ATHALIAH SEIZES CONTROL OF JUDAH
The fact that Jehu did not kill Athaliah left Judah exposed to the wickedness of this cruel daughter of Jezebel. Since her son had been killed, she herself killed her grandchildren, so that none of them could rule (v.1). However, she missed one of these, Joash the son of Ahaziah, who was hidden by his aunt, Jehosheba the sister of Ahaziah. Joash was only a year old at the time and was cared for by a nurse in secret (vv.2-3). The condition of Judah was so low at the time that no one was able to resist Athaliah's vicious usurping of authority over the land.
JOASH FINALLY CROWNED KING
After six years had passed, Jehoiada the priest found courage given of the Lord to gather together captains and body guards to the house of the Lord, where he made a covenant with them and showed them Joash the king's son (v.4). Certainly it would be a relief to these men to find that there was a living heir to the throne, specially after the ordeal of bearing with Athaliah's callous authority. Satan was behind the murder of all these children, but God made sure one was left to carry on the title to Judah's throne, though in the genealogy of Matthew 1:1-25 the names of Ahaziah, and Amaziah are omitted because Athaliah was their progenitor (Matthew 1:8). There Joram is said to have begotten Uzzah, but Joram actually begot Amaziah, to whom Uzzah was born. The Lord saw fit to drop the three names from the register because of the wickedness of Athaliah.
Jehoiada gave instructions that one third of the officers who served on the Sabbath would watch over the king's house, one third on guard at the gate of Sur and one third at the gate behind the escorts. These were to guard against any possibility of assault upon the house (vv.5-6). Two contingents of those who went off duty on the Sabbath should also keep watch of the house of the Lord for the king (v.7), and the king (Joash) was to be surrounded on all sides by armed men. Anyone who came within range was to be put to death. The king was to be kept guarded at all times.
The captains followed these instructions, and Jehoiada gave them spears and shields that had belonged to David and were kept in the temple of the Lord (vv.9-10). Thus the king was surrounded and protected. If there were any friends of Athaliah, they had no opportunity to do anything to oppose the coronation of Joash. Jehoiada crowned him and anointed him, giving him the Testimony, the written proof of his kingship. Clapping their hands, the people proclaimed, "Long live the King!"
When Athaliah heard the noise of this celebration, she came to the temple and saw Joash standing by a pillar, as was the custom at a coronation, while leaders and trumpeters were there supporting the king. All the people were rejoicing with blowing of trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes and cried out, "Treason, Treason!" But Joash was the true king. Athaliah was guilty of far worse than treason-She was a mass murderer and a usurper who had no right to the throne.
She required no trial. Everyone knew her wickedness that demanded her death. Jehoiada gave orders to the captains and officers of the army to take her outside, for she must not be executed in the house of the Lord. If anyone took her side, that person must be killed also (v.15). She was taken out by way of the horse gate and executed. Solemn end for this wicked daughter of a wicked couple!
A NEW BEGINNING BY COVENANT
The Lord had one man, Jehoiada the priest, to stand in the gap at this time. The king was only seven years old, but Jehoiada was a faithful and able mentor for him. Jehoiada acted as a priest of God should act, beginning by making a covenant between the Lord, the king and the people. This was consistent with the dispensation of the law of God, under which Israel was at the time. Under grace today, vows and covenants are forbidden (Matthew 5:33-37). But Jehoiada sought to bring Israel back to the obedience of law, which was right at the time.
The covenant being made, then all the people of the land tore down the temple of Baal. Jehu had done this before in Israel, but as long as Athaliah was living, she could preserve Baal worship in Judah. Mattan, the priest of Baal, was killed before the altars. In contrast to the house of Baal, Jehoiada appointed officers over the house of the Lord (v.18). With the house of the Lord being cared for first, then a great retinue escorted the king from the house of the Lord to his own house, where he sat on the throne of Judah (v.19). At this time the king, being so young, was dependent on others, and particularly on Jehoiada the priest. But all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was at peace and quiet because they were relieved of the tyranny of Athaliah (v.20).
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Kings 11". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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