#346 – Biblical Mothers

Dancing with my mom.

Yesterday we celebrated Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day can be a day of celebration but it can also be difficult for those who’ve lost their mothers or never had the opportunity to be mothers. We do all share the common bond of having mothers, though, unless we’re in the Matrix and we’re actually all living in tubes. Trusting that we haven’t been turned into batteries, we all have had a mother at some point and some are better than others.

Here are some of the best and worst biblical mothers.

The Best


Obviously number one with a bullet would be the mother of Jesus. God himself chose her to be the mother for his Son. She really had found favor with God. There isn’t a lot in the Bible about Mary. She was young when she got pregnant, she was a faithful Jew and she stood by her son until the end. And, considering what that end was, Mary must have done something right.


Hannah was the mother of the prophet, Samuel. She and her husband couldn’t conceive a child. Hannah made a deal with God: if she got pregnant she would dedicate her child to the Lord. She and her husband conceived, Samuel was born and she took him to Eli, the priest. Hannah was a great mom because she wanted to make sure her son’s life was full of purpose. Also, “Hannah” is a palindrome.

Lois and Eunice

Lois and Eunice were Timothy’s grandmother and mother, respectively. Paul mentions the sincere faith of Lois and Eunice and how they passed it on to Timothy. I love my mother for many reasons but I most appreciate the faith she passed on to me. She and my father gave me the firm foundation with Christ upon which my life entire life is built. Paul never wrote about my mom but I still really like her.

The Worst


I’ve worked with students for a long time and it’s important not to play favorites. Sometimes it happens, though. When it does happen, it’s important not to let the students know there are favorites. I imagine this is also important with parenting. Parents aren’t supposed to have favorites but Rebekah apparently never heard that. Jacob was her favorite and she let him and everyone else know it. That favoritism led Rebekah to encourage Jacob to lie to his father and steal his brother’s birthright. Her unabashed favoritism also tore their family apart. Rebekah’s mothering definitely earned her the grocery store flowers, not the 1-800-FLOWERS flowers.


Athaliah’s story is like the end of The Godfather. Her son Ahaziah, the king of Judah, was killed. In order to consolidate her power, she had everyone else in the royal family killed. Athaliah’s grandson, Joash, escaped the bloodbath and went into hiding. For six years Athaliah ruled as queen until the priests staged a coup and restored Joash to the throne. I don’t know if Athaliah was a bad mother; she loved her son. She definitely was a bad grandmother, though, since she tried to kill Joash. The worst thing my grandparents did was buy me sweaters for Christmas. Joash had it a lot worse.

The Prostitute

King Solomon asked God for wisdom and God responded. One of the stories that best exemplifies Solomon’s wisdom is his ruling between the two prostitutes. Both prostitutes had children. One of the children died and his mother swapped her dead child with the one who was still alive. Solomon ruled that the living child should be cut in two and split between the two prostitutes. The child’s mother said to save the child while the other woman would have seen the child killed. That’s a bad mom. Not only did her child die because she accidentally laid on him but she was happy to see another child killed. That’s not even grocery store flowers, that’s dandelions picked from the lawn.

I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to be a mother. I’m very thankful for my mother and all of the other women who have influenced my life, mothers or not. Thankfully there are some good biblical examples for mothers to follow and some bad examples to avoid.

What other biblical mothers can you think of? What examples did they set?


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