Monday, September 14, 2015
Jehosheba - uncommon courage
When you were younger, did tales of wicked queens scare you? Did you feel a chill when you heard of their terrible deeds?
Did you think that all of them probably looked like the wicked queens in the animated movies? (Raises hand) I did. (Grin)
Today, our story begins with a queen far more wicked than any of those in the animated stories . . .
Athaliah is her name, and it means "the Lord is great" or "the Lord is exalted." But she sure didn't live up to her name. Her heritage was full of idolatrous people: her granddad was Omri, one of Israel's most evil and idolatrous kings. Ahab was her dad, and her mom was probably Jezebal (we'll study her later this year). Whoa. With a family like that, I guess it's no surprise that she turned out like she did.
Oh, I hear you now.
You want to know what this has to do with Jehosheba.
Hold your horses! We'll get to that!
Ahab and Jezebel are well known for promoting the worship of Baal in the northern kingdom of Israel. Well, while they were doing that, Athaliah was doing the same, but in the southern kingdom of Judah. How did she do that? Well, marriages at the time were often for convenience or for political alliances, and she had married the king of Judah. He died and Athaliah's son assumed the throne. Jehu, a mighty man trying to restore the worship of Yahweh, the Almighty God, killed her son. The cleansing that he performed on the nation of Judah was a very bloody one. (II Kings 10)
Scholars read the 11th chapter of II Kings and theorize that because of her husband and son being killed, her paranoia and lust for power must have kicked into hyperdrive. Why else would she have killed everyone else in the royal line?
Seriously. She killed her grandkids in order to secure Judah's throne for herself. She was so caught up in the worship of Baal that she may even have gloated about snuffing out the heirs that would have made it possible for God's promise to be fulfilled . . . that promise of a future Messiah from the line of David.
She ruled for a few years. She led her people further and further away from Yahweh.
But there was something she didn't know. Right under her nose, in fact, in the old, un-used, neglected temple of God, her one remaining grandchild was being raised by a courageous woman who sneaked him out when the killing began.
Jehosheba had hidden the boy, Joash, before he could be murdered. She was married to the high priest, and she had risked her own life to whisk Joash away and keep him hidden for six years.
I hope you will read the tenth and eleventh chapters in II Kings in preparation for our study this week.