Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rehoboam’s mother

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament

12:13. Rehoboam’s mother. Since Solomon is known to have married women from many countries, including Ammon (see 1 Kings 11:1), it is not unusual that Rehoboam’s mother, Naamah, should be an Ammonite. Her marriage would most likely represent a political alliance between the two countries. The practice of regularly naming the mother of the kings of Judah may indicate that the office of queen mother was significant (see comment on 1 Kings 2:19).      

2:19. queen mother’s throne. There were three different types of queens in the ancient world. The most familiar to our way of thinking is one who is the primary wife of the king (e.g., Queen Esther). While sometimes these royal consorts were little more than ornamentation, in other contexts (such as among the Hittites of the second millennium) they served as royal deputies with extensive power (compare the role of Jezebel in Ahab’s court). A second type is the wife (or mother) of the king who accedes to the throne after his death and rules in his place (e.g., Athaliah of Judah, Hatshepsut of Egypt). The third is the queen mother whose royal husband has died but who continues to exert significant political influence over the new king, her son (e.g., Sammuramat of Assyria, Maacah of Judah, see 1 Kings 15:13). That is the role depicted for Bathsheba here. The extent to which the queen mother exercised a significant or powerful role in judicial, economic or social matters would have depended on the personality of the individual. The fact that the mother is named for nearly every king of Judah (though not for kings of Israel) suggests that the role of queen mother was an important one throughout the Davidic monarchy.

--Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed.,  (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000).

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