Miles to go...

I have miles to go... please pray each day for the next leg of my Biblical journey!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 27: Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead

Jezebel, the Queen Mother (Public Domain)

2 Kings 9:30-33

New Living Translation (NLT)

The Death of Jezebel

30 When Jezebel, the queen mother, heard that Jehu had come to Jezreel, she painted her eyelids and fixed her hair and sat at a window. 31 When Jehu entered the gate of the palace, she shouted at him, “Have you come in peace, you murderer? You’re just like Zimri, who murdered his master!”[a]
32 Jehu looked up and saw her at the window and shouted, “Who is on my side?” And two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 “Throw her down!” Jehu yelled. So they threw her out the window, and her blood spattered against the wall and on the horses. And Jehu trampled her body under his horses’ hooves.

Well, I tried doing the timeline thing of the kings over Judah and Israel, didn't I? Today as I was reading, I realized it hadn't much helped me to remember who was who over what and where. Darn. It was a good idea. And I may go back and do it again, but probably not. I'm discovering that some of the kings had pretty common names, and it gets so confusing because some of the kings over Israel shared the same name as some kings over Judah.  But my fascination with the women of the Bible is winning at the moment. I think I'll talk about two evil women who were not witches, although it made for a good title, didn't it?

I'm going to start with Jezebel. She'd captured my attention the other day, but I chose not to write about her, thinking the timeline would be more educational. Jezebel was a princess, the daughter of some Sidonian king, when she married King Ahab of Israel. She was one bad woman, let me tell ya. So bad, in fact, that in 1 Kings 16:31, the Bible says "And as though it were not enough to follow the example of Jeraboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians...' Now when scripture has to say "as if it weren't bad enough, he married her!', that's really bad!

She was notorious. She had her husband, Ahab, bowing down and worshiping Baal. When he pouted over Naboth's refusal to sell him his vineyard, Jezebel had the owner stoned for something he didn't do, and then urged her husband to claim it as his own. When Elijah came and prophesied that because of that, God would wipe out all Ahab's male descendants, and that Jezebel would be eaten by the dogs, she got furious. The wicked witch in the fairy tale couldn't hold a candle to Jezebel's evil. She was determined for Elijah to die, and if she couldn't find him after he fled, she'd settle for having every prophet of God she came across slaughtered. About 400 of them, if I recall correctly.

Now Jezebel probably wasn't Ahab's only wife, but she was definitely the highest ranking one, and it is pretty apparent that she ruled the kingdom jointly with Ahab. They had a son named Ahaziah, who took the throne after Ahab died in battle. But Ahaziah wasn't long for this world either, and he died after only a couple of years. His brother, Jehoram, succeeds him, but is killed by Jehu, who would usher in the next royal dynasty in Israel.

But in order for the prophecy to be fulfilled, Ahab's wife had to die too. it wasn't enough that his male heirs had died, Mommy Dearest had to go. So Jehu sets out for Jezreel, where Jezebel is, and she gets wind of it. Rather than run, though, she calmly puts on her makeup, fixes her hair, and then sits in her window to wait. When Jehu rides up in front of the palace, she taunts him, calling him a murderer. So he looks up, hollers "Who's on my side?", and a couple of eunuchs that were attending her said "we are!" Well, maybe they didn't say it with their words, but they threw the queen mother out the window so that Jehu's horse could trample her to death. I guess they were on his side.

Ding Dong, one witch is dead. But wait, she had a daughter! 

2 Kings 11:13-16

New Living Translation (NLT)

The Death of Athaliah

Queen Athaliah of Judah, Public Domain
13 When Athaliah heard all the noise made by the palace guards and the people, she hurried to the Lord’s Temple to see what was happening. 14 When she arrived, she saw the newly crowned king standing in his place of authority by the pillar, as was the custom at times of coronation. The commanders and trumpeters were surrounding him, and people from all over the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. When Athaliah saw all this, she tore her clothes in despair and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”
15 Then Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders who were in charge of the troops, “Take her to the soldiers in front of the Temple,[a] and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be killed in the Temple of the Lord.” 16 So they seized her and led her out to the gate where horses enter the palace grounds, and she was killed there.

Ok, truth be told, we don't know if Athaliah was Jezebel's daughter. But she was definitely Ahab's kid, and was the sister to both Ahazaiah and Jehoram, who had reined briefly. For whatever reasons though, she was married off to the king of Judah, whose name was also Jehoram, and had a son whom she named Ahazaiah. Ok, now you see why trying to do the timeline was confusing me? Try to follow me here... Athaliah's husband Jehoram was ruling Judah during about the same time frame that her brothers were ruling Judah, before Jehu came along and upset the apple cart. Now, when her husband died, her son Ahazaiah (named after her brother) took over, but only for a year. This really gets complicated, and I hope I'm not botching it. 

It appears to me (and I hope someone will comment and correct me if I'm wrong) that Athaliah's son, the king of Judah, was hanging out with his uncle, King Jehoram of israel (Athaliah's brother, not her husband), and that when he killed one, he actually killed both. That was just before he killed jezebel. (Jehu also killed the 70 remaining sons of Ahab.)

If I've got that bit of history down right, then I'll move on. Athaliah wanted to be in charge of things, much like Jezebel had been. So when she heard that her son had been killed, she began to destroy the rest of the royal family. It seems that it would be her family, too, but I guess she didn't really care about her daughters-in-law or grandchildren. As long as she was the only one left to rule, that was all that seemed to matter to her. But she didn't get everyone.

Ahaziah had a sister. Jehosheba was King Jehoram's daughter, but not Athaliah's. By today's standards that would make Athaliah the step-mother, but I don't imagine that was the dynamic of the relationship between the offspring of the kings wives and the other wives back then. 

Now, Ahaziah also had a baby boy named Joash. Aunt Jehosheba wasn't about to let the evil step-monster get her hands on her precious nephew, so she snuck him out and took him to the Temple of the Lord, where he was raised by the priest Jehoiada.

When Joash was 7 years old, the priest who had been raising him conspired with the commanders of the palace guard to do away with the wicked queen. All those who were off duty that day were provided with shields and swords, and they lined up from the north side to the south side of the Temple, and surrounding the altar. Then Jehoiada brought out the boy who would become king, placed a crown on his head, a copy of God's laws in his hands, and annointed him king. And all the palace guard cheered him on.

Queen Athaliah heard the noise, and wanted to know what she was missing. She hurried over to the Temple and saw the boy king standing next to the pillar, his place of authority, during the coronation ceremony. She freaked out at the sight, and started ripping her clothes, screaming like a loon. The commanders of the Palace Guard arrested her, took her out of the Temple,  and turned her over to the soldiers where she was killed.

Ding Dong, the other witch is dead.

As for Joash, the boy king, he was a good guy, having been raised by a priest, and he ruled over Judah for 52 years.

No comments:

Post a Comment