From Magic City Morning Star

R.P. BenDedek
Queen Athaliah of Judah : Killing her Children?
By R.P.BenDedek
May 24, 2013 - 9:24:03 AM

Did Queen Athaliah Really Kill 'All' the Royal Children?

I am not a believer in the 'Infallibility of the Bible'. By this I mean that I do not believe that all the words contained in the Bible were dictated by God and that each and every letter thereof is somehow 'divine' and unalterable. I do however believe that the records contained in the Old Testament are true records that record true events. Many Bible Skeptics rely on Biblical Infallibility beliefs, to justify their stance that the Bible is full of errors and is therefore a 'fable'.

In this article, taken from Chapter 10 of the King's Calendar (849 BCE. to 756 BCE, Athaliah to Uzziah of Judah & Jehu to Jeroboam II of Israel) we look at an issue in relation to Queen Athaliah of Judah, in which the Bible alleges that she killed all the heirs to the throne to steal the throne for herself. That this picture is perhaps not correct, is alluded to later in the Bible records of the reign of King Joash, when reference is made to advice he received from his royal relatives.

Note: If you are unfamiliar with 'The King's Calendar' it is recommended that you read What is the King's Calendar? before you accept any of the chronological references found in this article, to BCE dates. The King's Calendar operates on a computer based mathematical reconstruction of Israelite history, converting all Biblical year references into periods of 336 days.

The Reign of Athaliah of Judah

Athaliah was the Daughter of Ahab King of Israel; Wife of King Jehoram of Judah; Mother of King Ahaziah of Judah; Grandmother of King Joash of Judah and reigned for seven (7) years from the Spring of 849 BCE to Late 844 BCE or Early 843 BCE.

There is no consideration given here to the posit that Athaliah's reign ought to be incorporated into the 40 year reign of her grandson Joash. Likewise says the Encylopaedia Judaica (1972, Vol 10, p.111).

Ahab King of Israel

Ascended January 883 BCE in Asa's 38th year (12 th year of Omri)

Ahab commenced 1st Regnal Year Mar/Apr Spring New Year

Ahab's 1st artificial year commenced December 883 BCE

Reigned 22 years (1 Kings 16:29)

Died prior to Spring New Year 862 BCE (21 Solar Years)

Jehoram King of Judah

Ascended the throne in the last year of his father Jehoshaphat (858 BCE)

Jehoram of Judah ruled from Spring New year of 857 BCE to New Year 850 BCE

Jehoram reigned 8 solar and 8 artificial years.

Ahaziah King of Judah

Ascended after Spring New Year 850 BCE

Died in 849 BCE about 1 year later.

Details can be seen on the Appendix 5 Chart at Kingscalendar

Upon her son's death, Athaliah set about to complete the job started by the usurper King Jehu of Israel (who killed Ahaziah of Judah and Jehoram of Israel), and she forthwith murdered all heirs apparent to the throne of Judah.

Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah. 2 Chronicles 22:10

By analysing various biblical data, it is possible to gain a fuller insight into the circumstances of the time, especially with regard to family relationships, and the alliance between Ahab and Jehoshaphat.

Analysis of the Data

It is quite an easy thing to 'read' Biblical accounts, and form opinion based upon the 'primary text reading'. However, when such texts are read in context with other seemingly unrelated references, often the meaning of the primary text reading can change. In this section we examine primary and secondary texts to put some issues into perspective.

1. We have previously noted that Ahaziah of Judah was the youngest son of Jehoram (2 Chronicles 22:1), and Jehoram was perhaps 32 years old when he commenced to co-reign, c 865 BCE.

If Jehoram was 32 yrs old at the commencement of his co-rule, and that co- rule lasted nine years, then he was 41 years old when he commenced to reign independently. If we add 8 years to that, he was 49 years of age at death, and therefore 27 years old when Ahaziah was born.

2. Given that Ahaziah was 22 years old when he ascended the throne in 849 BCE, we can determine that he was born about 870 BCE

3. If we assume (that is, establish as fact something for which there is no evidence), that Athaliah was Jehoram's principal wife, we might also assume that Jehoram's eldest son and heir was Athaliah's child.

4. Since Ahaziah was born when his father was 27 yrs old, we can assume that he had older brothers, and that they may have been anywhere up to 10 years older. We could summise therefore, that Jehoram's marriage to Athaliah occurred as far back as c. 879 BCE.

5. We have previously noted that the conspiracy between Ahab and Jehoshaphat to retake Ramoth Gilead, occurred circa 864 BCE; and this conspiracy according to 2 Chronicles 18:1-3, occurred some years after the marriage alliance between the two houses.

6. We could conclude that the alliance took place before Athaliah's marriage, and if Ahaziah's elder brothers were also Athaliah's children, then the alliance commenced up to ten years earlier than his birth. Therefore the alliance may have occurred somewhere around the 2nd/3rd year of Jehoshaphat, which is the 5th/6th year of Ahab, but most definitely by Jehoshaphat's 12th/13th year, which is Ahab's 15th/16th year, when Ahaziah was born.

7. Jehu killed 'the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah's brothers ( 2 Chronicles 22:8)

And it came to pass, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, that he found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, ministering to Ahaziah, and slew them.

8. Since Athaliah then 'destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah' (2 Chronicles 22:10), it is obvious that Jehu was not completely successful.

But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's sons that were slain, even him and his nurse, and put them in the bed-chamber; and they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. 2 Kings 11:2

9. Since Ahaziah's sister Jehosheba (2 Kings 11:2) was left alive, and presuming that in the absence of heirs, that daughters or sisters of Jehoram may have been able to supply a son to take the throne, one wonders if Jehosheba was in fact Athaliah's daughter, and that those royals murdered by Athaliah, were not in fact all those who were not 'her' blood relations.

10. From 2 Chronicles 24:17-18 we discover:

a) That after the death of Jehoiada the high priest the princes of Judah came and did obeisance to the king

b) That the king hearkened to them and forsook the house of the Lord.

Hypothetical:

If Joash were the only prince left alive in 849 BCE, then the princes of Second Chronicles Twenty-Four (24) would necessarily be his sons.

Question:

Would the king succumb to the pressure placed upon him by his children? Or is it more likely that these princes were other relatives descended from Athaliah; cousins, uncles and nephews?

It is not at all implausible to consider that Athaliah had in fact, only set out to destroy heirs apparent who were descended from Jehoram's other wives. There was therefore no need to kill Ahaziah's young half brothers, his sisters, or his male uncles or cousins. Athaliah was able to take the throne for herself as regent, since the direct claimant to the throne was a minor, who was left in the care of his aunt.

While it cannot be stated with certainty that Joash had no male relatives, the reference to 'Princes' could be seen as indicative that Athaliah only destroyed those who posed a threat to Joash's succession.

The coup

When the coup came and Athaliah was murdered, it is more probable that the motivation was religious rather than political. The Yahwist high priest, into whose care the infant king had been given, saw in the Regent Queen, a pagan whose ways were not the ancient ways of the people. It might even be said, that the coup was instigated by the High Priest, who considered that he himself ought to be the 'power behind the throne' so to speak, as adviser to the Monarch.

I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into one section of the King's Calendar that has to date not been published freely online.

R.P.Bendedek
Email:
rpbendedek@hotmail.com

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R.P.BenDedek (pseudonym) is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (
http://www.kingscalendar.com ), and is a guest columnist and stand-in Editor at Magic City Morning Star News. He is also the Editor of the 'Writers Journal' at Kingscalendar.com. An Australian, he has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003.

Writers Journal Kingscalendar

"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls.



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