Did you know that the queen mother of every Davidic king is named in the Old Testament? It took me a while to figure that out. Bathsheba is not mentioned again after she was received in Solomon’s court as a queen mother (in the last post) and I hope she wasn’t around to see her son run amok in the queen/consort/strange women department.
But king Solomon loved many strange women… he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart…. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD… (with) all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. I Kings 11
This is the format used for naming Davidic kings with their mothers beginning with Solomon’s heir:
And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah, Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign…And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. I Kings XIV.21, II Chronicles XII.13
Each one Worse than the One Before
Rehoboam gets the blame for the nation splitting in two, acting like the spoiled arrogant son of a great man but without his father’s skill. He kept the southern territory of Judah and the city of David and the Temple while the tribes in the north became the northern kingdom of Israel and developed their own royal line. Then in the mid-800s B.C., King Ahab in the north made a marriage alliance with Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal King of Tyre (Phoenicia) and she was as evil as a strange woman could be as she attempted to turn northern Israel into a nation of Baal worshipers. (This is where Elijah the prophet challenged the priests of Baal over whose god was strongest.) This confrontation led to the priests of Yahweh raising an army under Jehu their High Priest and commander to fight the Baalist. Ahab and Jezebel were casualties of the war…
When Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a tower window….And (Jehu) lifted up his face to the window and said, Who is on my side? Who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and her blood was sprinkled on the wall and on the horses: and he trod her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter. II Kings 9:21-34
Jehu then turned his attention to the next generation. Jezebel and Ahab had a daughter named Athaliah who had married Jehoram the king of Judah in a marriage alliance that would come close to reuniting the two kingdoms…but also spread the priests of Baal into the south and perhaps eve to the Temple in Jerusalem. When her husband died, Athaliah’s son became the king of Judah. Jehu took up arms against both kings…north and south.
And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out…against Jehu…And it came to pass when Joram saw Jehu that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?
Jehu killed both kings in battle and went on to have all the 70 sons of the house of Ahab beheaded, trying to wipe out the entire “seed.” (II Kings 10:7)
I’ll let Josephus tell what happened next…
Now when Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab heard of the death of her brother Joram, and her son Ahaziah, and of (her) royal family, she endeavoured that none of the house of David might be left alive, but that the whole family might be exterminated, that no king might arise out of it afterward; and, as she thought, she had actually done it; but one of Ahaziah’s sons was preserved, who escaped death after the manner following:–Ahaziah had a sister by the same father, whose name was Jehosheba, and she was married to the high priest Jehoiada. She went into the king’s palace, and found Jehoash, for that was the little child’s name, who was not above a year old, among those that were slain, but concealed with his nurse; so she took him with her into a secret bed-chamber, and shut him up there; and she and her husband Jehoiada brought him up privately in the temple six years, during which time Athaliah reigned over Jerusalem and the two tribes.
When the boy was six years old, the next High Priest Jehoiada called the principal men and all the priests and Levites of God together in the temple and brought out the boy and said to them,
This is your king, of that house of which you know God hath foretold should reign over you for all time to come.
He then opened the armory which David had made in the temple and distributed all the spears and quivers. He then anointed him with oil and put a crown on his head as the people were rejoicing. Athaliah heard them and came with her soldiers. When she saw the child, she cried out “Treason” but the High Priest called the captains of 100 and the Levite priests to kill the High Priest of Baal and to take Athaliah out of the temple to the valley of Cedron and slay her there, for he would not have the temple defiled with the punishments of this pernicious woman… Antiquities of the Jews IX.VII. 2 Kings 11:20-21, II Chronicles 23