this step comparatively easy, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the Lord, pledging them to help in bringing the rightful heir to the throne, and showed them the king’s son, whose existence had been kept secret till then. V. 5. And he commanded them, saying, This is the thing that ye shall do: A third part of you that enter in on the Sabbath shall even be keepers of the watch of the king’s house, guarding the royal residence proper; v. 6. and a third part shall be at the gate of Sur, guarding the side-door of the palace; and a third part at the gate behind the guard, where the king’s messengers were usually stationed, where they received the king’s commands, the chief gate, the direct approach to the royal residence. So shall ye keep the watch of the house that It be not broken down, to ward off any attack which might be directed against the palace. V. 7. And two parts of all you that go forth on the Sabbath, being relieved of duty at the palace on the Sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the Lord about the king. V. 8. And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and he that cometh within the ranges, in an attempt to penetrate their ranks, let him be slain. And be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in, a careful execution of these commands being necessary for the success of the plan. V. 9. And the captains over the hundreds did according to all things that 3ehoiada, the priest, commanded. And they took every man his men that were to come in on the Sabbath, to go on duty, with them that should go out on the Sabbath, go off duty, and came to Jehoiada, the priest. V. 10. And to the captains over hundreds did the priest give King David’s spears and shields that were in the Temple of the Lord, probably being deposited there by those retiring from service. V. 11. And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, round about the king, as he was brought from his place of concealment, from the right corner, from the wall on the right-hand side, of the Temple to the left corner of the Temple, along by the altar and the Temple, keeping the space between the sanctuary of the Temple and the altar of burnt offering free from all intruders. V. 12. And he brought forth the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony, either certain sections or the entire Five Books of Moses, Deut. 17, 19, and they made him king and anointed him; and they clapped their hands and said, God save the king! This acclamation of the people in the court was the same as in 1 Kings 1, 25. So the times of affliction were destined to merge into days of blessing and mercy once more; for it is God who gives a country good rulers.
ATHALIAH SLAIN. — V. 13. And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, as they hailed the king with delight, she came to the people into the Temple of the Lord, driven by curiosity, to find out what the outcry was about. V. 14. And when she looked, behold, the king, who was still a very young boy, stood by a pillar, as the manner was, at the place reserved for the king by ancient usage, apparently a platform, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, the latter being Levites or priests blowing the Temple trumpets, as on festival occasions, and all the people of the land rejoiced and blew with trumpets. And Athaliah, who took in the situation at a glance, rent her clothes, in great fear and terror, and cried, Treason, treason! V. 15. But Jehoiada, the priest, commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges, they should lead her out through the ranks, so that she would not be able to communicate with any adherents; and him that followeth her, making a show of taking her part, kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the Lord, which would have been desecrated by the blood of the usurper and murderess. V. 16. And they laid hands on her, they made way for her to escort her out; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king’s house, inside the city walls; and there was she slain. V. 17. And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people that they should be the Lord’s people; he solemnly renewed the covenant which had been broken by the idolatry of Athaliah, between the king also and the people, pledging the king to rule according to the Law and the people to give a cheerful obedience to their lawful ruler. V. 18. And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, the temple which had been erected to the heathen idol at Jerusalem, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, thus removing all the evidences of idol worship in the city of God, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. And the priest, Jehoiada, appointed officers over the house of the Lord, thus renewing the position of overseers which had been created by David, 1 Chron. 25. V. 19. And he took the rulers over hundreds, and the captains, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of the Lord, and came by the way of the gate of the guard, the chief entrance to the royal palace, to the king’s house. And he sat on the throne of the kings, as acknowledged ruler of the kingdom of Judah. V. 20. And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet. And they slew Athaliah with the sword beside the king’s house, none of her adherents daring to resent her execution or to venture a hostile demonstration. V. 21. Seven years old was Jehoash when he began to reign. The last member of the house of Ahab was now removed, and the legitimate authority of the house of David was restored. The Church of God usually emerges from persecutions intended to take her last strength filled with new power and zeal for the pure Word and Sacraments.