Jehoram, Jehoshaphat’s son, had married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel from the kingdom of Israel. Jehoram reigned like a king of Israel and not like the kings of Judah. He killed all of his brothers. Edom and Libnah rebelled against Judah at this time and set up their own kings. The prophet Elijah, who was taken by the chariots in 852 BC, had written Jehoram (853-841 BC) a prophetic letter rebuking him for his wickedness. This letter would have been written right after Jehoram had killed his brothers in 853 BC and right before Elijah was taken in 852 BC. The letter spoke of a lingering disease of the bowels that would kill Jehoram. The Philistines and Arabs of southern Egypt invaded Judah and carried off the palace treasures and killed all of Jehoram’s sons. Only Ahaziah, the youngest son of Athaliah, was left. Jehoram died of a painful, incurable disease of the bowels at the age of 40. The people of Judah did not honor him at his death.
Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram and Athaliah (Jezebel and Ahab’s daughter), became king at the age of twenty-two. His mother encouraged him to do wrong and the house of Ahab in Israel became his advisers. Ahaziah’s uncle Joram, the king of Israel, was injured when he went to war against Hazael of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. Ahaziah went down to Jezreel with his sons and the royal princes to visit his Uncle Joram while he was recovering from his injuries. It just so happened that while Ahaziah was visiting in the kingdom of Israel in Jezreel the Israel general Jehu was anointed at Ramoth Gilead by the prophet that Elisha had sent over. When Jehu came back across the Jordan to Jezreel he killed King Joram when he came out to meet him in his chariot, and Jezebel was pushed out a window to her death when Jehu reached Jezreel. Jehu found and killed the sons of Ahaziah and the princes of Judah who were staying in Jezreel with their family from Athaliah’s side. Jehu’s men searched and found Ahaziah. Jehu killed the twenty-four year old Ahaziah in his second year as king of Judah.
At this time back in Jerusalem in Judah the queen mother, Athaliah, destroyed the whole royal family of Judah when she heard that her brother Joram and her son Ahaziah were dead. The royal line of David would have been wiped out if Ahaziah’s sister, Jehosheba (Jehoram’s daughter and Jehoshaphat’s granddaughter), had not taken and hid Ahaziah’s one year old son Joash. Jehosheba was also married to the priest Jehoiada who then hid Joash for six years.
Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel, then reigned the kingdom of Judah for six years while prince Joash of the line of David was hidden. In the seventh year when Joash was eight years old the priest Jehoiada brought out the king’s son and presented him at pillar of the temple. Athaliah shouted, “Treason” but she was struck down on the palace grounds. The people then tore down the temple of Baal in Jerusalem and killed the priest of Baal.
Joash was seven years old when he began to reign and he reigned for forty years.