Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly. Therefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction. (2 Chronicles 22:2-4)
Wrong Parental Advice
Every child born into the world comes with a fresh innocence of newborn purity. Jezebel was one of the most wicked women in the Bible, and yet there was a time when her heart was as pure as the driven snow. Like her husband, Jezebel made a name for herself as the antithesis of righteousness, goodness, and holy character. Her reputation came through the influence of the world around her and parental guidance leading her down a path of destruction. She did not lose time to mold her daughter in the ways of Baal and idol worship. Athaliah was born to Ahab and Jezebel and, as a young baby, had a pure heart. Taught by her wicked parents, Athaliah would rise to power one day that would set her on the road to infamy as one of the cruelest women who lived.
In a marriage of political expediency, Athaliah was given to Jehoram, eldest son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. After Jehoram became king, he murdered his six siblings, probably at the behest of his wife. Eight years later, Jehoram dies from an incurable disease of the intestines which he suffered two years until his intestines came out. He died in severe pain. His death was to no one’s sorrow. After the death of Jehoram, his son Ahaziah became king, with his mother serving alongside him. He walked in the ways of his grandparents (Ahab and Jezebel), led by the strong influence of his mother, Athaliah. The reign of Ahaziah would last only one year before he was killed by Jehu, son of Nimshi, whom the Lord appointed to cut off the house of Ahab. After the death of Ahaziah, his mother murdered her grandchildren, taking the throne of Judah for herself. But Jehoshabeath, the king’s daughter, took Joash and hid him from the wrath of Athaliah.
The family of Ahab and Jezebel were a blight to the nation of Israel. Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. “In Jezebel, his Phoenician wife, Ahab found a champion of the foreign culture, who was as imperious and able as she was vindictive and unscrupulous. She was the patron of the prophets of Baal and of the devotees of Asherah” (ISBE). Jezebel taught her daughter, Athaliah, well in the art of evil and manipulating others. Jezebel and Athaliah were very capable of killing their own children and grandchildren for their personal cause. Influenced by these parents, Jehoram and Ahaziah ruled with the same wickedness.
Every child is born in innocence without any corrupt or evil seed. Ahab and Jezebel were without sin when they were babies, but it changed quickly. They had children that were born in purity, but they changed their hearts. The teaching of their parents primarily influenced the corruption and ungodliness that charactered their lives. Joash would be one of the great reforming kings of Judah, and it largely had to do with his grandmother, Athaliah, not influencing him. It can be assumed his aunt Jehoshabeath (Jehosheba), the wife of Jehoiada, the priest, instilled in the young boy love for God. The power of parental influence is overpowering to determine a child’s destiny.
The Bible is filled with the godly influences of parents who sought to instill in their children a love of God. Abraham and Lot are examples of how one man guided his home with God, and the other allowed the wicked influence of Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy his home. Manoah and his wife sought the Lord’s counsel to establish the rule of life and work of their son, Samson. Hannah was a powerful influence upon her son, Samuel. Daniel’s parents taught him from an early age to pray three times to the Lord, and he never forgot those lessons. Joseph and Mary were the parental influence of the Son of God. Parenting is fraught with danger and is not for the weak-hearted. The only goal a parent should have is to make sure their children are safely in the ark when it begins to rain. Nothing else matters. Life only gives one opportunity, and those days quickly pass. Which parent are you? Teach your children to fall in love with God by your example.