Welcome to the second part of this historical account of two kingdoms which demonstrates to us that though relationship is a good thing, wrong association can have far reaching effects and the earlier we cut it off, the better.
The first part concluded with what seemed to be the end of an unequal alliance between two Kings, two Kingdoms, two dynasties, but was in fact the beginning of the consequences of a folly-alliance King Ahab’s deceit caught up on him while King Jehoshaphat narrowly escaped death. He returned to his Kingdom Judah and lived the rest of his life in peace and prosperity. What a God-fearing man. He would be missed! He was survived by seven sons.
His first son who was also the Crown Prince Jehoram succeeded him as King Jo II. Quick reminder: this young man was the same Prince who married the charming Princess Athaliah, Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, a political marriage and a form of alliance between the two royal families. And needless to say, both of them followed the ways of Ahab!! How do I know? He did not bat an eyelid before killing his six younger brothers so he could secure the throne. Bloodshed? That was definitely Ahab and Jezebel’s way.
King Jo II was so wicked in his ways that Prophet Elijah, yeah, the same fire-spitting Prophet had to send a prophecy to him by MAIL as he couldn’t come physically – his hands were full in the Northern kingdom dealing with Jezebel and her sons and the entire Ahab dynasty. Thankfully, king Jo II only reigned for 8 years. He died of an incurable intestinal disease, that was after he lost all his children to attacks from marauders. He was survived by his wife Athaliah the Queen, his youngest son – 22 years old Ahaziah and surprisingly a Godly daughter Princess Sheba who was married to a Priest Iada. Ahaziah was crowned King – King Jo III. And as expected, he too followed the footsteps of his mother Athaliah and grandparents Ahab and Jezebel.
Talking of Jezebel, she seemed to have become the Iron Lady controlling both the Northern kingdom Israel and Southern kingdom Judah. Jehoshaphat’s alliance with her late husband gave her so much power in both kingdoms even though she was originally from another country entirely. And she was still notorious for her ruthlessness. Upon her husband’s death, her son Ahaziah became the King. But unfortunately, for whatever reason, he fell accidentally in his Palace and sustained serious injuries. He died from the complications of the injuries. He reigned for only two years. After him, his brother Joram who happened to be another son of Jezebel became the King. He reigned with terror for the next 12 years.
It would appear that the dynasty of Jehoshaphat had an uncontrollable obsession with Ahab’s dynasty. They had this compelling urge that they must be loyal and faithful to their “brothers” up North. The relationship seemed to be one way and not the other way round.
History was repeating itself: Ahaziah, King Jo III joined himself with Joram to fight Joram’s battles again. And like his grandfather Jehoshaphat the First he escaped and survived and returned home. Also like Ahab, Joram too was wounded, but he didn’t die and returned to his hometown in Jezreel to recover. However, King Jo III he felt compelled to keep visiting Joram until Joran fully recovered. Unfortunately for him, during one of his visits, there was a coup de tat taking place up North where King Joram was dethroned and killed by his Chief of Army Staff. King Jo III, by association, too became a victim. He tried to escape like his grandfather, only this time, he wasn’t so blessed. He was shot and killed. Tragedy!!
All these troubles were happening because of one man Jehoshaphat decided to tie his destiny and that of his family to a man who did not deserve it – Ahab!
At this point in history, the destinies of these two great nations all of a sudden lie on three generations of Women: Jezebel (the Queen Mother in Northern Israel), her daughter Athaliah (the Queen Mother in the Southern Judah) and the new addition – the Godly Princess Sheba, Athaliah’s daughter.
At this point, it was time up for Jezebel. Enough of Ahab and his seeds!! Another king has taken over, Ahab and his entire household was wiped out!! An unpleasant end for the power couple Ahab and Jezebel.
The spotlight was back on Judah. Athaliah probably panicked. Her mother, brother and entire family have all been killed in the Northern kingdom. And her own son the king too was killed alongside. It was time to bring out the Jezebel in herself.
She took over the Kingdom, becoming the first female Monarch in both kingdoms. True to form, she ruled with iron hands. She destroyed the Royal Family and killed every rival who could have access to the throne, all except one, a baby whom her daughter Princess Sheba smuggled out of the palace and hid in the Temple; baby Joash who would later become King Jo IV, the king who, after all the drama, would make it all right again
It’s never too late for good to trump evil, and for every wrong to be made right. It was time for Princess Sheba to stand against the Queen Mother.
For six years, Athaliah reigned as the Supreme Monarch, Jezebel incarnate. It seemed evil had prevailed. But behind the scene was a toddler and his nanny, protected within the Temple walls by a rebel Princess and her Priest husband Iada and a privileged few sworn to secrecy.
As I conclude this series, I thought about the movies I’ve seen where Priests commit treasonable acts, revolting against reigning Monarchs and toppling kings. Perhaps the most fascinating to me is “The man in the iron mask” which displayed the bravery of the three musketeers and a faceless Prince.
Here, it was Jeho-Iada the Priest who felt he had had enough. But he couldn’t do it without the military. summoned five army Commanders, the Carite mercenaries Levites and some Temple guards. He made them to swear an oath and revealed the Prince to them. He was just a seven years old baby, but he had enough Royal Blood to become the King. They knew they were at risk of immediate execution for treason, but it was a risk they were willing to take.
And just like that, they Crowned Joash as the new King, King Jo IV, even though the ruthless Athaliah was still alive and well. It was a bloody one, but they found to finish. And Queen Athaliah was executed for her crimes against humanity.
King Joash King (Jo IV) reigned under the supervision, tutelage and mentoring of JehoIada the Priest. As a team, they corrected every single wrong and made Judah great again. They brought peace, prosperity and national security back to the Kingdom. They led the people back to God. And laid a lasting positive impact. That’s not all, but Iada the Priest was blessed with long life living up 130 years and was buried among the kings, because he did well for the nation.
It took four generations to be finally free from the influence of Ahab and his family, an alliance his great grandfather has trustingly and blindly forged, but phew! It feels good to be free indeed.