We have been talking about how Israel was the harlot of the Old Testament because the people turned away from God and went to serve other gods; that is the definition of harlotry. We also talked about how King Ahab was an idol worshipper who worshipped Baal, built altars to the gods and built Asherah. And finally, we talked about how the evil king married the equally-evil Jezebel, who led him to become even more evil.
This immoral God-hating pair yielded an evil seed by the name of Athaliah. When she came of age, she married Joram, king of Judah. (Be careful when you study because there is also a Joram on the Israel side, and some Bibles may spell their names Joram or Jehoram. The same is true of Joash, which can alternately be spelled Jehoash). So, Athaliah married Joram, the son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, and he later became king himself (2 Kings 8:16-18, 25-26; and 2 Chronicles 21:5-6.
This evil seed, now residing in the kingdom of Judah, which is the line from which Christ came, was now in a position to carry out the work of the devil. Manifesting itself in Israel from the beginning in the form of idolatry (harlotry), the satanic scheme was now hatched to either prevent the advent of Messiah or pollute His bloodline.
Think about that: Jezebel and Athaliah, mother and daughter, killers of God’s prophets and the royal lineage – were doing the work of the devil. The entirety of the Scriptures points to the coming of Messiah and the work that He did at the cross. The goal of the evil one was to stop the advent of Christ and, failing that, to kill Him. But the devil failed when Christ was resurrected, which provided the way of salvation for all who claim Him as Lord and Savior of their lives.
Athaliah and King Joram went on to have a son named Ahaziah who succeeded King Joram to the throne of Judah (2 Kings 8:24-26; 9:29). When Jehu killed both Joram, King of Israel and Ahaziah (2 Kings 9:21-28), and then had Jezebel killed, Athaliah seized the throne and proceeded to destroy the royal offspring (2 Kings 11:1).
The evil Athaliah reigned for six years (2 Kings 11:3) and was eventually put to death (2 Chronicles 23:12-15). Joash, son of Ahaziah, who had been hidden from Athaliah in her rampage, became king of Judah after her death (2 Kings 11:2, 21). He did right in the sight of the Lord, except that he fell prey to the one evil that nearly all the “good” kings fell prey to – he didn’t take away the high places (2 Kings 12:2-3). He was eventually succeeded by his son Amaziah as king of Judah (2 Kings 12:19-21; 14:1), and he, in turn, was succeeded by his son Azariah – also called Uzziah (2 Kings 15:1; 2 Chronicles 26:1).
That brings us to the main point of this two-part series on Ahab, Jezebel, and Athaliah.
We have seen that Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, married King Joram of Judah. We know that the kings of Judah after Joram were Ahaziah, Athaliah, Joash, Amaziah, and then Uzziah – those are undisputed facts. But look at the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1:6-8. Starting from the great King David we then have his (almost) equally great son, King Solomon (we talked briefly about him); then there is Solomon’s son Rehoboam, who we also talked about as being the first king of the kingdom of Judah; then there are three others (Abijah, Asa, and Jehoshaphat) before we get to King Joram. Then an interesting thing happens – the next four kings are missing, as we see Uzziah next.
What happened here? Is there a mistake? May it never be, as Paul says. But, kings Ahaziah, Athaliah, Joash, and Amaziah are not in Christ’s genealogy as per Matthew 1 – it goes from Joram to Uzziah. This is actually the fulfillment of Exodus 20:3-6 and Deuteronomy 5:7-10, which are the two renderings of the Second Commandment. Look at it – it encompasses four verses in each.
From Exodus 20: You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
I could write an entire article on the 2nd Commandment, but that isn’t our focus. Four generations, in this case, four kings, but all in a span of fewer than one hundred years, so yes – three to four generations, are missing.
In conclusion, the 2nd Commandment was sorely violated – for idolatry was rampant. Ahab, Jezebel, and Athaliah were certainly haters of the Lord; and they most certainly were carrying out Satan’s diabolical scheme – but their plot failed miserably. There would be no better way to prevent Messiah from coming than to poison His blood-line, but the all-knowing God provided the way out by stating the law and eradicating the acknowledgment of the evil gene-pool from Christ’s lineage. God’s will – will not be thwarted. Hallelujah! Amen!