Athaliah usurps the government of Judah, Jehoash made king. (1-12) Athaliah put to death. (13-16) The worship of the Lord restored. (17-21)
Verses 1-12 Athaliah destroyed all she knew to be akin to the crown. Jehoash, one of the king's sons, was hid. Now was the promise made to David bound up in one life only, and yet it did not fail. Thus to the Son of David, the Lord, according to his promise, will secure a spiritual seed, hidden sometimes, and unseen, but hidden in God's pavilion, and unhurt. Six years Athaliah tyrannized. Then the king was brought forward. A child indeed, but he had a good guardian, and, what was better, a good God to go to With such joy and satisfaction must the kingdom of Christ be welcomed into our hearts, when his throne is set up there, and Satan the usurper is cast out. Say, Let the King, even Jesus, live, for ever live and reign in my soul, and in all the world.
Verses 13-16 Athaliah hastened her own destruction. She herself was the greatest traitor, and yet was first and loudest in crying, Treason, treason! The most guilty are commonly the most forward to reproach others.
Verses 17-21 King and people would cleave most firmly to each other, when both had joined themselves to the Lord. It is well with a people, when all the changes that pass over them help to revive, strengthen, and advance the interests of religion among them. Covenants are of use, both to remind us of, and bind us to, the duties already binding on us. They immediately abolished idolatry; and, pursuant to the covenant with one another, they expressed mutual readiness to help each other. The people rejoiced, and Jerusalem was quiet. The way for people to be joyful and at peace, is to engage fully in the service of God; for the voice of joy and thanksgiving is in the dwellings of the righteous, but there is no peace for the wicked.
2 Kings 11:1-3 . JEHOASH SAVED FROM ATHALIAH'S MASSACRE.
influence over her son, who, by her counsels, had ruled in the spirit of the house of Ahab. destroyed all the seed royal
--all connected with the royal family who might have urged a claim to the throne, and who had escaped the murderous hands of Jehu ( 2 Chronicles 21:2-4
, 2 Kings 10:13 2 Kings 10:14
). This massacre she was incited to perpetrate--partly from a determination not to let David's family outlive hers; partly as a measure of self-defense to secure herself against the violence of Jehu, who was bent on destroying the whole of Ahab's posterity to which she belonged ( 2 Kings 8:18-26
); but chiefly from personal ambition to rule, and a desire to establish the worship of Baal. Such was the sad fruit of the unequal alliance between the son of the pious Jehoshaphat and a daughter of the idolatrous and wicked house of Ahab.
2. Jehosheba--or Jehoshabeath ( 2 Chronicles 22:11 ).
daughter of King Joram--not by Athaliah, but by a secondary wife.
stole him from among the king's sons which were slain--either from among the corpses, he being considered dead, or out of the palace nursery.
hid him . . . in the bedchamber--for the use of the priests, which was in some part of the temple ( 2 Kings 11:3 ), and of which Jehoiada and his wife had the sole charge. What is called, however, the bedchamber in the East is not the kind of apartment that we understand by the name, but a small closet, into which are flung during the day the mattresses and other bedding materials spread on the floors or divans of the sitting-rooms by day. Such a slumber-room was well suited to be a convenient place for the recovery of his wounds, and a hiding-place for the royal infant and his nurse.
2 Kings 11:4-12 . HE IS MADE KING.
4. the seventh year--namely, of the reign of Athaliah, and the rescue of Jehoash.
Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers, &c.--He could scarcely have obtained such a general convocation except at the time, or on pretext, of a public and solemn festival. Having revealed to them the secret of the young king's preservation and entered into a covenant with them for the overthrow of the tyrant, he then arranged with them the plan and time of carrying their plot into execution The conduct of Jehoiada, who acted the leading and chief part in this conspiracy, admits of an easy and full justification; for, while Athaliah was a usurper, and belonged to a race destined by divine denunciation to destruction, even his own wife had a better and stronger claim to the throne; the sovereignty of Judah had been divinely appropriated to the family of David, and therefore the young prince on whom it was proposed to confer the crown, possessed an inherent right to it, of which a usurper could not deprive him. Moreover, Jehoiada was most probably the high priest, whose official duty it was to watch over the due execution of God's laws, and who in his present movement, was encouraged and aided by the countenance and support of the chief authorities, both civil and ecclesiastical, in the country. In addition to all these considerations, he seems to have been directed by an impulse of the Divine Spirit, through the counsels and exhortations of the prophets of the time.
2 Kings 11:13-16 . ATHALIAH SLAIN.
13. Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people--The profound secrecy with which the conspiracy had been conducted rendered the unusual acclamations of the vast assembled crowd the more startling and roused the suspicions of the tyrant.
she came . . . into the temple of the Lord--that is, the courts, which she was permitted to enter by Jehoiada's directions [ 2 Kings 11:8 ] in order that she might be secured.
14. the king stood by a pillar--or on a platform, erected for that
15. without the ranges--that is, fences, that the sacred place might not be stained with human blood.
2 Kings 11:17-20 . JEHOIADA RESTORES GOD'S WORSHIP.
17, 18. a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people--The covenant with the Lord was a renewal of the national covenant with Israel (Exodus 19:1-24:18'; "to be unto him a people of inheritance," Deuteronomy 4:6 , 27:9 ). The covenant between the king and the people was the consequence of this, and by it the king bound himself to rule according to the divine law, while the people engaged to submit, to give him allegiance as the Lord's anointed. The immediate fruit of this renewal of the covenant was the destruction of the temple and the slaughter of the priests of Baal (see 2 Kings 10:27 ); the restoration of the pure worship of God in all its ancient integrity; and the establishment of the young king on the hereditary throne of Judah ( 2 Kings 11:19 ).