(Ath·a·liʹah) [possibly, Yah(u) is great, exalted].
1. Queen of Judah, daughter of King Ahab of Israel and his wife Jezebel, and granddaughter of Omri. (2 Ki. 8:18, 26) She was the sister of Israel’s King Jehoram, and sister or half sister of the other seventy sons of Ahab, all of whom Jehu ordered killed. (2 Ki. 3:1, 2; 10:1-9) Athaliah was given in a marriage of political expediency to Jehoram, the eldest son of Jehoshaphat of Judah. (2 Ki. 8:27; 2 Chron. 18:1) She was the mother of Ahaziah, who in time became king of Judah.
Like her mother Jezebel, Athaliah egged on her husband Jehoram to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes during his eight-year reign. (1 Ki. 21:25; 2 Chron. 21:4-6) And like her mother, Athaliah wantonly shed the blood of the innocent. When her wicked son Ahaziah died after a one-year reign, she killed off all the others of the royal line, except the infant Jehoash, who had been hidden by the high priest and his wife, who was Jehoash’s aunt. Thereupon Athaliah installed herself as queen for six years, 904-898 B.C.E. (2 Chron. 22:11, 12) During this time she robbed Jehovah’s temple of the holy things and offered them up to Baal.—2 Chron. 24:7.
When Jehoash reached seven years of age, God-fearing high priest Jehoiada brought the lad out of secrecy and crowned him rightful heir to the throne. Hearing the tumult, Athaliah rushed to the temple and, upon seeing what was happening, cried, “Conspiracy! Conspiracy!” High Priest Jehoiada ordered her taken outside the temple grounds to be executed at the horse gate of the palace; she was perhaps the last of Ahab’s abominable house. (2 Ki. 11:1-20; 2 Chron. 22:1–23:21) How true it proved to be: “Nothing of Jehovah’s word will fall unfulfilled to the earth that Jehovah has spoken against the house of Ahab”!—2 Ki. 10:10, 11.
2. A Benjamite of the house of Jeroham who dwelt in Jerusalem.—1 Chron. 8:26-28.
3. Father of one who returned to Jerusalem with Ezra in 468 B.C.E.; of the family of Elam.—Ezra 8:1, 7.