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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

2 Kings 11

Verses 1-3

Second Kings -Chapter 11 AND Second Chronicles - Chapters 22, 23

Murderous Athaliah – Commentary on 2 Kings 11:1-3 AND 2 Chronicles 22:10-12

1. And when Athaliah the mo­ther of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and de­stroyed all the seed royal. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Jo­ash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him fratn among the king’s sons which were slain; end they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber form Athaliah, so that he was not slain. 3. And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.

10. But when Athaliah the mo­ther of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and de­stroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah. 1t. But Jehosha­beath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahazlah, and stole him from among the king’s sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bed­chamber. So Jehoshabeeth, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoisda the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not 12. And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.

Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab, the wicked king of Israel. She had married Jehoram, the wicked son of good King Jehoshaphat of Judah. This appears to have been a part of the treaty of affinity which Jehoshaphat unwisely made with Ahab (2 Chronicles 18:1; 2 Chronicles 19:1,). It is assumed that Athaliah was also the daughter of Jezebel, since it is never said that Ahab had other wives besides that wicked woman. Her deeds certainly are capable of a daughter of Jezebel.

When the news reached Athaliah in Jerusalem that her son had been killed by Jehu in Samaria she took steps to make herself ruler in Judah and obviously to set up a base of Baal worship there. She proceeded to murder all the sons of the kings. Some of these surely must have been her grandchildren, as the one who escaped (through no intent of hers) was. Her attempt to usurp the throne of David was directly contrary to God’s covenant with David (2 Samuel 7:15-16). God’s will can never be overthrown by man (Psalms 37:28).

Athaliah was so selfish and unconcerned for her family that she seemingly did not realize there remained yet one of the princes alive. He was a small baby, the son of Ahaziah whom Jehu slew, who with his nurse was stolen away and hidden in the temple. This was accomplished by Jehosheba, the sister of Ahaziah and the baby’s aunt. She had married the high priest, Jehoiada, so that it was clearly by the prescient knowledge and providence of God to maintain His oath to David. She kept Joash hidden in her bedchamber inside the temple for six years. Meanwhile Athaliah maintained her evil rule of the kingdom of Judah.

Verses 4-12

Joash Crowned – Commentary on 2 Kings 11:4-12 AND 2 Chronicles 23:1-11

When the little prince was a child about seven years of age Jehoiada perfected his strategy to restore the kingdom to the house of David. In this he dealt with considerable care and secrecy so as not to alert Athaliah and her cohorts. He brought in the great men of the rulers in the kingdom and the captains and the guard. These latter appear to have been the temple captains and their guard forces for protection of the sanctity of the temple. When he had bound these by oath he revealed to them the prince and appointed them their part in his restoration. Five of the captains are named in Chronicles.

Having informed the leaders of Israel of the existence of Ahaziah’s son Jehoiada then involved them in his protection. A third of them were to keep watch at the palace, evidently to guard against Athaliah’s discovery of the plot and any attempt to frustrate it. Another third was stationed at the gate of Sur (Kings), or the foundation (Chronicles). the location is obscure. Sur is the Hebrew participle of the verb "to turn aside, or away," and evidently refers to a gate in the vicinity of the temple. Since it is also called the "gate of the foundation" it may have been on the lower portion of the incline leading up to the temple from the Tyropoean Valley, a major thoroughfare passing along beside the temple. The force here would have, of course, guarded the approaches of the temple from would-be infiltrators from Athaliah. The other third were stationed at the portals of the temple itself, with orders to exclude all except the priests and ministering Levites.

The high priest built up his forces for retaining the Levites at the end of their period of service, so that as each successive course of them came in it was added to the overall force. To arm them Jehoiada took the swords, spears, shields, and bucklers which had been captured in battle by David many years before and kept laid up in the temple. These willingly joined Jehoiada’s scheme, and some of them were constantly with the little prince, guarding him from harm.

On the day of his coronation there was a sizable force of armed men at their various stations. Inside the temple, with their weapons, these formed a line reaching from the right side (or corner) to the left, alongside the temple itself and before the sacrifice altar. The people were brought in, and they stood in the courtyard in attendance at-the coronation of their new king. They stood young Joash before the people, put the crown upon him and the tablets of the testimony, from the ark, in his arms. Then the little boy was anointed by Jehoiada and his sons. The people clapped their hands, and shouted, "God save the king."

Verses 13-21

End of Athaliah –Commentary on 2 Kings 11:13-21 AND 2 Chronicles 23:12-21

In Athaliah Judah was reaping the harvest of Jehoshaphat’s incredibly foolish alliance with the family of AHab The contradictory behavior of that good king in these matters has been discussed before in this commentary. In some way it led to the utter demoralization of his son Jehoram. That unworthy son of the king, on the death of his father, slew his brothers because they were better than he, and some of the people seemed to prefer them to him. God had chastised him and Judah severely. An invasion of Arabic tribes had decimated Jerusalem and led to the capture and death of his sons, save Ahaziah, at the hand of the invaders. Jehoram had suffered and soon died of a repugnant disease of his bowels. Then Ahaziah, the son of Athaliah, had become king, reigning for a year before he was killed by Jehu. For six years Athaliah maintained her usurpation of the throne of Judah encouraging the worship of Baal, before Jehoiada brought out young Joash and made him king in the temple (see 2 Kings 8:16 to 2 Kings 9:29; and 2 Chronicles chapters 21,22).

Now it was all coming to a good end. Athaliah in the palace, across the way from the temple, heard the joyous clamor of the people at the coronation of Joash and made her way into the temple. There her eyes took in a sight which gave her terrific fright. There stood the child king with the crown on his head and the testimony in his hands, beside the pillar of the temple, flanked on either side by armed men and trumpets proclaiming his kingship. She tore her clothing in grief at her impending doom, crying out "Treason! Treason!" as though she herself was not the one guilty of treason. She turned to flee, seeking to regain the palace by entrance through the horse gate, by which the carriages came to the palace.

Jehoiada was in command and sent men after her with orders.to kill any who attempted to aid her, She herself was not to be slain inside the sacred precincts of the temple. So she was killed in the way of the horse gate. Jehoiada then proceeded to make a covenant on behalf of the little king, with the people of Judah, that they would faithfully serve the Lord. It seems that the people willingly acquiesced in this. These things remind one of the ultimate triumph of the righteous (1 Peter 4:1).

Baal’s root in Judah was destroyed by the people. They broke down his temple, desecrated his altars and images, and slew Mattan his priest beside his altars. Jehoiada’s boldness, with his wife, in rescuing Joash, secreting him in the temple, and planning his coronation, boded much good for Judah after a long time without a godly ruler. The worship had been neglected since the time of Jehoshaphat, and many had doubtless worshipped Baal to please Athaliah. Now the temple order and service of the Levites, as inaugurated by David in preparation for the temple, was reinstituted at Jerusalem. Jehoiada and his sons supported Joash and were the cause of a revival in the land.

In the end of the coronation ceremony Jehoiada and his sons and the armed protectors of the king conducted him from the temple and installed him in the palace. They formed an impressive procession along the colonnaded porch Solomon had built to connect the king’s residence with the temple. The accompanying crowds rejoiced and praised the Lord for the verification of His word (cf. Romans 5:1-2).

Lessons to be gleaned: 1) the chief love of the wicked is for themselves; 2) God’s people are to exercise caution in the battle against Satan; 3) God’s promises never fail, His triumph is assured (Romans 16:20; Romans 4) like Jehoshaphat some "good" people often sow to the wind and reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7); 5) God’s people may accomplish great good by standing steadfastly for that which is right, as did Jehoiada.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Kings 11". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-kings-11.html. 1985.