A little over a year ago, I received a request to write about a given subject relating to the reign of Solomon . The specific scripture cited is 1 Kings 2:19, which reads:
“Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king’s mother; so she sat at his right hand.”
The person who read this verse wanted to know if this was a foundational idea for Mary of Joseph being the intercessor and mediatrix and Queen of Heaven. The short answer to this is no. It is the mystery religions of the ancient world  that provided the model for Mary being the Queen of Heaven, which gave the world the particular role that the Roman Catholic Church exploited in their characteristically syncretistic way. Bathsheba’s serving as a counselor for her wise young son does not in any way serve as a model for Mary as an intercessor for Jesus, as it is the job of Jesus Christ to intercede on our behalf to God our Father in Heaven. We have no queen mother in heaven, after all, if we are genuine believers. It is the church as a whole that is our mother, the Israel of God. Bathsheba here intercedes on behalf of Adonijah, who appeals to her sense of mercy against Solomon’s somewhat grim realpolitik.
Are there heavenly lessons that we can gain from the example of Solomon’s respect and regard for his mother? First, we can note that there are at least a couple of places in the scriptures where Solomon’s regard for his mother is either stated or implied. The implication occurs at the end of the book of Proverbs, which contains the famous Hebrew acrostic celebration of the virtuous woman, and the less famous advice of the mother of King Lemuel. It is not sure or even likely that Lemuel is Solomon, but the fact that the book of Proverbs closes with wisdom from a mother to her son the king that was compiled into a book written mostly by Solomon suggests that Solomon was sensitive to the wisdom that women were able to provide, and inclined to pay attention to it . No doubt we should all be heartened by the fact that Solomon, for all of his mistakes with regards to women, was at least inclined to respect the wisdom of women at the beginning of his reign.
The other passage is even more suggestive of eternal life in a way that has implications on eternal life, but it is not an often recognized passage. Song of Solomon 3:11 reads: “Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart.” Solomon, he of 700 wives and 300 concubines, obviously had too many such days of gladness and wore out his head wearing too many of such crowns, and his wives turned him against God and induced him to compromise with sin to keep his harem happy. Yet despite Solomon’s failure, the story itself does have spiritual significance for us. Let us not forget what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:25: “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” Let us not be distracted by the crowns that exist on this earth, seeing as we are living our lives in preparation for eternal life, but all the same, let us celebrate those victories that life does provide as it encourages us to carry onward.
Interestingly enough, the conception of the crown of the Song of Solomon has a connotation in at least one contemporary song. In the chorus to their song “Crown,” Collective Soul sang : “Whos gonna wear my crown? / Whos gonna wear my crown? / I dont know. / I just might, alone.” Here Collective Soul is getting back to the point of Solomon’s wearing a crown to celebrate marriage. We see ourselves as kings, whether we are born into physical royalty or not, because we are children of the Most High. Yet we long for our own houses and dynasties here on this earth. Ideally, in life, we are able to wear the crowns in this life and in the world to come, to build harmonious relationships on earth that are a model of the unity and love that God and Jesus Christ have for each other and for the Church. All of this requires a lot of work, but what we are seeking requires a lot of effort, although it is definitely worth it to do it right.
I was just reading in 1Kings 2:19 where Soloman accords his mother great honor by placing her on a throne at his right hand. Commentaries point out that this was a tradition in monarchies evidently going back this far. Could this be a foundational idea in the Catholic Churches teaching on Mary as the “Queen of Heaven” and as an intercessor, as was Bathsheba to Solomon for Adonijah. As a Protestant I have always wondered about Mary’s elevation by the Church.
Thank You – A first time reader.
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