Friday, May 14, 2010

The Servant and the Queen

Gen. 36

I almost skipped this chapter entirely because my eyes glaze over whenever I read geneologies.  Yet, as you have probably noticed by now, my brain pauses at each mention of women in the Bible.  And vs. 39 gives us a whole string of them, "When Baal-Hanan son of Acbor died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife's name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab."

Aside from this list of names, there is nothing else we know about these women.  We do know something about Hadad.  He is listed as the last of the kings of Edom (the new name given to Esau), and the Bible wants us to realize the Edomites had kings before Isreal's (Jacob's) decendents did.  As part of God's discipline of King Solomon (only the third King of Isreal and the last to rule over the entire nation), Hadad becomes a thorn in Solomon's side.  Hadad has escaped to Egypt but begs the Pharaoh to allow him to return...just so he can pester Solomon.  (See I Kings 11:14-28)

What does this have to do with the women mention here?  I have no idea.  However, I can make some educated guesses.  Given the string of women's names, Mehetabel likely came from a long line of royalty; her mother, Matred, and grandmother, Me-Zahab, were probably queens and well known at the time.  But unlike the servant, Deborah, from the last chapter, God gives us no insight into their lives.  They are just names...ghosts of a different era.  God doesn't tell us if Mehetabel was for or against Hadad's desire for revenge.  What we do know is Edom's royal line appears to end with Hadad.  Either Mehetabel bore no children, or she bore no children of consequence.

I find it interesting God honors Deborah the servant in chapter 35 and mentions three queens in a row in chapter 36 at what appears to be the end of their royal line in a man who leaves the comfort of Egypt just so he can buzz annoyingly at King Solomon.  Reading between the lines (again, that means don't put ANY theological weight behind this comment), I think Mehetabel and Hadad wanted to be rulers of their own land badly enough to give up the luxury of Egypt.   Their pride was pricked by being in exile.

And yet, the royal Edomite line ends here. 

Mehetabel might have been the most powerful queen of Edom, but it all came to naught.  God does not honor her, gives us nothing to remember her character, only a casual mention as if to say, "She came from royal heights and fell to nothingness."

I would much rather be the servant, Deborah, than the queen, Mehetabel...and I think that's God's point.

Luke 1:52 - "He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble."
James 4:6 - "...God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
James 4:10 - "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

Until next time,

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