And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.2 Kings 11:1. And destroyed all the seed royal — All of the royal family that had not been cut off by Jehu and others, except one, mentioned 2 Kings 11:2. To this wickedness she was impelled by many motives: 1st, By rage to see Ahab’s family destroyed, which made her resolve that the family of David should share the same fate. 2d, By ambition and desire of rule, to make way for which many persons have destroyed their nearest relations. 3d, By her zeal for idolatry and the worship of Baal, which she intended to establish, and to which she knew the house of David were implacable enemies. 4th, By a regard to her own defence, that, by getting into the throne, which she could not do without destroying the royal family, she might secure herself from Jehu’s fury, who, she understood, was resolved utterly to destroy all the branches of Ahab’s house, of which she was one. Possibly those whom she slew were Jehoram’s children by another wife. This was the fruit of Jehoshaphat’s marrying his son to a daughter of that idolatrous house of Ahab: and this dreadful judgment God permitted to come upon him and his, to show how much he abhors all such affinities. “The consideration of the fate,” says Dr. Dodd, “which attended these royal families, is sufficient to make one thankful to God for having been born of meaner parentage. The whole offspring of Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, was cut off for their idolatry; and the kings of Judah, having contracted an affinity with the house of Ahab, and being by them seduced into the same crime, were so destroyed, by three successive massacres, that there was but one left: for first Jehoram slew all his brethren, then Jehu all his brother’s children, and now Athaliah destroys all the rest that her executioners can meet with.”
But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.2 Kings 11:2. But Jehosheba — Called Jehoshabeath, 2 Chronicles 22:11; the daughter of King Joram — Namely, by another wife, and not by this Athaliah: for Athaliah would not have suffered her daughter to be married to the high-priest of the true God, nor would he, in all likelihood, have married the daughter of such an idolatrous woman. Stole him from among the king’s sons, &c. — Either took him from among the slain, he happening not to be quite despatched; or else secretly conveyed him away, before the execution was done. And they hid him — Jehosheba and her husband Jehoiada. And his nurse, in the bed-chamber — Which, according to the next verse, was in the house of the Lord: so that it was one of those chambers adjoining to the temple, that were for the uses of the priests and Levites only, which made it more proper for this purpose. Now was the promise made to David bound up in one life, and yet it did not fail. Thus to the son of David will God, according to his promise, secure a spiritual seed; which, though sometimes reduced to a small number, brought very low, and seemingly lost, yet will be preserved to the end of time. It was a special providence, that Joram, though a king, a wicked king, married his daughter to Jehoiada, a priest, a holy priest: this some might think a disparagement to the royal family, but it saved the royal family from ruin; for Jehoiada’s interest in the temple gave her an opportunity to preserve the child, and her interest in the royal family gave him an opportunity of setting him on the throne. See what blessings they lay up in store for their families, who marry their children to those that are wise and good.
And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.2 Kings 11:3. He was hid with her six years — Probably Athaliah thought they were dead; or, if she suspected this child was preserved, she supposed an infant could do her no great harm; and that she could so well establish herself in the possession of the kingdom within a few years, that she need not fear any such weak competitor. And Athaliah did reign over the land — Which she had the better opportunity of doing, because she was not only the late king’s wife, but also, probably, made queen-regent upon Joram’s going to Ramoth-gilead.
And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and shewed them the king's son.2 Kings 11:4. With the captains and the guard — The chief commanders of the soldiery, and those that had been the former king’s guard; for it is not likely that he would dare to call the guard of the present queen: and it is probable that the former could not well brook the dominion of a woman, and that woman a foreigner. And brought them into the house of the Lord — Into the courts of that house; for into the house itself, strictly speaking, none but the priests or Levites might enter. And showed them the king’s son — He discovered to them the true heir of the crown, and they entered into a covenant to restore him, which they confirmed with an oath.
And he commanded them, saying, This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you that enter in on the sabbath shall even be keepers of the watch of the king's house;2 Kings 11:5-6. A third part of you — Of the Levites, who were distributed into twenty-four courses, to minister in turns, each course consisting of about a thousand men for a week. That enter in, &c. — That come into the temple to attend your ministry. Shall be keepers of the king’s house — Of that part which led to the king’s palace, which Athaliah now possessed. A third part shall be at the gate of Sur — The chief gate of the temple, called the high gate, 2 Kings 15:35; the foundation gate, 2 Chronicles 23:5; the east gate, Jeremiah 19:2; the middle gate, Jeremiah 39:3; and the gate of entrance, Ezekiel 40:15. A third part at the gate behind the guard — Either, 1st, The king’s guard: or, 2d, The guard of the temple; this gate was in the south side. So shall ye keep, &c. — So you shall guard all the gates or entrances into the temple, that neither Athaliah nor any of her soldiers may break in.
And a third part shall be at the gate of Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, that it be not broken down.
And two parts of all you that go forth on the sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD about the king.2 Kings 11:7-8. Two parts that go forth on the sabbath — Who, having finished their course, should have gone home, but were detained, 2 Chronicles 23:8. Shall keep — While the rest guard the entrances into the temple, these shall have a special care of the king’s person. Ye shall compass the king, &c. — When you have set your watches and guards, all the rest of you shall draw near to the king, to preserve his royal person from all assaults and dangers. He that cometh within the ranges — Or fences, the walls wherewith the courts of the temple were environed; or your ranks. If any of Athaliah’s guard shall attempt to break in upon you, or come within your bounds. As he goeth out, and as he cometh in — Whether the king shall go out of the temple to assault and subdue his enemies, or retire hither to defend himself, do you always accompany him.
And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand: and he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: and be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in.
And the captains over the hundreds did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that should go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.
And to the captains over hundreds did the priest give king David's spears and shields, that were in the temple of the LORD.2 Kings 11:10. To the captains did the priest give King David’s spears and shields — Offensive and defensive weapons, both for themselves and for all their soldiers; for they had all come into the temple unarmed, to prevent suspicion. These are called David’s, either because they were such as he had taken from his enemies, and had dedicated to God, and laid up in the temple as monuments of God’s goodness to him; or because he had made a sacred armory in the temple, whence arms might be taken upon extraordinary occasions, for the defence of the temple or city of God.
And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, round about the king, from the right corner of the temple to the left corner of the temple, along by the altar and the temple.2 Kings 11:11. The guard stood from the right to the left corner of the temple — From the south-east to the north-east side. Along by the altar — Of burnt-offerings, which was by the great eastern gate of the temple. The meaning is, they defended the temple on all sides.
And he brought forth the king's son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.2 Kings 11:12. And put the crown upon him — Having produced Joash, he put the crown on his head, which, it is likely, was kept in the sanctuary. And gave him the testimony — The book of the law, which he put into the king’s hand to remind him of his duty at his entrance upon his kingdom, which was to read and write out that holy book, (Deuteronomy 17:18,) and to govern himself and his kingdom by it; the law of God being frequently and most properly called a testimony, because it is a witness of God’s will, and man’s duty. They made him king, and anointed him — As was wont to be done in doubtful cases, when there was any competition or question about the crown, as now there was.
And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD.2 Kings 11:13. She came to the people — To inquire into the cause of this great noise; being hitherto kept in deep ignorance, because the affair was managed with so much secrecy, and in the temple; and because the people universally hated her, and wished her downfall. Into the temple of the Lord — That is, into the courts, into which, being a queen, she was permitted to enter, though contrary to the general order, 2 Kings 11:8. She seems, in her fright, to have come alone, or with but few attendants.
And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.2 Kings 11:14. Behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was — It is generally supposed that the royal throne was erected near one of the pillars, described 1 Kings 7:15; 1 Kings 7:21, unless we may suppose that what is here called a pillar was that brazen scaffold five cubits long, &c., which Solomon made at first on his dedicating the temple, (2 Chronicles 6:13,) and which was afterward continued for the king to appear upon on solemn occasions, and where, doubtless, there was a throne of state. See Calmet.
But Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the LORD.2 Kings 11:15. Jehoiada commanded the officers of the host — Of those companies of Levites, who are elsewhere called the Lord’s host, and now were the king’s host. Have her forth without the ranges — Through which they had suffered her to come. If she will not go out of them of her own accord, force her out of them. And him that followeth her, kill with the sword — If any of the people that shall come hither on this occasion, shall stand up for her help, let them be slain. Let her not be slain in the house of the Lord — That is, in the court of the temple, lest it be polluted with her blood.
And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king's house: and there was she slain.2 Kings 11:16. They laid hands on her — The Hebrew, ישׁמו לה ידים, Jashimu lah jadaim, may be properly rendered, Then they gave her room, or left her a free passage to depart out of the temple. Thus Houbigant, after the Chaldee. And she went by the way, &c. — By the great public road, by which horses and chariots went to the palace. And there was she slain —
In an ignominious place and manner, as her mother Jezebel had been.
And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD'S people; between the king also and the people.2 Kings 11:17. Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, &c. — A sacred covenant, whereby he solemnly engaged both the king and people, that they should be the Lord’s people — That they should renounce and root out all idolatry, and set up and maintain God’s true worship. Between the king also and the people — This was a civil covenant, whereby the king engaged himself to rule them justly, and in the fear of God; and the people obliged themselves to defend and obey him. Compare 2 Samuel 5:3.
And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.2 Kings 11:18. All the people went into the house of Baal — They began immediately to make good their covenant in part, by destroying the worship of Baal, which had been introduced in Judah by Jehoram, (2 Kings 8:18,) and was continued by Ahaziah, 2 Kings 8:27. And slew the priest of Baal before the altars — To which possibly he fled for refuge, or rather he was brought thither as a fit sacrifice to his god. The priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord — To see that the service was regularly performed by the proper persons, in due time, and according to the instituted manner. See the margin.
And he took the rulers over hundreds, and the captains, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of the LORD, and came by the way of the gate of the guard to the king's house. And he sat on the throne of the kings.2 Kings 11:19-20. He took the rulers over hundreds, &c. — Brought them out of the temple, that they might conduct the king in state to the royal palace. By the way of the gate of the guard — By the gate of the royal palace, where the king’s guard stood. And he sat on the throne of the kings — Which was the accomplishment of his inauguration. And all the people rejoiced — Josephus says, they kept a feast of joy many days; making good Solomon’s observation: When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth, and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.
And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet: and they slew Athaliah with the sword beside the king's house.
Seven years old was Jehoash when he began to reign.2 Kings 11:21. Seven years old was Jehoash, &c. — Being so very young, he was very unfit for so weighty a charge; but he was under the direction of so excellent a counsellor, that, while Jehoiada lived, all things went well, and the nation was prosperous and happy. But after that good man was dead, he was seduced by some great men about him to idolatry, (2 Chronicles 24:17,) which shows him to have been a weak prince, who wanted judgment in things of the greatest moment.