Queen

QUEEN. Dowager queens, or mothers of the monarch, are those who appear in the most influential roles in the biblical records: (1) Jezebel, princess of Tyre who, during the twenty-two years of her husband Ahab’s reign and during the thirteen years of the reigns of her sons Ahaziah and Joram, exercised a strong influence in favor of Phoenician pagan cults (1Kgs.16.28-2Kgs.9.37, passim). (2) Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel and of similar character, was the wife of Jehoram of Judah, son of Jehoshaphat. On the accession of her son Ahaziah (not to be confused with Ahaziah of Israel, his uncle), Athaliah exercised a dominant authority and after Ahaziah’s assassination held the throne alone, securing her position by dynastic massacre (2Kgs.11.1-2Kgs.11.21). (3) Bathsheba, mother of Solomon, widow of David and Uriah, demonstrated her decisive character as her husband David lay dying (1Kgs.1.1-1Kgs.1.53).

The foreign queens mentioned in the OT are (1) Vashti, the queen that Xerxes (kjv Ahasuerus) of Persia deposed (Esth.1.1-Esth.1.22), (2) Esther, the Jewess, Vashti’s successor, a brave woman whose situation, nonetheless, violated the tenets of the law and demonstrated the compromised position of those who took no part in the movements of restoration headed by Ezra and Nehemiah, (3) Balkis, legendary name of the Queen of Sheba (1Kgs.10.1-1Kgs.10.29), and (4) unnamed queens referred to in Neh.2.6 and Dan.5.10.

In the NT are (1) Bernice, or Berenice, sister of Agrippa II and wife of her uncle, Herod, king of Chalcis (Acts.25.1-Acts.25.27-Acts.26.1-Acts.26.32), and (2) Drusilla, wife of Azizus, king of Emesa, whom she deserted to become the third wife of Felix, procurator of Judea (Acts.24.1-Acts.24.27).——EMB


QUEEN, QUEEN MOTHER (מַלְכָּה, H4893, שֵׁגַל, H8712, מְלֶ֫כֶת, H4906, LXX and NT βασίλισσα, G999. For the last two Heb. words, the LXX has various trs. meaning mighty one, et al.).



The wives of the Heb. kings were understood to be queens. The most notable in the Bible are Michal, the daughter of Saul and wife of David, and Jezebel, the wife of Ahab. These two are noted for the rights they assumed. Michal mocked and defied David (2 Sam 6:20ff.), whereas Jezebel has been memorialized as Elijah’s persecutor (1 Kings 19:1-3).

The queen mother was generally the widow of the former king and mother of the reigning one. Certain obligations devolved upon her and she received certain respect. Asa removed his heretical mother, Maacah, for unbecoming religious behavior (1 Kings 15:13). On the other hand, Solomon bowed to his mother, Bathsheba (1 Kings 2:19). It is also worthy of note that in Judah at least the name of the king’s mother always received mention in the record of his coming to the throne (e.g., 2 Kings 12:1).

The proud testimony of the harlot Babylon when she is overthrown in the Book of Revelation is, “A queen I sit, I am no widow, mourning I shall never see...” (Rev 18:7).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

kwen: The Bible applies this term:

(1) To the wife of a king ("queen consort") (malkah). In the Book of Esther it is the title given to Vashti (1:9) and Esther (2:22); compare So 6:8 f. Another Hebrew word for queen consort is gebhirah, literally "mistress" (compare 1Ki 11:19, the wife of Pharaoh; 2Ki 10:13, "the children of the king and the children of the queen"). In Ne 2:6 and Ps 45:9 we find the expression sheghal, which some trace back to shaghal, "to ravish," a rather doubtful derivation. Still another term is sarah, literally, "princess" (Isa 49:23). The Septuagint sometimes uses the word basilissa; compare Ps 45:9.

(2) To a female ruler or sovereign ("queen regnant"). The only instances are those of the queen (malkah) of Sheba (1Ki 10:1-13; compare 2Ch 9:1-12) and of Candace, the queen (basilissa) of the Ethiopians (Ac 8:27). In Mt 12:42 (compare Lu 11:31) Christ refers to the queen of the south (basilissa notou), meaning, of course, the queen of Sheba.

(3) To a heathen deity, melekheth ha-shamayim, "the queen of heaven" (Jer 7:18; 44:17 ).

See Queen of Heaven.

(4) Metaphorically, to the city of Babylon (Rome) (Re 18:7): an expression denoting sovereign contempt and imaginary dignity and power.