Second Kings 11 Commentary
The consequence of the friendship between Ahab and Jehoshaphat is that their children married each other. The good king Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram married Athaliah, the daughter of the wicked couple, Ahab and Jezebel. It is during this time that the two houses shared names. So their children and grandchildren are variously named Ahaziah and Jehoram for both houses. They both became kings for their nations and shared the same wickedness.
Athaliah is the real daughter of Jezebel. She murdered all the royal princes after her son Ahaziah died. This is what Jehoshaphat brought to the family – a walking principality. It matters ‘who’ marries ‘who’ in the household of faith. Wickedness can be inherited. Wickedness can be passed on from parents to children. Wickedness can be imported into one’s life and family through marriage. Athaliah was a very bad import.
She ruled the kingdom for seven years. You would guess it was a reign of terror and unchecked idolatry.
The chapter however is highlighted by the generosity of the LORD in preserving a lamp for David. Prince Joash is hidden away by his auntie and survives the mass murder by Athaliah. The LORD allows the bravery of auntie Jehosheba and the priest Jehoiada to raise the boy Joash. He became a king aged only seven.
While mortals bask in huge victories, the LORD is unconcerned by the thinness of victory. These near-misses are a matter of great concern to humans but the LORD thrives on them. No one wants a time bomb to be stopped just a couple of seconds before an explosion but the LORD doesn’t mind. Showing up after an explosion is a complete disaster but the LORD doesn’t mind a resurrection. Our ways are not His ways.
So like Joseph and Moses, Joash escapes death by the skin of his teeth. And it is the plan of the LORD – executed to perfection. It is nevertheless a near-miss in our thinking. Suppose the lone prince dies. Suppose the hidden boy is discovered. But the LORD doesn’t have these fears. So in the LORD’s vocabulary, such works like near-miss don’t exist.
Regardless, the LORD allows the baby to be raised up by upright people in the presence of God at the temple. Joash is introduced to the word of the LORD at the earliest possible age. Can we start again? Yes. This appears to be the doing of the LORD. Let the nation start afresh with the commandments of the LORD at its base.
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