The first question that comes to mind in reading this chapter is why would learning of her son’s death inspire Athaliah to put to death all the princes (her sons and sons of her husband through any concubines)?
It helps to understand who Athaliah is. She is the wife of King Jehoram of Judah, but she is also the daughter of King Ahab of Israel and his wife, Jezebel. Jehoram’s departure from following God as his father King Jehoshaphat had, was inspired by his marriage to Athaliah, who worshipped Baal as her father and mother did. When Jehoram came to power, he slaughtered all his brothers to ensure there was no contender for his throne. Similarly, Athaliah also wanted to secure her power.
Despite being raised under the most godly king mentioned during this era, Jehoram’s dynastic marriage, intended to reunite the two kingdoms, served to introduce Baal worship in Judah, and to almost destroy the royal line. The work of Jehoshaphat’s lifetime of trying to turn Judah back to worship God was undone and they slipped even further away.
2 Corinthians 6:14 encourages us not be unequally yoked — that is, not to partner with, in marriage or otherwise, those who do not share our faith. Every instance of such a partnership in the Bible depicts the godly slipping away from the Lord, never them drawing the unbeliever into relationship.
Once we have aligned ourselves with those who have no reverence for God, we have already compromised our faith. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should be unkind, discriminatory, or hateful; and it doesn’t mean we can’t associate with unbelievers. After all, Jesus dined with sinners. But as believers, our committed relationships, the people upon whom we depend and who influence our decisions, should be ones who share our worldview and our values, people who exhort us to grow in our faith, people who hold us accountable when we drift from our moral plumb lines.