the Fourth Week of Lent
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature
Athali´ah (whom Jehovah afflicts), daughter of Ahab, king of Israel, doubtless by his idolatrous wife Jezebel. She is also called the daughter of Omri (2 Chronicles 22:2), who was the father of Ahab; but by a comparison of texts it would appear that she is so called only as being his grand-daughter. Athaliah became the wife of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. This marriage may fairly be considered the act of the parents; and it is one of the few stains upon the character of the good Jehoshaphat that he was so ready, if not anxious, to connect himself with the idolatrous house of Ahab. Had he not married the heir of his crown to Athaliah, many evils and much bloodshed might have been spared to the royal family and to the kingdom. When Jehoram came to the crown, he, as might be expected, 'walked in the ways of the house of Ahab,' which the sacred writer obviously attributes to this marriage, by adding, 'for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife' (2 Chronicles 21:6). This king died B.C. 885, and was succeeded by his youngest son Ahaziah, who reigned but one year, and whose death arose from his being, by blood and by circumstances, involved in the doom of Ahab's house [AHAZIAH]. Before this Athaliah had acquired much influence in public affairs, and had used that influence for evil; and when the tidings of her son's untimely death reached Jerusalem, she resolved to seat herself upon the throne of David, at whatever cost. To this end she caused all the male branches of the royal family to be massacred (2 Kings 11:1); and by thus shedding the blood of her own grandchildren, she undesignedly became the instrument of giving completion to the doom on her father's house, which Jehu had partially accomplished, B.C. 884. One infant son of Ahaziah, however, was saved by his aunt Jehosheba, wife of the high-priest Jehoiada, and was concealed within the walls of the temple, and there brought up so secretly that his existence was unsuspected by Athaliah. But in the seventh year (B.C. 878) of her blood-stained and evil reign, the sounds of unwonted commotion and exulting shouts within the temple courts drew her thither, where she beheld the young Joash standing as a crowned king by the pillar of inauguration, and acknowledged as sovereign by the acclamations of the assembled multitude. Her cries of 'Treason!' failed to excite any movement in her favor, and Jehoiada, the high-priest, who had organized this bold and successful attempt, without allowing time for pause, ordered the Levitical guards to remove her from the sacred precincts to instant death (2 Kings 11; 2 Chronicles 21:6; 2 Chronicles 22:10-12; 2 Chronicles 23).
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Athaliah'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature". https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​kbe/​a/athaliah.html.