1 - 3 Jehosheba Hides Joash
1 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she rose and destroyed all the royal offspring. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him from among the king’s sons who were being put to death, and placed him and his nurse in the bedroom. So they hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death. 3 So he was hidden with her in the house of the LORD six years, while Athaliah was reigning over the land.
Here we go back to the beginning of the reign of Jehu. We go back twenty-eight years. Jehu has just killed Ahaziah. Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah and daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, seizes power. She kills her own offspring. She doesn’t have natural feelings. She does not need to kill many because Jehu has worked thoroughly in the execution of his commission.
Behind this woman stands Satan himself, who is out to eradicate the seed of David to prevent the Messiah from being born. But it does not get out of God’s hand. Jehosheba, the sister of Ahaziah, hides the son of Ahaziah, Joash, and thereby prevents the total extermination of the offspring of David. This child, like the Lord Jesus later, is taken away and hidden to stay out of the hands of murderers. Jehosheba signs ‘the LORD is faithful’. The LORD will not destroy Judah and keeps a lamp burning for the house of David until the birth of the Messiah.
Joash is secretly fed and raised. He is in one of the rooms of the temple and is therefore connected to the house of the LORD. He lives with the LORD. Through this hidden place he is as it were in death. When he becomes king, it is, so to speak, through death. At the same time, all this time the faithful think that it is over and out with the kingship according to God’s thoughts. Christ is also now “hidden in God” (Col 3:3) and waits until the moment He can show Himself to His people. For the faithful now this is no hidden thing, for they see Him in glory, while the world does not see Him.
Athaliah thinks she can control everything. She has the power. It is a representation of the power of the papacy, of the roman-catholic church, which kills all who do not subject themselves to her (Rev 17:6). She has felt supremely powerful. There is absolutely no counting with the coming of Christ. In this woman we see the mystery of the lawlessness that develops in the bosom of Christianity.
4 - 8 Jehoiada’s Plan
4 Now in the seventh year Jehoiada sent and brought the captains of hundreds of the Carites and of the guard, and brought them to him in the house of the LORD. Then he made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the LORD, and showed them the king’s son. 5 He commanded them, saying, “This is the thing that you shall do: one third of you, who come in on the sabbath and keep watch over the king’s house 6 (one third also [shall be] at the gate Sur, and one third at the gate behind the guards), shall keep watch over the house for defense. 7 Two parts of you, [even] all who go out on the sabbath, shall also keep watch over the house of the LORD for the king. 8 Then you shall surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand; and whoever comes within the ranks shall be put to death. And be with the king when he goes out and when he comes in.”
Only Jehoiada and Jehosheba and a few more know the hidden king. The whole people are ignorant of it. It is the same now. Only a few know of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus dwells in the Spirit in what is today His temple, the church, and the body of the believer. This is hidden from the world, while unfortunately many Christians are also unaware of this.
When the believers come together as a church, they can also experience this in a special way. Christ is there through the Spirit Himself in the midst. Although He is invisible to the natural eye, the by the Spirit enlightened eyes of the heart see Him. The time of His appearance comes, when the time is fulfilled, when the fullness of the times – “the seventh year” (verse 4) – has come (Eph 1:10).
Jehoiada the priest lets the commanders come to him. He brings them to the area where the presence of the LORD is noticeable, the house of the LORD. In His presence he makes a covenant with them and put them under oath. Then he shows them “the king’s son”. It contains a nice order with an important spiritual application. It is primarily about obedience and faithfulness to the Lord. If this is present, or at least if the longing for it is felt deeply, then we see the Lord Jesus of Whom Joash is a picture here.
Then Jehoiada commands the captains what to do to protect the young king. For us it means that there will also be the desire to protect Him from the attacks of unbelief when we see the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus protects us, but it is also true that we are called to protect and defend His glory with spiritual weapons. God has entrusted us with the glory of His Son to carry it through the world.
9 - 12 Joash Crowned and Anointed
9 So the captains of hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. And each one of them took his men who were to come in on the sabbath, with those who were to go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 The priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and shields that [had been] King David’s, which [were] in the house of the LORD. 11 The guards stood each with his weapons in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, by the altar and by the house, around the king. 12 Then he brought the king’s son out and put the crown on him and [gave him] the testimony; and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “[Long] live the king!”
The captains execute the orders of Jehoiada exactly as they have been told. We see here that captains over others can only act well if they themselves are obedient to those who are above them (cf. Mt 8:9). The men they have under their command are the men who serve or have served “on the sabbath”. The sabbath speaks of the rest of God. Only those who know and participate in the rest of God can be used to protect the king of God.
For us, it means that only believers whose feet are shod “with the preparation of the gospel of grace” (Eph 6:15) are able to properly protect the honor of Christ. These are the believers who go their way on earth with the peace of God in their hearts, who show in their lives that they are connected with Christ in heaven, as the letter to the Ephesians makes beautifully clear.
The weapons given to the men to defend themselves are not new weapons. These are the old, familiar weapons that King David has already used. As a particularity also is mentioned that they come from the sanctuary. Jehoiada says with this that he is going back to “what was from the beginning” (1Jn 1:1). He asks, as it were, “for the ancient paths” (Jer 6:16). The ancient Word of God is unrivalled in its battle-force. The spears are to kill the enemy, the shields are to protect themselves from the enemy’s counter-attacks.
The weapons with which we must fight are not the weapons of the flesh, but of the Spirit (2Cor 10:3-5). To use them properly, they must come from the presence of the Lord Jesus. They are weapons that have been tested by Him. When we are in His presence we see how He wants us to use the weapons. We then see that the strength for our struggle lies in showing His features.
Thus armed the men stand around the king. The weapons are in their hands, ready for use. The positions they occupy are all connected to the house of the LORD and the altar. For us it means that the spiritual battle is fought in connection with God’s house. The church is closely linked to the Lord Jesus and the truth of this must be defended by us for the sake of Him Who dwells there.
Once that position is taken, the king can come out and be crowned. The crown here is a diadem. The word ‘diadem’ here is the translation of the Hebrew word ‘nezer’. From this word is also derived the Hebrew word translated with ‘Nazarite’. This indicates that the ceremony is more a consecration than a coronation. This is confirmed by the anointing. The kingship of Joash is dedicated to God.
He also receives “the testimony” that is the law, as the guide for his government (Deu 17:14-20). He must govern in accordance with the Word of God. His ordination happens before God and he is called to live and reign according to the Word of God.
We have nothing else for our stay on earth. The believers now are also “a royal priesthood” (1Pet 2:9). We are dedicated, anointed and called to proclaim God’s virtues in the world, and this is only possible if God’s Word is our guide in this. It is not about persuasion or training, but about knowing our position and obedience to live in accordance with that position.
13 - 16 Athaliah Put to Death
13 When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard [and of] the people, she came to the people in the house of the LORD. 14 She looked and behold, the king was standing by the pillar, according to the custom, with the captains and the trumpeters beside the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!” 15 And Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds who were appointed over the army and said to them, “Bring her out between the ranks, and whoever follows her put to death with the sword.” For the priest said, “Let her not be put to death in the house of the LORD.” 16 So they seized her, and when she arrived at the horses’ entrance of the king’s house, she was put to death there.
Athaliah hears the sound of the tribute to the king. She is very frightened. She has lived and ruled for years in the thought that every descendant with a right to the throne is dead. Now it turns out that there is such a descendant alive.
If we faithfully show and let hear our testimony in the world and the religious world, people cannot ignore the fact that the Lord Jesus, whom they believe to be dead, still lives. It is our duty to make that clear. The reactions to this are different. There are people who repent and also join the Lord Jesus. However, there are also people in whom hatred becomes visible and noticeable.
The shock that goes through Athaliah did not bring her to her knees, but in heavy resistance. To personally convince herself that what she hears and fears is true, she goes to the temple, where she will not have been often. There she sees Joash standing by the pillar, the place to be for the consecration of the king.
The sight of the king leads Athaliah to the tearing of her clothes. This is not a sign of humility and repentance for her. She screams out that betrayal is being committed. She is completely blind to the betrayal she committed herself during her seizure of power.
Her shouts do not find any connection with the people. Jehoiada orders to take her out of the temple complex. She must be put to death, but not in the temple. Even those who follow her must be put to death. There should be no pardon for her and anyone who places himself on her side. Then Athaliah is killed at the king’s house, where she has put her false claim for such a long time. She is killed at the place where she has shown her pride.
17 - 18 The Covenant
17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they would be the LORD’s people, also between the king and the people. 18 All the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces thoroughly, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.
Here the priest makes a new covenant between the LORD, the king and the people. It is a renewal of the old covenant. It is about the people of Israel, that it will also be in practice “the LORD’s people”.
When the covenant is made, when the people are again in the right relationship with the LORD, the Spirit inspires all the people of the land. They go out and tear down the idols and what has to do with them. Then Jehoiada reinstates the offices for the house of the LORD. Also in our lives there is room again for worship and serving the Lord when we, under the working of God’s Spirit, throw away from our lives what is not good.
19 - 21 Joash on the Throne
19 He took the captains of hundreds and the Carites and the guards and all the people of the land; and they brought the king down from the house of the LORD, and came by the way of the gate of the guards to the king’s house. And he sat on the throne of the kings. 20 So all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet. For they had put Athaliah to death with the sword at the king’s house. 21 Jehoash was seven years old when he became king.
Athaliah was killed at the king’s house. The way for the king according to God’s appointment is now free. The king can come out of the hidden place of the LORD’s house and sit on the king’s throne. This speaks of the return of the Lord Jesus from the sanctuary to openly accept His reign on earth. It also speaks of the moment in the believer’s life when the Lord Jesus sits down on the throne of his heart and submits his whole life to Him.
All the people of the land is happy. The ‘people of the land’ refer to the people who do their work in simplicity. In the city live more the intellectuals and the governors. The city, where undoubtedly still live Athaliah’s supporters, remains quiet. These followers of the old regime hypocritically submit to the king.
There is a beginning of restoration, but it is still very weak. Joash is only seven years old when he becomes king. He still has to grow in his kingship.