Day 169 (June 18): Queen Athaliah rules in Judah, Johoiada organizes revolt, Athaliah killed, Jehoiada moves people to tear down Baal’s temple, 7-year-old Joash now ruler of Judah, Joash repairs temple, Jehoiada diess, Joash turns to idols, Jehu dies

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Kings 11:1-3

2 Chronicles 22:10-12

2 Kings 11:4-12

2 Chronicles 23:1-11

2 Kings 11:13-16

2 Chronicles 23:12-15

2 Kings 11:17-21

2 Chronicles 23:16-21

2 Kings 12:1-16

2 Chronicles 24:1-16

2 Chronicles 24:17-22

2 Kings 10:32-36

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Kings 11:1): By killing all of Ahaziah’s (except for one) family, Athaliah was making herself the only choice for the throne?  So, not only did greed for the throne cause discord, jealousy and rivalry, it fostered murder!  Was Athaliah a descendant of David?  She’s the first queen in all of Judah and Israel?  There’s nothing to say a woman couldn’t be queen, right?

A. She is the first recorded sole female ruler for either kingdom, and yes, her plan is to kill all the other “options” for king.  She is basically ruling for the position of “queen mother,” which is a recognized position in most courts (its where Jezebel was serving when she got what she deserved).  As far as I can tell, she is related to David only by marriage, not blood.

Q. (11:12): Jehosheba saved Joash.  We don’t know if she was worried about the kingdom not having a king or if she was simply saving a baby from imminent death.  Nevertheless, do we know if Joash was chosen by God?

A. I suspect that those who protected Joash felt that because he had survived his grandmother’s onslaught, he was the one God had chosen to be king.  The other important thing to remember is that as the son of the (dispatched) king, his right to rule was assumed — he was the rightful heir to the throne.  Only without a known heir was the queen mother allowed to rule Judah.

Q. (2 Chronicles 23:1-3): This version sounds more trusting than the 2 Kings 11:4 version.  In Chronicles, Jehoiada the priest said that he summoned the Levites and charged them with helping him seat Joash as king.  But, 2 Kings said he summoned commanders, Carite mercenaries and palace guards.  I would think that some of them may have loyalties to the queen.  So, which version is correct?  It’s probably of no importance.  What’s important is that Joash was anointed king of Judah.

A. There is no reason to assume that both versions of the story are not accurate: it is quite possible that Jehoiada worked with both groups (that would be your ruling parties: the priesthood and the royal guardians) to get the proper king installed.  Remember, as we discussed in the previous question, Joash was the legitimate ruler, not his grandmother.

Q. (2 Chronicles 23:7): I wonder what this boy thought about being king at 7 years old?  He had guards surrounding him wherever he went.  I wonder if he knew why he was surrounded.  Athaliah must have not had a strong, loyal military because she did not muster any resistance to Jehodiada’s movement.

A. Jehoiada appears to have talked to the right group of people.  I suspect that Athaliah thought she was safe because she believed that she had killed all the other relatives and would be unchallenged for the throne.

Q. (2 Kings 11:16): Why do the dethroned rulers have to be killed?  Most of them die in battle.  But, I would think Athaliah could have been exiled.

A. Since she had demonstrated a willingness to kill family to get her throne, it is little surprise that she was killed.  It can be dangerous for a young king to have bloodthirsty relatives who might make an attempt to get the throne back.  The only thing between her and being the legitimate ruler is a seven year old boy.  That’s dangerous!

Q. (11:18): Baal was already destroyed by Jehu, but that was in Israel, right?  This is Judah.  It’s getting difficult to keep it all straight.

A. Yes, this is Judah.  Honestly, the “choppiness” of the readings between Kings and Chronicles is not helping me keep it straight either.

Q. (12:3): Why is it so hard to get rid of all of the pagan shrines?  Several kings have done really well in the eyes of God, except for leaving a little bit of materials for worshipping false gods.

A. I don’t have a good answer for that.  My notes indicate that the regions where this pagan worship is taking place are supposed to be places of worship of God, but the people in these areas keep “slipping” back into pagan worship.  I don’t know why.

Q. (2 Chronicles 24:7): Is the Temple of the Lord the same temple that Solomon built?

A. Yes, the temple in Jerusalem.  It was apparently being plundered by Athaliah’s followers to generate funding for pagan worship.

Q. (24:21): What happened to that verse about if you “raise someone up in the Lord, he/she will always return to the Lord” or something like that.  Joash was raised and taught by Jehoiada and yet, as soon as he dies, he is swayed to false gods.

A. As we discussed in Proverbs, such wisdom (Proverbs 22:6) is generally true, but not ironclad law.  The biggest problem, the story tells us, is that this young man stopped listening to the right advice.  If he had just stayed with what he already knew, he probably would have been all right, but he chose to follow the path of his corrupt advisors.

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