Thursday, May 30, 2024

2 Chronicles 22:10-23:21

2 Chronicles 22:10–23:21 (NIV)✞: Athaliah and Joash


This passage feels like a pretty consistent retelling of the story as passed along in 2 Kings 11✞.

In the previous passage here in Chronicles Ahaziah was king of Judah, but only for a year before he was killed. In this passage his mother, Athaliah, sees an opportunity: with her son out of the way, she can lead Judah! The one thing standing in her way is… the entire rest of the royal family. Being a problem solver, however, she takes care of that issue by murdering them all.

What she doesn’t realise is that one of her sons, Joash, is saved and hidden away. (Ironically, he is saved by Jehosheba, daughter of the former king Jehoram – his mother wanted to kill him, but his aunt saved him.) We’re not told how old Joash is at this point but he seems young; too young to be king. Or, at the very least, too young to take on his mother. So they hide him in the Temple for seven years, until he’s old enough to rule, at which point the Levites crown him king.

They have kept Joash hidden for these past seven years, but they crown him king very publicly, so obviously Athaliah finds out about it, and immediately accuses the Levites (and, presumably, Joash himself) of treason, but everyone else wants Joash as king, not Athaliah as queen, so they put her to death.


As I mentioned when I blogged about these events from 2 Kings, this is more than just political intrigue; more than just people preferring Joash over Athaliah as their ruler. This is about having someone from the line of David on the throne; Athaliah came very close to preventing one of God’s promises from coming true! (That being said, He’s God, and she was just a human, so there was never really any danger of her being able to thwart His will.)

Joash was another famously good king, as we’ll see in upcoming passages, and I have to wonder if being raised within the confines of the Temple might have played into that. For seven years he knew nothing other than worship of God.

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