Kings of the divided Kingdom and their mothers

Writers of the Bible more often tell who a person’s father is than their mother. Why are the mothers’ names of the kings of Israel and Judah given instead of their fathers?


@tabby68 Not entirely certain. There are few possibilities that come to mind:

  1. The passages mention where the mother is from - which may have some implications regarding political connections or perhaps religious connections
  2. Some of the mothers played a significant role in court life

2 Kings 21:19-20 - His mother was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz, from Jotbah. 20 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, just like his father Manasseh had done.

The queen-dowager occupied a very important position at the court of the kings of Israel, e.g. Bathsheba (1 Kings 2:19); Maacah (1 Kings 15:13); Athaliah (2 Chronicles 22:2); and Nehushta (2 Kings 24:8; Jeremiah 13:18).


This is a cut and paste but it would appear that the mother of the King had more influence then the king’s wife. I wonder if this has any bearing on viewing Mary as the Queen of heaven?

QUEEN MOTHER [Heb. geḇîrâ]; AV QUEEN. The mother of the ruling king. The title geḇîrâ (lit “great lady”) designated an official position in the court. Although in 1 K. 11:19 the title is applied to Tahpenes the wife of Pharaoh, in Judah it is never used of the king’s wife. Generally it was the king’s mother who held the position of first lady in the realm.
The queen mother’s importance is illustrated by the change in Bathsheba’s position after her son became king. When her husband David was king she did obeisance to him like any other subject (1 K. 1:16, 31); but after her son Solomon became king, he did obeisance to her and had her sit at his right hand (2:19). The queen mother apparently wore a crown (Jer. 13:18). Often she is mentioned with the king (e.g., 2 K. 24:12, 15; Jer. 13:18; 29:2); the books of Kings almost always mention her name along with that of each Judean king) e.g., 1 K. 14:21, 31; 15:2; 22:42; 2 K. 8:26). Apparently it was possible for the queen mother to retain her position after her son’s death: Maacah was queen mother under her son Abijam (1 K. 15:1f) and also under Abijam’s son (her grandson) Asa (vv 8–10; cf. NEB). The geḇîrâ could also be deposed by the king: Asa removed Maacah from the position because she had abused her authority by having an “abominable image” made for Asherah (v 13). The extensive power of the queen mother explains why it was possible for Athaliah to seize the throne and reign over Judah for seven years after the death of her son Ahaziah (2 K. 11:1–3).
There is scant evidence that the queen mother held the same powerful position in the northern kingdom of Israel. Apart from Zeruah the mother of Jeroboam (1 K. 11:26), the mothers of the kings of Israel are not named. In 2 K. 10:13 the term geḇîrâ is applied to Jezebel, but the word is spoken by a prince of Judah. Perhaps the dynastic instability of the northern kingdom did not allow this institution to develop there to the extent that it did in Judah.
In other ancient Near Eastern countries, as well as in Judah, the queen mother played a very influential role. For example, most scholars agree that in Dnl. 5:10 Aram malkâ (“queen”) refers not to Belshazzar’s consort but to his mother (or possibly grandmother), Nebuchadnezzar’s widow. The manner of her entry (without being summoned), the authoritative tone of her counsel, and her knowledge of Daniel’s accomplishments during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (vv 11f), all suggest that she held the important position of queen mother (see comms). “Candace” (“the queen of the Ethiopians,” Acts 8:27) was a hereditary title given to the queen mother of Ethiopia, who was traditionally the effective ruler of that country (see comms).

Bibliography.—ILC, III–IV (1959), 72; R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, I (Eng. tr. 1961), 117–19.

Opperwall, N. J. (1979–1988). Queen Mother. In G. W. Bromiley (Ed.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Vol. 4, pp. 7–8). Wm. B. Eerdmans.


Thanks @SeanO and @Jimmy_Sellers

So it would seem that it was probably for political reasons to show the continuity of the bloodline? There isn’t much online to definitely say for sure. That’s an interesting article and your question is interesting @Jimmy_Sellers about Mary. Is there any significance to Genesis 3:15 and the mothers of the kings being mentioned?

I also found another article here (although I don’t know if the source is good…maybe @SeanO would know):


@tabby68 The source appeared reasonable to me. I read it as well, but I felt it was a bit inconclusive. It sounds like the author is suggesting the mother was included both to show political alliances and because she was also included in the judgment upon that king for choosing either evil or good.