Death of the Heirs of Ahaziah of Judah. 1a When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she began to kill off the whole royal family. 2But Jehosheba,* daughter of King Joram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash, Ahaziah’s son, and spirited him away, along with his nurse, from the bedroom where the princes were about to be slain. He was concealed from Athaliah, and so he did not die. 3For six years he remained hidden with her in the house of the LORD, while Athaliah ruled as queen over the land.
Death of Athaliah. 4But in the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the captains of the Carians* and of the guards. He had them come to him in the house of the LORD, made a covenant with them, exacted an oath from them in the house of the LORD, and then showed them the king’s son. 5He gave them these orders: “This is what you must do: one third of you who come on duty on the sabbath shall guard the king’s house; 6another third shall be at the gate Sur; and the last third shall be at the gate behind the guards. You shall guard the palace on all sides, 7while the two of your divisions who are going off duty that week shall keep guard over the house of the LORD for the king. 8You shall surround the king, each with drawn weapons, and anyone who tries to approach the guard detail is to be killed; stay with the king, wherever he goes.”
9The captains did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each took his troops, both those going on duty for the week and those going off duty that week, and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10b He gave the captains King David’s spear and quivers, which were in the house of the LORD. 11And the guards, with drawn weapons, lined up from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on the king’s behalf. 12Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and put the crown and the testimony* upon him. They proclaimed him king and anointed him, clapping their hands and shouting, “Long live the king!”
13When Athaliah heard the noise made by the people, she came before them in the house of the LORD. 14When she saw the king standing by the column,* as was the custom, and the captains and trumpeters near the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, Athaliah tore her garments and cried out, “Treason, treason!” 15Then Jehoiada the priest instructed the captains in command of the force: “Escort her with a guard detail. If anyone follows her, let him die by the sword.” For the priest had said, “She must not die in the house of the LORD.” 16So they seized her, and when she reached the Horse Gate of the king’s house, she was put to death.
17c Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people,* by which they would be the LORD’s people; and another between the king and the people. 18Thereupon all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. Jehoiada the priest appointed a detachment for the house of the LORD, 19and took the captains, the Carians, the guards, and all the people of the land, and they led the king down from the house of the LORD; they came through the guards’ gate to the king’s house, and Joash took his seat on the royal throne. 20All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the king’s house.
* [11:2] According to 2 Chr 22:11, Jehosheba was the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest. If this is historical, it would explain her access to the Temple’s residential precincts.
* [11:4] Carians: foreign mercenaries serving as the royal bodyguard. Compare “Cherethites and Pelethites” in 1 Kgs 1:38.
* [11:12] Testimony: that is, the two tablets of the law preserved in the ark in the Temple. Presumably they were placed upon the king during his installation ceremony as a reminder of the law he was to uphold.
* [11:14] By the column: the king’s special place in the Temple court; cf. 23:3; 2 Chr 23:13. People of the land: in this period, the phrase referred to the important citizenry, whose influence sometimes extended to the selection of royal successors (cf. 2 Kgs 11:14–20; 15:5; 16:15; 21:24; 23:6, 30–35; 24:14; 25:3, 19). In postexilic times, by contrast, the phrase was used of the poor.
* [11:17] There are two covenants. One is between the Lord as one party and the people, headed by the king, as the other. The second covenant, between king and people, is comparable to that made between David and the elders of Israel at Hebron (2 Sm 5:3).
c. [11:17] 2 Kgs 23:3.