Updated: Dec 7, 2020
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INTRODUCTION. During the time Elijah and Elisha were doing their work, there was
turmoil in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In the northern kingdom of Israel, the
wicked Ahab was succeeded on the throne first by one son, and following his death, by
a second son. Both of these kings were wicked as their father.
A descendant of David ascended the throne in Judah about the same time as Ahab's
first son began reigning in Israel. This king of Judah was married to Athaliah who was
the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. The king was wicked, as was his wife, and his son
who succeeded him on the throne was also wicked.
Meanwhile God instructed Elisha to anoint Jehu as king of Israel. God chose Jehu as
his instrument to destroy the house (descendants) of Ahab, thus fulfilling the prophecy
of Elijah (I Kings 21:21-22; II Kings 9:1-13). Jehu immediately commenced the task of conspiring against the descendants of Ahab and eliminating them. First, Jehu rode in his chariot to the city of Jezreel. As he approached the city, the king of Israel and the king of Judah who were visiting one another rode in their chariots to meet Jehu. Jehu slew both kings then continued on to the city (II Kings 9:14-29).
Next, as Jehu entered the city, Jezebel greeted him from an upper window. He com-
manded some servants in the house to throw Jezebel down. They threw her down, and
Jehu trampled her underfoot with his horses and chariot. He went inside, ate and drank, then commanded the servants to bury Jezebel, for she was a king's daughter. When the servants went outside only the skull, feet, and palms of her hands remained, for the dogs had eaten her as prophesied by Elijah (I Kings 21:23; II Kings 9:30-37).
Jehu proceeded to slay all that remained of the house of Ahab, both in Israel and
Judah. Then he destroyed the house of Baal and killed the worshippers of Baal. He didnnot remove Jeroboam's two golden calves, however, nor did he walk in the law of the Lord with all his heart (II Kings 10).
When Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, saw that her son the king of Judah
was dead, she destroyed all the royal heirs and declared herself queen of Judah. How-
ever, the wife of the high priest, who was also the sister of the dead king, managed to
rescue one of the king's sons, Joash (her nephew), and hide him from Athaliah. He remained hidden for six years in the house of the Lord.
In the seventh year, the high priest Jehoiada presented Joash to the officers of the tem-
ple and took an oath of allegiance from them. Jehoiada then armed temple guards, and
as they stood round about Joash, Jehoiada placed a crown upon the boy. As the people shouted, Long live the king!, Athaliah, hearing the noise, came to the temple and saw the young king standing by the pillar. While all the people of the land rejoiced and blew the trumpets, Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, Treason! treason! Jehoiada then
commanded the officers to follow Athaliah and slay her outside the temple.