In ancient Hebrew society, a queen was not so much a ruler as a king's wife. The Aramaic word for queen was shegal (meaning “queen-consort” or “queen-wife”). Such a queen had the ear of her husband (sometimes passing along her insights), but she also had responsibilities toward her children. She would instill her religious beliefs and moral values in her sons and daughters. In ancient times, as now, women taught their children largely through example. But some queens were better exemplars than others.

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