Is Bathsheba's intercession really a good foreshadowing of the Blessed Virgin's intercession?


These quotes come from the thread on John 2:4. This topic doesn’t really have anything to do with the topic under discussion in that thread, so I decided to start a new one.

We frequently see I Kings 2:20 given as an example of the relationship between a king and his mother (the Gebira), and how that relationship is an Old-Testament type of the relationship between the Blessed Virgin and her Son Jesus. However, the citation of the verse, as it was quoted in the referenced thread tears it completely from its context and, at least in my eyes, makes the type relationship questionable. So I have a little quiz to find out how much we know about this story.

  1. Who was the man who asked the Queen Mother Bathsheba to intercede for him with King Solomon?

  2. What was his relationship, if any, to King Solomon?

  3. What was the favor that he wanted done for him?

  4. Why did he want this particular favor?

  5. What was the result of his request?

I will have some further comments, after there has been some discussion.


I know the story. Using this story to back up Marian intercession, given the results, is NOT a good idea.

If anything, it is a warning NOT to ask her for anything.

sometimes I just stir up conversation…:smiley:


I’ll see your :smiley: and raise you a :stuck_out_tongue:


This is a fine example of why we can’t just use typological explanations for proof-texting any given doctrine (pro or con, which is why the comment above about a warning AGAINST Marian intercession is also off-base). Catholics who try defending Marian intercession are bound to get shot down precisely because of the questions raised, such as those above.

Foreshadowings are just that: foreshadowings. The antitype is always greater than the type. In this particular example, Bathsheba and Solomon were both fallen creatures; there’s enough in the stories of 1 and 2 Kings to show this. We know the story. Solomon promised his mother he would not refuse, the request was made on Adonijah’s behalf to give Abishag to him as his wife, Solomon refused, and Solomon executed his brother. Didn’t work out very well for all parties involved.

But none of these detract from the actual status of Bathsheba in the court. Solomon still elevated his mother beside him, he still paid her homage before even hearing her request, and he did state he will not refuse her (clearly indicating that her word carried weight and he was able to grant what was in his power to grant, which, in political terms, excluded giving a pretender even backdoor access to the royal harem). The point of the foreshadowing is to show the relationship and office of the Davidic gebirah to the Davidic King. We also know from later in 2 Kings that the office of gebirah was also subject to some degree to the king and was not merely hereditary; Asa deposed his grandmother from the position for idolatry.

The prime doctrine this typology supports is not Marian intercession, but the Queenship of Mary. Mary is Queen only because she is the Mother of the King. Intercession draws indirectly from this. Jesus still will not refuse Mary, but the key difference is that neither Mary nor Jesus are clouded by sin, so unlike Bathsheba, Mary will never intercede for anything that is not appropriate.


I’d have to concur that this is **not **an argument for Marian intercession, but only a demonstration of the Marian position in the Heavenly economy.



Great post, there.

Type and anti-type must be used correctly. Just because a word or scene is in the New Testament and there is some resemblance in the Old does not mean you can pump what was in the OT for insight on what the NT is saying. The OT type is a SHADOW - the NT antitype - I can’t think offhand of any that go the other way - is more the realization of the shadow.

There are some end-time preachers who really go to town on this with connections between Daniel, Ezekiel and the Revelations. If you’ve read Augustine’s Ennarations on the Psalms, you will see extensive use of analogies in interpreting Scriptures, some of which are quite imaginative.


I think that’s a fair point. I myself love typology, it really fires me up. But I have been warned to not take it too far.

As to the quiz. I’ll admit I haven’t read the relevant 1 Kings passage. I will now though!


No, that’s incorrect. It’s not a ‘type’; it’s an example of the relationship between the king and the queen mother. Your example is meant, I’d assume, to show how it works as an anti-type, and therefore, is something we shouldn’t ascribe to Mary. Let’s see what your questions are trying to demonstrate…

  1. Who was the man who asked the Queen Mother Bathsheba to intercede for him with King Solomon?
  2. What was his relationship, if any, to King Solomon?
  3. What was the favor that he wanted done for him?

Adonijah, David’s son (and Solomon’s half-brother) asked Bathsheba to have Solomon allow him to marry Abishag, David’s consort (with whom David never had sex).

  1. Why did he want this particular favor?
  2. What was the result of his request?

We can speculate that, since Abishag was David’s wife, Adonijah was attempting a power play – by taking his father’s wife as his own, Adonijah was implicitly making a claim to the throne. In response to this request, Solomon had Adonijah – his political rival – killed.

I will have some further comments, after there has been some discussion.

The comments, I assume, are that Bathsheba honors Adonijah’s request, but that the King refuses. And, not only does he refuse, he kills the requestor. (Not too good a track record, if we say that this is a ‘type’ of Mary.)

The thing, though, is that this isn’t typology at work here. Rather, it’s simply pointing out how the queenship worked in the Davidic dynasty, and what the role of the Queen Mother was (i.e., she brought requests to her son the king). That’s all that’s going on here. It’s huge, of course, but not as a ‘type’ that demonstrates the effectiveness of prayer to Mary. :wink:


It’s okay to say, “this is a passage that is more fruitful when used for this kind of apologetic argument than for that kind of argument,” but you can’t declare that something isn’t a type when it’s a well-known one.

Heck, I don’t think there’s any mechanism to ever say something isn’t a type. It’d be like outlawing a specific analogy or metaphor. I suppose one might declare it theologically heretical, but that doesn’t happen often at all. A given commentator’s explanation of why one sees it as a type can be very rich and beautiful or very pathetically stupid, but that doesn’t make the type exist more or less. It just makes it more or less popular, or more or less powerful as a tool for spiritual understanding.

Nor do types have to be flattering in any way. Rahab has been called a type of the Church, and indeed all prostitutes in general have been called a type of the Church, because the Church will take anybody, just like prostitutes. You can argue about the accuracy of this in regards to Rahab (if she just kept a perfectly respectable inn), or you can argue whether prostitutes indeed take anybody, or you can argue whether this causes too much snickering or is too close to blasphemous to be useful as a spiritual tool.

I certainly wouldn’t suggest you use it as an apologetics or conversion tool, unless you really needed to make somebody laugh, and maybe not even then! You don’t want to scandalize people, and the sort of person who already thinks of the Church as the Scarlet Woman would be very easy to scandalize!

But you can’t say that “Rahab and prostitutes are not really types of the Church, because I personally find it weird to make an analogy between prostitutes and the Body of Christ, Christ’s virgin spotless Bride.” You’d be historically wrong, and you’d have a lot of saints disagreeing with you. Plus you’d be throwing away a good chunk of the Church’s biblical and mystical literature, since type and antitype are things that Church teachers have chewed over continuously, pretty much since the time of the Apostles.

(Actually, there was a school of thought that the wilder and weirder the comparison, the more likely the students would remember the theological point behind the type and antitype. It’s the same reason that people were taught to use bizarre imagery for memorization aids, and that medieval manuscripts have extremely strange drawings as place markers in the margins.)


A type is defined as a person, a thing, or an action, having its own independent and absolute existence, but at the same time intended by God to prefigure a future person, thing, or action.

A type is not merely an analogy; men can make analogies.
Men can’t make types only God can.


I think you’re using “type” in a kind of informal way. The catechism says that “[t]he Church, as early as apostolic times, and then constantly in her Tradition, has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God’s works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son” (CCC, #128)

So, the question is whether the relationship between Bathsheba and Solomon prefigures the relationship between Mary and Jesus… or whether it’s simply an earlier instance of this kind of relationship? The former would be a type; but the latter is simply an example. In other words, is the relationship between any mother and any son a ‘type’ of the relationship between Mary and Jesus? Of course not – it’s just that it’s another example of the same relationship. A type, on the other hand, is an earlier situation that, in some way, reveals something that will only occur later.

So, what I’m saying is that the Bathsheba / Solomon relationship is not a type – it’s just an earlier instance of the Queen Mother / King relationship. Just as Solomon was a king in the line of David and Bathsheba is his mother, so is Jesus a king in the line of David and Mary is his mother. No ‘typology’, no revelation of something new that will only occur in the New Testament – just an example of a Davidic king. (The relationship between Bathsheba and Solomon helps us understand why Mary is the Queen of Heaven; but it doesn’t prefigure the “Queen of Heaven” in any way.)

I don’t know how else to try and convince you of this; it seems pretty straightforward to me… :shrug:


Bathsheba is not the only example of the position of Queen Mother in the OT. Remember Athaliah and the queen mother mentioned in Jer. 13:18 weren’t seen as favorably in God’s eyes as Bathsheba was.


I said that I would have some further comments, but Porthos11 (#4) and Gorgias (#11) have already done a better job than I would have. Well done.


I misspoke there, and you are correct.

Types and antitypes are analogies drawn by God, and left to be discovered by humans.

That said, Bathsheba is well established as a type of Mary.

Here’s a pretty typical illustration from an old book on the Litany of Loreto.

Looking up this stuff in older sources is a bit of work, because one has to remember to search for “Bethsabee”, and because Google Books isn’t terribly cooperative on Latin search terms until you figure out a good mix. OTOH, “Pete, mater mea” (“Ask, O my mother”) is a good search term.

Btw, you will notice that Solomon doesn’t promise to do whatever Bathsheba wants, and Bathsheba isn’t aware of what Adonijah is up to. This is why it’s a type, not the same thing.

Bathsheba says literally in the Latin version, “I ask one little petition from you; do not put my face to confusion.” (ie, “Don’t embarrass me by refusing to hear me.”)

"And the king said to her, “Ask, my mother; for it is not right that your face be turned away.” (In other words, he will hear her.)


Here’s a list of 14 OT types of Mary, stretching over several webpages.


(Sorry for all the posts in a row. Took longer to research than I thought.)

Matthew is the most prominent person connecting Bathsheba to Jesus and Mary, since he made sure to put “the wife of Uriah” into Jesus’ genealogy.

It would seem that Bathsheba has gotten a fair amount of theological press as a type of Mary over the years, most prominently from St. Bernard of Clairvaux (whom everybody else copies on Marian topics). Jacobus a Voragine and St. John Bosco also mention Solomon’s “Pete, mater mea” as relating to Mary.

Bathsheba’s also associated with the Valiant Woman section in Proverbs 31, since “Lemuel” has generally been taken as another name for Solomon, and therefore obviously it’s his mom Bathsheba who is telling him this. And since Mary and the Church are both seen as fulfilling the Valiant Woman ideal, you can see where this is going.

Then-Cardinal Ratzinger talked a lot about all the OT types of Mary in his book Daughter Zion, and that includes Bathsheba.

Again, this doesn’t mean that you have to use Tamar and Jochebed and Bathsheba in apologetics, or that it would be useful to do so. It means that they are types of Mary. (And of the Church, too.)

Actually, the more useful section for apologetics would be what the section says that Solomon does, in 1 Kings 2:19 (which is also good for the Coronation of Mary) –

“And the king arose to meet her, and bowed to her, and sat down upon his throne; and a throne was set for the king’ s mother, and she sat on his right hand.”


Useful posts, Mintake :thumbsup:




I still say you – and your citations – are using the term ‘type’ in a way that’s different than the way that the Church describes. Are there correspondences between Mary and Bathsheba? Of course – they’re both “queen mothers”! Is Bathsheba a ‘type’ of Mary? Nope. Bathsheba doesn’t ‘prefigure’ Mary – she just shares the same roles as ‘mother’ and ‘queen’… :shrug:

closed #20

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