2 Chronicles 22: Ahaziah & Athaliah

Ahaziah's brief reign plus the cruelty of his mother Athaliah are discussed.

Introduction

2 Chronicles 21 tells us that Jehoahaz takes over for Jehoram after his death, but 2 Chronicles 22 details the reign of Ahaziah, who has taken over for Jehoram. This is because Ahaziah and Jehoahaz are the same person; this is evidenced by the matching back stories given for them. Name changes are not only common in the Bible, they are common in our present day society.

2 Chronicles 21 tells us about the defeat and punishment of Ahaziah's father Jehoram, which included the capture of Ahaziah's brothers. As the sole remaining heir, Ahaziah was placed on the throne without contest, despite being the youngest son. Ahaziah has only a short reign before his mother, Athaliah, takes the throne.
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Ahaziah's Reign

2 Chronicles 22:2 says Ahaziah was 42 when he began to reign, but this doesn't make sense if his father was only 40 when he died. 2 Kings 8:26 says Ahaziah was only 22 when he became king, which seems much more probable. Answers in Genesis has an in-depth article on resolving Ahaziah's age. They suggest 2 possibilities. One is that 42 refers to his place in the dynasty of Omri, while 22 refers to his actual age. The other is that it is a copyist error because older versions of the manuscript read 22 in both places.[1] Since Omri was neither a good king nor a focal point for Judah, I am inclined to side with those who believe it is a copyist error. However, it is important to note that the numbers do add up. Omri was king for 12 years (1 Kings 16:23). His son, Ahab, reigns for 22 years (1 Kings 16:29). Ahab's daughter married Jehoram of Judah, who reigned 8 years before Ahaziah becomes king of Judah. During Jehoram's reign, Omei's line is still ruling in Israel. Following Ahaziah's lineage, we see that 12+22+8 is exactly 42, so Ahaziah really does describe his place in the dynasty as well.
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The Ways of Ahaziah

As king, Ahaziah listens to his mother (Athaliah) and follows the ways of Ahab, who was Ahaziah's grandfather and an ungodly king who had ruled over the north kingdom previously. Ahaziah goes to war against Syria with his uncle, Jehoram of Israel (not to be confused with his father). The pair then fight Jehu which brings about both of their ends. Jehu kills Ahaziah because he was descended from Ahab and God was eradicating Ahab's line in the north. Ahaziah only ruled for 1 year before dying in battle. Since he was not leading Judah to God and participated in idolatry, it's probably a good thing that he did not get a full reign.
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Queen Athaliah

Photocredit: Unsplash.com/Maarten van den Heuvel
2 Chronicles 21 says that Jehoram's wives were taken captive, but it doesn't specify that all of his wives are taken the same way it does regarding his sons. Ahaziah's mother, Athaliah, apparently managed to escape with her son and is thus a major part of Ahaziah's reign. Given that Ahaziah's brothers were all taken away and that at 23 Ahaziah was unlikely to have fathered any children old enough to be king, the heir to throne would have had a hard time taking a stand for power on his own.

Determined the acquire this power and never relinquish it, Athaliah kills her own grandchildren to become queen. Jehoram's daughter (and thus Ahaziah's sister), Jehoshabeath, hides Ahaziah's youngest son. Jehoshabeath was married to a priest, which explains why the boy was raised in the Temple. The baby was hidden in the Temple for 6 years while Athaliah reigned.
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References

  1. Stacia McKeever and Bodie Hodge. "Two Ages at Once". Answers in Genesis. December 15, 2008

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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