Wife or widow of a monarch and the female monarch reigning in her own right. Queen mother refers to the mother of a reigning monarch. Female regents were known in the ancient Near East (1 Kings 10:1-13, the queen of Sheba;
Acts 8:27, the Ethiopian Candace). No queen ruled Israel or Judah in her own right, though Athaliah usurped power (2 Kings 11:1-3). The wives of monarchs varied in their influence. Since marriages often sealed political alliances (2 Samuel 3:3;
1 Kings 3:1;
1 Kings 16:31;
2 Kings 8:25-27), daughters of more powerful allies such as the Egyptian pharaoh or king of Tyre enjoyed special privileges (1 Kings 7:8) and influence (1 Kings 16:32-33;
1 Kings 18:19;
1 Kings 21:7-14). The mother of the designated heir also enjoyed special status. Nathan enlisted Bathsheba rather than Solomon in his plan to have Solomon confirmed as king (1 Kings 1:11-40). Queen mother was an official position in Israel and Judah. Great care was taken in preserving the names of the queen mothers (1 Kings 14:21;
1 Kings 15:2,1 Kings 15:13;
1 Kings 22:42;
2 Kings 8:26). Asa's removal of his mother from the office for idolatry (1 Kings 15:13) points to its official character. On her son's death, Athaliah murdered her own grandsons, the legitimate heirs, in order to retain the power she had enjoyed as queen mother (2 Kings 11:1-2). The queen mother likely served as a trusted counsel for her son (Proverbs 31:1). As queen mother, Jezebel continued as a negative force after the death of Ahab (1 Kings 22:52;
2 Kings 3:2,2 Kings 3:13;
2 Kings 9:22).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'QUEEN'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".