Queen, Queen Mother

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).