LEGACY. What’s yours? What story of your life will live on way beyond your time on this earth? Many of us leave our greatest legacy through our beloved children. We also leave a legacy through the lives that we impact every day- hopefully for the better! But the woman we’d like to introduce you to today… well, she left behind one of the most terrifying legacies possible. A legacy of murder.
Meet Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel, who was single handedly known to be the most wicked woman of the Old Testament in the Bible. This lady practically had evil running through her bloodstream. Talk about an intense legacy… passing down evil tendencies to your children- yikes! Athaliah basically dedicated her life to worshipping Baal, a false god, and being a bad influence on the kingdom of Judah, where she lived. In her marriage, you could say that she “wore the pants” in the relationship and dominated her husband as the stronger willed person. When he died of an uncurbable disease after eight years of reigning as the King of Judah, it’s hard to say if Athaliah was even upset about his death. How’s that for a heart of stone? Sheesh!
After her husband passed away, their son Ahaziah took the throne, but the poor lad only had the chance to reign for a year before he would suffer a great wound in battle that would take his life. Our empathy alert is flashing here, thinking, that poor woman! First, she lost her husband, then not long after she lost her son too! Any reasonable human being would quite probably be a train wreck at that point. Oh, the heart break! But not so much for Athaliah. She saw this as an opportunity… a sick one at that. She wanted to finally claim the throne as her own. But something stood in the way… her grandsons. And here’s where that legacy of murder comes in. Athaliah killed her own grandsons in cold blood. All so that there would be no other heir to the throne, so that she could take the place as Queen of Judah. And she did just that.
Awful things happened in the six years of Athaliah’s reign. She even took resources from the Temple of Jehovah (our God) and put them instead towards the temple of Baal (false god). But a wave of change was coming. Athaliah didn’t know it, but her youngest grandson, Joash, had been hidden from her. When he became of age, his mother brought him out of hiding and declared him as the remaining son of Ahaziah, and the lawful King of Judah! Huzzah! But Athaliah wasn’t giving up without a fight. No way, not this bad girl! She started screaming at Joash’s coronation ceremony. She shouted out “TREASON!” at the top of her lungs! But our story is about to come to a screeching halt here. Athaliah was dragged outside of the temple gates and killed, only to have the horses trample over her dead body. Yikes, what a pitiful way to go out. And talk about that legacy again… here’s the crazy thing. Her death wasn’t that different than her evil mother Jezebel’s death. Jezebel was thrown from a window and her body was left to the dogs to eat. Both deaths were awfully disgusting, but none the less, memorable.
Athaliah’s story, be it an awful one, still serves as a great reminder to us today that no one can stop God’s plan. You see, all along, God had planned to redeem His people through a Savior who would come from the Tribe of Judah. Athaliah tried to turn Judah to evil with her plotting, scheming, and evil doing, but God intervened and redirected Judah with the leadership of Joash. God redeemed Judah’s legacy. And He redeems our legacy today too.
by Shelby Bowers