Five and twenty years old he was when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. – 2 Kings 15:33, 2 Chronicles 27:1

*   *   *

We are impoverished when the text becomes masculine only, and we need to rebalance that – not, from my perspective, by desexing the forms of address, because in doing so we lose the very human qualities that flesh out our ability to live with a Spirit that is also our Friend – but by recognizing feminine elements that have too often been reworked or erased. One way I do that is by watching closely for references to the Holy Spirit working and moving in the scene – she (as a Comforter) brings a woman’s touch. Also, it helps to be aware of differences before and after the Babylonian Exile; I sense that the entire system of Judaism became much more patriarchal and rigidly authoritarian once the Jews returned to their homeland – at the same time, the power of prophecy was greatly diminished as they relied more on legalistic rules than on living revelation. Examine the Scriptures regarding Sarah or Rebekah, in contrast, and you can find indications of a strongly matriarchal household, Abraham and Isaac notwithstanding! (Rebekah is a much stronger and more interesting character than her husband, whose chief claim to fame is that his father was stopped, at the last moment, from sacrificing the son.)

With this seemingly slight mention of Jerusha confirms one thing. The very fact she is named in the text indicates she was an important figure. When her son, Jotham, is credited with doing what was right in the sight of the LORD, we can safely assume it was a consequence of the way she trained him. Can we even see her as a wise counselor behind the throne? I would hope so.

*   *   *

Yea, moreover, I am very sensible, that where the Scriptures are, many Occurrences may fall out in the Course of our Lives, about which the Scripture give no particular Advice, and yet it is necessary we should have a Guide near in all our Affairs: But I well know, many Cases there are, where Scripture is altogether silent in the Matter. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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