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.
discourses of the time. As a result, the reading and rereading of these genealogies reminded the (male) literati, for whom they were written, again and again, that common social (including gender and, as we will see, ethnic) boundaries have, at times, been transgressed in the past, and that the results of these ‘transgressions’ have been positive3. These reminders set in proportion the claims for boundaries that are implicitly advanced by the same genealogies. The result is a more nuanced ideological viewpoint on these matters, one in which claims made at one point are shown to be neither categorically nor universally valid, and one that allows for flexible explanations of events in Israel’s construction of the past, and in the lives of the readers as well 4. Although genealogies deal with ideological construction, it is reasonable to assume that the references to females fulfilling male roles reflect to some extent the actual state of the society in Yehud 5, just as those referring to them in "traditional" roles do. Thus, the constructed world of the genealogies may shed light on Yehudite Israel.
I. Family/Lineage Roles of Women
The most central of all traditional roles of women in biblical — and other ancient near eastern — literature and society was that of mother6. Needless to say, the male literati responsible for this literature were well aware that only women had the biological ability to give birth to children and therefore to maintain, through the continuous sequence of (female) childbirth, the continuation of a genealogical line and of society as a whole. It is worth stressing that