The Princess Who Saved a Dynasty

The secret was out. Not another second would she live in fear of the queen discovering she had stolen her grandson.

That terror-stricken day began when Jehoiada, pulling her aside, told her all of the royal heirs were about to be massacred. The dead king’s mother had ordered the execution.

Jehoiada always seemed to hear the slightest rumbling from the palace. How this was possible was beyond Jehosheba. But here was more proof that the chief priest had a secret pipeline.

“Jehosheba,” he had begged, “you must do something. Athaliah will make the line of Judah extinct. Don’t you see? There will be no Messiah.”

“No Messiah? But—whaa-what can I do? I’m only your wife.”

“You’re a princess—our last king’s half-sister. No one will think anything of it if you are seen in the palace. Go! Yahweh will guide you.”

With her heart fluttering wildly like a trapped bird, she had dashed out of the chamber and scurried across the temple courtyard before stopping at the top of the stairway. Below was the palace complex. She kicked off her sandals and hiked up her robe. Her bare feet scampered over the steps as if they were burning coals. Her mind, too, was racing. What to do? Where to go when she got there?

Some of the children would be with their tutors. Suppose the executioner had already done it. She couldn’t bear to look in those places.

She had remembered a room—a room in the far back, away from the palace hustle and bustle. The baby! Maybe he was still safe.

Afraid the sight of her might arouse suspicion in watching eyes, she had forced a lackadaisical saunter down the hallways. But once inside the nursery, she quickly snatched her nephew from his nurse’s arms. As she covered Joash with her flowing mantle, her voice quavered, “Quickly. Follow me.”

And that was the beginning of hiding the future king and his nurse for six years. Now her deed was made public.

Her husband, mustering incredible boldness, had organized the coup. “Then he brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, and gave him the covenant; they proclaimed him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him; and they shouted, ‘Long live the king!’” (2 Chronicles 23:11 NRSV).

The Davidic dynasty was restored. Messiah would come. A courageous woman could be thankful she did her part.

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