As someone who enjoys both reading and writing a great deal, one of the pleasures of writing a lengthy project is being able to do some focused reading on subjects. This reading can take many forms. Since we are discussing the relevant literature, at least within my own observation, for a discussion of the importance of ancestry on the maternal line in understanding biblical genealogy, it is worthwhile to look at some of the categories of relevant sources that would help to shine some light on this topic, with the knowledge that there are likely to be significant changes in the course of investigation. When one examines a subject that is obscure and that few people seem to have tackled before, one has to cast a somewhat wide net in one’s reading. That said, there are at least a few obvious lines of investigation. Let us examine each in turn.
One obvious group of books are those which discuss biographical profiles of biblical personages. Given that a large part of this work deals with the biographies of women and of the family history of those men for whom we know their female relations, one of the best ways to find such information is to look in books that focus on women, or that provide the family information of others. Biographical sketches are good for this, especially since the information about the kings of Judah include their mother’s names, which sometimes allows for a great deal of information to be known about the connections that were of value to the dynasties of Israel. At other times we may only know their names and where they were from, but even this information can be enough to give an indication of the political situation at a given time. Even among more obscure people relationships through the maternal line can be of interest, and the most convenient place to find this information is among those works which aggregate the biographical information of biblical personages together.
Another particularly relevant source of reading material are books that deal with a discussion of biblical law. The lack of widespread knowledge about biblical law makes it somewhat difficult to find sources that deal with God’s law in authoritative ways, and many of those sources which exist are written by people who are not particularly interested in looking at laws relating to the marriage of women. Even so, those books that deal thoughtfully and intelligently on God’s law are still worth looking at in order to get a better understanding of the large corpus of biblical law that can be of use in an investigation such as this one. Additionally, people may find relevance in laws that others may disregard, and that makes a detailed look at God’s laws and the principles behind them a worthwhile endeavor even if few people have the same research interests.
In addition to these two sources, which make up the most obvious works of interest, there are other sorts of books that are worth looking at where they may be found and that are worth looking for even where they may not exist in large quantities. For example, books on biblical diplomacy are to be looked for, as are books and articles that would help answer questions like Absalom possibly being the heir of a matriarchal Syrian kingdom bordering Israel along the Sea of Galilee, a possibility worth investigating if books on the subject can be found. Other books that are worth looking at are those books written by women, for women, and about biblical women, as those are the sorts of books that were written with an agenda that at least might lead someone to research matters such as the maternal ancestry of biblical personages in the hope of finding something of value.
As might be expected, there are many books written, but not always a lot of material that would be of use for an obscure and unusual subject. Nevertheless, the length of the project and the speed at which material can be found and read encourages one to cast a net widely, and in the hope of encouraging other readers it is worth looking at those books which can give the reader some sort of worthwhile information when it comes to the family history and the role of women as the signs of alliance between church and state or between allied realms or between rulers and important aristocratic families, all of which can help demonstrate the role that women played in binding biblical society together. Whether or not people marry as strategically in the present time, it is still worth examining the past, as it helps teach us to respect others and to appreciate the shrewdness of those who came before us, both of which are lessons that remain ever valuable in our lives.