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Recommended Reading — Set 8

 Mary as the Queen Mother of Jerusalem

Extract from “The Crucified Rabbi” by Taylor R. Marshall
Saint John Press, Texas, U.S.A. 2009
(Permission to display extract has been applied for.)

 

When most non-Catholic Christians look at the Catholic Church, they often question the authoritative role of the pope and what appears to them as “Mary worship.” Many Christians misunderstand the significance of the Pope and the Blessed Virgin Mary precisely because these Christians are not familiar with the way in which the Davidic Covenant structured the Messianic kingdom. In other words, non-Catholics are not aware of the profound Jewish significance of the papacy and the Virgin Mary.

The royal and messianic Kingdom of David held its capital in Jerusalem, beginning with King David ca. 1004 B.C. and was eclipsed in 586 B.C. with the capture of King Zedekiah and the forced exile of those Jews who were still alive. Prior to the tragic Babylonian exile, the true King of Judah and heir of David sat enthroned in Jerusalem. Moreover, there were two other important political figures alongside the Davidic king in the messianic court of Jerusalem. Next to the king, the second most important person in the Kingdom of Judah was the Gebirah. This Hebrew title translates literally “Mighty Woman” and refers to the mother of the Jewish king. Most translators render Gebirah as “Queen Mother.” (13)

This Jewish Gebirah possessed a powerful influence over the kingdom. This power and authority flowed from her status as the mother of the Davidic king, not from her own personal importance. Rightly understood, the Queen Mother held a political office and signified the legitimate genealogy of the king. King Solomon the Wise instituted the formal place of the Queen Mother when he ascended to the throne of his father King David. One of the first things King Solomon did after his enthronement was to place a throne at his right hand and enthrone his mother as the Gebirah:

So Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom
was firmly established … So [his mother] Bathsheba went to
King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king
rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne,
and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on
his right (1 Kings 2:12 ― 19).

King Solomon rose to greet his mother and bowed down before her — not because he worshipped her as a goddess, but rather because he as King understood the honor due to Queen Mother. Her presence in the court signified that Solomon was the legitimate heir of King David because she literally served as the flesh and blood link between father and son. Given the importance of genealogical dynasties, the office and role of the Queen Mother existed in many other cultures, as well. A similar office of a Gebirah was also honored in the northern kingdom of Israel. “We are going down to visit the princes and the family of the queen mother” (2 Kings 10:13).

Jeremiah highlighted the place of preeminence held by the Queen Mother by the end of the Davidic Kingdom when he wrote: “Say to the king and to the queen mother: Come down from your throne” (Jer 13:18). The end of the Davidic reign from Jerusalem is signaled by the dethronement of the Davidic king and his mother. The Queen Mother was so important that the end of the kingdom meant that she must also be deposed.

We see here that it is quite natural for Catholic Christians to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her son is the true Davidic King and she is rightly enthroned at his right hand as the Gebirah and Queen Mother of the Kingdom of God. The position of Solomon’s mother at his right hand is the reason why Mary is nearly always depicted in religious artwork as seated in heaven at the right hand of Christ. The exalted place of the Virgin Mary in Catholicism did not arise from medieval superstition but from a Jewish understanding of kingship. Just as Bathsheba served as the flesh and blood link between her son Solomon and King David, so also the Blessed Virgin Mary is the flesh and blood link uniting Jesus to the Messianic privileges of the Davidic Kingdom. Christians honor and revere the Blessed Virgin Mary because her lineage confirms that Jesus is the rightful heir of God’s promises. Mary is the final link in a thousand-year-old chain of Messianic prophecy.

  
 (13)   Regarding the Gebirah — see Niels-Erik Andreasen’s “The Role of the Queen Mother in Israelite Society,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 45 (1983): 179 — 194; and Zafrira Beb-Barak’s “The Status and Right of the Gebirah,” Journal of Biblical Literature 110 (1991): 23 — 34.                                                  
   

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