Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
; 2Ki_11:10-18; 2Ki_11:20
Like a true descendant of Ahab, she stopped at nothing which could promote her own ambition. Well might she be called “Athaliah that wicked woman.” The seed of David was almost destroyed by her, but the Lord interposed, for the sceptre could not depart from Judah until Messiah came. The covenant promise to David was bound up in a single life, but it did not fail.
Athaliah was not likely to go to the Lord’s house to find the child, for she seldom troubled that sacred place. David had lovingly cared for God’s house, and now the Lord shelters the hope of his servant’s race in the chambers of the temple.
These he appointed to act as a body-guard to the king, when he should be brought forth publicly to be crowned.
Matthew Henry remarks that Jehoiada was a man of great wisdom, for he kept the prince in the background till the fit time when the people were weary of Athaliah’s tyranny; a man of great influence, for the Levites and all Judah did as he commanded; a man of great faith, for in the darkest times he said, “Behold, the king’s son shall reign as the Lord hath said;” a man of great religion, for he re-established the worship of the Lord all over the land; a man of great resolution, for he went boldly through with his loyal resolve, and carried it out to final success.
Yet she was herself the greatest traitor. Vain were her cries; her despotism and cruelty had alienated all her friends; neither hands nor voices were lifted in her defence.
Thus the last of Ahab’s seed died an unhallowed death: imperious to the last, the fierce woman, like Jezebel before her, rushed upon destruction.
Thus by the holy influence of one eminently good man, the nation was brought back again to its former condition, and purged of idols. When God’s Spirit is in a man he can sway the hearts of thousands. Lord, send us such men both in church and state.
Freely ye have received, freely give.”
But alas! he had no root in himself; he was the creature of influences, and was only good so long as the reins of his conduct were in godly hands. Men should have minds of their own, and possess principles which will guide them, whether their instructors are with them or removed from them. Jehoiada deserves great honour for the way in which he managed the affairs of the kingdom.
The king had been brought up in the temple, and therefore felt a great love for it; he had but a form of godliness, but he was very zealous for that form, and even shamed the priests themselves. Those who have nothing but external religion are often more eager for it than those who possess the reality of godliness.
Ministers ought not to be burdened with the raising of money, they have higher duties. Through leaving it to the priests, things were badly managed, and contributions were thrown into one fund which ought to have been separately appropriated; the king therefore resolved upon another plan. If we cannot provide means for a good work in one way, we must try another.
This method was novel, and commended itself to the judgment of the people. It is most important that persons should be sure that whatever is given to the cause of God is honestly used.
Here it will be well to ask whether we as a family are doing our part for the support of divine worship. Let us not dwell in our ceiled houses while the house of God lies waste.
Faithfulness is a great virtue. Whatever may happen to us, we must be exact to a farthing in the keeping of accounts. A Christian should be one whom all can trust with untold gold. Whether we are household servants, or lords of the land, our first duty to our fellow men is scrupulous honesty.