In a recent Q&A on the throne of David (Update #315), you quote Jeremiah 33:17, 21 for your assertion that there will always be a descendant sitting on the throne of David, until Christ returns. You state that after the beginning of the Babylonian captivity of the house of Judah, the throne of David was transferred to Ireland, then to Scotland, and finally to England, where it is occupied today by Queen Elizabeth II. But how does this square with the passage in Jeremiah, saying that a "man" or a "son" of David, and not a woman, would always be sitting on that throne?


Although in the vast majority of cases, men have been sitting on the throne of David, it is indeed correct that on a few occasions, a woman, rather than a man, occupied the throne.

We are told that the Kingdom of Great Britain was formed on May 1, 1707, with the merger of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which had been in personal union under the House of Stuart since 1603. In 1801 Great Britain merged with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After most of Ireland left the union in 1922, in 1927 its name was amended to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In looking at lists of the English monarchy, we find that for instance Anne, from the house of Stuart, ruled England and Scotland from 1707 until 1714; Victoria, from the house of Hanover, ruled England from 1837 until 1901; and Elizabeth II, from the house of Windsor, has been ruling England since 1952.

How, then, was the prophecy in Jeremiah 33 fulfilled, stating that “a man” or “a son” of David would always sit on his throne?

(1) David Won’t Lack a “Man”

Let us consider the Hebrew meaning of the word, translated as “MAN” in Jeremiah 33:17, where we read: “David shall never lack a MAN to sit on the throne of the house of Israel.”

According to Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, the Hebrew word for “man” is “adam.” Young’s explains that the word “adam” does not just mean “man,” but it includes a woman as well; in other words, a better translation would be “human being.” For instance, we read in Genesis 1:27: “So God created man (“adam” in Hebrew) in His own image; in the image of God He created him; MALE and FEMALE He created them.”

Many other Biblical passages could be cited, using the word “adam” or “man” for both males and females, or men and women. For instance, please note Genesis 6:1, 4, 5, 7; 7:21; 8:21, etc. etc.

According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, No. 376, the Hebrew word for “man” in Jeremiah 33:17 is not “adam,” but “iysh.” Without determining which Concordance is correct, the meaning of the Hebrew word “iysh” is not limited to a male, either; it can also include a female, so that a better rendition would be, “human being.” Note, for example, the following passages, which, according to Strong’s, use the Hebrew word “iysh”: Job 15:16; 34:11; 38:26; Psalm 34:12; 39:11; 78:25, etc. etc.

Many Bible translations have recognized the fact that God did not limit the descendants of David, sitting on the throne of David, to males, while excluding females. As a consequence, note how they render the passage in Jeremiah 33:17:

“David shall never lack an HEIR to sit on the throne of the house of Israel” (Lamsa; compare also the Living Bible).

“David will never lack a SUCCESSOR on the throne of Israel” (Revised English Bible; compare also the New American Bible).

“A Davidic KING shall never be lacking to sit upon the throne of Israel” (Moffat).

“David shall never lack a DESCENDANT to sit on the throne of the house of Israel” (Menge and Zuercher).

“David shall never lack SOMEONE sitting on the throne of the house of Israel” (Luther).

(2) David Shall Never Lack a “Son”

However, how are we to understand verses 20-21 of Jeremiah 33, which state:

“… If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a SON to reign on his throne…”

The Hebrew word for “son” is “ben” and just means “offspring” (compare Young’s). As with the Hebrew word “adam,” the word “ben” is not limited to male offspring, but can and does at times include female offspring, depending on the context. For several examples, where the word “ben” is translated as “sons,” but clearly means, “offspring,” note the passages in Ecclesiastes 2:3; 3:18, 19; 8:11; 9:12.

In addition, according to Young’s, the two words “ben adam” are used in Ecclesiastes 3:21, clearly referring to male and female. We read: “Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward…” Young states that the meaning of “sons of men” simply is, “human beings.”

Again, many translations render the phrase in Jeremiah 33:21 in such a way as to convey their understanding that the word “ben” does not have to mean a “male son,” but could simply mean “offspring”:

“… Then may also my covenant which I made with David my servant be broken, so that he should not have an HEIR to reign upon his throne…” (Lamsa).

“… so that he would not have a DESCENDANT reigning upon his throne…” (Tanakh; compare also the New International Version and the Menge Bible).

“… none of his LINE… ” (The Revised English Bible).

That the Hebrew word “ben” cannot literally mean “son” in Jeremiah 33:21, is clear from the context anyway–God was obviously not just talking about David’s SON Solomon; rather, He was referring to David’s DESCENDANTS who would be ruling on the throne for thousands of years to come, until Christ returns (who, as a descendant of David, would then take over the throne).

(3) God Explains the Meaning

It is, therefore, a question of context, as how to translate the Hebrew words “adam” or “iysh,” and “ben.” In the case of Jeremiah 33:17, 21, “offspring” and “descendant” seem to be the correct choices, regardless of the gender, as God Himself explains the meaning of His covenant in the same 33rd chapter of the book of Jeremiah, in verses 25- 26:

He says about David: “If My covenant is not with day and night… then I will cast away the DESCENDANTS of… David My servant, so that I will not take any of his DESCENDANTS to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” The Authorized Version translates “seed” for “descendants.” The Hebrew word is “zera” and means “progeny,” irrespective of gender. Compare passages such as Genesis 15:13; 16:10; Malachi 2:15.

(4) God’s Law Includes Female Descendants

In addition, even if the Hebrew terms “adam” or “iysh” and “ben” were to be understood as “man” and “son,” female descendants would STILL be included, according to the Word of God. Howard B. Rand writes in “Study in Jeremiah,” on pages 203 and 204:

“… church leaders have for the most part completely failed to recognize that with the death of the sons of Zedekiah [the last king of Judah ruling in Jerusalem] the inheritance passed to a daughter who became the heir apparent to the Throne of David. This was in accordance with the following judgment rendered by God at the request of Moses in behalf of the daughters of Zelophehad: ‘And thou shall speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughters (Num. 27:8).”

(5) Women “Ruled” on David’s Throne Before Jeremiah

There were times in Judah PRIOR to Jeremiah, when a queen, and not a king, ruled on the throne of David (compare 2 Kings 11:1-3). When God reiterated to Jeremiah the covenant that He had made with David, He surely knew that not only males, but also females had been ruling on David’s throne, and that they would sit on David’s throne in the future (including Zedekiah’s daughter). He therefore intended female rulers to be included in His promise.

We might also remember that there were times in ancient Judah when a young male was technically “king,” but practically, the throne was occupied by the son’s mother. Man would have looked at this situation, perhaps, as a woman–the king’s mother–sitting on the throne, but in God’s eyes, she just administered the throne for her royal child (compare 2 Kings 15:1-2; 22:1-2).

Based on all the foregoing, including the historical facts and developments, both before and subsequent to the prophet Jeremiah, we must conclude that God’s covenant with David was meant to include male and female descendants. Today, Queen Elizabeth II, who is a direct descendant of King David, sits on the throne of David, and her son, Prince Charles, or her grandson, Prince William, might very well be sitting on that throne in the not-too-distant future.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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