"And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, his youngest son, king in his stead" (2 Chronicles 22). And "he reigned, . . . he also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab." His mother was that infamous Athaliah, the daughter of Omri. "His mother was his counsellor to do wickedly." "He walked also after their counsel, and went with Jehoram, the son of Ahab, king of Israel to war." That is, the first evil begun by a pious king continues. The practice of his son is far from pious, for the bad example of a good man has immense influence, especially with those who are not good. It hardens them, and therefore works deep and ineradicable mischief. "The destruction of Ahaziah was of God," as we are told, "by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu." And thus he came under the same judgment.
Athaliah, in resentment, now enters upon a most cruel project - the destruction of the royal seed - for she was an idolatress, and she hated the word and the purpose of God. Who but she could have done it so well; for she had all power, apparently, and she had no conscience. Nay, further, hatred and bitterness filled her heart against the true God and the house of David, although she was herself a mother of that house; but still, what will not hatred of God do in reversing all the affections of nature?
So Athaliah, when she saw that her son was dead, "arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah." But God watched her and led Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, to take Joash, a child, from among the king's sons that were slain, and secretly bring him up. "And he was with them hid in the house of God six years," just as the Lord Jesus is now taken away from the midst of the wicked people who slew Him. For it was not merely a murderous intent as against Joash; but the Lord, as we know, was crucified by the hands of lawless men, and now He is hid in the house of God; but He will as surely come forth from that hiding place as Joash did.