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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 23

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-21

G. Athaliah ch. 23

The Chronicler did not have much interest in Athaliah because she was not of the Davidic line; she was the daughter of Ahab. His concern in this chapter was with the events that brought the next Davidic king to the throne: Joash.

Instead of protecting the temple, as had all the good kings of Judah so far, Joash enjoyed protection in the temple. The temple was a visual symbol of the continuity of the Davidic dynasty. Even though there was no visible king during Athaliah’s usurpation, the temple reminded the people that God would fulfill His promise to David of an unbroken royal line.

Many years later, the returned exiles were in a similar situation. A Davidic king was not on the throne in their day, but the rebuilt temple gave hope that a successor to David would again sit on his throne. In their day, they could not set a king on their throne, because they were no longer a sovereign nation but only a province of the Persian Empire. Evidently the people had already rebuilt the temple when the Chronicler wrote this book (cf. 2 Chronicles 5:9). Clearly the restoration community’s hope of the fulfillment of the promise God made to David centered on the temple. As long as they had permission to rebuild the temple, there was hope that someday a successor to David might rule over them again. The temple was in that sense the protector of the promise to David, both in Athaliah’s day and in the Chronicler’s day.

The public presentation of Joash recalls the anointing of Solomon, which ended Adonijah’s vain attempt to succeed David (1 Kings 1:39-40; 1 Kings 1:45-46).

Jehoiada’s reforms indicated the extent to which Judah had departed from God’s ordained worship (2 Chronicles 23:16-17). Jehoiada was the Chronicler’s ideal high priest. [Note: Thompson, p. 313.] It is interesting to read that the popular reaction to Athaliah’s death was joy (2 Chronicles 23:21).

"All the people of the land rejoiced, a characteristic response found in Chronicles whenever the Lord’s will was being followed." [Note: Ibid., p. 311.]

The flame of love for Yahweh burned low, but it was still alive among His people. In the absence of a king, the Lord raised up the high priest as Judah’s spiritual leader.

"The story of Athaliah, like that of Jehoram and Ahaziah, is a testimony to the ephemeral and ultimately illusory character of brute power exercised in a self-serving way." [Note: McConville, p. 206.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 23". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/2-chronicles-23.html. 2012.
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