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.



Note 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 Tower of Babel to the present day.  Israel was to be a separate nation.  Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord.”  We must remember that separation is the essence of holiness.



2. 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. 89).  Hence Satan’s object here.  Athaliah destroyed all the seed royal.”  Yes, she thought she did.  Satan had tried his plan in Egypt (Ex. 1); and later on he tried it in Persia (Est. 3: 13), and in Bethlehem (Matt. 2).  But the Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to noughtthe counsel of the Lord standeth forever” (Ps. 33: 10, 11).



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.  Athaliahdestroyed 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 rescuedfrom 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.



4. 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 Bethlehem, he was defeated at the Temptation, he was baffled at Nazareth, but at the Cross he seemed to triumph.  But no!  He did not take the Saviour’s life.  No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself,” He said (John 10: 18).  He accomplished that which the Father had given Him to do.  In appearance Satan triumphed, but the determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God was fulfilled (Acts 2: 22, 23).



5. Now look at Jehosheba.  In her we have a beautiful illustration of the church of God.  She was apparently hidden with Joash from the fury of Athaliah.  Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3: 3).  The Church hidden with Christ, and Christ hidden with the Church.  The eye of Jehosheba rested on the true and living Heir, and was occupied wholly with Him in the heavenlies of hope; she looked not at the things which were seen, but at the things which were not seen.  And here let us ask what was there in common between Jehosheba and Athaliah?  What sympathy or concord?  Could Jehosheba take any part in the schemes and plans of Athaliah for ruling the kingdom of Judah?  Could she be actuated by Athalia’s principles, could she assist her or accept her assistance or have any fellowship with her?  No!  Nor can any one whose lives are hidden with Christ or are one with Christ.  How can we have any joy where the Lord Jesus [and His inheritance (Ps. 2: 8)] is ignored.   Athaliah was a murderess and a usurper, her garments were stained with the blood of the sons of David.  Besides, Jehosheba knew that the moment the true Heir was revealed, the hidden king proclaimed, the usurper would be hurled from the throne.  His appearance would be her death-blow.  Therefore she was content to wait for the appointed time.



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.]



6. 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 Church of God in preaching a crucified, but risen, glorified, and coming King and Saviour.  Jehoiada is bold in his God for Joash the rejected one, and in him the Holy Spirit presents us with a gracious description of the faith which stands in the power of God and rests on the word.  What was the burden of Jehoiada’s message?  Behold the King’s Son shall reign, as the Lord hath said of the sons of David” (2 Chron. 23: 3).  How wonderful!  How blessed!  Yes, “He showed them the King’s Son” (2 Kings 11: 4).



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).



This was a day of great joy and gladness to Israel, to Jerusalem, to all who waited for Him.  Faith was now rewarded, the promise was fulfilled that the King’s Son should reign (2 Chron. 23: 3).  But if it was a day of light and joy to all who had sided with Joash during his rejection, it was a day of darkness and gloom and terrible despair to Athaliah and all her deluded followers.  What a solemn foreshadowing of the doom of this guilty world and of all who are willingly ignorant that it’s true King is alive, and who refuse His mercy, reject His grace and despise His coming glory!  The scene being cleared of the usurper, the King is peacefully, gloriously and triumphantly placed on the throne of David (verses 19, 20).



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.