Deposed Grandmother & Queen

References: 1 Kings 15:1-14, 2 Chronicles 11:20-22, 2 Chronicles 15:16

Heart of the Story: King Asa of Judah had the courage to depose his own grandmother from her hereditary Queen Mother office when she worshiped foreign gods.

Back Story: Maacah was the favorite wife of King Rehoboam (Son of Solomon) who reigned 18 years. During Rehoboam’s reign, the 10 Northern Tribes succeeded from the unified Israelite Kingdom. Some scholars suggested that Maacah was the daughter of Absalom, son of King David. Maacah was the mother of King Abijah who reigned only three years. Maacah was the  Grandmother of King Asa. King Asa reigned in Jerusalem 41 years (circa 908 to 867 BC).  King Asa was dedicated to the removal idolatry from Judah and following in the footsteps of King David.

Story Line: King Asa did what was right in God’s eyes, expelling the shrine prostitutes and getting rid of all idols that his ancestors had made.  FYI, Solomon’s wives made many idols. King Asa deposed his grandmother from her position as queen mother because she made a repulsive idol to Asherah. Asherah was a fertility goddess. King Asa cut the idol to Asherah down and burned it in the Kidron Valley.

Pondering Relationships: One places in the book of 1 Kings, Maacah is identified as Asa’s mother and another place as his grandmother. Several scholars identified that there is not a word for Grandmother in the Hebrew language; thus use of the word “mother” was explained and the discrepancy between Bible descriptions of the relationship between King Asa and Maacah.

The queen mother could have been an official functionary in the Judean court and not simply the female parent of the king. Maacah’s role appeared be an office because several Bible verses identified that Asa removed her from her position as gebirah (“great lady”) after she made a cult  worshiping the goddess Asherah. One noted scholar wrote that the primary responsibility of the queen mother’s office was to devote herself to cult worship of Asherah. Whether that assertion is or is not accurate, King Asa used Maacah’s worship of Asherah as a reason to depose her.

Reflection: I wonder which hurt the queen mother Maacah most – loss of her official title or destruction of the goddess she worshiped?

Copyright: October 12, 2018; Carolyn A. Roth. All rights reserved.

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