Athaliah was presumably born in 929 BC or 884 BC, to Ahab and Jezebel during the four years of civil war during which Omri was fighting for control of the Kingdom of Israel. (The Chronicler calls her "daughter of Omri"; he probably means "granddaughter;" see 2_Chronicles 22:2 .)
When she was nine, her father became king of the Kingdom of Israel on Omri's death. Jezebel came from Sidon, in Phoenician country (known as "The Levant" today), where Baalism had lately become prominent. Jezebel introduced this false religion to the Kingdom of Israel. That she also introduced it to her daughter as well as to her sons is only reasonable to assume.
When Athaliah was twenty, she married Jehoram, son of King Jehoshaphat of the Kingdom of Judah, to seal a treaty between Jehoshaphat and her father. (2_Chronicles 21:6 ) She bore him at least one son, Ahaziah, who at the age of twenty-two would reign alone in the Kingdom of Judah for less than a year.
Controversy on the Age of Ahaziah
This last might explain an anomalous verse by the Chronicler, in which he seems to state that Ahaziah was 42 years old when he began to reign. In fact, Ahaziah was not 42 years of age, but the House of Omri had lasted this long. Perhaps Athaliah was born in the year that Omri's civil war began.
|granddaughter of::Omri||granddaughter of::Ithobaal I||Asa||Azubah|
|daughter of::Ahab||daughter of::Jezebel||Jehoshaphat|
|grandmother of::Joash||Zechariah I|
Career of Jehoram
Toward the end of the reign of Jehoshaphat, Jehoram became viceroy of the Kingdom of Judah—and immediately after Jehoshaphat died, Jehoram murdered all his brothers and several minor princes. Whether Athaliah incited him to do this or merely learned from his example, the Bible does not make clear. In any case, the Bible clearly credits her with (or, perhaps more properly, blames her for) introducing the worship of Baal to the Kingdom of Judah, as her mother Jezebel had done in the Kingdom of Israel.
Athaliah survived the Philistine-Arabian raid that destroyed much of the rest of the royal family, as did her son Ahaziah. She watched as her husband suffered a severe gastrointestinal disease, and also watched her husband's death and the coronation of her son.
In 886 BC (or 841 BC), General Jehu seized the Kingdom of Israel and systematically destroyed all of Athaliah's extended family in that kingdom. Jehu also killed her son Ahaziah and several other minor princes of the House of David. Athaliah, when she heard this, proceeded to kill as many members of the royal family as she could hunt down. But she missed one key member: her grandson Joash. Princess Jehosheba took Joash away from the palace, and she and her husband Jehoiada raised the boy for six years, during which time Athaliah ruled in the land. Apparently Athaliah did not even realize that Joash was alive. (2_Kings 11:1-16 , 2_Chronicles 22:10-12 )Then in the seventh (and last) year of her reign, she heard a loud noise of celebration and music coming from the Temple of Jerusalem. She entered the temple and saw something that must have horrified her: here was a seven-year-old boy, wearing a crown, and clearly identified as Joash, son of Ahaziah, with High Priest Jehoiada and a large company of Levites by his side. In uncontrollable fury, she tore her royal robes and cried,
"Treason! Treason!" - 2_Chronicles 23:13
AthaliahBorn: Born:: Tammuz 3075 AM Died: Died::1 Abib 3125 AM
|Queen of Ruler of::Kingdom of Judah
Accession::Abib 3118 AM–Died::1 Abib 3125 AM
| Succeeded by|
Kestner comments that the Bible nowhere criticized Athaliah for being a woman reigning in her own right, but rather for her wicked deeds, first in introducing Baalism to the kingdom and then in trying to exterminate the entire royal family.
- James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 503, 511, 528, 532, 536, 537
- Jones, Floyd N., The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003, Chart 5.
- Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), pp. 295-296
- Konig, George. "Athaliah, Queen of Judah." About Bible Prophecy, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 503
- Authors unknown. "Athaliah." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed., 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
- Authors unknown. "Entry for Athaliah." WebBible Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
- Kestner, Jackie. "Entry for Athaliah." Alabaster Jars Ministry. Retrieved June 11, 2007.