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ATHALIAH:

Daughter of Ahab (II Kings viii. 26) and, presumably, of Jezebel; also called the daughter of Omri (II Chron. xxii. 2). The political alliance of Jehoshaphat, fourth king of Judah, with Ahab, king of Israel (I Kings xxii. 2-4; II Chron. xx. 35), resulted in a domestic alliance also between his son Jehoram and Ahab's daughter Athaliah (II Kings viii. 18-27; II Chron. xxi. 6). The death of Ahaziah, the only surviving son of Jehoram and Athaliah (II Chron. xxi. 16, 17), at the hand of Jehu (II Kings ix. 27; II Chron. xxii. 9), opened the way for the queen-mother to assert herself. She immediately slew "all" of royal blood(II Kings xi. 1; II Chron. xxii. 10), and made herself queen of Judah. Her influence, since her marriage with Jehoram, had fostered Baal-worship in Judah, and temporarily thrust into the background the worship of Yhwh (II Chron. xxiv. 7). Her six years (842-836 B.C.) of rule doubtless led to a vigorous cultivation of the Baal cult. But in her seventh year the stalwart high priest Jehoiada brought from his hiding-place a young claimant to the throne, Joash, son of Ahaziah (see Joash). Athaliah, being apprised of the great and enthusiastic coronation-assembly at the Temple, rushed into the edifice, apparently unattended by her guard. As soon as she saw the newly crowned king, she rent her clothes in despair, and cried defiantly, "Treason! Treason!" Jehoiada ordered that she be taken forth through the ranks, and he also pronounced a deathsentence upon any who should espouse her cause. "So they made way for her, and she went to the entry of the horse-gate by the king's house: and they slew her there" (II Kings xi. 4-20; II Chron. xxiii. 1-15).

J. Jr. I. M. P.
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