Mother of a King and Writer of the 31st Chapter of Proverbs

Yes! At least one chapter of the Hebrew Bible was penned by a women...under the authoritative inspiration of God. 

And not just any woman, but one of the most famous in scripture, the primary example given to most women on what all women should be like. The writer of this chapter, is non other than Bathsheba, the Proverbs 31 Woman. 

The mother of a king.

The Ben Chayyim Masoretic text, that underlies the Old Testament portion of the King James Bible, paints a very different picture of who this woman was than does patriarchy (complementarianism). 

The woman who wrote the 31st chapter of Proverbs [and by extension, all women] is very much a victim of gender-biased-English-translation-theology. But even so, modern translation teams--who know better--continue to portray her as less than she is by bowing to tradition and misogynistically loading the language against her.       

Proverbs 31:1 The words of king Lemuel the burden wherewith his mother corrected him [1] 2: My son, son of my womb son of my vows 3: Give not your strength to [immoral] women nor your ways to that which destroys kings 4: It is not for kings O Lemuel it is not for kings to drink wine nor for princes strong drink 5: Lest they drink and forget the law and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted

[1] Most authorities believe the name “Lemuel” was a pseudonym for King Solomon. That makes perfect sense as in the time of Solomon, the status of women was decidedly inferior—as it still is in all Islamic countries and among complementarian Christians. it would have been improper for a woman in biblical times to chastise a man—even more so if that man happened to be her King [even if he was her son]. 

If Lemuel was Solomon, then the mother who corrected the wayward King would have been none other than the infamous **Bathsheba. 

Her words correlate perfectly with Solomon’s story, as we know that for an unspecified length of time after he ascended the throne, he plumbed the depths of depravity. Scripture reveals that he eventually concluded that his riotous manner of living was all “vanity,” at which time he turned his life around to become the greatest King in the history of Israel and the world of his time. 

** We know that Bathsheba had great influence with her son. Adonijah went to Bathsheba, first, before he made a request of his brother, the King. Solomon also honored his mother by having a chair placed next to his throne for her.  

Solomon published the words of King “Lemuel’s” mother. That indicates they must have carried great import for him. Could his turn-around be at least partly due to the timely correction of a god-fearing mother who dared to speak the inspired/authoritative Word of God to a son who was King? 

Aside from the above comments, there are two other things of note in this passage: 

  1. Whether King Lemuel was Solomon or not, in Proverbs chapter 31, we have an entire chapter of scripture written by a woman. Verse one states the passage was written to the King by the King’s mother. The fact that this passage has been included in the Hebrew Bible along with the writings of Solomon is extraordinary—a powerful testimony to its authenticity and authority. 
  2. This is an irrefutable example of a woman not only teaching a man—a very powerful man—but chastising him with the inspired, prophetic, authoritative Word of the LORD as well. 

The opening words of Proverbs chapter 31, refute complementarian positions that our Creator intended only men to be the oracles of God, and that women cannot teach men or speak the Word of God authoritatively to both men and women. 

King “Lemuel’s” mother did so, and continues to do so through an inspired and authoritative prophecy to a powerful male monarch, and by extension to all men and women .

 ... .. Woman this is WAR! Gender Slavery and the Evangelical Caste System, examines Bible commentary and translation practices which have historically been androcentric (male centered) and even misogynistic (anti-woman). These have adversely effected understanding of the scriptures, relations between women and men, the happiness of men and women, and, in general, has hindered the work of the gospel, by forbidding women to preach, pastor, or serve as elders or deacons. The book also chronicles the early history of the women's rights movements, as well as the role of church leadership in aggressively suppressing both women's rights and the historical record of Christian initiatives within the movements. Through the complementarian movement, many of the same arguments used to support the institution of slavery, are still used today in suppressing the rights of Christian women. This book documents identical arguments used by Christian leaders against both movements and is an unparalleled resource for all who desire an in-depth study of gender equality from a Christian perspective. The history of women’s rights is traced back [much further than usual] to the very first feminists…who were Christians—godly women, who brought the issue of women's rights to the forefront as they struggled to alleviate the suffering of others, and found they were hindered in doing so for no other reason than the fact of their sex. This work, provides valuable historical insight into Christian initiatives in the movements for women’s rights, that are rarely included in Christian literature.

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