Reading: 2 Kings 11-13; 2 Chronicles 24:1-22
Summary: The blood bath of yesterday’s reading is not over. Upon seeing her son, Ahaziah the king of Judah, and her brother, Joram king of Israel, killed by Jehu, Athatliah moves quickly to seize power in Judah. To do so she must eliminate the living heirs to the throne, which would be her grandsons. She arranges for the murder of them all; or so she thinks. One infant son, Joash, is rescued and hidden for seven years in the temple until the priest Jehoida could arrange for Athaliah’s overthrow and instating the rightful king.
Joash proves far different than his father or grandfather as he works to restore the temple. The Chronicles account tells us that this was due to the influence of Jehoida as the king turned to idolatry following the good priest’s death.
Jehoahaz succeeds his father Jehu on Israel’s throne and his son Jehoash (also called Joash) reigns following him. It is during the reign of Jehoash of Israel that Elisha dies.
Sin Isn’t Pretty
Sin is awful. Sin is ugly. Sin is gross. Sin is mean. Sin is sinister. Sin is hurtful. Sin is…
And it’s not only the sinner who suffers. That is part of the reason sin is all of the above, and more.
Think about Athaliah. What an example of sin at its worst. A woman so bent on self-promotion and power that she, without feeling, would murder all of her own grandsons. That is a cold, calloused, selfish, wicked heart.
But that’s not where it started. Go back to her daddy, Ahab, who chose for himself a wife who incited him to do evil, more than any predecessor (1 Kings 16:33; 21:25). There’s no wondering about the influences on her life as she grew up.
And don’t forget king Jehoshaphat of Judah who was a good king; mostly. But he made a marriage alliance with Ahab. Who knows what he was thinking—maybe that he could be a good influence on the king of Israel. Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, married Ahab’s daughter—you guessed it—Athaliah.
When Jehoshaphat died and Jehoram became king, he killed all of his own brothers (2 Chron. 21:2-4). Athaliah’s influence? Who knows?
So, when Jehoram and Athaliah’s son Ahaziah is killed by Jehu, Athaliah moves quickly and ruthlessly. But this wasn’t new to her. Her innocent, dead grandchildren testify to the entangling, poisoning effect of sin. It is a mess–a tragic, horrible mess.
Athaliah’s sin was her own, but not all her own. It was also her husband’s, her father-in-law’s, her father’s and mother’s, and who knows whom else’s.
With good reason we are warned to “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22).