The Rambam in Hilchos Melachim U'Milchamot 1:5 writes:

אֵין מַעֲמִידִין אִשָּׁה בְּמַלְכוּת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז טו) "עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ" וְלֹא מַלְכָּה.

We may not appoint a woman to the kingship. As it says, “upon yourselves a king” (Deut. 17:15) - ie a “king” and not a “queen”

While this explicitly teaches that we can't appoint a woman to royalty, what if her husband is king? By extension, would this mean that her title is now "queen?"
(feels like it could be tricky to call her that- there could hypothetically be 18 queens concurrently?!)

  • not really related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/68918/…
    – alicht
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 0:03
  • What was עתליה called ?
    – sam
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 2:29
  • @sam אם חזקיה, interestingly enough. She’s never given a royal title.
    – DonielF
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 2:30
  • 1
    Though the passuk says עתליה מלכת(mo'leches)
    – sam
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 2:31

2 Answers 2


I’m aware of two terms used in Tanach: either calling her מלכה anyway, as in אסתר המלכה (Esther 5:2-3, 7:1-3, etc.), or the more crass term שגל, “royal consort” (Tehillim 45:10 and Nechemiah 2:6, as interpreted by the conclusion of Rosh Hashanah 4a).

  • Also Vashti the Queen
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 0:32
  • 2
    @DoubleAA right but Esther and Vashti weren't married to Jewish kings
    – alicht
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 0:33
  • It appears that each king has his mother's name given rather than mentioning who the king (his father) married. When King David married a woman, she is just referred to as "wife of the king" and not by a special term such as malka Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 1:16
  • @DoubleAA Given that Vashti personally was royalty I wasn’t sure how much of a proof that was. Esther, while descended from royalty, wasn’t personally royal before she married Achashveirosh.
    – DonielF
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 2:31
  • @sabbahillel Or occasionally by their son’s name (ex. Bas Sheva mother of Shlomo; Athaliah mother of Chizkiya).
    – DonielF
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 2:33


שיר השירים פרק ו פסוק ח

שִׁשִּׁים הֵמָּה מְלָכוֹת, וּשְׁמֹנִים פִּילַגְשִׁים; וַעֲלָמוֹת, אֵין מִסְפָּר

This verse talks about the king's spouses, and the word is מלכה (queen).

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