Antje Labahn - Ehud Ben Zvi, «Observations on Women in the Genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1–9», Vol. 84 (2003) 457-478
These observations address the construction of women and their roles in the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1–9. References to women in these chapters construed them as fulfilling a variety of roles in society, and characterized and identified them in various ways. To be sure, the genealogies reflected and reinforced the main construction of family and family roles in a traditional ancient near eastern society. But, numerous references in these genealogies indicated to the early (and predominantly male) readers of the book that ideologically construed gender expectations may and have been transgressed in the past and with good results. By implication, these references suggested to the readers that gender (and ethnic) boundaries can and even should be transgressed on occasion, with divine blessing, and resulting in divine blessing.
Although these chapters contain numerous references to males, they also contain references to more than fifty different women, named or unnamed. These references construe women as fulfilling a variety of roles in society, and characterize and identify them in various ways. Although the text was (most likely) written by male literati for male literati and reflects a patriarchal point of view, it contains references that indicated to the early readers of the book that ideologically- construed gender expectations may and have been transgressed in the past and with good results. The goal of this article is to advance preliminary, basic observations about some of these references to women in the genealogical lists, within the historical context of the society for which the book of Chronicles was composed1. It is our hope that by doing so, this paper will lead to future, more detailed studies on these topics.
For the purpose of the present endeavor, it seems heuristically helpful to classify the roles assigned to women in 1 Chronicles 1–9 into two categories: (a) those in which they are involved in lineage roles often associated with female members of an ancient household and (b) those representing roles that were commonly assigned to mature males in the society in general, or in their household2. It should be stressed already that the borders between (a) and (b) are represented as porous in Chronicles. Although most of the women referred to under category (a) are reported to perform "traditional" roles, a significant number of them are described as successfully fulfilling roles usually associated with males within the main (male)