Queen Athaliah of Judah
(2 Chr 22.10—23.15)
1As soon as King Ahaziah's mother Athaliah learnt of her son's murder, she gave orders for all the members of the royal family to be killed. 2Only Ahaziah's son Joash escaped. He was about to be killed with the others, but was rescued by his aunt Jehosheba, who was King Jehoram's daughter and Ahaziah's half-sister. She took him and his nurse into a bedroom in the Temple and hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not killed. 3For six years Jehosheba took care of the boy and kept him hidden in the Temple, while Athaliah ruled as queen.
4But in the seventh year Jehoiada the priest sent for the officers in charge of the royal bodyguard and of the palace guards, and told them to come to the Temple, where he made them agree under oath to what he planned to do. He showed them King Ahaziah's son Joash 5and gave them the following orders: “When you come on duty on the Sabbath, one third of you are to guard the palace; 6another third are to stand guard at the Sur Gate, and the other third are to stand guard at the gate behind the other guards.#11.6 Hebrew has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear. 7The two groups that go off duty on the Sabbath are to stand guard at the Temple to protect the king. 8You are to guard King Joash with drawn swords and stay with him wherever he goes. Anyone who comes near you is to be killed.”
9The officers obeyed Jehoiada's instructions and brought their men to him — those going off duty on the Sabbath and those going on duty. 10He gave the officers the spears#11.10 Some ancient translations (and see 2 Chr 23.9) spears; Hebrew spear. and shields that had belonged to King David and had been kept in the Temple, 11and he stationed the men with drawn swords all round the front of the Temple, to protect the king. 12Then Jehoiada led Joash out, placed the crown on his head, and gave him a copy of the laws governing kingship. Then Joash was anointed and proclaimed king. The people clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!”
13Queen Athaliah heard the noise being made by the guards and the people, so she hurried to the Temple, where the crowd had gathered. 14#2 Kgs 23.3There she saw the new king standing by the column at the entrance of the Temple, as was the custom. He was surrounded by the officers and the trumpeters, and the people were all shouting joyfully and blowing trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes in distress and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”
15Jehoiada did not want Athaliah killed in the temple area, so he ordered the army officers: “Take her out between the rows of guards, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” 16They seized her, took her to the palace, and there at the Horse Gate they killed her.
(2 Chr 23.16–21)
17The priest Jehoiada made King Joash and the people enter into a covenant with the Lord that they would be the Lord's people; he also made a covenant between the king and the people. 18Then the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down; they smashed the altars and the idols, and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, in front of the altars.
Jehoiada put guards on duty at the Temple, 19and then he, the officers, the royal bodyguard, and the palace guards escorted the king from the Temple to the palace, followed by all the people. Joash entered by the Guard Gate and took his place on the throne. 20All the people were filled with happiness, and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been killed in the palace.
21Joash became king of Judah at the age of seven.
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