King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Kings 11

Athaliah usurps the government of Judah, Jehoash made king. (1-12) Athaliah put to death. (13-16) The worship of the Lord restored. (17-21)

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Athaliah usurps the government of Judah, Jehoash made king

1 And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.

3 And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.

4 And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and shewed them the king’s son.

5 And he commanded them, saying, This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you that enter in on the sabbath shall even be keepers of the watch of the king’s house;

6 And a third part shall be at the gate of Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, that it be not broken down.

7 And two parts of all you that go forth on the sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD about the king.

8 And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand: and he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: and be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in.

9 And the captains over the hundreds did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that should go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.

10 And to the captains over hundreds did the priest give king David’s spears and shields, that were in the temple of the LORD.

11 And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, round about the king, from the right corner of the temple to the left corner of the temple, along by the altar and the temple.

12 And he brought forth the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.

Athaliah put to death

13 And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD.

14 And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.

15 But Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the LORD.

16 And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king’s house: and there was she slain.

The worship of the Lord restored

17 And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD’s people; between the king also and the people.

18 And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.

19 And he took the rulers over hundreds, and the captains, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of the LORD, and came by the way of the gate of the guard to the king’s house. And he sat on the throne of the kings.

20 And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet: and they slew Athaliah with the sword beside the king’s house.

21 Seven years old was Jehoash when he began to reign.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Seed. What cruelties are occasioned by ambition! W. — This is one of the most extraordinary proofs recorded in history. Agrippina was but a faint copy of the unnatural Athalia, (C.) who knew that she was destined for slaughter, if she should fall into the hands of Jehu. M. — Her impiety might also prompt her to destroy all the posterity of David, that she might introduce the worship of idols more easily. Theodoret.

Ver. 2. Sister. She had probably a different mother, as she consented to the death of Athalia. C. — But the crimes of the latter require such a punishment; and even a daughter would have done wrong to screen her. H. — Josabeth, as she is called in 2 Par. xxii. 11, was married to Joiada the high priest, ibid.Out of. Heb. and Paral. “hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bed-chamber” of the priest, in the temple; (Salien) different from that bed-chamber in which he had hitherto been nursed. Thus the passage may be reconciled. M. C. — Some maintain that Joas was not the son of Ochozias, in whom the line of Solomon ended, but a descendant of David by Nathan. But he is always styled the king’s son, and the authority of the false Philo of Annius is of no weight. C. — Joiada is called Barachias, “blessed of the Lord,” on account of his justice, (S. Jer.) in Mat. xxiii.

Ver. 3. Lord. The case was so extraordinary, that he high priest dispensed with a woman lodging in those apartments. — Land, for six years, by usurpation. Women were commonly excluded, and she was not of the race of David, 4 K. viii. 26. C.

Ver. 4. Year, of the age of Joas, v. 21. M. — Centurions. Five in number of the tribe of Levi, (M.) commanding each 100 men. Heb adds “the rams,” (C.) to denote “the captains (Prot.) and the runners,” or guards. H. — Joiada was a man of great authority, virtue and discretion; so that he was able to manage this delicate affair, and no one gave information to Athalia, as she was detested. The Levites and principal men of Juda were admonished, underhand, to be present on the day appointed. The quality of high priest, and the known probity and zeal for the public good, which were conspicuous in Joiada, as well as his being so nearly related to the lawful heir to the crown, made the people readily come forward. C.

Ver. 6. Sabbath. On this day the Levites replaced each other; so that many might assemble without suspicion. They guarded the king’s apartments in the temple. — The gate of Sur, or of the foundation, (2 Par. xxiii. 5.) and the western gate leading to the palace. C. — Sur, or “the gate of the lords,” (Chal.) is generally supposed to be on the opposite side. M. — But this is uncertain, as well as the situation of Messa, which is perhaps the Musach. C. xvi. 18. This was probably some building or covert adjoining the temple, (C.) either belonging to some private person, (M.) or designed to contain the ashes, &c. taken from the temple; (Villalp. ii. 32.) or a tribune for the king in the temple. H. — The Chaldee seems to have explained it as an adverb, sollicite, “with diligence,” (M.) as well as the Sept. (D.) which is consonant to Vatable; you shall guard the house “from desertion.” Let no one quit his post. M.

Ver. 7. Of you. Levites, who waited on the king’s person alternately. C. — They were divided into three parts, being in actual service, v. 6. Those who went out of office were twice the number, and are here told what to do. Sa thinks that those who entered upon duty, and those who went out, formed two thirds of the Levites, v. 9. and 2 Par. xxiii. 8. M.

Ver. 8. Temple, to cause confusion, Syr. &c. The court of the priests, (Ezec. xli 9.) and that of Israel, (Josep. viii. 4.) were separated by walls, beyond which strangers were not allowed to pass. C. — Slain, being first cast out, v. 15. M. — Great respect is due to holy places, and hence comes the privilege of sanctuaries. W.

Ver. 10. David. There was a sort of arsenal in the temple, containing arms consecrated to the Lord by David and his valiant men, in memory of their victories, 2 K. viii. 11. 1 Par. xviii. 11. The usual band of Levites had proper arms, but more were employed on this occasion. C.

Ver. 11. Right, or south, leading to the palace, (M.) whence the greatest danger was feared. C. — Altar of holocausts, that it might not impede the sight of the king. M.

Ver. 12. The testimony. The book of the law. Ch. — So Job (xxxi. 35, 36.) wished to have the sentence pronounced by God as a crown upon his head. The Orientals still lift to their heads the letters which they have received from people whom they wish to honour. Thevenot, 46. — Some think that the diadem was adorned with phylacteries, or scrolls, containing parts of the law, (Grot.) particularly what related to the king; (H.) or that Joas held in his hand a roll of vellum, containing those instructions, (Deut. xvii. 18. 2 Par. xxiii. 11.) instead of a sceptre. — Anointed him, by the hands of Joiada; as this ceremony was requisite on account of the usurpation of Athalia. In peaceable times the unction was not given, (C.) according to the Jews, (H.) whose sentiment is elsewhere shewn to be unsatisfactory. C.

Ver. 13. Going in. She must have been attended by a strong guard, to force the passage through the Levites at the door. H.

Ver. 14. A tribunal. A tribune, or place elevated above the rest. Ch. — Heb. “on a pillar.” Solomon had stood upon one of brass, three cubits high and five broad. See C. xxiii. 3. and 2 Par. vi. 13.

Ver. 15. Precinct. Heb. sederoth, (untranslated by the Sept. and (H.) improperly supposed by Josephus to be the torrent Cedron) means, “the ranks” of the guards, (C.) or, “ranges” of the sacred buildings, which her impure blood must not defile. H. — Follow her, as an accomplice. M.

Ver. 16. Thrust. Heb. “and she went by the way by which the horses enter the king’s house. When she was come within the horse-gate of the palace, they killed her there.” 2 Par. xxiii. 15. Such was the ignominious end of this true daughter of Jezabel! H.

Ver. 17. People. Joiada, as mediator (C.) between God, the king, and the people, engaged the two latter to be faithful to their common Lord, and to each other. They promised mutually to observe the laws, and, on that condition, the high priest gave them an assurance that God would protect them. H. — The covenant entered into by their fathers (Ex. xix. 5.) was renewed. C.

Ver. 18. Altar. Many of the sacred ornaments belonging to the temple had been transported to the house of Baal, probably on Mount Olivet, where Solomon had formerly erected such buildings. 3 K. xi. 5. 2 Par. xxiv. 7. The reform of the state justly, therefore, began with the destruction of this profane and sacrilegious place. — Lord, according to the former regulations, which had been lately ill observed, to prevent any thing unclean from coming in. 2 Par. xxiii. 19. C. — Sept. “the priest placed overseers (episkopons) in the house of the Lord. H.

Ver. 19. Phelethi. In the Heb. of the books of Kings we read nothing of these bands after the reign of David. The same expressions occur here as v. 4. “the centurions, the rams, (or captains) and the runners,” (C.) or guards. Prot. H. — Gate, on the west. Athalia had probably entered by the south. — Kings. It was made of ivory, &c. 3 K. x. 18. C.