Athaliah Kills the King’s Sons in Judah
Athaliah was Ahaziah’s mother. She saw that her son was dead, so she got up and killed all the king’s family.
Jehosheba was King Joram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s sister. Joash was one of the king’s sons. While the other children were being killed, Jehosheba took Joash and hid him. She put him and his nurse in her bedroom, so Jehosheba and the nurse hid Joash from Athaliah. That way Joash was not killed.
Then Joash and Jehosheba hid in the LORD’S Temple. Joash hid there for six years. During that time Athaliah ruled over the land of Judah.
In the seventh year Jehoiada the high priest sent for the captains of the Carites* and guards. He brought them together in the LORD’S Temple and made an agreement with them. There in the Temple of the LORD he forced them to make a promise. Then he showed the king’s son to them.
Then Jehoiada gave them a command. He said, “This is what you must do. One-third of you, from those who go on duty on the Sabbath day, must stand guard at the royal palace. Another third will be at the Sur Gate, and the other third will be at the gate behind the guard. This way you will stand guard over the palace on all sides. Your two divisions who go off duty on the Sabbath day will stand guard at the LORD’S Temple and protect King Joash. You must stay with him wherever he goes. The whole group must surround the king. Each guard must have his weapon in his hand, and you must kill anyone who comes too close to you.”
The captains obeyed everything that Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each captain took his men, both those who were going on duty on the Sabbath day and those who were going off duty. All these men went to Jehoiada the priest, 10 and he gave spears and shields to the captains. These were the spears and shields David put in the LORD’S Temple. 11 These guards stood with their weapons in their hands from the right corner of the Temple to the left corner. They stood around the altar and the Temple and around the king when he went to the Temple. 12 These men brought out Joash. They put the crown on him and gave him a copy of the agreement. Then they anointed him and made him the new king. They clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”
13 Queen Athaliah heard the noise from the guards and the people, so she went to them at the LORD’S Temple. 14 Athaliah saw the king by the column where new kings usually stood. She also saw the leaders and men playing the trumpets for him. She saw that all the people were very happy. She heard the trumpets, and she tore her clothes to show she was upset. Then Athaliah shouted, “Treason! Treason!”
15 Jehoiada the priest gave a command to the captains who were in charge of the soldiers. Jehoiada told them, “Take Athaliah outside of the Temple area. Kill any of her followers, but don’t kill them in the LORD’S Temple.”
16 So the soldiers grabbed Athaliah and killed her as soon as she went through the horse’s entrance to the palace.
17 Then Jehoiada made the agreement between the LORD and the king and the people. This agreement showed that the king and the people belonged to the LORD. Jehoiada also made the agreement between the king and the people.
18 Then all the people went to the temple of Baal. They destroyed the statue of Baal and his altars. They broke them into many pieces. They also killed Baal’s priest, Mattan, in front of the altars.
So Jehoiada the priest put men in charge of maintaining the LORD’S Temple. 19 The priest led all the people. They went from the LORD’S Temple to the king’s palace. The king’s special guards and the captains went with the king, and all the other people followed them. They went to the entrance to the king’s palace. Then King Joash sat on the throne. 20 All the people were happy, and the city was peaceful. And Queen Athaliah was killed with a sword near the king’s palace.
21 Joash was seven years old when he became king.
* 11:4 Carites Or “Kerethites,” special soldiers hired to serve the king. 11:4 guards Literally, “runners” or “messengers.” 11:12 a copy of the agreement Literally, “testimony.” This could be a copy of the Law of Moses (see Deuteronomy 17:18) or a special agreement between God and the king (see verse 17 and 1 Sam. 10:25).