2 Kings 11

Queen Athaliah and King Joash

1 Ahaziah's mother, Athaliah, heard the news that her son was dead. So she started to kill all the royal family. 2 Jehosheba was the daughter of King Jehoram of Judah and the sister of Ahaziah. When Athaliah's servants had come to murder the royal sons, Jehosheba took Ahaziah's son Joash away and she hid him. She put him in a bedroom in the temple to hide him from Athaliah. So Joash stayed alive. 3 Joash and his nurse stayed safely in a room in the Lord's temple while Queen Athaliah ruled Judah for six years.

4 In the seventh year that Athaliah ruled Judah, the priest Jehoiada asked some of the king's officers to come to him. They were officers of army groups, the king's special guards and the palace guards.

11:4Jehoiada was the leader of the priests.

They came to meet with Jehoiada in the Lord's temple. There, he made them promise to agree with his idea. Then he showed the king's son Joash to them.

5 Jehoiada said to the officers, ‘This is what you must do: The men who come to work on the Sabbath day must make three groups. One group will keep the palace safe. 6 Another group must stand at the Sur Gate. The third group must stand at the gate behind the special guards. 7 The two groups of soldiers who would not come to work on the Sabbath day must do this: They must be guards at the Lord's temple. They must keep the new king safe. 8 You must stand around the king. Each man must hold his weapon in his hand. If anyone comes near to you, you must kill them. You must stay near to the king everywhere that he goes.’

9 The officers of the army groups did what Jehoiada the priest told them to do. Each officer brought his group of men to Jehoiada. That included the men who worked on the Sabbath and those who did not. 10 Then Jehoiada gave some weapons that were in the Lord's temple to the officers. He gave them the spears and the shields that had belonged to King David. 11 The guards held their weapons in their hands. They stood around the king to keep him safe. They stood in a line from the south side of the temple to the north side. They were around the altar at the front of the temple.

12 Then Jehoiada brought the king's son out of the temple room. He put the crown onto Joash's head. He gave him a copy of the royal covenant. They poured olive oil on his head to show that he was now the king. They clapped their hands and they shouted, ‘May the king have a long life!’

13 Queen Athaliah heard the soldiers and the people as they were shouting. So she went to the Lord's temple where all the people were. 14 Then she saw the king! He was standing in the king's place beside the pillar in the temple. The army officers and the men with trumpets were standing beside the king. All the people of Judah were shouting with joy. Many of them made music with trumpets.

11:14This was the special place for a king to stand, to show that he had authority to rule.

When Athaliah saw this, she was very upset. She tore her clothes. She shouted, ‘Treason! Treason!’

11:14‘Treason’ is when people turn against their ruler.

15 Jehoiada the priest gave a command to the army officers who had authority over groups of soldiers. He told them, ‘Bring her out of the temple to the line of guards outside. Use your swords to kill anyone who follows her.’ That was because Jehoiada had said, ‘You must not kill her inside the Lord's temple.’ 16 So they took hold of Athaliah. They took her through the gate for the king's horses into the yard of the palace. They killed her there.

17 Jehoiada prepared a covenant with the Lord. All the people and the king agreed to serve the Lord as his people. The people also agreed to serve the king faithfully.

18 Then people everywhere in the country went to the temple of Baal. They destroyed it. They completely knocked down its altars and idols. They killed Baal's priest, Mattan, in front of Baal's altars.

Then Jehoiada the priest put guards to keep the Lord's temple safe. 19 Jehoiada took with him the officers of army groups, the king's special guards, the palace guards and all the people. They went together to bring the king down from the Lord's temple into the palace. They went into the palace through the gate of the king's royal guards. Then Joash sat on his throne as king.

20 All the people were very happy. There was no longer any trouble in Jerusalem now that Athaliah was dead. They had punished her with death at the palace.

21 And Joash was seven years old when he began to rule Judah as king.