Containing The Interval Of One Hundred And Fifty-Seven Years.
From The Death Of Ahab To The Captivity Of The Ten Tribes.
How Athalliah Reigned Over Jerusalem For Five [Six] Years When JehoiadaThe High Priest Slew Her And Made Jehoash, The Son Of Ahaziah, King.
1. Now when Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab, heard of the death of her brother Joram, and of her son Ahaziah, and of the royal family, she endeavored that none of the house of David might be left alive, but that the whole family might be exterminated, that no king might arise out of it afterward; and, as she thought, she had actually done it; but one of Ahaziah's sons was preserved, who escaped death after the manner following: Ahaziah had a sister by the same father, whose name was Jehosheba, and she was married to the high priest Jehoiada. She went into the king's palace, and found Jehoash, for that was the little child's name, who was not above a year old, among those that were slain, but concealed with his nurse; so she took him with her into a secret bed-chamber, and shut him up there, and she and her husband Jehoiada brought him up privately in the temple six years, during which time Athaliah reigned over Jerusalem and the two tribes.
2. Now, on the Seventh year, Jehoiada communicated the matter to certain of the captains of hundreds, five in number, and persuaded them to be assisting to what attempts he was making against Athaliah, and to join with him in asserting the kingdom to the child. He also received such oaths from them as are proper to secure those that assist one another from the fear of discovery; and he was then of good hope that they should depose Athaliah. Now those men whom Jehoiada the priest had taken to be his partners went into all the country, and gathered together the priests and the Levites, and the heads of the tribes out of it, and came and brought them to Jerusalem to the high priest. So he demanded the security of an oath of them, to keep private whatsoever he should discover to them, which required both their silence and their assistance. So when they had taken the oath, and had thereby made it safe for him to speak, he produced the child that he had brought up of the family of David, and said to them,
"This is your king, of that house which you know God hath foretold should reign over you for all time to come. I exhort you therefore that one-third part of you guard him in the temple, and that a fourth part keep watch at all the gates of the temple, and that the next part of you keep guard at the gate which opens and leads to the king's palace, and let the rest of the multitude be unarmed in the temple, and let no armed person go into the temple, but the priest only."
He also gave them this order besides,
"That a part of the priests and the Levites should be about the king himself, and be a guard to him, with their drawn swords, and to kill that man immediately, whoever he be, that should be so bold as to enter armed into the temple; and bid them be afraid of nobody, but persevere in guarding the king."
So these men obeyed what the high priest advised them to, and declared the reality of their resolution by their actions. Jehoiada also opened that armory which David had made in the temple, and distributed to the captains of hundreds, as also to the priests and Levites, all the spears and quivers, and what kind of weapons so ever it contained, and set them armed in a circle round about the temple, so as to touch one another's hands, and by that means excluding those from entering that ought not to enter. So they brought the child into the midst of them, and put on him the royal crown, and Jehoiada anointed him with the oil, and made him king; and the multitude rejoiced, and made a noise, and cried,
"God save the king!"
3. When Athaliah unexpectedly heard the tumult and the acclamations, she was greatly disturbed in her mind, and suddenly issued out of the royal palace with her own army; and when she was come to the temple, the priests received her; but as for those that stood round about the temple, as they were ordered by the high priest to do, they hindered the armed inert that followed her from going in. But when Athaliah saw the child standing upon a pillar, with the royal crown upon his head, she rent her clothes, and cried out vehemently, and commanded [her guards] to kill him that had laid snares for her, and endeavored to deprive her of the government. But Jehoiada called for the captains of hundreds, and commanded them to bring Athaliah to the valley of Cedron, and slay her there, for he would not have the temple defiled with the punishments of this pernicious woman; and he gave order, that if any one came near to help her, he should be slain also; wherefore those that had the charge of her slaughter took hold of her, and led her to the gate of the king's mules, arid slew her there.
4. Now as soon as what concerned Athaliah was by this stratagem, after this manner, despatched, Jehoiada called together the people and the armed men into the temple, and made them take an oath that they would be obedient to the king, and take care of his safety, and of the safety of his government; after which he obliged the king to give security [upon oath] that he would worship God, and not transgress the laws of Moses. They then ran to the house of Baal, which Athaliah and her husband Jehoram had built, to the dishonor of the God of their fathers, and to the honor of Ahab, and demolished it, and slew Mattan, that had his priesthood. But Jehoiada intrusted the care and custody of the temple to the priests and Levites, according to the appointment of king David, and enjoined them to bring their regular burnt-offerings twice a day, and to offer incense according to the law. He also ordained some of the Levites, with the porters, to be a guard to the temple, that no one that was defiled might come there.
5. And when Jehoiada had set these things in order, he, with the captains of hundreds, and the rulers, and all the people, took Jehoash out of the temple into the king's palace; and when he had set him upon the king's throne, the people shouted for joy, and betook themselves to feasting, and kept a festival for many days; but the city was quiet upon the death of Athaliah. Now Jehoash was seven years old when he took the kingdom. His mother's name was Zibiah, of the city Beersheba. And all the time that Jehoiada lived Jehoash was careful that the laws should be kept, and very zealous in the worship of God; and when he was of age, he married two wives, who were given to him by the high priest, by whom were born to him both sons and daughters. And thus much shall suffice to have related concerning king Jehoash, how he escaped the treachery of Athaliah, and how he received the kingdom.