23 1In the seventh year the priest Jehoiada decided to make his move and worked out a strategy with certain influential officers in the army. He picked Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zicri as his associates. 2They dispersed throughout Judah and called in the Levites from all the towns in Judah along with the heads of families. They met in Jerusalem. 3The gathering met in The Temple of God. They made a covenant there in The Temple. The priest Jehoiada showed them the young prince and addressed them: “Here he is—the son of the king. He is going to rule just as God promised regarding the sons of David. 4Now this is what you must do: A third of you priests and Levites who come on duty on the Sabbath are to be posted as security guards at the gates; 5another third will guard the palace; and the other third will guard the foundation gate. All the people will gather in the courtyards of The Temple of God. 6No one may enter The Temple of God except the priests and designated Levites—they are permitted in because they’ve been consecrated, but all the people must do the work assigned them. 7The Levites are to form a ring around the young king, weapons at the ready. Kill anyone who tries to break through your ranks. Your job is to stay with the king at all times and places, coming and going.” 8All the Levites and officers obeyed the orders of Jehoiada the priest. Each took charge of his men, both those who came on duty on the Sabbath and those who went off duty on the Sabbath, for Jehoiada the priest hadn’t exempted any of them from duty. 9Then the priest armed the officers with spears and the large and small shields originally belonging to King David that were stored in The Temple of God. 10Well–armed, the guards took up their assigned positions for protecting the king, from one end of The Temple to the other, surrounding both Altar and Temple. 11Then the priest brought the prince into view, crowned him, handed him the scroll of God’s covenant, and made him king. As Jehoiada and his sons anointed him they shouted, “Long live the king!” 12Athaliah, hearing all the commotion, the people running around and praising the king, came to The Temple to see what was going on. 13Astonished, she saw the young king standing at the entrance flanked by the captains and heralds, with everybody beside themselves with joy, trumpets blaring, the choir and orchestra leading the praise. Athaliah ripped her robes in dismay and shouted, “Treason! Treason!” 14Jehoiada the priest ordered the military officers, “Drag her outside—and kill anyone who tries to follow her!” (The priest had said, “Don’t kill her inside The Temple of God.”)15So they dragged her out to the palace’s horse corral and there they killed her. 16Jehoiada now made a covenant between himself and the king and the people: they were to be God’s special people. 17The people poured into the temple of Baal and tore it down, smashing altar and images to smithereens. They killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altar. 18Jehoiada turned the care of God’s Temple over to the priests and Levites, the way David had directed originally. They were to offer the Whole–Burnt–Offerings of God as set out in The Revelation of Moses, and with praise and song as directed by David. 19He also assigned security guards at the gates of God’s Temple so that no one who was unprepared could enter. 20Then he got everyone together—officers, nobles, governors, and the people themselves—and escorted the king down from The Temple of God, through the Upper Gate, and placed him on the royal throne. 21Everybody celebrated the event. And the city was safe and undisturbed—Athaliah had been killed; no more Athaliah terror.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About