2 Kings 11:1-16
And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.
This is a touching story of hymen wickedness and of God's overruling and preserving power. Three principal personages come before us here, from each of whom something may be learned.
I. ATHALIAH AND HER WORK. Athaliah's life-work was a Work of destruction. She did much harm. She did no good. A daughter of Ahab and Jezebel (sometimes called a daughter of Omri, whose granddaughter she was), she had inherited all the evil propensities of her parents. She destroyed her own husband, Jehoram King of Judah. We read of him that "he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord" (2 Chronicles 21:6). She destroyed also her son Ahaziah. We read of him that "he also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father to his destruction (2 Chronicles 21:3, 4). And now she completes her destructive career by putting to death her grandchildren, the seed royal of the kingdom. There are many women like Athaliah, whose life-work is a work of destruction. What harm one wicked woman can do! Some corrupt the morals of others. Some, by their evil-speaking and slander, do what they can to destroy the reputation and good name of their neighbors. The Jezebels and Athaliahs of Scripture story have their parallels in the Queen Marys, the Pompadours, the Medicis, and the Maintenons of more modern times.
II. JEHOSHEBA AND HER WORK. Jehosheba's work was a work of preservation. She too was a king's daughter. But she had not been corrupted by the wickedness of the court. She was the wife of Jehoiada the priest - a good wife of a good man. She rescued Joash from Athaliah's massacre, and kept him hid in the priests' apartments in the temple. There he was hid for six years, until the time that, as a boy-king, he was called to the throne. If there are Athaliahs in the world still, there are also Jehoshebas. If there are women of cruelty, there are also women of sympathetic and. compassionate spirit. If there are women who are corrupters of others, how many there are who by their own pure life and conduct have been the preservers of public purity and morality! If one wicked woman can do much harm, one pure-minded Christian woman can do a vast amount of good. What an amount of quiet beneficence is being carried on by Christian women throughout the world at the present day! What a vast number of ladies who visit and minister to the poor! What a vast number of ladies who, in hospitals and in private houses, devote themselves to the noble work of nursing the sick I How many are engaged in instructing the young in our Sunday schools! How many have gone forth as missionaries to heathen lands! Woman's work in the Christian Church, and in the cause of charity and philanthropy, seems to be increasing every year.
III. JEHOIADA AND HIS WORK. Jehoiada's work was of a twofold nature. His work was both destroying and preserving. He destroyed idolatry. He put an end to Athaliah's reign and life. He did not believe in the policy of non-resistance. He believed in doing his utmost to overthrow even the power of the reigning queen, when that power was wickedly obtained, and exercised in an evil way, dishonoring to God and injurious to the interests of the nation. Like many another reformer, he incurred the charge of disloyalty and treason. But there are many things that need to be destroyed. And who can overestimate the harm done by a wicked ruler? But Jehoiada was no mere revolutionist. He did not rebel against Athaliah for revolution's sake. He did not put an end to her reign because of his antipathy to governments. He would have agreed with St. Paul that the powers that be are ordained of God." He set up another king in her place, and, in place of the idolatry which she had sanctioned, he set up the worship of the true God. We see in the whole narrative the overruling providence of God. Athaliah thought she would make her power secure by her holocaust of young princes. But man proposes, and God disposes. We see also the use of human instrumentality. God works by means. He used Jehosheba to preserve the young life which in the end was the means, in Jehoiada's hand, of overthrowing the wicked power of Athaliah. - C.H.I.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.