Lessons for life from the Bible – Day 10
Like mother, like daughter
If ever a person appeared to have been misnamed, it was Athalia (God is exalted). Athalia was the daughter of King Ahab of Israel and Queen Jezebel, the most notorious woman featured in the Bible.
Athalia was married to Jehoram, who became King of Judah. Like Jezebel, Athalia was a zealous worshipper of Baal. She hated the priesthood and all who followed the one true God.
After a reign of eight years, Jehoram died. His son, Ahaziah, became king only to be killed in a military coup in Israel. On learning of the death of her son, Athalia cold-bloodedly killed all her grandchildren and seized the throne for herself.
Unknown to Athalia, Ahaziah’s one sister took his infant son, Joash, from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered. She hid him and his nurse and later handed him over to a priest, Jehoida, so that the Temple authorities could care for him. They did their job well, keeping the baby and his nurse hidden in the Temple for six years.
When Joash was seven years old, Jehoida devised a plan for him to be crowned king and so protect David’s line of succession. He organised a coronation ceremony in the Temple under heavily armed protection.
When Queen Athalia heard the trumpets blast and the shouts of the crowd, she rushed to the Temple. As she took in the scene, she tore her robes, shouting, “Treason! Treason!” (2 Chronicles 23:17)
The guards seized her and put her to death. The crowd then tore down the Temple of Baal, smashing all the altars and idols and killing Mattan, the priest of Baal. Jehoida then made a covenant that he, the people and the king would be the Lord’s people.
Thus ended the bloody reign of the only female monarch ever to occupy the throne of Judah. Like her mother before her, her ambitious lust for power had brought about her violent downfall.
Yet in the end, the impact of her disastrous reign turned Judah towards a covenant with the Lord. God was exalted.