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  • Writer's pictureKristina Trott

#41 Athaliah: the grandmother from hell

We’ve written about the legacy of a godly grandmother, Lois, on a child. Today I want to look at the antithesis of that, a cruel-hearted and merciless grandmother.

The notorious King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, had a daughter, Athaliah, who, like her mother, was the real power behind the throne. She married Jehoram, king of Judah who, on his ascension to the throne, had all his brothers and possible rivals killed. After his death their son, Ahaziah, reigned for a year with Athaliah counselling him in wickedness (2 Chron. 22:3).

Athaliah had been the daughter of a king, the wife of a king, the mother of a king but now she seized her opportunity to be queen when Ahaziah was killed by Jehu. Athaliah murdered all the possible royal heirs, including the sons of Ahaziah, her own young grandsons, and installed herself as queen over Judah (2 Chr 22:10–23:21).

One of the royal heirs, Joash, however, had been rescued and after 6 years he was crowned king. Athaliah heard and confronted the rejoicing crowd but when she saw her 7 year old grandson, Joash, standing as king before them, she hypocritically screamed, “Treason! Treason!” She, and her followers, were taken away to be unceremoniously slain at the Horse Gate, to be trampled on by the horses as they went in and out of the city (2 Chron. 23:13).

What was behind this murderess to make her this evil? The answer must be that she had destroyed the Temple of God and used that material to build the temple of Baal. Tellingly, the very first thing the people of Judah did as soon as Athaliah had been seized was to go to her temple of Baal and tear it down, smash its altars and images and kill its priest (2 Chron. 23:17).

Without belief in God and obedience to His laws to constrain her, Athaliah viewed all life as cheap and disposable. In the murderous regimes in this world, the common factor is a disbelief in the God of the Bible and a scorning of the work of Jesus for the redemption of all mankind from sin.

If you have spurned the laws of God and have lived a life away from God’s kindness and mercy, it is not too late to return to Him. Like the prodigal son, you only need to say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you”. Please forgive me and help me to change my life. I want Jesus as my Saviour and Lord.

Don’t wait until it is too late.

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