These are three verses that tell of the climax of some of the wild things that happened in the royalty of both Judah and Israel. Briefly stated, Athaliah was the daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel. Athaliah was married to Jehoram of Judah to seal a treaty between the two kingdoms. In addition, to further secure his position, her husband, Jehoram, murdered his six brothers. Jehoram became king of Judah in the fifth year of Jehoram of Israel’s reign. Both kings of the two kingdoms had the same name--Jehoram.
Jehoram of Judah reigned for eight years and after his death Ahaziah, his son, became king of Judah. Athaliah was the queen mother. Ahaziah reigned for only one year and was killed during a state visit to Israel along with Jehoram of Israel. It was a double assassination of both kings by Jehu. Jehu also killed Athaliah’s entire extended family in Samaria to death, ending the Omri dynasty in Israel.
Upon hearing the news of the massacre of her family and the death of the two kings, Athaliah seized the throne of Judah and ordered the execution of all possible claimants to the throne. Her sister managed to rescue from the purge a one-year old boy, Jehoash, who was raised in secret by her husband, the priest named Jehoiada. As queen, Athaliah used her power to establish the worship of Baal in Judah. Six years later, Athaliah was surprised when Jehoiada revealed that Jehoash lived and proclaimed him King of Judah. She rushed to stop the rebellion but was captured and executed.
What a story. Murders, assassinations, abuses of power, marriages to seal treaties, corruptions, hidden coronation, charges of treason… “there is nothing new under the sun.” In my last sermon I talked about how the Jews got back into England after being banned for almost 400 years. What a story that was. Today’s sermon will be a continuation of that strange and mysterious event.