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Biblical People

Biblical People: Athaliah

Athaliah is an evil woman. She encourages her son, the king, to make some ill-advised decisions. He does and is soon assassinated. Then Athaliah seizes control and asserts herself as queen. Her lust for power is so great that she kills all the members of the royal family, including her own grandchildren. 

One baby, however, is rescued by his aunt, Jehosheba. His name is Joash. Six years later, he, the rightful heir to the throne, is crowned king by the priest with the support of the Levites and heads of the leading families.

Athaliah accuses them of treason and tears her clothes to express outrage. But she can’t change what happened. At the direction of the priest, the army kills her.

The country celebrates her death and calm returns.

Athaliah could have positively influenced her son and helped him rule wisely. She could have protected and groomed his successor. Had she done so, the people might have celebrated her life. Instead, they celebrated her death.

How do we want people to remember us?

[Discover more about Athaliah in 2 Kings 11 and 2 Chronicles 22–23.]


Read about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.