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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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The Hebrews had no word properly answering to our term 'queen,' which is the feminine of 'king;' neither had they the dignity which that word denotes. Among them there was neither a 'queen regnant' nor a 'queen consort.' The Jewish kings however had, like other eastern monarchs, a chief wife in their harem, and this is no doubt the rank indicated in the Bible by the words which we render 'queen.'

Very different was, and is to this day, in Western Asia, the position of the king's mother, whose state is much the nearest to that of an European queen of any with which the East is acquainted. It is founded on that essential principle of Oriental manners which in all cases considers the mother of the husband as a far superior person to his wife, and as entitled to more respect and attention. This principle should be clearly understood, for it extends throughout the Bible, and is yet entirely different from our own social arrangements, under which the mother, as soon as she becomes widowed, abandons her place as head of the family to the daughter-in-law. Examples of the great influence possessed by the king's mother, occur frequently in Scripture.

In how marked a manner does the mother of Solomon come forward at the end of her husband's and the beginning of her son's reign! She takes an active part in securing her son's succession; it is in the conviction of her commanding influence that Adonijah engages her to promote his suit, alleging 'he will not say thee nay;' and then, when Bathsheba appears before her son, the monarch rises from his place, advances to meet her, bows himself before her, and seats her on the right hand of his throne (1 Kings 1-2). That the king's mother possessed high dignity is further evinced by the fact that Asa found it necessary to remove his mother Maachah 'from being queen,' on account of her abuse of the power which that character conferred (). Jezebel was, as already stated, very powerful in the lifetime of her husband; but it is only under her son that she is called 'the queen;' and the whole history of his reign evinces the important part which she took in public affairs (; ; ; ). Still more marked was the influence which her daughter Athaliah exercised in Judah during the reign of her son Ahaziah, which was indeed such as enabled her at his death to set the crown on her own head, and to present the anomaly in Jewish history of a regnant queen (2 Kings 11).





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Queen'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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