When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she went into the house of the Lord to the people. And when she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments leading in the celebration. And Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!” Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains who were set over the army, saying to them, “Bring her out between the ranks, and anyone who follows her is to be put to death with the sword.” For the priest said, “Do not put her to death in the house of the Lord.” So they laid hands on her, and she went into the entrance of the horse gate of the king’s house, and they put her to death there. 2 Chronicles 23:12-15.
When there was a critical mass of support, and Joash was old enough to be king, the high priest struck. Jehoiada had been waiting patiently until Joash was of the, and for the people to embrace the reforms that did away with Baal worship.
I feel like we live in a precarious time like this, where wicked leaders keep pushing the other tribe into a corner, and the cornered tribe is waiting to strike. Would to God that one if our tribes wanted to be the Lord’s people!
Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were about to be put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of Jehoiada the priest, because she was a sister of Ahaziah, hid him from Athaliah, so that she did not put him to death. And he remained with them six years, hidden in the house of God, while Athaliah reigned over the land. 2 Chronicles 21:10-12.
Athaliah must have hated her father-in-law, Jehoshaphat, who was a good and righteous king. After all, her mother, Jezebel, and father, Ahab, were judged by God and executed by His servants. And even now, Jehu was wiping out her father’s house in the name of the Lord. So she immediately went about wiping out Jehoshaphat’s lineage.
Instead of thinking, “Maybe we’re doing something wrong,” Athaliah is filled with rage and a desire for revenge against those narrow-minded haters who only believe in one God. Those terrible bigots, clinging to their swords and their religion, are purging the land of diversity! So the baby killing must go on!
Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Jehoram his son reigned in his place. He had brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariah, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. Their father gave them great gifts of silver, gold, and valuable possessions, together with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram, because he was the firstborn. When Jehoram had ascended the throne of his father and was established, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and also some of the princes of Israel. Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and since he had promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever. 2 Chronicles 21:1-7.
Asa was a good king. Jehoshaphat was a good king. So what happened to Jehoram? He was a homicidal idolator! The only thing that stands out is that he married Ahab’s daughter. I don’t know if her mother was Jezebel, but she may have been driven by the same demons. After all, Ahab was a weakling that yielded to his homicidal, idolatrous wife.
Fortunately, Jehoram’s reign is relatively short. The Lord smites him with an agonizing death, and he is not mourned. He was so bad that surrounding peoples revolted.
It is so sad that in America we have no obvious good choices. So few of our leaders follow the Lord. But worst still is the fact that a majority would not choose godly leaders any way. Today, a godly person is “an extremist” in a nation of lukewarm enablers.
After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted wickedly. He joined him in building ships to go to Tarshish, and they built the ships in Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” And the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish. 2 Chronicles 20:35-27.
This is the second time God sent rebuke for partnering with the wicked king of Israel. In both cases, it seems like he was just being friendly with his neighbor. And aren’t we supposed to be the friends of sinners?
Being a friend of sinners was something Jesus was accused of, but not what he really was. He reached out to sinners, taught them and healed them. He did not share in their activity. He forgave the woman caught in adultery. He did not practice it with her.
Today the church is unwilling to give or receive correction. We shy away from unpleasant conversations because we “don’t want to turn people off.” We become sinners to reach sinners, and leave them unchanged and ourselves compromised.
Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. But Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord. Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asheroth out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God.”
Jehoshaphat lived at Jerusalem. And he went out again among the people, from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers. He appointed judges in the land in all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, “Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the Lord. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking bribes.” 2 Chronicles 19:1-7.
When some son of a seer comes to rebuke this king, he takes it to heart. He gets back in the game and strengthens God’s kingdom by reinforcing righteousness in his own.
This is not likely to happen with our own head of state. He fights back against every criticism as a reflex. It’s one of the things his fans like about him. His enemies are the same ones who live to accuse their fellow citizens of every sort of evil, real and imagined. But we now set the bar so low for our leaders, that all we want is our own bully to fight the other bullies.
We desperately need leaders who actually promote righteousness and make sure they are criticized for that. They need to stand on God’s word and not just stand against the fashionable foolishness of our time.