How many of you can tell me—before reading my article—who Jehosheba is? She is mentioned only twice in all of Scripture, but she was a very important woman in history. To be honest, I didn’t know her by name until I began this study. In fact, the study wasn’t about her at all when I first started. But the more I dug into God’s Word, the more He impressed upon me that my focus should be on her and not on her mother.
Perhaps you have heard of Jehosheba’s mother, Athaliah. She was a very wicked woman, but she came by it honestly, so to speak, for she was simply carrying on a family tradition. You see, Ahab and Jezebel were her dad and mom. It’s a pity she didn’t learn from their tragedy that you cannot get by with rebellion against the Lord.
After Jehoram died (king of Judah and Athaliah’s husband), his son Ahaziah, at the age of 22, assumed the throne in Jerusalem. He too was a wicked king. One year into his rule, Ahaziah took a bad fall and died as a result of his injuries. Well, there is a little more to it than that, but since this story is not about him, we’ll leave it at that. When the young king died, Athaliah his mother went on a killing spree to eliminate the entire royal line so she herself could assume the throne.
But she missed one.
Ahaziah had a sister named Jehosheba who was not pleased with their mother’s actions. Bravely she took Joash, her little nephew just one year old, Ahaziah’s son, and hid both him and his nurse in the temple. The three of them remained there, hidden in the temple, for six years while Athaliah reigned over the land.
When Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada the priest called a gathering of the rulers of the land and the captains of the guard, and he revealed the young heir to the throne. They formed a coup and overthrew Athalia, putting her to death, and replacing her with Joash, the rightful heir to the throne.
She Broke the Cycle of Wickedness
For four generations and more there had been wickedness in the land of Judah. Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all those who preceded him. His son Ahab was worse than him, and motivated to do evil by his wife Jezebel. Their daughter Athaliah was just as bad, as was her husband Jehoram. And their son Ahaziah also walked in the way of wickedness.
But not Jehosheba.
She chose to follow Jehovah and serve Him only. In fact, she and Jehoiada the priest were married. I think it’s wonderful that she chose to be a preacher’s wife over living in royalty. There is no higher calling than serving the Lord. There are no greater riches than the ones laid up in heaven.
God Keeps His Promises
2 Kings 8:19 Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David His servant’s sake, as He promised him to give him always a light, and to his children.
God had been patient with the kings of Judah for David’s sake. Solomon, Asa, and Jehoshaphat were pretty good kings, all things considered. But Jehoram “walked in the way of the kings of Israel.” In case you didn’t know, that’s a bad thing. Yet as verse 19 says, the Lord preserved him and the nation of Judah for the sake of the promise He had made to David, that there would always be an heir to the throne. After Jehoram came Ahaziah, whose reign lasted but one year. And then Athaliah thought she would destroy the line of David and assume the throne for herself.
But God’s ways are much greater than our ways. And this is where Jehosheba comes into play. For God used her to keep His promise to David and preserve an heir to the throne. Now do you see how important she was in history? in the Bible? Her one act of bravery kept the course of human events running according to God’s plan. Granted, He could have used someone else, but He placed her there for such a time, and she did exactly what He asked her to do.
Even her name, Jehosheba [Jehovah-sworn], suggests her purpose: “fullness, or oath, of the Lord.” Indeed, in her act of courage, God’s promise was fulfilled. I love this—the second part of her name comes from the Hebrew word shaba, which means, “to be complete; to seven oneself, i.e. swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times).” And when was God’s promise fulfilled, and the rightful heir restored to the throne? In his seventh year!
There Is a Light
We have been studying “bad” women of the Bible for weeks now. Soon enough we will come to the end of this portion of the study and return our focus to godly women. But isn’t it wonderful that in the midst of a very dark time in Judah’s history, with so much evil in the leadership, that a remnant remained of faithful followers of the one true and living God! There were the people who longed for a righteous king, there was the priest who looked out for the good of his people, and there was a woman, Jehosheba—royal by birth, but godly by choice.
Ephesians 5:8 For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
If Jehosheba can take a stand for what is right in the midst of the chaos and evil that was so prevalent in her day, what is stopping you and me from doing the same? Let us be women of God who will make a difference. Let us be lights in a dark world.
Next week: Diana
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