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Athaliah, Wicked Queen of Judah

Athaliah was the daughter of King Ahab of Israel and her name means “the Lord is exalted”. King Ahab was a corrupt ruler who led the people of Israel into the false worship of Baal and other idolatrous practices. He married a foreign woman named Jezebel and supported her while she promoted pagan religions in the nation of Israel. Athaliah learned a lot from both of her parents, but the ruthlessness that she displayed during her life could probably be attributed to her mother, Jezebel. Queen Athaliah forced her way on the throne of Judah and ruled the land for six years. She is on the Bible Timeline starting in 897 BC.

The Queen of Judah was a Wicked Ruler

King Jehoram married Queen Athaliah and  became associated with the family of Ahab. Jeroham was apparently impressed and influenced by Ahab because he became a part of his lineage through his marriage to Athaliah. He also governed his people in the same way as Ahab. Once Athaliah became his wife she encouraged Jeroham to continue in the ways of her parents. Jeroham followed her advice and tempted God to destroy the kingdom of Judah. God didn’t wipe out the people because of the promise that he made to King David about keeping one of his descendants from each generation ruling from the throne.

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Queen Athalia

The Ruthless Queen Athalia

A military commander by the name of Jehu was sent by God to kill off the royal line of Ahab. Jehu had carried out God’s orders and destroyed most of Ahab’s family including Athaliah’s husband Jeroham and her son King Ahaziah. Once her son had passed away Athaliah decided to kill off the rest of the royal line so that no one could claim any right to rule. Apparently, it didn’t matter if the people she was killing was her children, grandchildren and relatives. After she carried out this deed she became the undisputed Queen of Judah.

Jehoiada Assassinates the Queen

While Queen Athaliah was wiping out her royal line her sister Jehosheba hid one of Ahaziah’s children named Joash and hid him in Solomon’s Temple under the watch of her husband Jehoiada who made sure that he would remain safe until the right time. Jehoiada was a godly man and the head priest in the temple. While Athaliah ruled the kingdom he plotted her assassination in order to place the young king Joash back on the throne. In the sixth year of Athaliah’s rule, Jehoiada carried out his plot. He took the young king to the temple and declared him king before the people. Athaliah heard the commotion and tried to figure out what was going on. When she went down to observe what was happening, Jehoiada ordered his soldiers to assassinate her and anyone who followed her. Once Athaliah was slain young Joash was finally free to rule the kingdom.

Biblical References:

  • 2 Kings 8: 16 – 29 Outlines the history of King Ahaziah’s life and the life of his parents.
  • 2 Chronicles 22: 10 – 12 Queen Athalia murders and kills to claim the throne
  • 2 Chronicles 23: 1 – 15 Jehoiada the righteous priest of God slays Queen Athaliah.