The first reading for today is from the 2nd Book of Kings. I think “what the heck….” is a good first response once you have completed your read. I wonder if I commissioned a poll in which the average person on the street heard the reading and then asked its source, given two choices, which they’d pick? My poll would offer (a) Games of Thrones and (b) The Book of Kings. I am guessing Games of Thrones would win because only the hard core fans remember the names and most people would wonder if the Book of Kings was a real thing…. I mean the names did not sound as though from the English monarchy.
How many of you knew the names? I have to admit I only knew one name: Athaliah. I happened to know she was the daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. As they say, the acorn doesn’t roll far from the tree. And…she was the only woman who was Queen of Judah, sitting on the throne of David. Her story is worthy of its own mini-series.
Athaliah was married to Jehoram of King of Judah in an arranged marriage to seal a treaty between the two kingdoms. Did I mention Jehoram killed his six brothers to ensure there were no challengers to the throne. After Jehoram’s death, their son Ahaziah became king of Judah, and Athaliah was queen mother.
Ahaziah was killed on a state visit to the northern kingdom. Upon hearing the news of Ahaziah’s death, Athaliah seized the throne of Judah and ordered the execution of all possible claimants to the throne. The only one to escape was her infant grandson, Joash (or Jehoash). After being hidden in the Temple for 7 years, he was brought forth as the rightful claimant to the throne of David.
He ruled for 40 years, restored the Temple to worship of Yahweh, renewed the covenant with the people.
It is an appropriate gospel to be paired with the first reading:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… But store up treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be…And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”