When Jehu (841 BC) killed King Jehoram (Israel) and King Ahaziah (Judah), Ahaziah’s mother, Queen-mother Athaliah (daughter of Ahab and Jezebel) moved quickly to position herself in power as ruler of Judah. Called “that wicked woman Athaliah” (2 Chron. 24:7, NIV), she killed all of her son Ahaziah’s children, her own grandchildren, and proclaimed herself ruler of Judah. Only one-year-old Joash was spared (unknown to Athaliah) by faithful priest Jehoiada and his wife Jehosheba (sister to Ahaziah! (2 Kings 1:1-3)
Jehoiada waited six years to make his move:
Now in the seventh year Jehoiada sent and brought the captains of hundreds of the Carites and of the guard, and brought them to him in the house of the LORD. Then he made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the LORD, and showed them the king’s son (2 Kings 11:4).
Then on a Sabbath at the time of the shift change, so as to include all who were finishing their duties as well as those who were arriving, armed with swords, spears and shields, and surrounding young Joash, Jehoiada “put the crown on him and gave him the testimony; and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, ‘Long live the king!'”
Model of Temple Mount and city of David. Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.
The inspired historian continues:
When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people in the house of the LORD. 14 She looked and behold, the king was standing by the pillar, according to the custom, with the captains and the trumpeters beside the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!” 15 And Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds who were appointed over the army and said to them, “Bring her out between the ranks, and whoever follows her put to death with the sword.” For the priest said, “Let her not be put to death in the house of the LORD.” 16 So they seized her, and when she arrived at the horses’ entrance of the king’s house, she was put to death there. 17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they would be the LORD’S people, also between the king and the people. 2 Kings 11:13-17.
Our photo shows a very nice model of the temple and city of David, featured at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. This can help us visualize the setting for the events of our text of 2 Kings 11.