Ahaziah was just as weak as his father, and he too was completely dominated by his strong-willed, evil mother Athaliah. He encouraged the various forms of idolatry and tried to exterminate the old faith in the one and only G‑d that was deeply rooted in the hearts of the common people. His rule, however, was short-lived, lasting only about one year. At the advice of his mother, he joined her brother, King Jehoram of Israel, in the latter's war against Syria. After his uncle had been wounded and had fled from the battle-field, Ahaziah visited him on his sick bed in Jezreel. He was present when Jehu, who had been anointed by Elisha, killed Jehoram and the entire house of Ahab. Ahaziah tried to flee, but an arrow from Jehu's bow ended his life and his rule over Judea at a very critical moment when there was no one else to take over the reins of the kingdom. Permission was given for his body to be taken to Jerusalem, where it was buried in the grave of his ancestors.

Athaliah's Reign of Terror

When Athaliah heard of her son's murder, she resolved that there should be no heir to the throne of Judea from the House of David. She ordered the extermination of all the members of the royal House of David and established herself as the supreme ruler of the Kingdom of Judea. Possessed of an iron will and complete ruthlessness, she succeeded in suppressing all attempts of revolt by the true believers in G‑d, the common people and the priests. She was supported by the large clique of Phoenicians who had been given key positions during the reign of her husband and son. Thus she controlled all important phases of public life. Her men were in charge of the army, and they often interfered with or prevented the service and sacrifices to G‑d in the Holy Temple.