Jehoiada then made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people that they would be the Lord ’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. (2 Kings 11:17 NIV)
Jehu’s actions in killing the kings of Israel and Judah led to significant change in both countries. Where he led an initial wipe out of Baal in the north marked by killing a wicked Queen Mother, the southern kingdom of Judah experienced seven years of a Baal-centred reign marked by a wicked Queen Mother.
Athaliah’s ruthless destruction of her son’s family in a bid to establish her rule did nothing to bring righteousness back to Judah. It took the bravery of God’s priesthood headed by Jehoiada, to protect the only child of Ahaziah that Athaliah did not kill. To patiently wait until that newborn baby was seven years old, whilst the kingdom endured the reign of Athaliah, marked the dedication and hope these priests had.
It should be no surprise that after the completion of those seven years that the time was right to overthrow the wicked rule of Athaliah and reinstate the rightful rule of the son of the king. It was clear that the decision to anoint him was popular as no one came to her aid and her death was met with a settled and peaceful city.
Not only was the wicked rule of Athaliah overthrown, but crucially the priesthood recognised that the people and their King needed to return to the Lord. That covenant made by Jehoiada had a liberating effect on the people expressed vividly in the destruction of Baal worship. A sign of the dismantling of idolatry for the primacy of the worship of Yahweh.
The episode highlights the influential role the priests took in restoring righteousness to the land. It’s a picture of hope for those enduring wickedness in any guise in positions of power. God will not allow wickedness to prevail. The seventh year is coming when wickedness will be overthrown and the coming King will reinstate righteousness to the joy of all those who long for Him to install it. As we endure and wait patiently it is not about being passive or inactive. It is about faithfully fulfilling our godly responsibilities as the priests did in preparation of that glorious day.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden