Did you know that the queen mother of every Davidic king is named in the Old Testament? It took me a while to figure that out. Bathsheba is not mentioned again after she was received in Solomon’s court as a queen mother (in the last post) and I hope she wasn’t around to see her son run amok in the queen/consort/strange women department.
But king Solomon loved many strange women… he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart…. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD… (with) all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.I Kings 11
This is the format used for naming Davidic kings with their mothers beginning with Solomon’s heir:
And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah, Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign…And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. I Kings XIV.21, II Chronicles XII.13
First there was Sarah who was in the Book of Genesis as the wife of Abraham…who wasn’t technically a king…more the father of the nation with Sarah as its mother.
How to Choose your First King
But remember that the political nation of Israel had been run by Aaron and the priests making the laws and a military commander fighting the wars after Moses died. Eventually, though, the people demand a king to be like the other nations. The priests were immediately against it. Having an actual king meant there would be queens, foreign and domestic, and daughters of kings, sons with queen mothers, and royal arrogant women with no end of evil doings.
Even though the Priests pointed out all these problems repeatedly, the people still demand a king…perhaps hoping to get out from under the thumb of such a strong priesthood. Eventually, though, the priests agreed to do it while making sure that they could control the process. A king approved of by God, i.e., the priests, would have to be chosen and anointed by a High Priest.
But how do you choose a king without an established royal bloodline? The answer seemed to have been that you have a pure-blooded priest who was known to communicate with God choose the king. In order to have a priest pure enough, he must have a pure (blooded) mother. The priest who chose the first king was Samuel…so, reading backwards, Samuel was given a birth story with a mother who would represent the best/purest that a woman could be at the time. She would be a married Hebrew woman with a good genealogy who desperately wanted a son enough to agree to turn him over to the priests as a child. The lucky woman was named Hannah, we are told, and she has the first official special birth story. Parts of it should look familiar.
Hannah was one of Elkanah’s two wives. The gold standard for women was to have a son for her survival and her husband’s futurity. Hannah’s sister-wife already had a son and made Hannah’s life miserable because she did not. So, Hannah went to the Tabernacle in Shiloh to pray for a son…
Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. And Hannah was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.(First Book of Samuel I:6-11)
Moses’ first marriage to Tharbis showed how a young daughter of a king was used to make a marriage alliance with the enemy. His second marriage illustrates something that might seem a bit off course but is necessary to understanding a crucial split in the budding Hebrew nation.
When Moses killed an Egyptian and fled the country, he made an alliance with a Midianite Priest. The priest gave Moses one of his daughters in a friendly pact and she had two sons before Moses went back to lead the Hebrew exodus out of Egypt because of a breakthrough spiritual encounter with YHWY. Moses became the original Law Giver with his Ten Commandments, but it wasn’t long before his brother Aaron was made the first High Priest by YHWY and the head of the Levite Priests who wrote the rest of the Laws in the five “Books of Moses” in the Old Testament/Torah.  At some point Moses brought his wife Zipporah and/or just her two grown sons into the Hebrew camp.
Unfortunately, by that time the priests had made new laws about marrying foreign woman and his sister Miriam and brother Aaron immediately called Moses on it.
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman …. (Numbers 12)
Miriam  is named first in the challenge. She is also the first Mariamne/Mary in Josephus’ index and the namesake for all the others, but she was the loser when she confronted Moses. Moses remained as Yahweh’s only face to face spokesperson and Aaron remained the High Priest, though henceforth Yahweh would only speak to him in dreams and visions. It was Miriam the Prophetess, the woman of the triumvirate, rather typically, that was cast out, given leprosy, and died. (Exodus 2:21–22) No real pronouncement was made by Yahweh about the foreign wife of Moses, the cause of the conflict. You have to piece it together. Continue reading “Strange Women”→