Heroes and Villains Explored – Yehosheba
Yehosheba was a princess, the daughter of King Joram and her name means “Yahweh is an oath”. She had married Jehoida, who was the high priest. Yehosheba, although she was a king’s daughter and a king’s sister, married a descendant of Levi, the head of the priest class in Judah. In the Old Testament, the promised coming of God in human form had been seriously threatened repeatedly. It was threatened by the fact that Sarah and Abraham remained childless for a long time; by Jacob’s flight; by the attempts on David’s life by Saul; and also by Athaliah attempted massacre of the royal baby Joash.
However, as evil as Athaliah was, it cannot be said that she planned that massacre with a deliberate intention of preventing the coming of the promised Messiah from the line of King David. But Satan, however, would most certainly have had this purpose in mind when he prompted Athaliah to do the deed. When Athaliah commanded that the king’s sons be slain, she served as a tool in the hand of Satan. Yehosheba saved the life of Joash. By rescuing the life of that little prince she rescued the hope of Israel, and thwarted the plans of Satan.
But, just as we have no reason to believe that Athaliah consciously tried to interfere with the coming of Jesus Christ, who was the long awaited for Messiah; so we also cannot presume that Yehosheba’s effort to save Joash was a conscious attempt to make sure the coming of the long awaited for Messiah, Jesus Christ in the future Bethlehem was certain. Athaliah was Satan’s tool, and Yehosheba was used by God.
Athaliah’s work was destined to fail, because Satan is impotent against God’s purposes, and Yehosheba had to succeed because God’s plans are invariably realized.
As Jehoidah’s wife, Yehosheba lived in the Temple, not in the Palace. The right to search the Temple was outside the area of the king or queen, and for that reason, once she had determined to save the life of the prince, Yehosheba decided to hide him in one of the bedrooms in the Temple, where even the fearsome and wicked Athaliah could not go.
The Bible does not tell us how Yehosheba happened to get Joash. It seems that the nurse may have helped her. Perhaps this is the best explanation of the circumstances. Yehosheba was the wife of Jehoida, and we have for that reason, to believe that she feared God. She must have learned that Joash’s nurse had also kept the faith; and in those difficult times these two women had sought each other’s company. This gave Yehosheba an occasion to persuade the nurse to flee to the Temple with the baby. Athaliah, at least, did not detect what had happened, and supposed that the whole of David’s family had been killed.
So, when Joash was made king 4 years later, Athaliah expressed her surprise by shouting out ”Treason!!! Treason!!!”
Yehosheba, therefore, ought to be kept in grateful remembrance by the Church. She has an appealing character. She did not desire mundane luxuries. Even though Ahaziah was her brother, and though the life of splendour at a royal court could have been hers, Yehosheba chose a secluded life in the Temple, the House of God. Her calm introspective character had developed in her, courage unequalled by men. It was not Jehoida the priest who tried to save the generations of David from being destroyed. For the sake of fear, he would have permitted the whole royal family to be killed. Of all the men in Jerusalem, who at that time still feared the name of Jehovah, not one dared to assert his position and authority. They would have liked to, but they did not dare – they were too frightened. They lacked bravado and courage.
And yet – while all these men, including the high priest, feared to act or do what was right, Yehosheba did the brave thing. She saw the significance of the situation, and acted accordingly. It was a dangerous thing to do. If Athaliah had heard of it, she would have tried to kill Yehosheba. But Yehosheba made up her mind, was determined, and after that she never hesitated to do what was right, regardless of the circumstances or consequences.
Her courage and readiness seem to have impressed her husband. So much so, that 6 years later, he showed the same kind of brave initiative. He dared to crown Joash king, and to execute the judgement of God upon Athaliah.
Lessons to learn!
In the western world particularly, at this current time, standing up for God and what He has revealed in the Bible is an unpopular thing to do. We are shouted down at every opportunity and considered fools for believing in a living God as revealed in Jesus Christ. What ever situation you find yourself in this week, make a stand for Jesus Christ, whether that is at work, at home, in the supermarket of talking to people online. Show brave initiative; stand up for God regardless of the circumstance or consequence. Yehosheba was a godly person who displayed great courage. Go and do the same – be a Yehosheba for God to all those who come into contact with you.