I'm a Christian here, so please forgive me if my question sounds stupid or something.

Unlike Christians, Jews do not believe in the virgin birth or any other significance to the Messiah’s mother. How do Jews interpret Psalms 45:9: “At thy right hand doth stand the queen (shegal) in gold of Ophir,” a verse used by Christians in support of Mary being made the Queen-Mother by Jesus in Catholic thought?

  • I imagine that he'll love his mother, as most people do. If she wants, he'll probably put her in a prominent position. If she likes her privacy, he won't, although the media will probably bother her anyway.
    – Heshy
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 20:16
  • Your citation is off by one. 45:10
    – MDjava
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 20:49
  • 3
    @mdja it's just a different numbering system. Depends if you count the opening incipit in the count
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 21:24
  • Was unaware but of course understand it's irrelevant. Thank you for clarifying
    – MDjava
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 22:05
  • 1
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Sevan! We have a policy here against questions that involve Christianity. While I’d say this is on-topic, since it’s solely about Jewish beliefs and doesn’t require any knowledge about Christianity, do you mind if I edit this to keep the main question but reinforce the point that this is exclusively a Jewish question? Do note that any edits are not irreversible and you can roll it back or edit further if you don’t like my edit.
    – DonielF
    Commented Aug 9, 2018 at 22:55

2 Answers 2


This verse is interpreted by the Talmud in the midst of a broader discussion about a certain king going bad. The part that is relevant to the interpretation of this verse is excerpted below, first in the original Hebrew and followed by the English translation, with the sentences that directly interpret the verse in bold:

Rosh Hashana 4a

אמר רב יוסף ואיתימא רבי יצחק מנלן דאחמיץ מהכא ויאמר לי המלך והשגל יושבת אצלו מאי שגל אמר רבה בר לימא משמיה דרב כלבתא אלא מעתה הא דכתיב ועל מרא שמיא התרוממת ולמאנייא די ביתיה היתיו קדמך ואנת ורברבניך שגלתך ולחנתך חמרא שתין בהון ואי שגל כלבתא היא כלבתא בת משתיא חמרא היא הא לא קשיא דמלפא לה ושתייא אלא מעתה דכתיב בנות מלכים ביקרותיך נצבה שגל לימינך בכתם אופיר ואי שגל כלבתא היא מאי קא מבשר להו נביא לישראל הכי קאמר בשכר שחביבה תורה לישראל כשגל לעובדי כוכבים זכיתם לכתם אופיר ואיבע"א לעולם שגל מלכתא היא ורבה בר לימא גמרא גמיר לה ואמאי קרי לה שגל שהיתה חביבה עליו כשגל אי נמי שהושיבה במקום שגל

R. Joseph, (or, as some say, R. Isaac) said: Whence do we know that he deteriorated? From here: And the king said unto me, the shegal also sitting by him. What is ‘shegal’? Rabbah b. Lema said In the name of Rab, a she-dog. But if that is so, what are we to make of the verse, But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven, and they have brought the vessels of His house before thee, and thou and thy lords, thy shegaloth and thy concubines have drunk wine in them. Now how can ‘shegal’ here be a dog? Do dogs drink wine? — This is no difficulty, as [we can suppose that] it was taught to drink. But what of the verse where it is written, Kings’ daughters are among thy favourites, at thy right hand doth stand the shegal in gold of Ophir? Now if ‘shegal’ is a dog, what promise is the prophet bringing to Israel? — What he means is this: Because the Torah is as dear to Israel as a ‘shegal’ to the heathens, you have earned as your reward the gold of Ophir. Alternatively I may say that ‘shegal’ does as a rule mean ‘queen’, but in this case Rabbah b. Lema had a tradition [that it means ‘dog’], and the reason why [in the text] it is called ‘shegal’ is because it was as dear to him as a queen; or, possibly, because he put it on the queen's seat. (Soncino translation)

Similarly, the Aramaic translation (Targum) translates the word "shegal" as Oraisa (אורייתא) which is the Aramaic word for Torah.

  • I think the ending of that gemara is also a valid interpretation. "Shegel" here just means "queen" (i.e. probably the Messiah's wife).
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 20:37

The messiah will be born from a Jewish woman but no he will not make his mother queen or give her any titles or powers. Besides being his mother when he is young she will have no other role in the messianic era. The idea of giving the mother of the messiah any titles or special roles or powers is a completely christian concept. As a matter of fact Judaism never mentions the mother of the messiah other than being the person who will give birth to him.

Many Christians project their ideas of Jesus onto the Psalms so for them it would seem as though the psalm is referring to Jesus or some other person. This Psalm like other pslams were written by composers in the time of David and were more than likely referring to him. So when this psalms says "Daughters of kings are among your honored women;at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir" it means what it says at face value that among the many honored women of David are the daughters of kings from David's time and that the royal bride of David is adorned with gold from Ophir. Also notice that this Psalm never even mentions anybody's mother.

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    King Shlomo made his mom a member of the royal court. Mashiach might reasonably do the same.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 3:06

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