One of the differences between the account of the Davidic kings and the non-Davidic kings in scripture is the inclusion of mothers for most of the Davidic kings. None of the non-Davidic kings have their mothers listed in the summary of their reigns, though in the case of Jeroboam we are told his mother's name at the time of his rebellion against Solomon (Kings 1.11.26) and Jehoram of Israel's mother is identified by Jehu as Jezebel (Kings 2.9.22). One wonders why mothers are provided for 18 of the 21 Davidic kings but not for David, Jehoram of Judah and Ahaz. One further wonders if this reason is the same reason no mothers are listed in the summaries of all non-Davidic kings.

  • 1
    It should be noted that 'king's mother' does not always correspond to biological mother. This is clear in the case of Asa of Judah where his 'mother' is actually his grandmother.
    – Moshe Wise
    Nov 9, 2022 at 22:58
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    I think she is only mentioned if she was historically significant. What that significance was is no longer obvious to us, unfortunately.
    – N.T.
    Nov 13, 2022 at 9:46
  • The simplest solution is the one I wrote in my answer - that all royal mothers held some sort of office under the king and the kings who have no mothers listed with them did not have that office in their time or kingdom.
    – Moshe Wise
    Nov 15, 2022 at 2:37

3 Answers 3


The Books of Kings were written from the standpoint of Judah, not (northern) Israel. For these writers, the non-Davidic kings were not so important lineage-wise, because G-d had not promised these kings that their royal lineage would be unbroken. To quote Psalm 132:

The Lord swore to David a sure oath
    from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
    I will set on your throne.
If your sons keep my covenant
    and my testimonies which I shall teach them,
their sons also for ever
    shall sit upon your throne.”

Also, whether the authors thought of the non-Davidic kings as legitimate or not, the details of these kings' lineages were not as well known to these writers, who were, themselves, citizens of the Kingdom of Judah. Indeed, the book directly refers the reader elsewhere for additional information. So we see, for example, in the case of King Ahab:

Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he built, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

There are at least 17 instances in the Books of Kings, in which the reader is referred to the "Chronicles of the Kings of Israel" for additional information about the non-Davidic king whose reign has just been summarized. It may well be that the names of the northern kings' mothers were listed there.

The simplest answer to the OP question is thus that the authors of the Books of Kings generally provided much less information about the kings of Israel than about the kings of Judah. The lineages of the latter were more important because of God's promise to David. Also, additional information was thought to be available to the reader in the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

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    Why are the mothers of David, Jehoram of Judah and Ahaz missing?
    – Moshe Wise
    Nov 10, 2022 at 2:48

The solution to this problem lies with Maacah daughter of Abishalom. Maacah serves as 'king's mother' first for her son Abijah of Judah and then for her grandson Asa of Judah. When Maacah strayed after idolatry, Asa removed her from her office (Kings 1.15.13). The prophet never tells us what office she occupied, but the most obvious option is the office of royal mother. Because royal mother was an office and not a biological status, Maacah could both occupy the office of royal mother for her grandson and subsequently be removed from that office even though it is obviously impossible to 'unmother' someone. Once we accept that royal mother was an office and not a biological relationship, we can further suppose that this office only existed in the Davidic kingdom from Solomon's reign on and that this office was vacant for two of the Davidic kings (Jehoram and Ahaz). This vacancy can be understood as occurring when there was no appropriate matriarch available due to death, misconduct or illness.

In David's time the office had not been established yet. We might speculate that it was created by Solomon in recognition of Bathsheba's efforts to prevent succession controversy. Perhaps the prophet hints at the creation of a new office when he says about Solomon וישם כסא לאם המלך (Kings 1.2.19).


Excellent question.

The issue is discussed here (search for the text "why in the list of the kings of the Northern Kingdom")

An answer is offered that the Ramban writes:

שהכתובים מזכירים במלכים שמות אמותם

That it's the norm to mention the the names of mothers of kings (seemingly out of honor to the king).

The author of that blog posits that the Ramban's position is that non-Davidic kings don't have a real status of kings and therefore the name of the mother doesn't get mentioned.

רמב"ן בראשית מט:י הנה, שנו בכאן שאין מושחין מלכים מן הכהנים בני אהרן. ופירש תחלה שהוא לכבוד יהודה, שאין השררה סרה מן השבט ההוא. ולפיכך, אף על פי שישראל מקימים עליהם מלך משאר השבטים כפי צורך השעה, אין מושחים אותן שלא יהיה עליהם הוד מלכות אלא כמו שופטים ושוטרים יהיו. והזכירו הכהנים, שאף על פי שהן בעצמן ראויים למשיחה, אין מושחין אותן לשם מלכות, וכל שכן שאר השבטים, וכמו שאמרו בגמרא (הוריות יא) שאין מושחין אלא מלכי בית דוד.

As an aside, the following image which lists all the occurrences of the phrase "ושם אמו" in Tanach.
all the occurrences of the phrase "ושם אמו" in Tanach

An interesting pattern emerges (that I currently cannot explain) that "שלם" (highlighted) appears adjacent (or at least near) the phrase "ושם אמו". The "שלם" appears within Shlomis bas Divri and Shlomo haMelech and Yerushalayim. This pattern appears in all but one occurrence. That occurrence happens to be with Na'ama, the mother of Rechavam who, as can be seen, is already mentioned several pesukim earlier.

  • It is difficult to see only Davidic kings as 'real' kings. Scripture speaks very highly of Cyrus and Nebuchadnezzar II is called God's servant yet neither of their mothers are provided. Additionally, surely David himself is a legit king even though the prophet omits his mother.
    – Moshe Wise
    Nov 10, 2022 at 2:52
  • @MosheWise the author of the quoted blog quotes this as the opinion of the Ramban re: kings of the Jewish people (Koresh and others are real kings of other nations but aren't under consideration for the issue at hand). I have edited to include the words of the Ramban above. Yes this still doesn't answer the lack re: a mention of David's mother.
    – EraserX
    Nov 10, 2022 at 4:40

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