From Magic City Morning Star|
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.
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.
Ahab King of Israel
Jehoram King of Judah
Ahaziah King of Judah
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.
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.
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)
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.
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:
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.
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?
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.
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"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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