Athaliah is mentioned several times in the Old Testament books of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. According to the Jewish Women’s Archive, she is the only woman reported in the Bible as having reigned as a monarch within Israel/Judah. She was married to Jehoram until a disease took his life; then their son, Ahaziah, became king. He was king for one year before being killed in a dynastic struggle. After her son’s death, in an act of evil revenge, Athaliah set out to kill the rest of her royal family and grabbed the throne. She was queen for six years until her reign was overthrown in the Jerusalem temple. Athaliah lived a wicked life before God and here are three lessons we can take from her.
1. Athaliah did not trust God. According to the Bible, Athaliah worshipped the false god, Baal. If she really wanted to rule, she should have put her trust in God, and asked Him to place her on the throne in His time. But Athaliah did nothing of the sort. She schemed, plotted, manipulated power, and even murdered to get what she wanted as soon as possible.
Sometimes, we may want something to happen for us right away, but we must wait and put our trust in God. We have to be careful not to try to make things come to pass through our own wit or strength. We must wait on the Lord for Him to give us all the desires of our hearts.
2. Athaliah gave bad advice. 2 Chronicles 22:3-4 says Ahaziah did evil because ‘his mother advised him to do wickedly.’ I think it is safe to assume that if Athaliah had advised her son to do right, Ahaziah would have done good. Athaliah did not use her influence for Godly purposes.
Do not doubt the power that your words have on others. Your advice and example can pursuade them to do evil or good, love God or hate Him, succeed or fail at life.
3. Athaliah did not love people. She was mean, ruthless, and power hungry (think: Snow White’s wicked stepmother). She didn’t sincerely care about her servants or the people she ruled; she didn’t even care about her own family – she killed them.
In John 13:34-35, God gave us a new commandment: “that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” As Christians, we are called to love God and we are called to love others. Follow the example of Jesus, not Athaliah.