Azubah

Azubah was the daughter of Shilhi and the wife of King Asa of Judah. She bore him a son named Jehoshaphat. When her husband died after forty-one years of rule, Queen Azubah proudly stood by as Jehoshaphat succeeded his father to the throne as the fourth king of Judah. His father Asa had been the third, his grandfather Abijah had been the second ruler of Judah, and his great-grandfather Rehoboam had been the first ruler of the region after the kingdom was divided into Israel and Judah. The Bible reveals much more about Jehoshaphat and Asa than it does about Azubah, but mentions of her are found in 1 Kings 22:42 and 2 Chronicles 20:31. Her name in Hebrew means “forsaken.”

She must have instilled her religious values and those of his father in her son, because most biblical and apocryphal sources state that Jehoshaphat was a good and noble king who stayed close to the course his father had set for Judah. He established an accord with the king of Israel that brought peace to both nations.

Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign: and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father…doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord…And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel. (1 Kings 22:42–44)

The Bible notes that Jehoshaphat “…walked in all the ways of his father…”; it doesn't say, as it does elsewhere for other princes who became king, that he walked in the sins of his father, and positive contributions of princes' mothers are seldom mentioned. Some kings set bad examples for their sons, taking many wives and having numerous concubines. Solomon, for example, supposedly had 1,000 women in his harem (1 Kings 11:3). But Jehoshaphat's father Asa was a good king, and showed a zealousness in ridding Judah of idols, even kicking out Ma'acah, the queen mother, because of her worship of Baal and Asherah.

From her royal position, Ma'acah encouraged the worship of idols. She had even turned a grove into a place of idol worship, and had erected an outrageous object there to venerate Asherah. King Asa, husband of Azubah, had that idol burned in the Kidron Valley (1 Kings 15:13–14). No other mention is made of Azubah.

How much power did a queen mother in biblical times possess?

“Malketha” is the biblical word for mother of the king. A queen mother wielded enormous power and influence. Her position in the court was an exalted position, and carried with it social and political importance.

Examples of queen mothers and their sons include Bathsheba and Adonijah, Nehushta and Jehoiachin, and Ma'acah and Asa.

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