by Tim Hall
Even good people can cause catastrophic results by dabbling with sin.
If Athaliah had succeeded in her wicked plot, the line of David would have been stopped more than 800 years too early. Scripture describes the desperate times: “When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs” (2 Kings 11:1, NKJV). The thought is sickening: The queen-mother was not just killing heirs; she was murdering her own grandchildren.
What motivated her? She was trying to solidify her position as the ultimate power in Judah. Her son’s death in battle left a power vacuum, and she meant to fill it. Had it not been for Jehosheba’s courageous smuggling of the infant Joash (2 Kings 11:2,3), the last link in the Davidic chain, evil would have triumphed over God’s plan. (But as would be the case centuries later, the hiding of a baby led to the salvation of a nation.)
Who was this wicked woman Athaliah, and how did she come to have access to the kings of Judah? According to 2 Kings 8:18, she was the daughter of King Ahab of Israel. To conclude that she was also the daughter of Ahab’s notorious wife Jezebel is not a stretch. Her sinister heart resembles very closely that of Jezebel.
How did the daughter of the most wicked king of Israel end up in Judah? God’s Word states that she married Joram, who was the son of Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 8:18). The latter was one of the very best kings of Judah, a man who feared God and kept his commandments.
But 1 Kings 22, finds Jehoshaphat aligned with King Ahab in battle against Syria. Verse 44 of that chapter makes a sad declaration: “Also Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.” From that inadvisable pact, probably, came the marriage of Ahab’s daughter to the son of Jehoshaphat.
There can hardly be clearer commentary on 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.'” Had the king of Judah, normally a god-fearing ruler, kept his distance from the ungodly Ahab, the dark days of Athaliah would not have come upon his descendants.
God’s word gives the best counsel. Consider how many heartaches could be prevented if more followed the admonition of 2 Corinthians 6:14,17:
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? … Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.'”
And let the people of God say, “Amen!”