- To see the importance of the Queen Mother in the Davidic kingdom of the Old Testament.
- To understand the duties and privileges that came with the position of Queen Mother.
- To see how Mary fills the position of Queen Mother in the kingdom of Christ.
I. Mothers and Sons
A. A Mother’s Advice
“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars…She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne” (see Revelation 12:1, 12:5).
This strange and beautiful vision from Revelation is the image millions of Christians across the world see when they think of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
But what exactly does it mean? It seems literally to depict Christ as a newborn King, destined to rule on a throne. Why, however, is the woman depicted as a heavenly Queen, crowned with stars and arrayed in glory.
The answer is in a long tradition that runs right through the Old Testament into the New.
The image of Mary in glory “clothed with the sun” is yet another way the New Testament writers tell us the truth about who Jesus Christ is. But to understand what Revelation reveals, we need to go hundreds of years back into the Old Testament.
In fact, a good place to start is right at the end of the book of Proverbs.
The Bible tells us only one thing about a certain King Lemuel: that he got some very good advice.
“Open your mouth in behalf of the dumb,
and for the rights of the destitute;
Open your mouth, decree what is just,
defend the needy and poor!” (see Proverbs 31:9).
Now, a king always has people trying to tell him what he should do. Usually the advice is aimed at creating some benefit for the adviser. Often what sounds like advice is just flattery.
But here is someone advising the king to take care of the poor and the meek - the people who have no other defense. Who could speak freely enough to the king to give him that kind of advice?
The first verse of King Lemuel’s chapter in Proverbs gives us the answer: “The words of Lemuel, king of Massa. The advice which his mother gave him” (see Proverbs 31:1).
Only the king’s own mother could speak to him that way. As a king, he might be her ruler, but by the law of nature he was still her son.
This chapter is full of the kind of advice any good mother would give to her son: don’t fall in with loose women, don’t drink too much, and above all find a good wife.
But because the son happens to be a king, his mother also has to remind him of his duties as a ruler. He must be the voice of the defenseless, a power for the powerless. His kingdom must be for the poor and the meek.
A flattering courtier could never say things like that to a king. It’s not surprising, then, that the queen mother in Near Eastern kingdoms was traditionally looked on as the friend of the poor, the intercessor between the people and the king.
And when we see that the book of Proverbs ends with a queen mother’s advice, we know how important the inspired writers considered the wisdom of the queen mother. A ruler who had Proverbs read to him would be left with the queen mother’s words ringing in his ears.
B. The Mother as Teacher
The mother’s authority over her children - even if they happen to be kings - is part of nature. Lemuel is never mentioned anywhere else in Scripture. One ancient Jewish tradition, however, said that Lemuel was a pseudonym for the great Solomon himself, the king whose name is still synonymous with wisdom.
Solomon was the second son of David and Bathsheba. Their first son had died shortly after birth - a judgment on David for his adultery with Bathsheba, who had been the wife of one of David’s most trusted officers until David sent him off on a suicide mission (see 2 Samuel 11).
As David’s heir, Solomon was the prototypical Son of David, inheriting all those promises of a glorious kingdom that God had made for David’s line (see 2 Samuel 7:8-16).
He had one other famous gift: the gift of wisdom. But he still listened to his mother’s advice.
- Mothers and Sons
- The Mother of the King
- Kingdom of the Son of David
- Study Questions
- Lesson One: A Biblical Introduction to Mary
- To understand the basic outlines of the New Testament’s witness to Mary.
- To appreciate how the Old Testament forms the essential background for what the New Testament teaches about Mary.
- To understand “typology” and its importance for reading the New Testament texts concerning Mary.
- Lesson Two: Wedding at Cana, Garden in Eden
- To appreciate the Old Testament symbolism that forms the deep background to the Gospel account of the wedding feast at Cana.
- To understand how Mary is depicted as a “New Eve” in this account.
- To appreciate the importance of the Old Testament marriage symbolism for John’s recounting of the “sign” at Cana.
- Lesson Three: The Ark of the New Covenant
- To see how Mary’s visit to Elizabeth parallels David’s bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.
- To understand how the book of Revelation uses the startling image of the rediscovered Ark of the Covenant to introduce a vision of the Mother of Christ.
- To understand why the New Testament writers see Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant.
- Lesson Five: The All-Holy Mother of God
- To understand the relationship between Catholic teaching about Mary and the Scriptural portrayal of Mary.
- To understand the biblical foundations of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
- To appreciate how Catholic belief in the Immaculate Conception flows from the New Testament portrait of Mary as the “New Eve”
- Lesson Six: The Queen Assumed into Heaven
- To understand the biblical foundations of the Dogma of the Assumption.
- To understand the deep Old Testament symbolism and imagery in Revelation 12, and its relation to Catholic beliefs about Mary.
- To appreciate how the biblical portrait of Mary is reflected and interpreted in the Church’s liturgy.