Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Athaliah--(See on
She had possessed great influence over her son, who, by her counsels,
had ruled in the spirit of the house of Ahab.
destroyed all the seed royal--all connected with the royal family who
might have urged a claim to the throne, and who had escaped the
murderous hands of Jehu
(2Ch 21:2-4; 22:1;
2Ki 10:13, 14).
This massacre she was incited to perpetrate--partly from a
determination not to let David's family outlive hers; partly as a
measure of self-defense to secure herself against the violence of Jehu,
who was bent on destroying the whole of Ahab's posterity to which she
but chiefly from personal ambition to rule, and a desire to establish
the worship of Baal. Such was the sad fruit of the unequal alliance
between the son of the pious Jehoshaphat and a daughter of the
idolatrous and wicked house of Ahab.
2. Jehosheba--or Jehoshabeath
daughter of King Joram--not by Athaliah, but by a secondary wife.
stole him from among the king's sons which were slain--either from
among the corpses, he being considered dead, or out of the palace
hid him . . . in the bedchamber--for the use of the priests, which
was in some part of the temple
and of which Jehoiada and his wife had the sole charge. What is called,
however, the bedchamber in the East is not the kind of apartment that
we understand by the name, but a small closet, into which are flung
during the day the mattresses and other bedding materials spread on the
floors or divans of the sitting-rooms by day. Such a slumber-room was
well suited to be a convenient place for the recovery of his wounds,
and a hiding-place for the royal infant and his nurse.
4. the seventh year--namely, of the reign of Athaliah, and the rescue
Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers, &c.--He could scarcely have
obtained such a general convocation except at the time, or on pretext,
of a public and solemn festival. Having revealed to them the secret of
the young king's preservation and entered into a covenant with them for
the overthrow of the tyrant, he then arranged with them the plan and
time of carrying their plot into execution
The conduct of Jehoiada, who acted the leading and chief part in this
conspiracy, admits of an easy and full justification; for, while
Athaliah was a usurper, and belonged to a race destined by divine
denunciation to destruction, even his own wife had a better and
stronger claim to the throne; the sovereignty of Judah had been
divinely appropriated to the family of David, and therefore the young
prince on whom it was proposed to confer the crown, possessed an
inherent right to it, of which a usurper could not deprive him.
Moreover, Jehoiada was most probably the high priest, whose official
duty it was to watch over the due execution of God's laws, and who in
his present movement, was encouraged and aided by the countenance and
support of the chief authorities, both civil and ecclesiastical, in the
country. In addition to all these considerations, he seems to have been
directed by an impulse of the Divine Spirit, through the counsels and
exhortations of the prophets of the time.
13. Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people--The
profound secrecy with which the conspiracy had been conducted rendered
the unusual acclamations of the vast assembled crowd the more startling
and roused the suspicions of the tyrant.
she came . . . into the temple of the Lord--that is, the courts, which
she was permitted to enter by Jehoiada's directions
in order that she might be secured.
14. the king stood by a pillar--or on a platform, erected for that
purpose (see on
15. without the ranges--that is, fences, that the sacred place might
not be stained with human blood.
17, 18. a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people--The
covenant with the Lord was a renewal of the national covenant with
"to be unto him a people of inheritance,"
De 4:6; 27:9).
The covenant between the king and the people was the consequence of
this, and by it the king bound himself to rule according to the divine
law, while the people engaged to submit, to give him allegiance as the
Lord's anointed. The immediate fruit of this renewal of the covenant
was the destruction of the temple and the slaughter of the priests of
the restoration of the pure worship of God in all its ancient
integrity; and the establishment of the young king on the hereditary
throne of Judah