Wicked Queen, Little King, and Us

We know that we are children of God, and the whole world is under the control of the evil one. – I John 5:19

Our pastor has been preaching a series on the book of II Kings. It’s a fast-paced, exciting, confusing book of rulers of Israel – Northen and Southern kingdoms – prophets, and various enemies. I have read this book of the Bible numerous times over the years and have long given up on keeping everyone straight and knowing details for the sake of knowing details. However, the history of Israel contains important lessons regarding good, evil, and their consequences for individuals, leaders, and nations.

Recently the sermon included one of my favorite stories in Kings, the tale of the wicked Queen Athalia and little King Joash.

Athalia, daughter of the notorious King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and wife of King Jehoram, led the Southern Kingdom (Judah), from worshiping Jehovah into detestable Baal-worship. Her son, wicked King Ahaziah, ruled Judah for a year, although it’s debatable whether he was the king or just the puppet of his evil mother.

When Ahaziah died, Athalia set about to murder every male in the entire royal family – the line of King David!

Of all the wars and murders recorded in Kings, this bloodbath had the potential to be the most catastrophic. The Lord had predicted through His prophets that the coming Messiah would be from the lineage of David. If this wicked queen had succeeded in killing off that line, there would have been no Messiah – NO JESUS.

No salvation!

But, as has happened in better known biblical accounts (Exodus 1:22- 2:3, Matthew 2:13-16), one baby was preserved from the slaughter. How this happened is the stuff of fairy tales and Hollywood movies…

But Jehosheba took Joash [her nephew] and stole him away from the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide from Athaliah, so he was not killed. He remained hidden with his nurse at the Temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled the land. (II Kings 11:2,3)

After seven years, Jehoida, the priest, decided the time was right for this little boy, the rightful King of Judah, to take the throne.


It was the Sabbath, and the people would soon be assembling. Some of the commanders and guards had Sabbath duty that day at the palace, some at the Temple, and some at the gates. Jehoida gathered them all – those on duty and off – at the Temple, and gave them instructions.

Then [the priest] gave the commanders the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and that were in the Temple of the Lord. The guards, each with his weapon in his hand, stationed themselves around the king … II Kings 11:10-11a

Feel the suspense building as all of this was being done, unbeknownst to Athalia! The people gathered at the Temple and the commanders and guards quietly took their positions – as quietly as hundreds of soldiers with weapons and shields could manage!


Jehoida brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; he presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him, and the people clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!” II Kings 11:12

Whatever Athalia had been doing all this time, she finally heard the uproar and hurried to the Temple, where she was appalled at what she saw.

Imagine the scene!

Little King Joash stood with a crown on his head and the covenant in his hand, officers and trumpeters beside him, surrounded by hundreds of armed guards, and all the people shouting joyfully, “Long live the king!” and blowing trumpets.

As might be expected,

“… Athalia tore her robes, and called out, ‘Treason! Treason!'” (II Kings 11:14c)

Then, in one day the kingdom of Judah made a complete turnaround, from Baal worship back to the true God.

First, the evil Athalia was dragged out of the Temple and killed.

Jehoida then made a covenant between the Lord and the king that they would be the Lord’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.” (II Kings 11:17-18b)

Accompanied by the guards and the people, Jehoida brought Joash from the Temple to the palace, where the child took the throne, in the midst of much rejoicing.

For many years I didn’t know why this story was one of my favorites. I assumed it was because as a theater major, I could visualize the drama – tiny, helpless king, surrounded by hundreds of soldiers with King David’s spears and shields, wicked queen in a rage, the people rising up, the evil one getting justice, and a complete rejection of the false god in favor of Jehovah.

But recently I was picturing the scene, and something else occurred to me …

Besides preserving the line of David and the way of our salvation, this is a picture of how the Lord protects US!

We were created in the image of God for the purpose of ruling with Him (Genesis 1:26). But a wicked usurper has taken over the world (I John 5:19). By ourselves we are as small and weak as a little child, helpless against the evil that is in the world.

And yet we are surrounded by the armies of God (Psalm 91:11)! We are armed with supernatural weapons that can tear down the strongholds of the enemy (II Corinthians 10:4)! The saints – believers who have gone before us (Hebrews 12:1) – are cheering us on and will rejoice when we have the victory and take our rightful place as heirs to God’s kingdom (Romans 8:17)!

(“I’ve read the last chapter – we win!”)

Prayer: Lord, throughout history we have seen the evil powers that strive against the righteous for dominion over this world and over Your kingdom. Without You we are powerless and utterly dependent. And yet You are all-powerful and utterly dependable. Thank You for giving us the victory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

21 thoughts on “Wicked Queen, Little King, and Us

    1. Our pastor said this is the story of the Messiah’s line being preserved, and it is. But when you think of it, WE are the ones who benefitted, who were preserved. If Jesus hadn’t come, He would still exist -as always, in heaven on the Throne. The Messianic line was being preserved so that He could come and save us by being crucified. Definitely a better deal for us. :/

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, as a theater major who specialized in directing, I am amazed that Hollywood never produced a movie about this chapter. And you’re right, it FEELS like the enemy is winning, but stories like this remind us that God has not abandoned His people. It’s not over ’til it’s over, and when it’s over, Jesus will have won the war.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m currently reading 2 Kings, so this is fresh for me. Definitely quite a striking tale. What got me in this was how quick was the crowd/priest to overthrow Athalia. Before that happened, I had no inclination. And there are some other instances in this book where similar things happen (ex. Jezebel’s end). That made me think that sometimes we assume others are not allies because, for one reason or another, they’ve withheld from spreading the Gospel. Sometimes we just need to ask them to help us crown the real King. We might be surprised by how many people answer…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s fear, Goldie. A young man who confronted his school board about their “wokeism” before transferring to a Christian school said that other students and even some teachers privately agreed with him but were afraid to speak out for fear of the backlash and/or losing their jobs.

      Liked by 1 person

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