Treason! Treason! The accusation rang loud and long in the palace of the queen, and it was the queen herself making the accusation. She was suddenly facing an uprising from the priesthood — ironic, considering they were the spokesmen for righteousness and order, which had always translated to supporting the monarch instead of bringing the monarch down. She was horrified that the people and their leaders would turn on the queen so rudely, suddenly, and ultimately with extreme violence.
As is generally the case, there are two sides to the story.
We should go back to the beginning. The queen’s name was Athaliah. She was ruling in Judah in the place of her dead son, Ahaziah. Athaliah was the daughter of King Ahab of Israel, She was married to Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, in an attempt to help the severed halves of God’s people reconnect at some level. When Jehu purged Israel of Ahab’s family, Ahaziah died as well. For reasons unexplained in the text, Athaliah survived. She did not waste the opportunity; she took the throne for herself and killed the rest of her progeny, any one of whom would be a proper heir and therefore competition. Read 2 Kings 11:1-3 if you don’t believe me. Ungodliness, depravity and greed ran deep in the veins of Ahab’s family.
The priestly uprising was an attempt, ultimately successful, to install the lone remaining heir, Joash, on the throne in Athaliah’s place. “Treason,” as it turns out, is in the eye of the beholder. To the queen, it meant anything that was contrary to the interests of the queen herself; to most of her citizens, though, she was the one who had been guilty of treason all along. And that is the story of how a woman without a drop of David’s blood in her protested her “right” to his throne at the expense of the only one of her grandsons she had managed not to murder.
Some points for us to ponder, in the context of this story:
Is it “treason” to suggest authority figures such as parents and elders have a say in your private life? If you think privacy is your primary concern, the correct answer would be yes. If you accept what God’s word says with regard to parents (Ephesians 6:4) and elders (Hebrews 13:7), the correct answer would be no.
Is it “treason” to suggest you have an obligation to your brethren that interferes with your “private time”? If you think the most important thing in your life is your own personal pleasure and satisfaction, the correct answer would be no. If you accept Biblical principles such as love (1 Thessalonians 4:9), service (Ephesians 5:21) and humility (Philippians 2:3-4), the correct answer would be yes.
Is it “treason” for the preacher to suggest there are slackers in the church? If the preacher’s job is to pat everyone on the head and tell them how wonderful they are, the correct answer is no. If you accept the Biblical role of a preacher as “reprove, rebuke, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2) — and the preacher, in his best judgment, sees room for improvement, the correct answer very well may be yes. Of course, the preacher is still under obligation to give whatever criticism he has in a spirit of kindness and love.
I suppose it’s really all about who is the rightful ruler in this relationship. Food for thought.