Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah.11 But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were about to be put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of Jehoiada the priest, because she was a sister of Ahaziah, hid himt from Athaliah, so that she did not put him to death.12 And he remained with them six years, hidden in the house of God, while Athaliah reigned over the land.
Jehoshaphat was a good king in Judah, but he wasn’t the wisest king. He made an alliance with the evil Ahab by marrying his son, Jehoram, to Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah. She brought her mother Jezebel’s influence to Judah and turned away the heart of Jehoshaphat’s son, so that when he became king, he followed the evil ways of the kings of Israel. He lasted 8 years as king, dying at the age of 40. His son was no better having been raised by Athaliah and he too died. Athaliah then saw her chance and sought to kill anyone who would challenge her seat on the king’s throne. It was truly a tragic day for Judah. But God was merciful to Judah in that one young boy, the grandson Athaliah’s dead husband, King Jehoram escaped. He was raised by his mother (who was the daughter of the former king) and her husband, the priest Jehoiada. Why would God allow such tragedy to occur? We cannot presume to know all the reasons but this we can deduce. God rescued the lineage of kings from the influence of Athaliah by saving Joash as a young boy. His mind was not poisoned as were his grandfather and father’s minds were. Instead he was raised in the House of the Lord and ruled as a godly king, at least while Jehoiada advised him.