by: Jonathan Painter
As we study the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, you will find that Israel had four kings before the nation was divided. After the nation was split, we find that Israel had a total of nineteen different kings. The best of these was Jehu, though his reign had a mixture of good and evil, he did carry out judgement on the house of Ahab and broke down the house of Baal. Judah on the other hand had twenty different kings, of which it was said that eight did rightly in the sight of the LORD, though two of those did evil in their later years. Between the two kingdoms, Judah clearly had the better track record of pleasing the LORD and doing what was right.
Judah was also the nation who had the only woman who reigned as the supreme monarch. This woman was Athaliah, whom the Bible describes as a wicked woman. She rose to power after the death of her son, Ahaziah. Her monumental climax of attaining the throne is found in her murdering her own grandchildren for the sake of power. What a sad state of affairs for a family to be in. It is interesting to go back and figure out how this family got so full of hate and drama that a grandmother would kill her innocent grand babies to attain the throne of power. We will break it down step-by-step.
Jehoshaphat makes affinity with Ahab.
The story truthfully begins here in II Chronicles 18:1, where it says that Jehoshaphat made affinity with Ahab, king of Israel. The word affinity means an agreement, relation, conformity, resemblance… It was Jehoshaphat who joined affinity with Ahab; thus, it was Jehoshaphat who was the aggressor of the relationship. He was the one who was willing to conform in order to gain a relationship. The Scripture makes it very clear that this affinity took place after Jehoshaphat had gained honor and riches in abundance. In II Chronicles 17:1, we find that Jehoshaphat strengthened himself against Israel, which Ahab was ruling at that time as well. In one chapter, we find that Jehoshaphat gained riches and honor and basically let down his guard and sought to make an affinity with Ahab.
Jehoshaphat’s son marries Ahab’s daughter.
The affinity between Jehoshaphat and Ahab was so close that their children would be married according to II Chronicles 21:6. Jehoshaphat’s son, Joram, married Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah. Athaliah would later be called a wicked woman who would counsel her son to do evil when he reigned. Athaliah was the daughter of Ahab, and more than likely the daughter of Jezebel, which explains a lot!
Joram becomes king and kills all his brethren.
The family drama has begun. Jehoshaphat leaves the kingdom to Joram, according to II Chronicles 21:3-4, which after taking power, he slew all his brethren in an effort to secure power. One might speculate that this plan may have been whispered in his ear by Athaliah who would have learned how to administer death in exchange for profit from her mother’s episode with Naboth’s vineyard.
Ahaziah begins to reign
Ahaziah is the youngest son of Joram, but through another series of dramatic events, is taken and made king of Judah. II Chronicles 22:2-3 tells us that he was forty-two when he began to reign and his mother, Athaliah, was his chief counselor. The families of Jehoshaphat and Ahab had now become so close that their children were named after one another. If we were to look at a chart of the kings, we would notice that Jehoshaphat’s son was Joram, and his son was Ahaziah. Ahab’s son was Ahaziah, and his son was Joram.
Ahaziah is killed while judgement is passed on Joram.
Ahaziah was a little too close to Joram king of Israel. This was the cause of his death. (II Chronicles 22:7) This is yet another of a line of tragic, dramatic events that place as a result of Jehoshaphat’s affinity with Ahab.
Athaliah attempts to kill all her grandchildren.
This is the sad climax of this dreadful story. Things in this family have gotten so out of hand that now grandma is killing her grandchildren in order to attain power and position.
(II Chronicles 22:10)
THIS IS ALL THE RESULT OF AN AHAB AFFINITY
We need to be careful not to fall into the same trap as Jehoshaphat in making affinity with the unrighteous heathen who don’t follow our God, nor live His way. Here are four quick signs to tell us if we are making affinity with this world. Notice the definition for affinity…
- Agreement – We need to be careful about making agreements with the people of this world. Agreements very often have a tendency to turn into a…
- Relationship – We need to be careful about forging a friendship or other relationships with unbelievers and those who are actively trying to hinder the work of God. When we create friendships with such people, we often become desperate to keep our relationship and therefore stoop to…
- Conformity – We have to start conforming our speech and our actions in order to fit in better. In an effort to not be the odd ball, we have to conform or adapt to the ways of the wicked around us. It is so much easier to conform in dress, speech and actions than it is to be the odd man in the room. This conformity leads to the obvious conclusion of…
- Resemblance – Now we are beginning to look like the world that is not saved, who do not live holy lives, and who do not care what God thinks about their lives. Our speech resembles their speech, our dress resembles their dress, our actions resemble their actions. There is a resemblance to this world and all it’s wickedness, and it is due to the fact that Christians have entered into an affinity that will be our destruction if we do not strengthen ourselves against it.
Jehoshaphat originally had the right idea to strengthen himself against Israel, but he become comfortable and it cost him and his family a lot of pain and heartache because he made an affinity with Ahab.
Lincoln Baptist Church