Mothers Of Offspring In 1-2 Kings A Messianic Hope In David’s Line? -- By: Jesse R. Scheumann
TynBull 65:1 (2014) p. 37
Mothers Of Offspring In 1-2 Kings
A Messianic Hope In David’s Line?
In the books of 1 and 2 Kings, the mothers of Judaean kings are given a unique focus in being mentioned. Historically-minded scholars, neglecting a more message-minded approach, have not sufficiently explored why this is the case. However, when viewed as an allusion to Genesis 3:15, the focus on mothers reveals a literary marking of each Judaean king as an offspring of the woman, maintaining messianic hope within a dark period of Judah’s history.
The editor of 1-2 Kings grabs the reader’s attention by mentioning the mothers of Judaean kings with only two exceptions while always omitting the mothers of Israelite kings. This is likely not an accidental detail, since in all communication ‘choice implies meaning’.1 What an author chose both to include and exclude shapes the message of the book. My answer for the editor’s bias toward the Judaean mothers will demonstrate how the spotlight on these mothers contributes to the message of the book of Kings, and this study will enrich other messianic interpretations of Kings.
2. Overview Of Recent Scholarship
While some scholars notice the mention of the king’s mother, they offer little if any interpretation. For example, in her commentary on
TynBull 65:1 (2014) p. 38
1-2 Kings, Gina Hens-Piazza identifies the seventeen mothers of Judaean kings but does not offer justification for why they are mentioned.2 Some scholars note the omission of the mothers of the Judaean kings J(eh)oram and Ahaz, but they do not explore why they are excluded.3 Likewise, Russell Dilday recognises that the introductions to Israelite kings omit the name of the mother, but he offers no explanation.4 Still, other scholars cite that the mothers of Judaean kings hold the office of ‘queen mother’, but this fact is merely stated and not developed in their writing.5
2.1 Queen Mother View6
The most common answer given for the mother’s mention is that each Judaean mother became queen mother when her son ascended the throne; conversely, Israel never attained dynastic stability in order to establish the office of queen mother.7
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