Study Notes

2Kings 11:1-21


When we left off in our study of 2Kings, we saw in chapter 10 that Jehu was anointed to be the new king of Israel. He killed the current king of Israel, Yo-RAWM, as well as having all the other descendants of Ahab beheaded. He also killed Akh-az-YAW, the king of Judah, who was visiting the king of Israel.

Now we are going to switch scenes from the northern kingdom of Israel to the southern kingdom of Judah. King Akh-az-YAW is dead, so you would assume that his eldest son would become king. But remember what we learned back in chapter eight: The wicked rulers of Israel, Ahab and Jezebel, had a daughter who married the king of Judah, Yeh-ho-RAWM. Her wickedness turned Yeh-ho-RAWM away from the Lord. When Yeh-ho-RAWM died and his son Akh-az-YAW took the throne, this woman was still alive. She was called "the queen mother." Now that Akh-az-YAW has been killed, the queen mother hatches a horrible scheme.

11:1 Athaliah Destroyed The Royal Offspring

Akh-az-YAW's mother Ath-al-YAW saw her opportunity and seized it. She had her grandchildren put to death, so that she would hold the power of the throne of Judah. This was truly a wicked woman.

11:2-3 Joash Hidden In The House Of The Lord

King Akh-az-YAW's sister Yeh-ho-SHEH-bah took her baby nephew Yo-AWSH - one of the king's sons - and hid him from the murderous rampage of Ath-al-YAW. Since she was the wife of Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW the high priest (2Chron. 22:11), she was able to hide him in the temple, where he remained hidden for the next six years while his wicked grandmother Ath-al-YAW ruled the kingdom of Judah as its queen.

11:4 Joash Revealed

After those six years Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW the high priest called five captains of the military (2Chron. 23:1) to join him in the temple. After having them swear an oath of loyalty, he revealed Ya-AWSH. This was the son of Akh-az-YAW, a descendant of David, the rightful king of Judah.

11:5-8 The Plan

Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW's plan was for these captains to rally the Levites and leaders in the nation (2Chron. 23:2). They would then use this mighty force to protect the young boy from harm when he was revealed.

11:9-11 King David's Spears And Shields

The plan was to have these men enter the temple courts on the Sabbath day, since that was the busiest day of the week, and would avoid suspicion. But what would they do for weaponry, since you can't have a bunch of armed men coming into the temple area?

In the temple, there were hundreds of spears and shields that had belonged to King David. We read in 2Samuel 8 that when he had defeated Had-ad-EH-zer, the king of Tso-BAW, he took the shields carried by his servants, as well as other articles, and dedicated them to the Lord. After Solomon built the temple, he took everything that had been dedicated by his father David and "put them in the treasuries of the house of the Lord" (1Kings 7:51).

Now, they have become useful to defend David's direct descendant. I believe there is a principle being illustrated here, a principle that encourages believers to dedicate their blessings to the kingdom of God.

You see, David had the right to keep all the spoils of war. He could have displayed the golden shields, sold the spears, and built his bank accounts with the gold and silver. But instead, he dedicated them all to the Lord, and God later used them mightily.

Hannah was a woman who prayed and wept for a child, because she was barren. When the Lord blessed her and gave birth to a son, she certainly had the right to keep her son. But instead, she dedicated the baby Samuel to the Lord (1Samuel 1:28), and God later used him mightily.

You have a right to keep that which God has given you - your skills, your money, your time, your family - it's all yours. But if you dedicate it to the Lord, He will use it mightily. Whether you dedicate your skills, your money, your time, or your family, God can and will use it mightily when it is dedicated to Him. And that benefit will reach beyond your generation and into the next.

11:12 They Clapped Their Hands

When the young boy was brought out and crowned king, they clapped their hands. This is the first time that the clapping of hands is mentioned in the Scriptures. They did this out of joy, proclaiming this descendant of David as king, making a public statement.

The Scriptures tell us that we are to applaud another out of joy, proclaiming another descendant of David as King of Kings, to make a public statement.

Ps. 47:1 O CLAP your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy.

Ps. 98:8 Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the mountains sing together for joy

Unfortunately, applause is something that is common in the world today, yet in many churches is somewhat foreign or forbidden. I pray that this will change in our own church. I heard on the news this week that a play about the killing of Matthew Shepherd was performed in Laramie. At the end, it received a two and a half minute standing ovation. How much more should we applaud the Lord for saving us? Young king Yo-AWSH received applause by the clapping of hands - why not the King of Kings?

11:13-16 Athaliah Is Killed

When the wicked queen Ath-al-YAW heard the applause, she rushed over to the temple grounds. When she saw the scene, she knew immediately what was happening. Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW ordered that she - and anyone who followed her - should be put to death, but not in the temple. So they dragged her to the palace stables and killed her there.

11:17 A Covenant With God

Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW wanted to see a return to the Lord in the land of Judah. He saw it was a real possibility that revival could start right here. He'd had such an influence on the boy king for the first seven years of his life, and would continue to be able to instruct him in the ways of the Lord. This could be the first godly leader for Judah in 35 years! And so, he made a covenant including the Lord, the king, and the people, making them promise that they would be the Lord's people.

A Covenant With The King

A second covenant was made - a covenant between the king and the people. This no doubt had much to do with the requirements for a king that God had outlined back in Deuteronomy 17. This instructed,

Deut. 17:18-20 "Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left; in order that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

The commitment and covenant that was made was most likely the people promising to be subject to his authority, and that he would walk in the ways of God.

11:18 Tearing Down The House Of Baal

Revival had truly broken out. Newly dedicated to the Lord, the people saw the wickedness of BAH-al worship, and tore down the temple to BAH-al. They broke the altars and images, killed Mat-TAWN, the high priest of BAH-al worship.

True revival consists not only of turning to God, but of turning away from false Gods. Paul told the Thessalonians that their faith was being talked about by people from all over the place.

1Ths. 1:9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God

When they turned to God, they turned from idols. Have you had revival in your own life? Have you turned to God and away from the idols of this world?

Officers Over The House Of The Lord

Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW also appointed officers over the house of the Lord. That simple statement doesn't help us much in understanding what was done. In actuality, the word "officers" here means "numbers" or "appointees."

The NIV translators try to help us by using the word "guards," but that severely limits the work that Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW actually did. We get the full understanding when we read the parallel passage in 2Chronicles, which says,

2Chr. 23:18-19 Moreover, Jehoiada placed the offices of the house of the LORD under the authority of the Levitical priests, whom David had assigned over the house of the LORD, to offer the burnt offerings of the LORD, as it is written in the law of Moses —with rejoicing and singing according to the order of David. And he stationed the gatekeepers of the house of the LORD, so that no one should enter {who was} in any way unclean.

So what Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW did was to re-establish the Biblical procedures for the temple, which had gone unsupported for generations. The Levites were restored to their priestly duties, as God had commanded in the Law. Also, the standards for keeping out the ceremonially unclean were enforced again, just as commanded in the Law.

This is another mark of true revival: the people go back to following the Bible, to obeying the written Word of God.

11:19-21 Sitting On The Throne

Yeh-ho-AWSH would be a good king for Judah. Next week, we will see his reign continue into adulthood.

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