International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
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 Songs 6:8 f. Another Hebrew word for queen consort is gebhirah, literally "mistress" (compare 1 Kings 11:19, the wife of Pharaoh; 2 Kings 10:13, "the children of the king and the children of the queen"). In Nehemiah 2:6 and Psalm 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" (Isaiah 49:23). The Septuagint sometimes uses the word basilissa; compare Psalm 45:9.
(2) To a female ruler or sovereign ("queen regnant"). The only instances are those of the queen (malkah) of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-13; compare 2 Chronicles 9:1-12) and of Candace, the queen (basilissa) of the Ethiopians (Acts 8:27). In Matthew 12:42 (compare Luke 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" (Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 44:17).
See QUEEN OF HEAVEN.
(4) Metaphorically, to the city of Babylon (Rome) (Revelation 18:7): an expression denoting sovereign contempt and imaginary dignity and power.
(gebhirah, literally, "mistress," then a female ruler, and sometimes simply the wife of a king ("queen," 1 Kings 11:19); in Daniel 5:10 the term malketha' "queen," really means the mother of the king): It stands to reason that among a people whose rulers are polygamists the mother of the new king or chief at once becomes a person of great consequence. The records of the Books of Kings prove it. The gebhirah, or queen mother, occupied a position of high social and political importance; she took rank almost with the king. When Bath-sheba, the mother of Solomon, desired "to speak unto him for Adonijah," her son "rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a throne to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand" (1 Kings 2:19). And again, in 2 Kings 24:15, it is expressly stated that Nebuchadnezzar carried away the king's mother into captivity; Jeremiah calls her gebhirah (29:2). The king was Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Jeremiah 29:2), and his mother's name was Nehushta (2 Kings 24:8). This was the royal pair whose impending doom the prophet was told to forecast (Jeremiah 13:18). Here again the queen mother is mentioned with the king, thus emphasizing her exalted position. Now we understand why Asa removed Maacah his (grand?)mother from being queen (queen mother), as we are told in 1 Kings 15:13 (compare 2 Chronicles 15:16). She had used her powerful influence to further the cause of idolatry. In this connection Athaliah's coup d'etat may be briefly mentioned. After the violent death of her son Ahaziah (2 Kings 9:27), she usurped the royal power and reigned for some time in her own name (2 Kings 11:3; compare 2 Chronicles 22:12). This was, of course, a revolutionary undertaking, being a radical departure from the usual traditions.
And finally, the political importance of the gebhirah is illustrated by the fact that in the Books of Kings, with two exceptions, the names of the Jewish kings are recorded together with those of their respective mothers; they are as follows: Naamah, the Ammonitess, the mother of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:21; compare 14:31, and 2 Chronicles 12:13); Maacah, the daughter of Abishalom (1 Kings 15:2) or Absalom (2 Chronicles 11:20) the mother of Abijah; Maacah, the daughter of Abishalom, the mother (grandmother?) of Asa (1 Kings 15:10; compare 2 Chronicles 15:16); Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi, the mother of Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:42; compare 2 Chronicles 20:31); Athaliah, the grand-daughter of Omri, the mother of Ahaziah (2 Kings 8:26; compare 2 Chronicles 22:2); Zibiah of Beersheba, the mother of Jehoash (2 Kings 12:1; compare 2 Chronicles 24:1); Jehoaddin (Jehoaddan, 2 Chronicles 25:1) of Jerusalem, the mother of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:2); Jecoliah (Jechiliah, 2 Chronicles 26:3) of Jerusalem, the mother of Azariah (2 Kings 15:2) or Uzziah (2 Kings 15:13, 30, etc.; compare 2 Chronicles 26:3); Jerusha (Jerushah, 2 Chronicles 27:1), the daughter of Zadok, the mother of Jotham (2 Kings 15:33); Abi (Abijah, 2 Chronicles 29:1), the daughter of Zechariah, the mother of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:2); Hephzibah, the mother of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:1); Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah, the mother of Amon (2 Kings 21:19); Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath, the mother of Josiah (2 Kings 22:1); Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah, the mother of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31); Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah, the mother of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:36); Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem, the mother of Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:8); Hamutal (Hamital), the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah, the mother Of Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:18). The exceptions are Jehoram and Ahaz.
QUEEN OF HEAVEN
(melekheth ha-shamayim, although there is another reading, mele'kheth, "worship" or "goddess"): Occurs only in two passages: Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 44:17-19, 25, where the prophet denounces the wrath of God upon the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem who have given themselves up to the worship of the host of heaven. This is no doubt a part of the astral worship which is found largely developed among the Jews in the later period of their history in Canaan. It is first mentioned in 2 Kings 17:16 as practiced by the men of the Northern Kingdom when Samaria had fallen and the ten tribes were being carried away into captivity. Moses is represented as warning the Israelites against the worship of the sun and moon and stars and all the host of heaven, practiced by the people of Canaan (Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:3) and the existence of such worship among the Canaanites and neighboring nations is attested from an early period (compare Job 31:26-28). The worship of the heavenly bodies was widely spread in the East and in Arabia; and the Babylonian pantheon was full of astral deities, where each divinity corresponded either to an astral phenomenon or to some circumstance or occurrence in Nature which is connected with the course of the stars (Jeremias, The Old Testament in the Light of the Ancient East, I, 100). From the prophets we gather that before the exile the worship of the host of heaven had become established among all classes and in all the towns of Israel (Jeremiah ubi supra; Ezekiel 8:16). In that worship the queen of heaven had a conspicuous place; and if, as seems probable from the cakes which were offered, she is to be identified with the Assyrian Ishtar and the Canaanite Astarte, the worship itself was of a grossly immoral and debasing character. That this Ishtar cult was of great antiquity and widely spread in ancient Babylonia may be seen from the symbols of it found in recent excavations (see Nippur, II, 236). How far the astral theorists like Winckler and Jeremias are entitled to link up with this worship the mourning for Josiah, the lamentations over Tammuz, the story of Jephthah's daughter, and even-the narrative of the misfortunes and the exaltation of Joseph, is questionable. But that the people of Judah in the days before the exile had given themselves over to the worst and vilest forms of heathen worship and incurred the grievous displeasure of Yahweh is made clear by the denunciation of the worship of the queen of heaven by Jeremiah.
QUEEN OF SHEBA
she'-ba (1 Kings 10:1-13 2 Chronicles 9:1-12, called in Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31, "the queen of the south" (basilissa notou)):
1. Old Testament Accounts:
The two Old Testament accounts of the coming of the queen of Sheba (see SHEBA) to Solomon differ slightly from one another, and, of the two, that in 1 Kings is the older. (1) The words "concerning the name of Yahweh" (1 Kings 10:1) are lacking in 2 Chronicles; while the Septuagint in 1 Kings has "and the name of Yahweh," apparently a correction of the Massoretic Text. (2) For 1 Kings 10:9, "because Yahweh loved Israel for ever," 2 Chronicles 9:8 has "because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever"; the Septuagint in 1 Kings has "because Yahweh loved Israel, to establish it forever." (3) In the last verse of each account we find another difference: 2 Chronicles 9:12 says that Solomon gave to the queen all her desire, "besides that which she had brought unto the king." i.e. according to some, besides the equivalent of what she had brought to him; 1 Kings 10:13 margin has" besides that which he gave her according to the hand of king Solomon," i.e. besides gifts commensurate with his own wealth and power (SBOT), or be sides gifts which he gave her qua king.
2. The Narrative:
The narrative tells of the queen of Sheba, on hearing of Solomon's great wisdom, coming to test him with perplexing questions or riddles (compare Judges 14:12). She brought presents to the king, and interviewed him: "And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built" (i.e. the palace, not the temple) as well as its arrangements, "and his burnt-offering which he offered in the house of Yahweh (so read and translate with the Revised Version margin in 1 Kings 10:5, and also in 2 Chronicles 9:4); there was no more spirit in her": the half of Solomon's wisdom had not been told her. "Happy," she said to him, "are thy wives (so read with Septuagint, Syriac and Old Latin versions), happy are these thy servants." She then exchanged gifts with him and returned to her own land.
The narrative is a complement of that in 1 Kings 3:16-28, where the king's justice is exemplified; here his wisdom.
3. Employed by Jesus:
The narrative is referred to by Jesus in Matthew 12:42 Luke 11:31, where He refuses to accede to the request of the scribes and Pharisees for a sign from Him. He tells them that no sign will be given them except that of Jonah, whose sign was his preaching, one that proved sufficient to the Ninevites; and `behold something greater than Jonah is here.' The men of Nineveh will be a living condemnation of them "in the judgment" (compare Luke 16:31); and so will the "queen of the south" who came from the ends of the earth after hearing of Solomon's wisdom, `and behold something greater than Solomon is here.' The only sign to be given is that of the wisdom of Jesus, a wisdom far greater than that of Solomon (see D. Smith, Days of His Flesh, 176;).
4. Eastern Literature:
Eastern literature has much to say about the queen of Sheba. The Arabs called her Bilqis. Abyssinian legend declares that she came from Ethiopia, her name being Maqeda, and that she had a son by Solomon. See Delitzsch, Iris, 116-27; ZDMG, X, 19 f; J Pr T, VI, 524; -1880. Gressmann (in Schriften des Altes Testament, II, 1,203) has further references to Wilhelm Hertz, Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 1905, 413;; Bezold, Kebra Nagast, 1905, and also ZDMG, 60,666;. For the Mohammedan story, see Koran xxvii, with notes in Sale's translation.
David Francis Roberts
SOUTH, QUEEN OF THE
See QUEEN OF SHEBA.
SHEBA, QUEEN OF
See QUEEN OF SHEBA.