In this article, we will explore the queens of the Bible. So, grab your Bible and let’s dig in.
I think it’s safe to say that the Bible is filled with kings from all different nations. But did you also know there are quite a few leading ladies as well? These queens of the Bible shouldn’t be overlooked.
There is a lot we can learn from these women’s stories. How they used their influence for good or for bad. To save an entire nation and or completely destroy it!
And it also paints the picture for us that women can lead and that their leadership does pack a punch.
Types of Queens in the Bible
You would think a queen is a queen, no matter the type. But there are actually different types of queens in unique positions. It’s definitely not one size fits all scenario. In the Bible, we see three types of queens:
Ruling queens are queens who hold the position of head ruler. They were the firstborn in their royal family, or sad to say the one that survived in the succession to the throne. A more modern example of this would be Queen Victoria (1819-1901). She wasn’t the firstborn to the king, but became queen because other’s in line passed away.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: The Queen of Sheba
Queen mother or queen dowager is the mother of the ruling monarch (king or queen). The amount of power of influence of this position depends on the relationship with the ruler, culture, and time period.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: Bathsheba
Wives of Kings – Queen Consort
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. You marry a king and you become a queen! The women inherit the throne because of her husband.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: Queen Vashti
What about Princesses?
One size does fit all when it comes to princesses. Simply put, a princess is the daughter of a monarch.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLE: Tamar the daughter of King David
Queens of the Bible
I have broken down these queens into 3 categories.
- Good Queens of the Bible: Queens that used their influence for good or is known for an act of kindness.
- Neutral Queens of the Bible: These are queens are noted in the Bible but their story or actions were neither good or bad.
- Bad Queens of the Bible: This could also be classified as evil or wicked queens. These are queens that used their position and power for evil. They did cruel things towards people and God.
Good Queens of the Bible
Esther: Queen of Babylon
Probably the most popular queen in scripture goes to Queen Esther. She replaced Queen Vashti and married King Xerxes. As queen, she was able to rescue her people from Hamon’s evil plot to kill all the Hebrews.
One of her biggest strength was her bravery and willingness to sacrifice herself for her people.
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. … I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” – Esther 4:16 NIV
Learn more about Queen Esther here:
I placed Queen Vashti under the good section, even though it could be argued that she would be more neutral. My reason for this is because Queen Vashti stood her ground when her husband, King Xerxes and his friends were drunk. She was to parade around a room of drunk men. I could only imagine what else they would have requested her to do.
It took a lot of guts for her to say no. This shows a level of strength and dignity. As I would like to say it, Queen Vashti kept it classy. But it came with a price! She lost her position as queen and that position was given to Esther.
On the seventh day, when the king’s heart was joyful with wine (in high spirits), he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus [as his attendants], 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown (high turban), to display her beauty before the people and the officials, for she was lovely to see. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command, which was delivered [to her] by the eunuchs. So the king became extremely angry and burned with rage. – Esther 1:12 AMP
Queen of Sheba
The queen of Sheba is one of the few ruling queens we see in scripture. The Bible doesn’t say what her name was, but according to tradition it was Makeda (source). But the tradition doesn’t stop there! It is said that once she returned back to her kingdom that she bore Solomon a son called Menelik. It was Menelik I that is claimed to be the first Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia.
When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind.
3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed. 1 Kings 10:1-5 NIV
Queen Hatshepsut (Thermuthis) – Pharaoh’s Daughter
I bet you have never heard of Queen Hatsphepsut in the Bible! That’s because her name isn’t mentioned. Historians believe that it was Hatsphepsut who pulled Moses out of the river when he was an infant. She was the daughter of Pharaoh and also became Pharaoh in 1479 BC. Her reign ended in 1458 BC.
According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Pharaoh’s daughter was called Thermuthis.
Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. – Exodus 2:5-6
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A KING/QUEEN AND A PHARAOH?
“As ancient Egyptian rulers, pharaohs were both the heads of state and the religious leaders of their people. … While early Egyptian rulers were called “kings,” over time, the name “pharaoh” stuck. As the religious leader of the Egyptians, the pharaoh was considered the divine intermediary between the gods and Egyptians.” (source)
Neutral Queens of the Bible
Naamah – Queen Mother of King Rehoboam
Naamh became queen mother of Judah when her son, Rehoboam took the throne. Her son did evil in the sight of the Lord.
King Rehoboam established himself firmly in Jerusalem and continued as king. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. – 2 Chronicles 12:13 NIV
Bathsheba – Queen Mother of King Solomon
Bathsheba, is probably the most famous of the queen mothers. She had a scandalous beginning with the affair that King David had with her and the murder of her husband Uriah the Hittite. She later became the mother of King Solomon.
When Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, the king stood up to meet her, bowed down to her and sat down on his throne. He had a throne brought for the king’s mother, and she sat down at his right hand. -1 Kings 2:19 NIV
Aszubah – Queen Mother of King Jehoshaphat
Aszubah, became queen mother of Judah when her son, Jehoshaphat took the throne. Her son did good in the sight of the Lord.
Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. – 1 Kings 22:42
Jekoliah – Queen Mother of King Uzziah
Jekoliah, became queen mother of Judah when her son, Uzziah (Azariah) took the throne. Her son did good in the sight of the Lord. His life story is actually very interesting.
Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. – 2 Chronicles 26:3 NIV
Jehoaddan – Queen Mother of King Amaziah
Jehoaddan, became queen mother of Judah when her son, Amaziah took the throne. Her son did good in the sight of the Lord.
Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan; she was from Jerusalem. – 2 Chronicles 25:1 NIV
Zibiah – Queen Mother of King Joash
Zibiah, became queen mother of Judah when her son, Joash took the throne. Her son did good in the sight of the Lord.
Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba. – 2 Chronicles 24:1 NIV
Nehushta – Queen Mother of King Jehoiachin
Nehushta, became queen mother of Judah when her son, Jehoiachin took the throne. Her son did evil in the sight of the Lord.
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem. – 2 Kings 24:8 NIV
Queen Tahpenes – Egyptian Queen
Here we hear about the Egyptian Queen Tahpenes. Hadad the Edomite was an adversiary of King Solomon. He escaped to Egypt where Pharaoh gave Tahpenes’ sister to him in marriage.
Pharaoh was so pleased with Hadad that he gave him a sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage. 20 The sister of Tahpenes bore him a son named Genubath, whom Tahpenes brought up in the royal palace. There Genubath lived with Pharaoh’s own children – 1 Kings 19-20 NIV
Queen Candace – Queen of Ethiopia
Most all queens we see in the Bible are in the the Old Testament. But we do see a queen mentioned in the book of Acts. We learn that the Ethiopian eunuch that Philip ministered too was a court official of the queen of the Ethiopia.
It’s easy to think that her name was, Candace, but actually this was a Meroitic term. According to sources she was….”the sister of the king of Kush who, due to the matrilineal succession, would bear the next heir, making her a queen mother. She had her own court, probably acted as a landholder and held a prominent secular role as regent.”
So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch [a man of great authority], a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, -Acts 8:27 AMP
Evil Queens of the Bible
Jezebel – Queen of Israel
When it comes to evil people in the Bible, queen Jezebel is in the top 10. She was the daughter of the King of Tyre (That made her a princess), and later became the wife of king Ahab (this made her a queen).
Jezebel basically hated God and His servants. She went on a rampage killing the Lord’s prophets, but Praise God for Obadiah. He went and hid prophets in caves.
That’s just one of her crazy stories. Not to mention the time her husband liked this vineyard so she had the people who owned it killed so she could give it as a gift to her husband. The lady was evil and drunk with power.
But in the end Jezebel lost big time, as she died at the hand of her own servants and Jehu. To top it off it says dogs liked her blood. As I studied, I stumbled upon this and found it so fascinated…
Jehu responds, “Who is on my side?” Responding to his call, Jezebel’s own eunuchs throw her out the window, her blood splattering as she hits the ground. Jehu’s now bespattered horses then trample her. The image of an adorned woman at a window suggests not only royal power but also goddesses (especially Hathor, Asherah, and Astarte), who are also depicted looking out windows. In this way, the death of Jezebel is not just the death of a Phoenician princess who became queen of Israel but also the symbolic death of the goddesses she worships and represents. It is not enough simply to kill her; she must be violently expelled from the political and religious community. (source)
and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. 4 While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) – 1 Kings 18:3-4 NIV
Athaliah – Queen Regent of Judah
Queen Athaliah is historically said to be daughter of queen Jezebel and king Ahab or the daughter of king Omri of Israel. So, we already know it’s going to be bad either way. She followed in parent’s foot steps and did some crazy evil stuff. She was the queen consort and queen regent.
Later in her life she took the throne of Judah and ordered the execution of all heirs to the throne.
When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. – 2 Kings 11:1 NIV
Maakah – Daughter of King Absalome and Wife of King Rehoboam
Maakah was a princess and married King Rehoboam. Her husband did evil in the sight of the Lord and well apparently she did as well.
He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 1 Kings 15:13 NIV
Chart of Queens and Princesses of the Bible
I thought it might be helpful to create a chart of all 16 queens. This way you can glance through all of them and get information.
|NAME||TYPE OF RULER||NATION||EVIL OR GOOD?||BIBLE REFERENCE|
|Esther||Queen Consort||Babylon||Good||Book of Esther|
|Vashti||Queen Consort||Babylon||Good||Esther 1-2|
|Makeda||Ruler||Sheba||Good||1 Kings 10|
|Naamah||Queen Mother||Judah||Neutral||2 Chronicles 12:13|
|Bathsheba||Queen Mother||Israel and Judah||Neutral||2 Samuel 11-12, 1 King 12|
|Aszubah||Queen Mother||Judah||Neutral||1 Kings 22:42|
|Jekoliah||Queen Mother||Judah||Neutral||2 Chronicles 26:3|
|Maakah||Queen Consort||Judah||Evil||1 Kings 15:13|
|Tahpenes||Queen Consort||Egypt||Neutral||1 Kings 19-20|
|Nehushta||Queen Consort||Judah||Neutral||2 Kings 24:8|
|Jezebel||Queen Consort||Judah||Evil||1 Kings and 2 Kings|
|Zibiah||Queen Consort||Judah||Neutral||2 Chronicles 24:1|
|Athaliah||Queen||Judah||Evil||2 Kings 11|
|Jehoaddan||Queen Mother||Judah||Neutral||2 Chronicles 25:1|
Well, there you have it, we have covered 16 queens from the Bible. I hope you have enjoyed this article as much as I have enjoyed studying these ladies! If you would like to learn more about women leaders, please check out my Women Leaders of the Bible.
If you feel like leaving a comment you can do under this post! I would love to hear from you.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…