Queen Athaliah - Biography

Chart of the Kings Queen Athaliah - Biography God's Judgment Regarding Queen Athaliah
Previous King: Ahaziah   Next King: Joash

Athaliah was the daughter of Israel's King Ahab, was married to Judah's King Jehoram, and was the mother of Jehoram's successor, King Ahaziah. Jehoram died prematurely by disease, and Ahaziah was killed only a year later.

When this happened Athaliah, well schooled in evil, decided not to allow her baby grandson to become king, but to assume the throne herself. To this end, she murdered every heir who might be a rival to the throne, and declared herself queen. However, her daughter Jehosheba managed to rescue Ahaziah's baby son Joash, and with the aid of her husband, the faithful priest Jehoiada, kept him hidden for six years.

When Joash was seven years old Jehoiada, in a display of great courage, foresight, and faith, orchestrated a coup to overthrow wicked Athaliah and place the rightful king, King David's heir Joash, on the throne. Jehoiada secretly amassed a large force at the temple by the device of detaining all workers when their shift ended and the new shift arrived. These men he armed and stationed strategically in the temple perimeter. When all was ready he brought Joash out of hiding, crowned him, presented him with a copy of the constitution, and proclaimed him king. There was a great celebration, for no one was happy with Athaliah's rule.

When she heard the commotion, Athaliah came to inspect. Learning what had happened, she came to the temple shouting, “Treason!” — we cannot fail to note the irony in this pronouncement. Jehoiada ordered his men to kill her and anyone remaining loyal to her. This was done, and the people enjoyed a great celebration.

Where to read Athaliah's story: 2 Kings 11; 2 Chronicles 22:10 - 23:15

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