Murderous Queen of Judah
Copied from the sermon notes of Pastor Don Elmore
November 27, 2022
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 8:28, 29:
28) “And he [Ahaziah, king of House of Judah] went with Joram [Jehoram, king of House of Israel]the son of Ahab to war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramoth-gilead: and the Syrians wounded Joram.
29) And King Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah, the son of Jehoramking of Judah went down to see Joram[Jehoram] the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.”
Did you get what these two verses are saying? Ahaziah, king of the House of Judah fought with Jehoram, king of the House of Israel against the Syrian army. The king of the House of Israel was wounded and went to Jezreel to be healed. The king of the House of Judah went to Jezreel to visit the wounded king of the House of Israel. They both were assassinated by Jehu, the future king of the House of Israel, with the bow and arrow. The kings of both Houses, Ahaziah of Judah and Jehoram of Israel died on the same day at the same location by the same man. And we think things are bad in our country! It would be like in the War Between the Two Nations, that Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln were killed on the same day!
There were three questions about the royalty of both houses that were in power during this time that were sent to me several years ago (2019) and I laid them aside as I didn’t have the time to answer them. I now have the time, so I will attempt to answer these questions. They are very important questions because it questions the LORD’s pure genetics. And any attempt to give an answer is difficult because there are kings in two different kingdoms that have the same name and they ruled at the same time.
For example, what was the name of the two kings who reigned in the two different kingdoms of Israel at the same time—about eight years? Two different men, both named Jehoram, sometimes spelled Joram; one a son of Ahab, the wicked king of the house of Israel and the other, a son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.
But that’s not all. There are also two kings named Ahaziah; another son of Ahab, king of the House of Israel and a grandson of Jehoshaphat, the son of Jehoram king of the House of Judah. They were kings of the two separate kingdoms who were on their thrones about 11 years apart.
It is rather confusing when one is reading the Bible to determine which one the context is talking about—is it the king of Israel or the king of Judah. The reader must read very carefully and keep in mind which kingdom the text is talking about or he will become very confused.
For the House of Israel had King Ahaziah followed by his brother, King Jehoram. The House of Judah had just the opposite: King Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat followed by King Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram.
House of Israel
House of Judah
(son of Omri)
Reigned over House of Israel in Samaria for 22 years. Elijah confronted Ahab over Baal worship in his nation.
Death:Shot by an archer during the battle at Ramoth in Gilead. He died upon his arrival at Samaria.
(son of Asa and Azubah)
(son of Ahaband Jezebel; wsl)
Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 2 years.
Death:He fell through the lattice of his upper room and injured himself. Elijah the prophet told him he would never leave his bed and would die.
Reigned for 25 years.
Death: natural causes.
Jehoram (Joram) 848-841
(son of Jehoshaphat; married Athaliah, daughter of Ahabof the House of Israel.)
Jehoram (Joram) 852 – 841
(son of Ahaband Jezebel; wsl)
Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 12 years.
Death:Killed by Jehu, the next king of the House of Israel.
Reigned for 8 years during the reign of the king with the same name as the king of the House of Israel. Death:severe stomach disease.
(son of Jehoram and Athaliah)
Reigned for 1 year.
Death:Killed by Jehu, who became the next king of the House of Israel.
Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 28 years.
Death: Natural Causes.
Queen Athaliah 841-835
[daughter of King Ahab(of the House of Israel)].
Reigned for 6 years.
Death: killed by the troops assigned by Jehoiada the High Priest to protect the next king of Judah--Joash.
Both kingdoms had a King Jehoram who reigned at the same time. And they both had an Ahaziah as king which ruled within about a decade of each other.
Jezreel; where the king of the house of Israel went to take care of his injury suffered at the battle of Ramoth-gilead
“Ahab, son of Omri (2 Chronicles 22:2) marries Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal (1 Kings 16:30-31).” [Jezebel was a descendant of the wicked seed line. They had at least three children who served as kings and queen in the two kingdoms of Israel:
- Ahaziah, son of Ahab and Jezebel: king of the House of Israel].
- Joram (2 Kings 9:29) aka Jehoram (2 Kings 3:11; 2 Chronicles 22:5-6), son of Ahab and Jezebel: [king of the House of Israel].
- Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and JEZEBEL, married her BROTHER Joram (aka Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:6).
Jehosheba was the daughter of Athaliah and Joram and the sister of Ahaziah (2 Kings 11:2). She married Jehoiada the priest (2 Chronicles 22:11) …
Ahaziah was the son of Athaliah and Joram (2 Kings 8:29; 11:1; 2 Chronicles 22:3). Ahaziah married Zibiah (2 Chronicles 24:1) and their son was Joash (2 Kings 11:2).
Joash married Jehoaddan (2 Chronicles 25:1) and their son was Amaziah (2 Chronicles 24:27);
[Then follows the following kings of Judah]:
Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah” … [Jesus the Christ.]
(Most of the Scriptures given don’t make much sense).
The three questions that were asked:
- Did Athaliah marry her brother, Jehoram?
- Was Athaliah the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel? For if she were, that would disqualify Jesus the Christ from ever being the rightful king over Israel; he would be a mongrel.
- Was Jehosheba the daughter of king Jehoram and Athaliah?”
1). Did Athaliah marry her brother, Jehoram?
2 Chronicles 21:5, 6:
5) “Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.” [So, this would be Jehoram, king of Judah, not Jehoram, king of Israel, Athaliah’s brother].
6) “And he” [Jehoram, king of Judah] “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.”
So, there is no doubt that Athaliah did not marry her brother. She married a person by the same name as her brother, Jehoram. Jehoram, king of Judah, ruled from Jerusalem; her brother ruled in Samaria, the capital city of the northern kingdom. She was offered as Jehoram’s wife to solidify peace negotiations between the two kingdoms. So, Athaliah married Jehoram, the King of Judah not Jehoram, the King of Israel.
2. Was Athaliah the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel? For if she was, that would disqualify Jesus the Christ from ever being the rightful king over Israel because He would have been a mongrel. This is an assumption, because the Bible does not say the Athaliah was the daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. However, most of the Bible commentators make this false assumption without any consideration of its consequences!
Read carefully 2 Chronicles 21:6: And he [Jehoram, king of Judah] 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.”
This verse gives some information as to who Athaliah’s father was; for it says that Athaliah was the “daughter of Ahab.” It doesn’t say she was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, but just the “daughter of Ahab”.
And to make it more confusing look at what the Scriptures say in the second book of Kings:
2 Kings 8:25, 25:
25) “In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.
26) Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.”
So, if you take one verse, Athaliah is the “daughter of Ahab”, and you take the other verse, she is the “daughter of Omri”, Ahab’s father. So, there is a controversy over who were the parents of Athaliah were.
The confusion is settled when one realizes that the word translated “daughter” in 2 Kings 8:26, can sometimes and is many times translated as “granddaughter” or “sister.” So, where it is translated the “daughter of Omri”, it could have been translated correctly as the “granddaughter of Omri”.
For example, in the Dake Bible, its footnote on this word is: “Granddaughter or descendant of Omri.” It says in the footnote that “Omri’s name prevailed above that of Ahab’s.” And I think that that would be the correct translation.
But there is more information that we must take into consideration about Athaliah’s possible mother. For her father, Ahab, was a very unusual sexual deviate. Most Bible commentators that say that Ahab and Jezebel were the parents of Athaliah never mention this verse.
2 Kings 10:1a: “And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria….”
This verse doesn’t say it, but it must be true; for Ahab didn’t, and couldn’t, have had all these children with one wife. Ahab was the predecessor of, in my lifetime, sexual deviate Wilt Chamberlain, former NBA basketball star. Wilt bragged that he had slept with about 20,000 thousand different women in his lifetime. That would be about 1.5 women a day during his lifetime beginning at age 18 (this number was probably a little exaggerated). At the end of his life, the 7-foot, 1-inch center, who was never married, Wilt Chamberlain, said this: "There is a slightly wholesome epilogue to this tale of what many would perceive to be utter debauchery, topped off with something of a lesson for all the aspiring Casanovas out there. Shortly before he died, and the 20,000 odd women after, Wilt Chamberlain stated the following during a 1999 interview: "Having a thousand different ladies is pretty cool, I’ve learned in my life. I’ve [also] found out that having one woman a thousand different times is more satisfying.’”
If Ahab had 70 sons, how many daughters did he have? The Bible doesn’t tell us. Ahab was only married to Jezebel for 22 years. No way could she have given birth to all those children. Ahab had to have many concubines, like Wilt had.
So, this leaves us with three possibilities about who the parents of Athaliah were:
- Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. This is the most common view of Bible commentators. But most of these commentators ignore 2 Kings 10:1 where it tells us how many sons Ahab had. Anyone who makes this statement is denying the offering of Jesus the Christ—for they are saying that He was blemished.
How many women would a man of today have to sleep with to produce over 70 sons and an unknown number of daughters? It couldn’t be only one wife, who was only his wife for 22 years. That would be impossibility.
But if this impossibility happened, the line of Christ would not be of a pure seed. It would be mongrelized and thus make Jesus a mongrel for Jezebel was a mongrel. And if Jesus was a mongrel, then Jesus could not have been the sacrifice for His people—for His people are of pure stock; they are wheat, not tares. Because of this reason, this choice is not acceptable.
- Athaliah was the daughter of Omri, Ahab’s father. His wife could also have been an Israelite. But, Athaliah, I believe, was Omri’s granddaughter, not daughter; for it says in many places that she was the “daughter of Ahab”. So, this choice is not acceptable.
- Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and another woman; a concubine who was an Israelite. Remember, Ahab was the father of 70 sons and an unknown number of daughters. Ahab had a lot of concubines. Given Athaliah’s age when she bore King Ahaziah of the House of Judah, she had to have been before Ahab married Jezebel.
There are a few more clues that helps substantiate this view. For example:
1 Kings 16:29-31:
29) “And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel:” [i.e. he became king] “and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.
30) And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.
31) And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.”
Here it is important to note that Ahab did not take Jezebel to wife until after he became king. Ahab ruled for 22 years before he died. He was succeeded by two sons, who were the sons of Jezebel. The Scripture portrays these sons as being of age, grown or nearly grown men, at the time when they come to rule. Jezebel was not an Adamic Israelite, so their children were mongrels. Both Ahaziah and Jehoram (kings of the House of Israel) were of the wicked seed line.
But Ahab had many concubines besides his wife, Jezebel; some before he became king and some after. Ahab, no doubt, had many of these children (over 100 children) before he became king and, therefore, before he married Jezebel.
But we know from the Scriptures that Ahab and Jezebel had two sons that became kings in the house of Israel, (1) Ahaziah and (2) Jehoram:
1 Kings 22:51, 52:
51) “Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
52) And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father [Ahab], and in the way of his mother[Jezebel], and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: for he served Baal and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.
2 Kings 3:1: “Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.”
The ages of Ahab’s sons are not given in Scripture. Ahaziah was Ahab’s older son with Jezebel. If he was 20 years old when he came to rule, he would have been born 2 years into Ahab’s reign. The passage we have just cited surely indicates that Ahaziah was of age when he became king, since he was able to send servants abroad.
Ahaziah the son of Ahab died, and Jehoram, or Joram, the son of Ahab succeeded him. He ruled for twelve years. He was old enough to lead troops in battle, as we see later in 2 Kings chapter 3, so he too must have been of age. If he was 20, then he was born two years after his brother, around the fourth year of Ahab’s rule.
Both sons of Ahab may have been younger, but as Scripture portrays them, they could not have been much younger. Then, having been sons of Jezebel they could not have been much older. Ahab married Jezebel after he became king, and in the early years of her marriage, she was giving birth to these sons. If she gave birth to their daughter, Athaliah, how old would she have been when she married the king of the House of Judah?
If Athaliah was born of Ahab and Jezebel, she could only be 12 years old (that would be her oldest age) when she gave birth to Ahaziah, future king of the House of Judah. That means that Athaliah would have married Jehoram at age 11 at the oldest! Then Athaliah could not have been older than 12 when her son Ahaziah was born. I think that this could not be the right scenario. Athaliah was NOT the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.
ELIJAH, AHAB AND AHAZIAH
Elijah had confronted king Ahab and queen Jezebel over the House of Israel’s rejection of their God. It climaxed at the contest on Mt. Carmel in which the God of Israel proved that He was the real God. Baal, the sun god was totally unable as bring forth the needed fire to burn up the offerings.
After Ahab’s death, his son, king Ahaziah, fell from the balcony through the lattice of the upper room in Samaria, and was lying ill; so, he sent messengers, saying to them, Go and consult Baal and see if I shall recover from my illness. But an angel spoke to the prophet Elijah asking him, why is the king going to consult the god of the foreigners and ignore the God of the people he is ruling over?
After Elijah sent this message to the king, Ahaziah sent his officer with fifty men to Elijah telling him to come to him. Elijah had God burn up the 51 men. This was repeated a second time. Another 51 men burnt up. The third time, the officer got on his knees and pleaded with Elijah to ask his God to not burn them up. But as a result of all this, Elijah told king Ahaziah (of the wicked seed line) that he will never leave the bed that he was in, he is certainly going to die. And he died.
HOW OLD WAS AHAZIAH OF JUDAH WHEN HE BEGAN TO RULE?
If Athaliah gave birth to a son who became a future king of Judah in the 14th year of Ahab’s rule, then she must have been at the least 15 years old. Therefore, she was born before Ahab took Jezebel to wife.
And twenty-two years later, when their son began to reign, he only reigned for one year.
2 Kings 8:25, 26:
25) “In the twelfth year of Joram [Jehoram] the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.
26) Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter [granddaughter] of Omri king of Israel.
27) And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as did the house of Ahab: for he was the son in law of the house of Ahab.”
Then it says in 2 Chronicles 22:1-2:
1) “And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.
2) Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter [granddaughter] of Omri.
Verse two says that King Ahaziah was 42 years old when he began to reign. In 2 Kings 8:26 it says that he was 22 years old. Which one is correct? He couldn’t be 42 and 22 at the same time? 2 Chronicles 21:5 tells us that Jehoram, Ahaziah’s father, was 32 years old when he began to reign and that he reigned for 8 years. So, 32 + 8 = 40 years when he died. How could Jehoram be 40 years old when he died, and his son be 42 years old…impossible.
3. Was Jehosheba the daughter of king Jehoram and Athaliah?
Athaliah was born the daughter of Ahab, king of the House of Israel. She was used to solidify peace negotiations between the House of Israel and the House of Judah when she married Jehoram, king of Judah. But when Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, saw that her son, was dead, she arose and attempted to destroy all the royal heirs of Judah.
But Jehosheba took her infant nephew, Joash, the son of Ahaziah and stole him away so he would not be murdered; and they hid him and his nurse in the bedroom, from Athaliah, so that he was not killed. So, he was hidden with her in the house of the LORD for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land of Judah.
Athaliah was from the family of Ahab, and Jehu had destroyed all of Ahab’s descendants in Israel. Now, after Jehu’s coup, Athaliah tried to save something for Ahab’s family by trying to eliminate the house of David in Judah.
2 Chronicles 22:11 “But Jehoshabeath [Jehosheba], the daughter of the king, took Joash, the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.”
2 Chronicles 22:11 tells us the Jehosheba, a princess, was the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest. Yet, the Bible is silent as to who her mother was. But I agree with the famous Bible commentator Adam Clarke that “…it is not likely that Jehosheba was the daughter of Athaliah; she was a sister… we find to Ahaziah the son of Athaliah, but probably by a different mother.” But it is anyone’s guess.
Both houses suffered greatly. They just didn’t lose their two kings they suffered many other deaths too. On that same day, Queen Jezebel was killed, thrown down from a high balcony of the palace and smashed on the stones of the courtyard. She was left to die there, and the dogs ate her body.
All Athaliah’s male relatives in Jezreel, capital city of Israel – the seventy boys and young men in the royal family, were rounded up and beheaded. On Jehu’s orders their heads were placed in baskets at the city gate.
Jehu then herded forty-two of Athaliah’s adult male relatives into a pit and slaughtered them at Betheked. He had killed anyone in Israel and Judah who might be able to claim the thrones of these kingdoms.
Athaliah did the same thing in the House of Judah. She had murdered all the royal seed of the descendants of King David, including her own grandsons so she could be queen. There was no one else who was qualified or so she thought.
Jehosheba’s own life was not at risk until she intervened. She acted on behalf of future generations to preserve the rightful person for the throne. Jehosheba swooped up Joash, the child and future king, whose name means “given by the LORD.” She brought him to the temple, to the place where God lived, and with her husband, they hid the future king and his nurse until the right time came to reveal him. If it were not for her quick thinking and brave actions, the entire royal dynasty of Judah—the descendants of David and the ancestors of Christ—would have been wiped out. She secured the family that would produce the Messiah!
Think about this for a minute. What are our enemies trying to do to us now? They are trying to eliminate us from the earth. Why are they trying to do this? To make our LORD God a liar. And if they can do this, they will make our LORD no longer our faithful God for He will have no one left to worship Him and He would have promised something that He couldn’t keep. Therefore, there is at least one descendant of David that is royalty in Europe.
For six years, they hid the heir from the Queen. For six years, he was trained and nurtured in the ways of the temple. Jehosheba not only had the courage to save him but also the wisdom to know what to do.
For the sake of David, God remembered His promise and spared this one young survivor from the massacre of Athaliah. The line of David was almost extinguished and continued only in the presence of a small boy, but God preserved that flickering flame. This one remaining royal seed of David was preserved, for he could not die, he had to rule in Jerusalem.
When the surviving son, Joash, became seven years old, the high priest, Jehoiada, chose the Sabbath for the day of the coup because that was the day when the guards changed their shifts, and they could assemble two groups of guards at the temple at the same time without attracting attention.
For six years everyone believed there were no more surviving heirs of David’s royal line, and there was no legitimate ruler to displace the wicked Athaliah. The secret had to be secure because the king’s son would be immediately killed if his existence were revealed. The captains and bodyguards and escorts must have been shocked by the sight of this six-year-old heir to the throne.
One reason Athaliah was able to reign for six years was that no one knew any alternative. Many people lived under the reign of an illegitimate wicked queen because they didn’t really know there is a legitimate king ready to take reign in their lives. The priests gave the captains of hundreds the spears and shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of the LORD: It was fitting for these soldiers who would set the heir of David’s royal line back on the throne of Judah to use these weapons which had belonged to King David.
Jehoiada the high priest gave the command to seize Athaliah and take her away from the house of the LORD and kill her. Thus, the most infamous queen of Judah, died at the hands of her executioners.
Matthew gives the genealogy of Jesus but omits some of the names. For example:
Matthew goes from Joram [Jehoram] to Ozias [Uzziah], while the Old Testament takes us from Joram [Jehoram] to Ahaziah to Athaliah to Joash to Amaziah to Uzziah.
There are three generations missing in Matthew’s listing—Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah. Joram [Jehoram] is Uzziah’s great-great grandfather!
While the royalty of the House of Israel was made up of pure Israelites, (until the kingship of Jehoram and Ahaziah, who were children of Ahab and Jezebel) they were certainly very evil. They didn’t serve their own God but served the god Baal. But they were both killed off in a mass murder with no more descendants of the wicked seed line in the royalty.
Athaliah was a pure-blooded Israelite. But she was about as evil as a woman can get. She even attempted to murder all the possible candidates for king in the kingdom of Judah. And she almost succeeded.
The House of Israel worshipped Baal. Elijah felt that he was the only true worshipper of Israel’s God. But he was instructed there were only 7,000 that had never bowed the kneel to Baal. He was not the only one!
Over a century after Israel was deported, the House of Judah was said to be worse that the Canaanites who occupied the land before they came and conquered it. They too became worshippers of Baal and not the God that had brought them from bondage in Egypt.
But our God is faithful to His Word. He is faithful to the covenant that He made with our fathers. He will never cast away His people.
And He is also faithful to the covenant that He made with David and swore an oath to him, that David would always have a descendant ruling over Israel. That promise is still true. There will always be at least one of the royal seed of David ruling over the nations of Europe.
Let’s summarize the answers to the questions that I was asked:
1. Athaliah married Jehoram, king of Judah and not her brother who was the king of the House of Israel.
2. It is my opinion that Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab and a pure-blooded Israelite concubine. Athaliah was also the granddaughter of Omri, Ahab’s father. But she was not the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and is never identified as being that…she is said to be the “daughter of Ahab.”
3. And 2 Chronicles 22:11 doesn’t say the Jehosheba was the daughter of king Jehoram and Athaliah but just that she was the daughter of the king, sister of king Ahaziah. The Bible doesn’t say that this mostly unknown hero of Judah was given birth by Athaliah. I believe that she wasn’t her mother…but it is just my opinion. It is anyone’s guess.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel.