Fifth Sunday After Easter-The Blessed Virgin Mary: Queen mother of the new Davidic Kingdom
"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. " Luke 1:28
Then Bathsheba came to king Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah : and the king arose to meet her, and bowed to her, and sat down upon his throne: and a throne was set for the king's mother, and she sat on his right hand. 1 Kings 2:19
The Hebrew title Gebirah (Gebira), meaning "Great Lady" or "Queen Mother" was a royal title and an office which was bestowed upon the mothers of the Kings of Israel, but limited to those Queens who were mothers of kings in the line of King David. When the monarchy divided into the two kingdoms of Judah in the south and Israel in the north, the institution of the Gebirah was not practiced in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Northern Kingdom was ruled by 9 ruling houses or (dynasties) but Judah continued to be ruled by the House of David.
The royal kings of Israel and the House of David had many wives and no single wife of the king had the influence that his mother enjoyed as the chief confidant of her son. It is not clear exactly what position of authority was accorded the mothers of the kings of Israel/ Judah, but scholars believe that Queen mothers of the ruling House of David were crowned, occupied a throne next to their sons, and that both state and religious functions required their presence and attention.
There is evidence from other kingdoms in antiquity that the queen mother was the most highly placed person in the kingdom next to the king. Kingdoms like Egypt, in the Hittite Empire, and others.
We do know from Scripture that these women exercised their influence from the time their sons ascended the throne and sometimes even into the reign of their grandsons as in the case of Maachah (pr: Mawcha) in 1 Kings 15 during the reign of her grandson Asa. It is significant that every mother of a Davidic king is listed along with her son in Sacred Scripture. The name of each Davidic Queen Mother is given in the introduction to each reign of the Davidic Kings of Judah [i.e. 1 Kings 14:21; 15:9-10; 22:42; 2 Kings 12:2; 14:2; 15:2; 15:33; 18:2; 21:2; 21:19; 22:1; 23:31; 23:36; 24:8; 24:18; also see the Chart of the Kings and Queen Mothers of Judah].
The Gebirah, the Queen Mother of the Kingdom of Judah, was the most important and influential woman in the royal court and the king's chief counselor. The Hebrew word, gebirah, is found fifteen times in the Old Testament [Genesis 16:4, 8,9 (used for Sarah, wife of Abraham); 1 Kings 11:19 (used for the Egyptian Queen Mother); 15:13; 2 Kings 5:3; 10:13; 2 Chronicles 15:16; Psalm 123:2; Proverbs 30:23; Isaiah 24:2; 47:5,7; Jeremiah 13:18; 29:2].
In Sacred Scripture the mother of the Davidic king is listed along with her son in the books of 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles when he assumes the throne. The only queen mothers not listed are those of King Jehoram, who married wicked Athaliah, daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel [2 Kings 8:17-18], King Ahaz [2 Kings 16:2-3], and King Asa [1 Kings 15:10]. In the case of Jehoram and Ahaz, their mothers may have died prior to their sons assuming the throne of David, and in the case of Asa, his grandmother is named as the Gebirah, his mother having died or perhaps his grandmother, the former Gebirah, did not relinquish her power and authority upon the succession of her grandson.
Here are some Biblical passages which refer to the office of the Gebirah:
- 1 Kings 11:19: [In this passage the Hebrew title is used for an Egyptian queen mother: And Adad found great favour before Pharao, insomuch that he gave him to wife, the own sister of his wife Taphnes the queen (Gebirah). [Note: Taphenes is not a proper name but is an Egyptian title meaning "king's wife" which was used to designate the Queen mother. Since Israelites reading the text might not understand the meaning of the Egyptian title, the writer, inspired by God, used the title for the Davidic Queen mother, Gebirah.
- 1 Kings 15:13: And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen-Great Lady [Gebirah].
- 2 Kings 10:13: Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who are ye? And they answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen.- (Gebirah)'
- 2 Chronicles 15:16: And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen (Gebirah), because she had made an idol in a grove.
- Jeremiah 13:18: Say to the king, and to the (Gebirah)queen [mother]: Humble yourselves, sit down: for the crown of your glory is come down from your head.
- Jeremiah 29:2: After that Jeconiah the king, and the (Gebirah) queen [mother], and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem
Jesus Christ is the heir of King David, He is the fulfillment of the covenant promises made to David in 2 Samuel 7:16; 23:5, and repeated to Mary in Luke 1:26-36. Mary's son rules from the Kingdom of the heavenly Jerusalem. It is fitting that His mother should enjoy the same role that other Davidic Queen mothers enjoyed, that is the royal office of the heavenly Gebirah. It is in this sense that Catholics call her "the Queen of Heaven" and not in the pagan sense of that title as it is translated in English and found in Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17, 18, 19, & 25; which is a designation for an Egyptian goddess. Since Jeremiah uses both terms, the Hebrew title Gebirah for the Queen mother of a Judahite king of the House of David, and the Hebrew word "queen" = meleketh for the Egyptian goddess, it is obvious there one does not equate to the other.
Sacred Scripture indicates that the Gebirah assumed a seat along side her son.
Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat or throne to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand.
(1 Kings 2:19)
Sacred Scripture indicates that the Gebirah exercised her role as counselor whether it was good counsel or bad counsel. “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly.” (2 Chronicles 22:3)
Sacred Scripture indicates that the Gebirah was an intercessor to the king. 1 Kings 2:13-21.
Sacred Scripture indicates in times of conquest both the king and his mother represented royal power and both were deposed. “And Joachin king of Juda went out to the king of Babylon, he and his mother, and his servants, and his nobles, and his eunuchs: and the king of Babylon received him in the eighth year of his reign.” (2 Kings 24:12).
The Gebirah was clearly the most important woman in the Kingdom of Judah; a king had many wives, but only one mother. The Gebirah of the eternal Davidic Kingdom of Jesus Christ is Mary of Nazareth. Upon her Assumption into heaven Her Son placed her in her well deserved place beside His throne as mother of the King of kings. She appears in this role in (Revelation 12:1) “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” As Christ's mother she reflects His light just as the moon reflects the light of the sun and she calls all her children in the family of the Church to follow her Son and to do, as she advised the servants at the wedding at Cana, “whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).
"Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sins, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: "In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but you were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death." [quoting Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950); Revelation 19:16; and from the Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion, Feast of the Dormition.
(Sermon taken from the agape bible study and Michal Elizabeth Hunt ).