2 Chronicles 23:21 (ESV): 21 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been put to death with the sword.
The most notorious king in the history of the northern kingdom of Israel was Ahab, who married Jezebel, daughter of the king of Tyre. Along with Ahab, Jezebel made Baal the dominating religion in Israel, ruthlessly killing or driving out the prophets of Yahweh.
At a certain point in the history of Judah and Israel, these two nations came together to do battle against other threats. Jehoshaphat of Judah was in battle with Ahab when the latter was killed according to God’s revelation.
Some years later, King Ahaziah of Judah went to visit King Jehoram of Israel who was sick. During that time, Jehu was executing judgment against the house of Ahab and killed both kings.
Judah was left without anyone able to rule the kingdom, and 2 Chronicles 22:10 tells us that Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, rose up and killed all the male descendants to the throne, save one who was secretly hidden in a room of the Temple.
Athaliah was a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Little is said about Athaliah’s reign other than that she caused the worship of Baal to spread through the land as she reigned for six years.
But in Athaliah, we see several things at work. First, we see Satan’s attempt again to destroy the line of David from whom the Messiah would come. Second, we see the ugly legacy of Ahab and Jezebel played out not only in Israel, but also in Judah. Third, we see the joy of God’s people after this wicked woman was deposed.
While Israel never had a godly king, much of the spiritual and moral decay in this nation happened due to Ahab and Jezebel’s reign. But their influence extended to Judah with the godly Jehoshaphat being reprimanded by God for his alliance with Ahab and then Athaliah’s evil reign.
Their example should cause us to carefully consider what our legacy will be, and what the legacy of those with whom we partner with will be.
Heavenly Father, help me to leave a legacy of godliness. May I live for your glory and may my life encourage others to follow Christ. Amen.