The first king in this section was Judean, he came to the throne after his father was assassinated, and became one of Judah’s great kings. Of the five kings of the Northern Kingdom listed here four of them killed their king to become king. This is the noxious fruit from almost three hundred years of apostasy in that kingdom. Some of these killer kings brought material prosperity to their kingdom without a drop of godliness.
Even though the names and chronological order is very confusing in this chapter, the lessons from the Holy Spirit abound! First there is the southern kingdom’s King Amaziah. Just like his father Joash, he had every opportunity to do well as a godly king and completely ruined it. He was called a thistle compared to a cedar by the king in the north (Jehoash), who defeated Amaziah, but he himself was also an apostate idolater.
The story moves back in time, from King Joash of Judah, to kings in Israel (northern kingdom). Then we come to the death of one of Israel’s greatest prophets, Elisha. News reaches the palace of king Joash (northern kingdom), and he visits Elisha. In a heartfelt meeting the king honored the prophet but not the prophet’s God. Elisha, terminally ill, gave instructions to the king which were done without zeal enough.
The child that was rescued from the slaughter of the royal grandchildren is now a man, king of Judah. His story continues with a righteous beginning and reign so long as he was under the influence of Jehoiada the courageous priest. King Joash made repairs to the Temple, the people zealously joined the work, they gave money for the significant repairs with joy. But after Jehoiada died, the king plunged into apostasy, having join the influence of idolaters. For his apostasy and murder of Jehoiada’s son, he is judged God.
In this chapter we meet the worst of people and the best. First there is Athaliah, the presumed daughter of Jezebel and just as wicked. She illegitimately made it to Judah’s throne as self-appointed queen and had all her grandchildren, killed except for the one who was rescued by one of the best people, Jehosheba. Her courage along with the bravery of her husband, Jehoiada, not only rescued the child but hid him for six years. Finally Jehoiada gathered enough support to make the child king and have wicked Athaliah executed.