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Deeper Commentary

2Ki 11:1 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal-
So obsessed was she with personal power that she killed her own relatives, perhaps her own children, in order to establish herself as the only living heir to David's throne. The royal family had already been depleted because of the murders of 2 Kings 10:14; 2 Chron. 21:4,17. She saw the significance of the promises to David, but twisted them into mere religion. For she was an idolater, Jezebel's daughter. 

2Ki 11:2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were slain, even him and his nurse, and put them in the bedroom. They hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not slain-
In a sense, God's entire purpose through the line and seed of David depended upon the quick thinking of a young woman, and was concentrated in this small baby. For "all the royal seed" had been slain (:1). Her name means 'sworn to Jehovah', and this likely represents her later character rather than her birth name. She came from a bad background, but was married to the high priest (although we note Jehoiada is not listed in the list of high priests in 1 Chron. 6). "The bedroom" is better "the chamber of the beds", perhaps a room in the temple (:1) used for the storage of old beds and furniture. Or maybe this was where he was temporarily hidden, before being moved to somewhere in the temple (:2). We marvel at how Jehoiada kept his own faith in Yahweh strong (2 Chron. 23:1), although surely he must have been somewhat of an underground believer at this time.   

2Ki 11:3 he was with her hidden in the house of Yahweh six years. Athaliah reigned over the land-
The temple was likely relatively disused, as Athaliah was such a strong worshipper of Baal. Therefore Joash later had to majorly repair it. However in 2 Chron. 23:1-8 we do read of its usage, but perhaps not as it was before. It could be inferred from 2 Chron. 23:18 that the burnt offerings were not offered during Athaliah's dictatorship. And 2 Chron. 24:7 is clear: "For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up God’s house". See on 2 Chron. 24:13 for the extent of the damage done. So they hid the child in one of the disused chambers for the priests of Yahweh, who likely were not regularly officiating any more at that time. We note how Jehoshabeath and her husband Jehoiada the priest (2 Chron. 22:11) would have had access to both the palace and the temple because of their positions. And although they must have been underground believers to some extent, they used their connections well, to keep alive the line of David. Joash became king at seven, so he was a one year old baby when saved from Athaliah. 

2Ki 11:4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the captains over hundreds of the Carites and of the guard, and brought them to him into the house of Yahweh. He made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of Yahweh, and showed them the king’s son-
The Carites were the Cherethites of 2 Sam. 20:23. More information is given in 2 Chron. 23:1: "In the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, Azariah the son of Obed, Maaseiah the son of Adaiah and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him". The five men and their followers of 2 Chron. 23:1 match the description of three "third parts" and another "two parts" in 2 Kings 11:5-7. The corroboration between the records, clearly written by different hands, reflects the Divine inspiration of the record. The names of all these men include the name of God. To overthrow Athaliah was a risky undertaking and their faith and commitment to the Davidic line was very strong.

2Ki 11:5 He commanded them saying, This is the thing that you shall do: a third part of you, who come in on the Sabbath, shall be keepers of the watch of the king’s house-
This is fleshed out by 2 Chron. 23:4: "This is the thing that you shall do. A third part of you, who come in on the Sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters at the thresholds". Chronicles stresses the role of the Levites (2 Chron. 23:2,4) whereas Kings hardly mentions them in the record. Clearly Chronicles is largely a history of the priesthood and Levites, written up in captivity to encourage the Levites to return to Judah and revive Yahweh worship there. Comparing with 2 Chron. 23:8, the idea is that the Levites had a changeover of shifts that Sabbath. Those who were going off shift were to remain, so that there would be a larger number of them present. It seems that the Kings records speaks of three battalions of royal guards, one of which was on duty, and the others later brought into the temple by Jehoiada (2 Chron. 23:7). Whereas Chronicles has three battalions of Levitical temple guards / doorkeepers. They could be the same groups, but it seems easier to read them as separate. This would mean that somehow Jehoiada had persuaded even Athaliah's own bodyguards to betray her.   

2Ki 11:6 a third part shall be at the gate Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard. So you shall keep the watch of the house, and be a barrier-
We must compare this with 2 Chron. 23:5 "A third part shall be at the king’s house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation. All the people shall be in the courts of Yahweh’s house". "The king's house" isn't the royal palace; for in any case, Athaliah was a queen and not a king. It refers to the place where the king Joash was hiding. The Gate of the Foundation was apparently near the valley separating Moriah from the hill opposite it, literally "the gate of Sur", mentioned in 2 Kings 11:6. But "Svr" may be "Svs", the horse gate, which is that of 2 Chron. 23:15; 2 Kings 11:16.

2Ki 11:7 The two companies of you, even all who go out on the Sabbath, shall keep the watch of the house of Yahweh around the king-
Those whose period of service ended that Sabbath were to remain present. We again note how even under Athaliah's idolatrous rule, the temple services continued. Baal worship was thought to be a form of Yahweh worship. See on 2 Kings 10:19.

2Ki 11:8 You shall surround the king, every man with his weapons in his hand; and he who comes within the ranks, let him be slain. Be with the king when he goes out, and when he comes in-
The reference is specifically to the Levites: "The Levites shall surround the king, every man with his weapons in his hand. Whoever comes into the house, let him be slain. Be with the king when he comes in, and when he goes out" (2 Chron. 23:7). The whole putsch was a risky undertaking, and Jehoiada was aware of the possibility of armed opposition from Athaliah's loyalists. The Levites were armed, presumably with weapons like knives or whatever they could get hold of. Perhaps this command foresaw how Athaliah would come running into the temple (:13) and should therefore be slain.

2Ki 11:9 The captains over hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded; and they took every man his men, those who were to come in on the Sabbath, with those who were to go out on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest-
The idea is that the Levites had a changeover of shifts that Sabbath. Those who were going off shift were to remain, so that there would be a larger number of them present. "All Judah" being present in 2 Chron. 23:8 refers to the representatives of all Judah who were present. "All" in the Bible often refers not to literally everybody but to representatives of the "all". The taking of the Gospel to "all the world" must surely be understood in that way. "The Levites and all Judah" is therefore matched here by “the captains over the hundreds".

2Ki 11:10 The priest delivered to the captains over hundreds the spears and shields that had been king David’s, which were in the house of Yahweh-
Possibly the shields of gold David had taken and dedicated at the time of 2 Sam. 8:7,11. Gold represents faith, and they were probably not very functional for combat. But this whole putsch was on the basis of faith and not secular strength and wisdom.

2Ki 11:11 The guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, along by the altar and the house, around the king-
2 Chron. 23:10 "He set all the people...". The altar would be the altar of burnt offering in the outer court. "All the people" refers to those other than the priests and Levites who had agreed to help in the putsch.

2Ki 11:12 Then he brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him, and gave him the testimony. They made him king and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, Long live the king!-
"The testimony" was a copy of the law the king was supposed to write out when he became king, but it had presumably been written out for him (Dt. 17:18-20).

2Ki 11:13 When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the house of Yahweh-
See on :8. Any who came into the temple were to be slain, and it seems Jehoiada set her up to do just what she did. That this was all pulled off right under her nose was quite an achievement.

2Ki 11:14 She looked, and behold, the king stood by the pillar, as the tradition was-
Heb. 'pedestal', a kind of podium, considering he was only seven years old and small.

And the captains and the trumpets near the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, Treason! Treason!-
"Treason" is literally "conspiracy". She realized all too late that a huge conspiracy had been going on under her nose.

2Ki 11:15 Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds who were set over the army, and said to them, Bring her out between the ranks. Kill him who follows her with the sword. For the priest said, Don’t let her be slain in the house of Yahweh-
This confirms the suggestion that the command in :8 to slay whoever entered Yahweh's house was planned with Athaliah in view. "The ranks" would likely refer to the ranks of soldiers; or possibly to the temple precincts.

2Ki 11:16 So they made way for her; and she went by the way of the horses’ entry to the king’s house. She was slain there-
Making way for her suggests they all restrained themselves from touching her, the unclean, until she was outside the temple. It would have been an awful last walk to her death. I suggested on 2 Chron. 23:5 that "the horse gate" is the same as the "gate of the foundation".

2Ki 11:17 Jehoiada made a covenant between Yahweh and the king and the people, that they should be Yahweh’s people; also between the king and the people-
"Between himself and the people" (2 Chron. 23:16) suggests Jehoiada was absolutely representing Yahweh; 2 Kings says the covenant was between Yahweh and the people. The Bible is full of examples of where men function as God and functionally represent Him to man. But this didn't make them God Himself in person. And it is within this context that we must read the passages which likewise speak of the Lord Jesus as functioning as God- without being God Himself. 

2Ki 11:18 All the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and broke it down. They broke his altars and his images in pieces thoroughly, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. The priest appointed officers over the house of Yahweh-
The allusion is to how "all the people" were to put to death those who incited others to idolatry (Dt. 13:9). It seems that the temple of Baal had been built near the temple, just as Solomon had built such idol temples near to the temple. The house of Baal was broken down in 2 Kings 10:27. But now, soon afterwards, it was rebuilt and had to be destroyed yet again. There are examples galore of purges and re-purges in the record of the Kings.

2Ki 11:19 He took the captains over hundreds, and the Carites, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of Yahweh, and came by the way of the gate of the guard to the king’s house. He sat on the throne of the kings-
"The upper gate" of 2 Chron. 23:20 is here "the gate of the guard".

2Ki 11:20 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet. Athaliah they had slain with the sword at the king’s house-
Quietness or peace is often associated with obedience. We read of this at least twice during Jehoshaphat's reign. Going God's way is the only way to true peace; although that peace is juxtaposed against the violent slaying of Athaliah which had been necessary to bring it about.

2Ki 11:21 Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign
He had been hidden six years in the temple (2 Chron. 22:12), and so it follows that he was grabbed to safety when he was a one year old baby. That was how frail was the line of descent from David, for the rest of the male line had been slain by Athaliah (2 Chron. 22:10). The royal family had already been depleted because of the murders of 2 Kings 10:14; 2 Chron. 21:4,17.