Wife of Jeroboam

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Depiction of Ahijah and Jeroboam's wife, by Charles Horne, 1909.

The wife of Jeroboam is a character in the Hebrew Bible. She is unnamed in the Masoretic Text, but according to the Septuagint, she was an Egyptian princess called Ano:

And Sousakim gave to Jeroboam Ano the eldest sister of Thekemina his wife, to him as wife; she was great among the king's daughters... [1]

She is mentioned in 1 Kings 14, which describes how she visited the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite. Her son Abijah was sick, and on her husband Jeroboam's instructions she disguised herself and went to Ahijah. Although Ahijah was blind, God had told him that she was coming and had had given him a message for her. This included the death of her son, who was to die as soon as Jeroboam's wife came back home to Tirzah. He would be the only one of Jeroboam's offspring who would be buried, "because something good was found in him, to Yhwh the God of Israel". According to 1 Kings 14:17, her son died as soon as she stepped over the threshold.

In the Septuagint, the story is found in I Kings 12 after verse 24, and differs somewhat from the Masoretic text.

The wife of Jeroboam does not speak at all in the biblical narrative. Robin Gallaher Branch calls her "flat, vapid, and overwhelmingly sad",[2] while Adele Berlin says that she is "intentionally not portrayed as a real individual in her own right", but that her characterization should be viewed as "the effective use of an anonymous character to fill an important literary function".[3]

Branch also argues that Jeroboam's wife was abused by her husband.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 1 Kings 12:24e, New English Translation of the Septuagint
  2. ^ Robin Gallaher Branch, Jeroboam's Wife: The Enduring Contributions of the Old Testament's Least-Known Women, p. 6.
  3. ^ Adele Berlin, "Wife of Jeroboam" in Women in Scripture, p. 272.
  4. ^ Branch, Jeroboam's Wife, p. 96.