2 Chronicles 22 (NLT)
Ahaziah Rules in Judah
1Then the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, their next king, since the marauding bands who came with the Arabs had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram reigned as king of Judah.
2 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri. 3 Ahaziah also followed the evil example of King Ahab’s family, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. 4 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Ahab’s family had done. They even became his advisers after the death of his father, and they led him to ruin.
5 Following their evil advice, Ahaziah joined King Joram, the son of King Ahab of Israel, in his war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. When the Arameans wounded Joram in the battle, 6 he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he had received at Ramoth. Because Joram was wounded, King Ahaziah of Judah went to Jezreel to visit him.
7 But God had decided that this visit would be Ahaziah’s downfall. While he was there, Ahaziah went out with Joram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had appointed to destroy the dynasty of Ahab.
Jehu was a commander in the Israelite army who had accepted a charge from Elijah to seize the throne and eliminate Baal worship from Israel (2 Kings 9:1-10). Apparently there was widespread discontent with Joram’s rule, since Israelite troops readily took Jehu’s side (2 Kings 9:11-20). At Jezreel he killed Joram (2 Kings 9:21-28) and then went on to consolidate his power by killing Jezebel, the entire family of Joram, the ministers of Baal and 42 relatives of Ahaziah of Judah (2 Kings 9:30-10:28). No one was left to oppose him. Now bereft of allies, however, Jehu submitted to Assyria. He paid tribute to Shalmaneser III, as is recorded in the Black Obelisk from Nimrud, discovered in Iraq in 1846 (as pictured above: Jehu kneeling before Shalmaneser).
–notes from The Archaeological Study Bible
When the ancient Assyrian Cuneiform inscription was translated the biblical world was shocked. The inscription reads, “The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears.”
8 While Jehu was executing judgment against the family of Ahab, he happened to meet some of Judah’s officials and Ahaziah’s relatives who were traveling with Ahaziah. So Jehu killed them all. 9 Then Jehu’s men searched for Ahaziah, and they found him hiding in the city of Samaria. They brought him to Jehu, who killed him. Ahaziah was given a decent burial because the people said, “He was the grandson of Jehoshaphat—a man who sought the Lord with all his heart.”
“The final movements of Ahaziah are difficult to trace but may perhaps be reconstructed as follows: he fled south from Jezreel so as to hide in Samaria. He was brought to Jehu, who fatally wounded him near Ibleam (between Jezreel and Samaria); he fled by chariot northwest to Megiddo, where he died (2 Kings 9:27); and his body was carried by Ahaziah’s servants to Jerusalem (2 Kings 9:28), where they buried him.”
–David F. Payne
But none of the surviving members of Ahaziah’s family was capable of ruling the kingdom.
Queen Athaliah Rules in Judah
10 When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of Judah’s royal family.
The King of Judah, Jehoshaphat, had married his son, Jehoram, to Athaliah, the morally bankrupt daughter of Israel’s wicked Ahab and Jezebel. Politically, this alliance should have minimized the differences between north and south. Theologically, however, it threatened the Lord’s guarantee that Judah should continue as a state at all. And the end result is the death of all of Jehoshaphat’s descendants save one.
11 But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom. In this way, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the priest and sister of Ahaziah, hid the child so that Athaliah could not murder him. 12 Joash remained hidden in the Temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land.
“This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.” While Athaliah thinks she has everything under her control, there is a baby in a small bedroom in the temple, and God is caring for him! And God is caring for you just as tenderly as he is caring for that little boy in the temple!
And how can this story of little Joash not remind us of baby Jesus? Both sons in David’s royal line — both hidden away from a monarch intent on killing them — both purposed to bring people to God. HERE Mariah Carey sings “Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child” and I hope you’ll be humming this cheerful number all day long!
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.