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11 When Ahaziah’s mother, Athaliah, found out that Ahaziah had been killed, she saw to it that the rest of the royal offspring were killed.

Athaliah acts as many of the other monarchs and kills potential rivals so no one can challenge her ascension to the throne. But one of the royal offspring survives, and this is how it happens:

Jehosheba, King Joram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s sister and wife of Jehoiada the priest, took one of Ahaziah’s sons, Joash,[a] away from the rest of the royal offspring who were being killed; and she hid him in the bedchamber of the temple priests where he would be safe with his nurse. By hiding him from Athaliah, Jehosheba ensured his survival. Joash and his nurse lived secretly in the Eternal’s temple for the six years Athaliah ruled Judah.

During the seventh year, Jehoiada summoned the commanders of the Carites’ divisions and of the soldiers; and he gave them instructions to meet him in the Eternal’s house. There in the temple, Jehoiada entered into a covenant with them and made them swear to honor it. Then he revealed Ahaziah’s son, Joash, to them.

Jehoiada: This is what we will do: I am commanding it. On the Sabbath when you are on duty, I want a third of you men to guard the palace, another third to stand guard at the gate of Sur, and the remaining third to stand guard at the gate that is directly behind the soldiers. The first third must be unfaltering in watching the palace. The other two-thirds, who normally go off duty on the Sabbath, must also be alert and keep a close watch over the Eternal’s temple for the sake of the king. When the time is right, all of you are to take your weapons in hand and encircle the king. Kill anyone who tries to break through the circle to get to the king. Stay near the king wherever he is—whether he is coming or going. He must be left untouched.

All the commanders of hundreds did exactly as Jehoiada the priest had instructed them to do. The commanders gathered their men coming on duty and going off duty on the Sabbath and brought them to Jehoiada the priest. 10 The priest handed out King David’s spears and shields to all the commanders, the weapons that were kept in the Eternal’s temple. 11 Then all the protectors took up their weapons and went to their posts—on the right and left of the palace, by the temple and its altar, and around the king.

Jehoiada arranges everything so that the route from the palace to the temple is blocked.

12 Jehoiada then escorted the king’s son and placed the crown atop his head. He gave him the testimony of dedication, and he anointed Joash as king. In that moment, his kingship was made official. Then every one clapped and cheered.

People: May King Joash live forever!

13 Athaliah heard the loud noise that the guards and the people were making, and she went to meet everyone who was in the Eternal’s temple. 14 When she got there, she looked over and saw the new king standing by the sacred pillar, according to tradition. The commanders and trumpeters were standing next to him. Everyone was celebrating and blowing their trumpets. When Athaliah perceived all of this, she tore her garments.

Athaliah: Treason! Treason! All of you are treacherous traitors!

15 Jehoiada the priest was in charge of all the commanders of hundreds who were in charge of the army units.

Jehoiada: Make her come stand among the ranks, and we shall see who is on her side. Kill anyone who follows her or shows loyalty to her.

Because the priest had warned, “Do not spill her blood in the Eternal’s temple,” 16 they grabbed her and escorted her to the palace entrance that was used by mounted riders, and they executed her there.

17 Jehoiada then entered into a covenant between the Eternal, the king, and the people: the king and his people would belong to the Eternal and live as God’s people, and the people would accept Joash as their king. 18 Immediately after the covenant was made, everyone in the country rushed over to Baal’s temple and demolished it. They destroyed Baal’s altars and shattered everything made in his image. They slaughtered Mattan, Baal’s priest, right in front of the altars. Jehoiada then designated special guards to protect the Eternal’s temple. 19 He gathered up the commanders of hundreds of the Carites’ divisions, the soldiers, and everyone in the entire country. They escorted the king from the Eternal’s temple to the palace and then traveled together through the soldiers’ gate. King Joash then sat upon the throne. 20 Everyone in the entire country was glad, and the entire city was calm and at peace. They had put an end to Athaliah by killing her with a sword at the palace.

21 Jehoash[b] was only seven years old when all this took place and he began to reign.


  1. 11:2 Throughout 2 Kings 11–13 Joash and Jehoash are the same Judean king.
  2. 11:21 Or Joash

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