Athaliah and Jehosheba
“Behold, the King’s Son shall reign” (2 Chron. 23: 3).
In the course of our Sunday Lessons many interesting chapters are necessarily left out, so that the Old Testament may be read in the course of the year. But “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Rom. 15: 4). All are necessary, all useful and “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3: 16). The righteousness in which the child of God has to be instructed is not his own but the righteousness of God, the righteousness in which the child of God has to be instructed is not his own but the righteousness of God, the righteousness whom the Holy Spirit calls “The Lord our Righteousness.” All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and testifies of Christ. If we cannot see Christ in the Scriptures it is not because He is not there, but because of our ignorance.
1. To begin with we must understand the history, Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab, she married Jehoram the King of Judah. This was entirely opposed to God’s will and we see the effects. “He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 8: 18). And when Jehoram died we see the same thing in Ahaziah, “he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, for he was the son-in-law of the house of Ahab” (verse 27). Ahaziah having “joined affinity with the house of Ahab” had to share its judgment, and he and his brethren fell before Jehu.
the three unholy alliances or unequal yokes which convey solemn lessons. (1) Marriage (2
Chron. 18: 1;
21: 6). (2) War (18:
2-34). (3) Commerce (20:
35, 36). Now the danger of unholy alliances is
very great in the present day. We
are asked to join all sorts of “good works,”
to adapt all sorts of plans, to utilise all sorts of schemes, but we must look
well to our goings, for all is not right that seems right. Satan is a subtle serpent, and is
sometimes transformed into an angel of light, and we are in danger of being
deceived by him. Union has always been
Satan’s plan, and separation God’s plan, from the days of the
Athaliah was filled with the cruel spirit of her father’s house: she lent
herself to Satan to do his work, but her objects were not the same. Her
object was to usurp the throne
herself. Satan’s object was to destroy the promised SEED. “I will
put enmity between thee and the woman,
and between thy seed and her seed” (Gen. 3: 15).
All Satan’s seed hate God’s word, God’s way or
God’s work, and this was so from the beginning. We have the “Fall” in Gen.
3, and in Gen.
4, we see art, science, and politics without
God. The oldest book in the Bible
tells of this enmity in certain “which said unto
God, depart from us” (Job 22: 17). So the purpose of the enemy has ever
been to frustrate the purpose of God and destroy the faith of His people. God had promised to David that He would
build up his throne … and establish his seed (2
Sam. 7 and Ps.
Hence Satan’s object here. “Athaliah …
destroyed all the seed royal.” Yes, she thought she did. Satan had tried his plan in
God is over all, His promise had gone forth (2 Chron. 23: 3). His Word cannot fail and faith in that [prophetic] word will in due time be justified. His promise will be fulfilled, and every enemy be confounded.
3. Satan had done his utmost, but where man ends God begins; Satan can kill, but God can make alive. So at the moment when the hopes of the house of Judah were crushed and seemed lost, Jehovah was watching over them, mindful of His Word, and the true heir was preserved. “Athaliah … destroyed all the seed royal.” Yes, she thought she had, it is her thought that is expressed in verse 1; but in reality it was not so; the true heir was rescued “from among the king’s sons which were slain” (verse 2). So the Lord Jesus was rescued “from among the dead.” Joash was hidden in the House of God on earth, Christ is hidden in the Father’s House on high.
In Athaliah sitting on the throne of David we have an illustration of the
present position of the world with reference to the death of the Lord
Jesus. When the religious Jew
joined hands with the godless Gentile, then king and subject, priest and people
were united to shed the blood of the Son of God, the Heir of the world (Acts 4: 26, 27).
The whole world was represented there, but Satan was the instigator of
the dead. Satan missed Him at
Now look at Jehosheba. In her we
have a beautiful illustration of the
The application is so clear that the words of the one apply with equal force to the other. Whole-hearted separation from the world is the duty and privilege of every Christian, not only in its sins and follies, but in its spirit, its principles, its plans, its schemes, its ways and its maxims (2 Cor. 6: 14-17). The sufferings of the present time are but for a moment, it is only “a little while,” so we may be content to wait. The seventh year is at hand, the year of rest, [and there is] the Sabbath keeping that remains for the people of God.* Therefore “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2: 15, 16). The first blast of the last trumpet will be the death knell of all that is in the world and of the world.
[* Heb. 4: 11.]
But there is another person in the story, Jehoiada. He was the high priest, the husband of
Jehosheba. He sets forth,
therefore, the priestly work and the other part of the work of Jehosheba. In Jehosheba we see the heart resting in
love with the king, the life hidden with the king. In Jehoiada we see faith in activity for
the king, the life working for the king.
The affections of the wife were gathered round the person of the hidden
king; the faith of the husband was energetic in gathering loyal souls for the
king and preparing for his manifestation.
He illustrates most powerfully the activities of the
The whole question now is one of loyalty. First, life and union, with the King, then faith in Him, love for Him, hope towards Him, and LOYALTY to Him. This is a very precious aspect of our position in the world. This is the all-powerful test. Can I do this and be loyal to my Lord? Is this or that consistent with loyalty? There are only the two parties, the usurper’s and the rightful king’s, the parties of David and Saul; the world and the Father, whose one attitude towards the world is that of waiting His appointed time for His Son to reign. We are on one side or the other. There is nothing but judgment, overwhelming judgment for those who are not on the king’s side. Can we not say to the rejected One, “Lord, the world is guilty of Thy death, the world thinks that Thou art dead, but I know Thou art alive, and that Thou art coming again; I am on Thy side; I trust in Thee and in Thy righteousness only, I would be loyal to Thee; by faith I come to Thee; I rest in Thy word, ‘him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out’”; I rejoice in Thy work; I confide in Thyself; I wait for Thy return. Every needful step having been taken, everything provided for (2 Kings 11: 10), all made ready, the seventh year came, and now Joash the rightful heir is brought forth from the hidden place. He is revealed in the glory of the Father’s house, and he is surrounded by all that had been king David’s (2 Kings 11: 10-12).
was a day of great joy and gladness to
What solemn words. “The people of the land rejoiced, the city was quiet.” WHEN? “After they had slain Athaliah with the sword.” When shall the groaning creation rejoice? When shall the whole earth be in quiet? When the usurper shall have been cast out; when judgment shall have cleansed the earth of all his works. Could Joash reign in fellowship with Athaliah? Impossible. The one must be cast out before the other can sit on His rightful throne. When the Antichrist is taken and cast down, when Satan is bound, then “The Prince of the Kings of the earth” will ascend the Throne of Righteousness, and reign over a redeemed and glorified creation. Let us live for that glorious day, let us look for it (Phil. 2: 9-11), let us long for it (1 Cor. 15: 25-28), hidden with Christ, yet working for Him, loyal to Him, till He shall come again.