‘The king’s son shall reign, as the Lord hath said.’
I. No evil anger is sufficient to accomplish the frustration of Divine purpose.—Against the wickedness of one woman God set in activity the compassion of another. Jehoshabeath rescued Joash, and for six years with patient persistence nursed him under shelter of the Temple. The story of Jehoiada is one of devotion and courage. He doubtless had known of the hiding place of Joash and his nurse. After six years of terrible experience he took means to bring about the death of Athaliah and the crowning of the boy who was the true representative of the house of David. Jehoiada commenced the reformation which followed during the forty years of the reign of Joash. Thus in one way or another God in unceasing fidelity to His own purposes of love moved forward, in spite of the failure of His people, toward ultimate realisation.
II. The true King of the world is just now in hiding.—The Kingdom is in mystery. True hearts resort to Him. The Levites have access to Him. But there is a promise of His restoration, which is as sure as that which guaranteed the succession of David’s throne to David’s line: ‘Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the Lord hath spoken.’ The world can never be at rest until the usurper is driven out, and the true King installed.
III. The certainty of the covenant did not lead to any looseness in Jehoiada’s arrangements.—He laid his plans with consummate skill. First, the solemn covenant of consecration; then every man entrusted with specific work—no quarter to the enemy, and yet no profanation of the sacred house. God’s work done in the spirit of obedience to His word.
‘A distinguished authority on European history is fond of pointing to the evil effects of royal marriages as one of the chief drawbacks to the monarchical system of government. A crown may at any time devolve upon a woman, and by her marriage with a powerful reigning prince her country may virtually be subjected to a foreign yoke. If it happens that the new sovereign professes a different religion from that of his wife’s subjects, the evils arising from the marriage are seriously aggravated. Some such fate befell the Netherlands as the result of the marriage of Mary of Burgundy with the Emperor Maximilian, and England was only saved from the danger of transference to Roman Catholic dominion by the caution and patriotism of Queen Elizabeth. Athaliah’s usurpation was a bold attempt to reverse the visual process and transfer the husband’s dominions to the authority and faith of the wife’s family. It is probable that Athaliah’s permanent success would have led to the absorption of Judah in the northern kingdom. This last misfortune was averted by the energy and courage of Jehoiada, but in the meantime the half-heathen queen had succeeded in causing untold harm and suffering to her adopted country.’