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Athaliah Overthrown. 1a In the seventh year, Jehoiada took courage and brought into covenant with himself the captains: Azariah, son of Jehoram; Ishmael, son of Jehohanan; Azariah, son of Obed; Maaseiah, son of Adaiah; and Elishaphat, son of Zichri. 2They journeyed about Judah, gathering the Levites from all the cities of Judah and also the heads of the Israelite families, and they came to Jerusalem. 3The whole assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. Jehoiada said to them: “Here is the king’s son who must reign, as the LORD promised concerning the sons of David. 4This is what you must do: a third of your number, both priests and Levites, who come on duty on the sabbath must guard the thresholds, 5another third must be at the king’s house, and the final third at the Foundation Gate, when all the people will be in the courts of the LORD’s house. 6Let no one enter the LORD’s house except the priests and those Levites who are ministering. They may enter because they are holy; but all the other people must observe the prescriptions of the LORD. 7The Levites shall surround the king on all sides, each with drawn weapon. Whoever tries to enter the house is to be killed. Stay with the king wherever he goes.”
8The Levites and all Judah did just as Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each took his troops, both those going on duty for the week and those going off duty that week, since Jehoiada the priest had not dismissed any of the divisions.b 9Jehoiada the priest gave to the captains the spears, shields, and bucklers of King David which were in the house of God. 10He stationed all the people, each with spear in hand, from the southern to the northern limit of the enclosure, surrounding the altar and the temple on the king’s behalf. 11Then they brought out the king’s son and put the crown and the testimony upon him, and proclaimed him king. Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and they cried, “Long live the king!”
12When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and acclaiming the king, she came before them in the house of the LORD. 13When she saw the king standing by his column* at the entrance, the captains and the trumpeters near the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, while the singers with their musical instruments were leading the acclaim, Athaliah tore her garments, saying, “Treason! treason!” 14Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains in command of the force: “Escort her with a guard detail. If anyone follows her, let him die by the sword.” For the priest had said, “You must not put her to death in the house of the LORD.” 15So they seized her, and when she reached the Horse Gate of the royal palace, they put her to death.
16Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people and the king, that they should be the LORD’s people. 17Thereupon all the people went to the temple of Baal and demolished it. They shattered its altars and images completely, and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. 18Then Jehoiada gave the charge of the LORD’s house into the hands of the levitical priests, to whom David had assigned turns in the LORD’s house for sacrificing the burnt offerings of the LORD, as is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and song, as David had provided.c 19Moreover, he stationed guards at the gates of the LORD’s house so that no one unclean in any respect might enter. 20Then he took the captains, the nobles, the rulers among the people, and all the people of the land, and led the king out of the LORD’s house; they came within the upper gate of the king’s house, and seated the king upon the royal throne. 21All the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been slain with the sword.
* [23:13] By his column: there was a special place reserved for the king in the eastern gateway of the Temple court where the altar for burnt offerings stood. The king occupied this place on feasts and sabbaths at the time of the prescribed offerings, or when he came to make voluntary offerings of his own; cf. 2 Kgs 11:14 and Ez 46:1–8.
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