5. Mariamne Queen of the Jews-“Espousal” to Herod

Before we get to Mariamne herself there are still two people we need to know for context: One: Herod, the man who, now, for better or worse is tied directly to the young Princess…somewhere around 12 years old, the normal age of betrothals. And two: Salome sister of Herod. (In the next post)

As an overview derived from Josephus recounting of tales about him, like the examples in the last post, I came to see Herod was a fierce, arrogant, ambitious, intelligent, handsome, warrior…perhaps a touch bipolar…and with a thirst for power and the audacity and skill to pull it off. He was generous with the well-placed gift. He had a knack for negotiating the tricky Roman waters. He had fought side by side with Marc Antony. His whole young life had revolved around Rome. He had already been awarded the title of Procurator of Galilee for his valor in battle while an audacious young man…twenty-five according to Josephus.

One of many on Google Images

But Herod was a private man, “a man of no family” and Josephus who had royal blood called him a “vulgar” man and was not shy about reminding his readers of that at every turn. Herod’s father Antipater I and his mother Cypros were of the nobility class in Petra and Idumean/Nabatean/Arabian by birth though the family had been forcefully converted to Judaism generations before, perhaps by John Hyrcanus. Being betrothed to a Judean Princess was a huge boon for Herod, politically. His betrothal to the princess made him the protector of her side of the family…for better or worse.

And then…Mariamne’s Cousin Declares War

Rome’s fear that young princes of defeated nations will rebel to get their kingdom back, now happens. This younger son of King Aristobulus, Antigonus, had been left alive but exiled.  He now declares war on Hyrcanus and Herod after going to Caesar to throw himself at his feet to plead that the nation was rightfully his.

Caius Julius Caesar imperator and high priest, and dictator the second time…decree…that Hyrcanus and his children bear rule over the nation of the Jews…and be high priests of the nation.  Antiquities of the Jews XIV.X1-6

The pronouncement only sent Antigonus scrambling for backers. His sister, Alexandra III, was his main ally, funding his war. (see sidebar below)

Herod upheld his side of his marriage alliance pact as protector…and as Roman’s resident warrior:

When (Herod)…was gone to meet Antigonus, he joined battle with him, and beat him, and drove him out of Judea…but when he was come to Jerusalem, Hyrcanus and the people put garlands upon his head; for he had already contracted an affinity with the family of Hyrcanus by having espoused a descendant of his, and for that reason Herod took the greater care of him, as being to marry the daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, and the grand-daughter of Hyrcanus. Antiquities of the Jews XIV.XII.1.

Antigonus fled from Herod at first, only to come back with stronger allies, the Parthians, who he promised…

…a thousand talents, and five hundred women, upon condition they would take the government away from Hyrcanus and bestow it upon him, and withal kill Herod.  Antiquities of the Jews XIV. XIII. 5

The women Antigonus promised to the Parthians were the Jewish royal and noble women and their handmaids…all the Hasmonean women who were now in limbo having lost the war and under the weak government of Hyrcanus…which, I think, at least in part, was why Antigonus declared war…so Mariamne daughter of his brother and granddaughter of his side of the family, would not be given in an alliance to Herod…who, as seen in the last post, that side of the family hated…and most likely had poisoned Antipater, Herod’s father.

The Parthians captured Hyrcanus and caused Herod to flee in the night with the women, including his own mother and sister and his betrothed and her mother. They fought their way to Masada, a barren desert fortress, and he deposited them there with “sufficient corn and water” and left his brother Joseph to guard them.

A Mark of Providence

Antigonus laid siege to Masada to get the women back. The women were besieged in the desert nearly THREE years and at one point had run out of water. Joseph was about to flee but…

God, by sending rain in the night-time prevented his going away, for their cisterns were thereby filled, and he was under no necessity of running away on that account: but they were now of good courage, and the more so, because the sending that plenty of water which they had been in want of, seemed a mark of divine providence…Antiquities of the Jews XIV.XIV.6.

The rain may have been seen as divine intervention for Princess Mariamne.  Perhaps the rain was a sign that God favored her marriage to Herod. This portion of Josephus gives many examples of Herod receiving “signs.”  A favorable “sign” would have been helpful right then in condoning the betrothal of a Jewish royal virgin to the Roman friend and “Edomite” Herod.

Herod escaped to Idumaea, his family’s home, and raised enough money to build a ship and sail to Rome. He went immediately to Julius Caesar and Marc Antony to beg their assistance against Antigonus.

And this was the principal instance of Antony’s affection for Herod, that he not only procured him a kingdom which he did not expect, (for he did not come with an intention to ask the kingdom for himself, which he did not suppose the Romans would grant him, who used to bestow it on some of the royal family, but intended to desire it for his [betrothed cmf] wife’s brother, who as grandson by his father to Aristobulus and to Hyrcanus by his mother,) but that he procured it for him so suddenly, that he obtained what he did not expect, and departed out of Italy in so few days as seven in all. Antiquities of the Jews XIV.XIV.5

The mystical seven days…Josephus was careful not to say that it was his betrothal to Mariamne that allowed him to be made King of the Jews and not a Roman Procurator, but Herod would always see the kingdom as Providence smiling on him like rain in the dry season because by rights it wasn’t his and he knew it. He also knew how fickle Fortune could be and would forever be caught between distrust of his Hasmonean enemy and his need of his “affinity” with Mariamne and her mother. One of his first acts upon returning was to rescue his womenfolk and take them to Samaria.

When the rigors of winter were over Herod…came to Jerusalem and pitched his camp… Now this was the third year since he had been made king at Rome…So he …encompassed the place with three bulwarks, and erected towers, and…cut down the trees  that were round about the city…(and)…even while the army lay before the city, he himself went to Samaria, to complete his marriage, and to take to wife the daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus; for he had betrothed her already.

After the wedding was over (Herod gathered his armies) for they were about thirty thousand; and they all met together at the walls of Jerusalem…being an army of eleven legions…to take the government from Antigonus…and so that he himself could be king, according to the decree by the senate.

Now the Jews that were enclosed within the walls of the city fought against Herod with great alacrity and zeal, (for the whole nation had gathered together) they also gave out many prophecies about the temple…as if God would deliver them out of the danger they were in…they persisted in this way until the very last.

Once the walls were breached the city…

…was taken by storm; and now all parts of the city were full of those that were slain, by the rage of the Romans at the long duration of the siege, and by the zeal of the Jews that were on Herod’s side…so they were murdered continually in the narrow streets and in the houses by crowds, and as they were flying to the temple for shelter, and there was no pity taken of either infants or the aged…yet nobody restrained their hands from slaughter, and then…

Antigonus, without regard to either is past or present circumstances, came down from the citadel, and fell down at the feet of Sosius, who took no pity of him…but insulted him beyond measure and called him Antigone, [i.e., a woman, and not a man] yet did he not treat him as a woman, by letting him go at liberty, but put him into bonds, and kept him in close custody.

Herod…worried that the Romans would empty the city both of money and men and leave him king of a desert…but he did what he could to spare total destruction by paying the soldiers from his own money not to pillage….and to the commanders…till they all went away full of money. Antiquities of the Jews XIV.XV and XVI

Herod knew how important “completing his marriage” was by doing it before he entered Jerusalem, but he had to go to war to defeat the King Aristobulus-side of the country first. He did…at great cost in lives and treasure…but he needed the marriage alliance with Mariamne to make it official with the multitudes that he was king in the time-honored fashion, also…by marrying the daughter of the last official king…before he rode through the gates…before he appeared on a throne in Jerusalem.

Marc Antony wanted to take Antigonus to Rome for his triumph, but Herod feared that if Antony took Antigonus to Rome…

He might get his cause to be heard by the senate, and might demonstrate, as he was himself of the royal blood, and Herod but a private man, that therefore it belonged to his sons…to have the kingdom, on account of the family they were of…Antiquities of the Jews XIV.XVI.4

 Antony ordered Antigonus the Jew to be brought to Antioch, and there to be beheaded…as supposing he could no way bend the minds of the Jews so as to receive Herod…or be forced to call him king…Antiquities of the Jews XV.I.2

And thus did the government of the Asamoneans cease, a hundred and twenty-six years after it was first set up. This family was a splendid and an illustrious one, both on account of the nobility of their stock, and of the dignity of the high priesthood, as also for the glorious actions their ancestors had performed for our nation: but these men lost the government by their dissensions one with another, and it came to Herod, the son of Antipater. Antiquities of the Jews XIV.XVI.4

Josephus was right in the male sense of wars…but the women knew that the ball was now in their court…

I think it worth the time and space of a “side bar” to look at the life of a daughter of King Aristobulus’ unnamed wife, the sister of Antigonus who helped him finance his war for the kingdom.

Alexandra III and her Queen Mother

There is a third role for daughters of kings; being sent to marry a foreign king to make a pact of mutual protection with an ally and “friend.” Alexandra III was the daughter of King Aristobulus. She and her younger brother Antigonus and an unnamed sister were sent to Rome when their father was captured, as we saw above. Their mother, the unnamed wife and queen of King Aristobulus who was the daughter of Absalom Commander of the Army played an active role in procuring the safety of her children…even negotiating with one of the Roman Commanders after her husband was captured and killed.

However…the senate let his children go, upon Gabinius’s writing to them that he had promised their mother so much when she delivered up the fortresses to him; and accordingly they then returned to Jerusalem. Antiquities of the Jews XIV.VI.1

“She delivered up the fortresses…” She was the daughter of the Commander of the Army. But seeing that her son Antigonus was too young to inherit, Alexandra III was married off in an alliance with a another Mediterranean king. It was her blood right as a royal princess to receive a royal partner—even a princess whose father and oldest brother were just killed by Rome for sedition. In effect, this marriage got the children of King Aristobulus out of town, leaving the field open for the grandchildren of Hyrcanus to inherit the kingdom and keep the peace.

Josephus tells the story of this Alexandra’s marriage…another young princess sent off to do her duty:

But Ptolemy, the son of Menneus, who was the ruler of Chalcis…took his brethren to him, and sent his son Philippion to Askelon to Aristobulus’ wife, and desired her to send back with him her son Antigonus and her daughters: the one of whom, whose name was Alexandra, Philippion fell in love with, and married her; though afterwards his father Ptolemy slew him, and married Alexandra, and continued to take care of her brethren. Antiquities of the Jews XIV.VII.4

Being a daughter…or a son…of a king was not for the faint of heart! This Alexandra, too, made the most of the hand she was dealt…Chalcis will play a role in New Testament times, and it was this Alexandra who got Chalcis to back her brother when he returned to fight Herod and Hyrcanus.

4. Mariamne Queen of the Jews-Alexandra the Maccabee

Photo on site Geni.com no artist attributed. https://www.geni.com/photo/view/6000000005790348026?album_type=photos_of_me&photo_id=6000000035805346583
Elizabeth Alexandra II…though so many of these photos are mislabeled…note the crosses she is wearing.

Prince Alexander son of King Aristobulus II was a “young man” when he was beheaded but he already had at least two children with his first cousin, Alexandra daughter of Hyrcanus II. Theirs was a classic marriage alliance attempt to bridge the war between the two sides of the family by giving them heirs in common—but also, as ranking prince and princess, it was their right to marry each other. They would have started their own war if they were overlooked. They should have been the next king and queen.

With Prince Alexander and his father their King and High Priest dead, Alexandra returned to her father’s Hyrcanus’ home with her two small children. They were the hope of the nation to not be swept away by Rome. Rome favored letting nations rule themselves internally and allowed to keep their own royalty…if possible. It held rebellions of young princes to a minimum and they genuinely seemed to honor royal blood wherever they found it. Julius Caesar himself backed Hyrcanus over Aristobulus as the one less likely to go to war with them…yet again.

But times were tough. The nation was devastated by years of war and even greater loss of their relative freedom under stronger occupation. Hyrcanus had been backed and guided by Antipater, the governor of Idumaea for the Hasmoneans. He had taken Hyrcanus under his wing, to make him fight his brother Aristobulus for the kingdom. It still took Marc Antony’s legions to finally capture and kill Aristobulus and Alexander, as we saw in the last post. Josephus writes pages and pages of the war and wars between King Aristobulus and Prince Alexander.

And then Antipater, now the Roman procurator of Judea, was poisoned. Josephus suggests it was done by pro-King Aristobulus/Prince Alexander warrior factions still out there who hated Antipater and his son Herod and feared their strong ties with Rome and who had defeated them at great cost. Herod, especially was in great favor with Marc Antony as a valued warrior in the war against them. The Aristobulus faction still did not want Hyrcanus to the Regent/High Priest…they saw him as a traitor and apparently wrote the reports that Josephus used…

And (Antipater) seeing that Hyrcanus was of a slow and slothful temper, he made Phasaelus, his eldest son, governor of Jerusalem…but committed Galilee to Herod, his next son, who was a very young man, for he was but twenty-five years of age…but as he was a youth of great mind…But now the principal men among the Jews, when they saw Antipater and his sons to grow so much in the good-will the nation bare to them (Phasaelus and Herod)…and of the revenues which they received…but, the chief men of the Jews were therefore in fear, because they saw that Herod was a violent and bold man, and very desirous of acting tyrannically; so they came to Hyrcanus, and now accused Antipater openly… “Doest thou not see that Antipater and his sons have already seized on the government, and that it is only the name of a king which is given thee?

They accused Herod of slaughtering Hezekiah, a beloved Galilean of their party and eventually brought Hyrcanus around to making Herod come to trial before the Sanhedrin over it. Herod appeared dressed in purple with his hair carefully trimmed and a large bodyguard with him. The court feared for their lives but were ready to accuse Herod until Hyrcanus eventually got Herod off and told him to leave for awhile. Herod did but came back with an army to fight Hyrcanus but his father and brother “pacified his vehement temper.”  Herod was persuaded that he had made a fine show of his power and could let it go. “…and in this state of were the affairs of Judea at this time….” synopsis Antiquities of the Jews XIV.IX  

Alexndra the Maccabee from Nuremberg Chronicle, published 1493 (on her Wikipedia page…these two images only depictions I could find.)

This is the state of affairs that Princess Alexandra faced. Her father did not have the warrior gene…but she did, and she had the ear of her father, the High Priest Regent. After Antipater’s sudden death, she knew they needed a protector who had Rome’s ear. She may have been torn between the war at any cost side of the family, her husband’s clan…and her realization that Hyrcanus was also right. Rome was a fact of life. They were under occupation. They had just lost a major war and the nation was in a nosedive. What to do?

Alexandra put on the mantle of Queen Mother as demanded by tradition regarding the mother of royal sons.

“(W)hom though mayest make princes in all the earth. Psalm 45:16

She had a young prince to protect but first she had a daughter. She moved back into her father’s house with her children and began to look at the situation from that vantage point.  She may have been as young as still in her 20s, but she will not remarry and will become a Queen Mother with a vengeance…as we will see.

A quick inventory of their options showed that her father’s rule needed another protector with Rome now that Antipater had been killed. Josephus tells of many interactions between Antipater’s son Herod and Hyrcanus and how Hyrcanus had helped Herod get out from under the death sentence that the Sanhedrin wanted to level on him. He perhaps felt that Herod owed him and would work with him now. But how to capture and keep his help?

If one had a need to make an alliance with an enemy or even a friend, there was a classic remedy. One King marries his daughter to another king/tyrant/principal man in order to form a political alliance now called a marriage alliance. And there was Hyrcanus’ granddaughter, Alexandra’s daughter, the virgin damsel Mariamne, as if a gift from Providence. She was their perfect asset to help keep their foot in the door with Rome and to keep her younger brother Jonathan Aristobulus alive long enough to inherit the kingdom and/or the High Priesthood. Mariamne was a Jewish Princess at the age of betrothal; she was their only, and in the way of their world, their best card to play. 

We don’t know her date of birth…but from the use of her in a marriage alliance, she must have been of a marriageable age, and it goes without saying a virgin. Betrothals could happen at any age usually before puberty with marriages happening just after puberty…she would have been a virgin princess damsel.

And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, “Talitha cumi;” which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightaway the damsel arose and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. (Mark 5:39-42)

Like it or not…Hyrcanus betrothed the Princess Mariamne to Antipater’s son Herod, recently made Procurator of Galilee for fighting with Marc Antony against their family if he would be their advocate with Rome. He was not a choice that would bring peace to Judea or reconcile the warrior half of the family, but it would keep the Hyrcanus half in power and in favor at Rome.

Princess Mariamne had the right bloodline and was the right age, at the right time to be betrothed in a manner that would assist her family and nation. Herod was the best candidate available. The battlefield would now be the bedchamber.

She had been born for this.

But it was a move that changed the history of Judea, Israel…now Palestine, forever.

I would like to note that from the Hasmonean sons and royal daughters of John Hyrcanus on took a Greek name as well as their Hebrew name. All the Alexander’s and Aristobulus’ also had a family name like Mattathias. I did not know until I found this site that Alexandra II was also named Elizabeth…I will need to go back and do some editing…such is the life of a researcher…ha.

Alexandra Hasmonean (dau. Hyrcanus II) (c.-63 – c.-28) – Genealogy (geni.com)

Elizabeth of Jerusalem, Queen Alexandra II

Alexandra Hasmonean (dau. Hyrcanus II) Hebrew: אלכסנדרה החשמונאית, Dutch: Alexandra Maccabaeus
Also Known As:“Esther (Elizabeth) of Jerusalem (bat Hyrcanus) Hasmonean Princess Alexandra II )”
Birthdate:before circa -63
Birthplace:Judea
Death:circa -28
Jerusalem, Judea (Killed by King Herod The Great)
Place of Burial:Jerusalem, Judea
Immediate Family:Daughter of Hyrcanus II Hasmonean, King & High Priest of Judea and 
Wife of Alexander II Hasmonean, High Priest and King Antigonus II Mattathias, [Last Hasmonean King of Judaea]
Mother of Queen Mariamne (Hasmonean)Jonathan Aristobulus III Last Hasmonean High Priest and N.N. ., Hasmonean Princess, 1st wife of Pheroras
Managed by:Yigal Burstein
Last Updated:April 26, 2022

Agrippa vs. Herodias

Agrippa_I_A.K.A_Herod_Agrippa_or_simply_Herod_(10_BCE_-_44_CE),_King_of_the_Jews
Agrippa the Great, grandson of Mariamne the Queen and Herod the Great. He beat out Herodias, his sister, and Herod Antipas to restore the kingdom.

While Agrippa was in bonds in Rome but apparently dressed as a prince, waiting to be put into prison for hoping that Tiberius Caesar would just go ahead and die and let his friend Caius be emperor, a strange thing happened.

Now Agrippa stood in his bonds before the royal palace, and leaned on a certain tree for grief…and as a certain bird sat upon the tree on which Agrippa leaned (the Romans called this bird bubo,) [an owl,] one of (the others) that were bound, a German by nation saw him and asked a soldier who that man in purple was; and when he was informed that (he was a principal man of the nation of Jews the man asked to be able to speak to Agrippa and) said thus to him…

This sudden change of thy condition, O young man! Is grievous to thee…now wilt thou believe me, when I foretell how thou wilt get clear of this misery…and how Divine Providence will provide for thee. Know therefore…that…I think it fit to declare to thee the prediction of the gods. It cannot be that though (wilt) long continue in these bonds…and wilt be promoted to the highest dignity and power…But, do thou remember, when thou seest this bird again, that thou wilt then live but five days longer. This event will be brought to pass by that God who hath sent this bird hither to be a sign unto thee…Antiquities of the Jews XVIII.VI.7

Continue reading “Agrippa vs. Herodias”

The Handmaiden Prophecy

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“Blessed Art Thou Among Women” by Walter Rane. “Unto Us a Son is Given…and his mother shall be called Mary.” Mosiah 3:5, 8. http://www.lds.org

So we know from the last post that an Essen prophet predicted that a young Herod would grow up to be the king and certain Pharisees were making prophecies with life and death consequences during the last days of Herod about who would inherit the kingdom from him. Daniel’s prophecy also seems to have been revived, predicting that a “prince shall come” that will have “all things in his power.” I’ve even suggested that the virgin prophecy in the New Testament for Mary could fall into this same category of political prophecy about the kingdom.

Following Josephus’s narrative, he now shares a more clear cut prophecy; this one for Pheroras’ wife, the culprit in the “abuse of the virgins” trial. “Pheroras’ wife” was the second wife of Pheroras, Herod’s brother. When Herod was made king of the Jews, he had secured for his brother a political alliance to a previously unheard of unnamed sister of Queen Mariamne I which helped Herod “beg” a tetrarchy for Pheroras “beyond Jordan” from Caesar Augustus. But when the princess died childless, Herod betrothed Pheroras to one of his own daughters by Mariamne I, a prime alliance, but Pheroras wouldn’t marry her. He married a maid servant instead: Continue reading “The Handmaiden Prophecy”

The Execution of Mariamne the Queen

waterh10
Mariamne Leaving the Judgment Seat of Herod (1887), by Pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse. This picture is all over the internet as the only attempt to illustrate her life and death. There is at least one legend about her in Jewish sources. “According to Talmudic legend, when the rebelling slave, Herod, had killed all the other members of her royal family Mariamne threw herself from the palace roof to her death rather than marry him; Herod then preserved her body in honey for seven years”      ( Jewish Encyclopedia, http://www.geni.com/people/Mariamne-I-Hasmonean for two.) What the legend illustrates is an attempt to redeem Mariamne from being a sinning woman for being a Jewish princess and marrying a “strange” man and defiling the royal bloodline for all times. In truth, her marriage alliance with Herod will change everything.

In the last post, Alexandra had prevailed upon Cleopatra to make Marc Antony demand that Herod come to Egypt to defend himself for killing her son, Mariamne’s younger brother; the seventeen year-old Hasmonean High Priest Jonathan Aristobulus. But now another woman is heard from: Salome, Herod’s sister who had hated Mariamne since those three years trapped with her on Masada—Mariamne took great freedoms, and reproached the rest for the meanness of their birth—told Herod that Mariamne had been unfaithful to him with her own husband and their uncle Joseph while he was gone—Herod had left Joseph to guard the two women during his absence with secret orders to kill them if he did not return. Herod confronted Mariamne in private but she convincingly denied any impropriety and Herod again made a declaration of his love for her… until…she said too much…

Mariamne said, Yet was not that command thou gavest (to his uncle Joseph), that if any harm came to thee from Antony, I, who had been no occasion of it, should perish with thee, a sign of thy love to me?” When these words were fallen from her, the king was shocked at them, and presently let her go out of his arms, and cried out, and tore his hair with his own hands, and said, that now he had an evident demonstration that Joseph had had criminal conversation with his wife; for that he would never have uttered (his secret orders) unless there had been such a great familiarity between them. And while he was in this passion he had liked to have killed his wife; but being still overborne by his love to her…he only gave order to slay Joseph without permitting him to come into his sight; and as for Alexandra, he bound her, and kept her in custody, as the cause of all this mischief. Antiquities of the Jews XV.III.9

Continue reading “The Execution of Mariamne the Queen”

The Last Davidic Queen Mother

Eastern Icon of Mary and Queen Mother
An Eastern Orthodox Icon of Mary as Queen Mother. This one shows Mary’s mother and father, not in the gospels. http://www.ukrainianmuseumlibrary.org/images/icons/queen-mother-with-jesus-big.jpg.

The last Davidic king’s mother is mentioned twice using the actual term gebirah[i] (queen mother)…

Jehoiachin…“and his mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan.”  II Kings 24:8

She rode out with her son to be taken into captivity in Babylon. She was mentioned before his “princes.”

Then when tiny Judah was defeated in their battle against Nebuchadnezzar…And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign. II King 24:12

Continue reading “The Last Davidic Queen Mother”

Bathsheba, from Consort to Queen Mother

rembrandt_bathseba_brief_kln
Bathseba at her bath was a popular subject for the old masters. This one by Rembrandt is one of the nudest. http://www.artbible.info/images/rembrandt_bathseba_brief_kln.jpg

Bathsheba’s story in II Samuel 11 is another beloved tale. King David from his tower in the City of David spies Bathsheba taking a bath on a rooftop and calls her to him. When she is pregnant, David sent her husband Uriah off to the front lines of the current war to be killed. But, again we have two stories. In the other version she is called “daughter of Eliam.” According to Wikipedia:

Bathsheba was a daughter of Eliam, one of David’s “thirty” (2 Sam. 23:34; cf 1 Chr. 3:5); Eliam was also the son of Ahitophel, one of David’s chief advisors…and thus Bathsheba was from David’s own tribe and the granddaughter of one of David’s closest advisors (2 Sam.15:12).

So, again, love had very little to do with it. The parties had negotiated a marriage alliance, albeit a nasty one. She would bring to the relationship the backing of her military family and David was in the middle of a war. For her part, David’s marriage to Bathsheba gave her the promise that a son of hers would inherit the kingdom.

The Role of a Wife of the King

We learn a lot from Bathsheba. She was given speaking parts like Queen Michal as she pursued her primary duty at court; fighting for the rights of her son. The author of I Kings gives this speech:

And Bathsheba went in unto the king into the chamber…and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou? And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me…And now Adonijah reigneth and…thou knowest it not…And the king sware, and said…Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me…Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live forever. I Kings 1:10-31 Continue reading “Bathsheba, from Consort to Queen Mother”