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the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 11

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

And when Athaliah. — Ahab’s daughter by Jezebel: Gotholiah, the Septuagint and Sulpitius call her; a most wicked woman, another Medea, by whom the devil sought utterly to root out that race whereof Christ was to be born. Josephus saith that out of envy - which Augustine In Ps. cxxxix. calleth vitium diabolicum, a devilish vice - she sought to destroy the house of David, as Jehu had destroyed her father Ahab’s house. Others, that she thus strengthened herself, that she might be revenged upon Jehu. Most likely, she was carried on to this tragic fact by ambition - which ever rideth without reins - and zeal for Baalism, which - to her grief - she saw was now rooted out by Jehu in the kingdom of Israel. Such another imperious whorish woman - as the Scripture speaketh Ezekiel 16:30 - was Semiramis, queen of Assyria; Herodot. Tullia, the wife of Tarquinius Superbus; L. Flor. Irene, empress of Constantinople, and mother of Constantinus Copronymus - whose eyes she put out to make him incapable of the empire, that she might reign alone; Drahomira, queen of Bohemia; and Brumchildis, queen of France, AEn. Sylv. who is said to have been the death of ten princes of the blood, and was herself afterwards put to a cruel death by king Cletharius. But the likest in cruelty to Athaliah was Laodice, the wife of Ariarathes, king of Cappadocia; who, her husband being dead, seized upon the government, raged cruelly against all sorts both of the nobility and commons, whom she caused to be murdered; yea, against her own family, poisoning six of her own sons, that so she might keep the kingdom more securely: only one little one escaped her fury, whom the people at last advanced to the crown, and slew her. Baron., A.D. 614. - Lips.

Destroyed all.Conatu scilicet, non effectu: she endeavoured it, but God remembered his promise to David, to leave him a lamp in Jerusalem, 1 Kings 15:4 and to this promise Joash owed his life and kingdom.

Verse 2

But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons [which were] slain; and they hid him, [even] him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.

And stole him from among the king’s sons. — Out of the nursery; but how he should escape Athaliah’s bloody hands, is hard to say; whether by bribing the assassins, or substituting another child, … The nurse of Mauricius, the emperor’s child, offered her own to be slain by that bloody Phocas, to preserve her foster child’s life, the son of the emperor.

So that he was not slain. — No more was Theodosius, though in great danger of death by the superstition of Valens, his predecessor; who, being told by the soothsayers that one should succeed him in the empire, whose name began with those four letters, θ, ε, ο, δ , killed many that were called Theodori, Theodoti, Theoduli, …, and among the rest, Theodosiolus, the father of Theodosius, whom God nevertheless preserved to the empire from the bloody hands of that wretched Arian.

Verse 3

And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.

And he was with her hid, …,i.e., With his aunt Jehosheba, 2 Kings 11:2 a king’s daughter, and yet a priest’s wife. Athaliah either believed that Joash was slain with the rest of his brethren, or else she held it no policy to hold that he was alive, lest the people should hanker and hearken after him.

Verse 4

And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and shewed them the king’s son.

And the seventh year. — When now the young prince was full seven years old, 2 Kings 11:21 and able to say - as Grave Maurice did to the States when they doubted to choose him their general, because young - Tandem fit sureulus arbor, a twig in time comes to be a tall tree, might he have but princely education and dignity.

Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds. — Five of them only at first, 2 Chronicles 23:1-2 and then many other Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel (ibid.), to whom he communicated the matter, and by whom he wrought upon the rest to join, and yield their best assistance.

Verse 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;

And he commanded them. — For he was protector of the young king, and προβολον της αληθειας - as Theodoret styleth Athanasius - the Bulwark of Truth.

That enter in on the Sabbath. — So that the deposing Of Athaliah and her idolatry, the setting up of Joash, and with him, of true religion, was a Sabbath day’s work, and well it might be: Jehoiada - for the purpose - taking in the new company of Levites that came in their course, and not dismissing the old till this great work was over.

Of the king’s house. — Which was very near the temple; however it was with Athaliah, and the recently revolted princes of Judah, according to the common word, The nearer to the church, the farther from God.

Verse 6

And a third part [shall be] at the gate of Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, that it be not broken down.

At the gate of Sur. — So called, saith Martyr, from declining or departing; because the door keepers made the unclean decline from it.

Verse 7

And two parts of all you that go forth on the sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD about the king.

Shall keep the watch of the house of the Lord. — To keep the place from pollution, and the young king from danger.

Verse 8

And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand: and he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: and be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in.

Let him be slain. — Military discipline was in this case most necessary to be observed; neither would bloodshed have been any profanation of the temple.

Verse 9

And the captains over the hundreds did according to all [things] that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that should go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.

That Jehoiada the priest. — The high priest, saith Vatablus; though some others hold him to have been only a priest and a prime man.

Verse 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.

King David’s spears and shields. — Kept in the temple for trophies and tokens of thanksgiving: such as were Goliath’s sword, 1 Samuel 21:9 and the Syrians’ shields. 2 Samuel 8:7 ; 2 Samuel 8:11

Verse 11

And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, round about the king, from the right corner of the temple to the left corner of the temple, [along] by the altar and the temple.

From the right corner of the temple,i.e., From north to south.

Verse 12

And he brought forth the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and [gave him] the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.

And gate him the testimony. — That is, The Book of Deuteronomy, according to Deuteronomy 17:18-19 , or some other book wherein the law was registered, 2 Chronicles 23:11 called the Testimony, because it testifieth of God’s will and men’s duty, and is the best rule of ruledom; far beyond Lipsius’s "Beehive," or Machiavel’s "Spider Web." Queen Elizabeth, at her coronation, took the Bible - presented to herewith both her hands, and, kissing it, laid it to her breast, saying, that the same had ever been her chiefest delight, and should be the rule whereby she meant to frame her government. Speed’s Chron.

Verse 13

And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard [and] of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD.

And when Athaliah heard. — See on 2 Kings 11:1 .

She came to the people. — Without any mistrust or fear; but not without a special providence, that the warders might have her in their power.

Verse 14

And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner [was], and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.

And cried, Treason, treason! — Though herself were a usurper and a traitor, yet she thus crieth out; so do some sectaries, "Persecution, persecution," with as good pretence.

Verse 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: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the LORD.

And him that followeth her,sc., To defend her and adhere to her; which none did, for they were all weary of her tyrannical government, and glad to be rid of her.

Verse 16

And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king’s house: and there was she slain.

The way by the which the horses came. — So that she was trampled, haply, by the horses, as her mother had been; howsoever, she was slain among the stables and dunghills of the king’s house. Josephus saith that she was carried down to the town ditch, and there despatched.

Verse 17

And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD’S people; between the king also and the people.

And Jehoiada made a covenant. — Both sacred and civil: and they set forthwith upon the work of reformation, which prospered in their hands: for they pulled down Baal’s temples, and slew Mattan the priest before his altars. 2 Kings 11:18

Verse 18

And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.

And brake it down. — As Israel had done before them.

And the priest. — Jehoiada. See on 2 Kings 11:9 .

Over the house of the Lord. — Which the sons of that wicked woman Athaliah, perhaps her bastards, had broken up, and bestowed all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord upon Balaam. 2 Chronicles 24:7 So that there was but need of officers, or offices, to set things in order again.

Verse 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 to the king’s house. And he sat on the throne of the kings.

And came by the way of the gate of the guard. — Called the high gate, 2 Chronicles 23:20 by reason of the fairness and height of it; and the new gate. Jeremiah 36:10

Verse 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.

And they slew Athaliah with the sword — This being done by the consent of the whole people, or of the greater part, Deo fiebat auspice, saith Zuinglius, had God’s approbation; seeing she was both a usurper and a tyrant.

Beside the king’s house.Congrue ibi caeditur ubl peccarat; she suffereth where she had most sinned.

Verse 21

Seven years old [was] Jehoash when he began to reign.

Seven years old. — So that he was anniculus, about one year old when he was sought for to the slaughter. Athaliah might well have written as Mary Queen of Scots did in a window at Fotheringay castle,

“From the top of all my trust,

Mishap hath laid me in the dust.”

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 11". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/2-kings-11.html. 1865-1868.
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