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Prince Joash lived in the royal palace in Israel. But even though Joash was a prince, he still needed someone to protect him. He needed protection from Athaliah, the queen. Queen Athaliah was cruel and mean. She didn’t want Joash to become king. Joash could not protect himself from Queen Athaliah, because he was just a baby. So God sent someone to take care of him.

Joash’s aunt Jehosheba lived in the Temple with her husband, Jehoiada, the priest. She chose to listen to God and protect Joash from the cruel queen. So Jehosheba secretly took baby Joash and his nurse to the Temple. There she and her husband hid them in a bedroom.

For six years Aunt Jehosheba and Uncle Jehoiada kept him hidden. They secretly taught him that someday he would be king. Though he was just a little boy, Joash knew that one day he would rule over Israel.

And finally that day came. When Joash was 7 years old, Uncle Jehoiada decided it was time to make him king. Uncle Jehoiada called soldiers to the Temple. “Prince Joash is alive,” he told them. “Aunt Jehosheba and I have been protecting Prince Joash from Queen Athaliah for six years. Now it is time for you to protect the prince from the queen. It is time for Joash to be crowned king.” The soldiers agreed. They knew the queen was evil. They promised to stay close to Joash wherever he went.

Soon after that, Uncle Jehoiada led Prince Joash out of the Temple to a place where a crowd had gathered. Just as they had promised, the soldiers gathered around Joash.

Uncle Jehoiada poured sweet-smelling oil on Joash’s head. He gave Joash a copy of the law and then proclaimed him king. The crowd watched quietly as Jehoiada put the crown on Joash’s head. Then all the people cheered and shouted, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” The trumpeters blew their trumpets, and the singers led songs of praise.

Queen Athaliah heard all the noise. She rushed to the Temple. There she saw a boy who had just been crowned king! She was surprised. And she was very angry! She ordered the soldiers to take Joash away. But the soldiers took her away instead. She would no longer be queen.

Joash would be safe now as he ruled over Israel. He knew that God had led Aunt Jehosheba and Uncle Jehoiada to help and protect him all those years. And he was a good king all the years his Uncle Jehoiada lived. He led his people to know God again.

We can help and protect babies and little children, too. We can make sure they are safe. We can play gently with them. We can help God protect and care for His children.