Biblical MomsBiblical women often get little consideration in the stories where they are featured. Mary, Jesus’ mother, and Sarah, the wife of Abraham, get mentioned more than most. While these two women were good examples, there are many other mothers in the Bible who are often overlooked in the story of their children. Let’s focus on four mothers who made a clear difference in the history of Israel.  

Moses’ Two Moms

Moses is the man responsible for leading the Hebrews out of Egypt. He is pivotal to the story of the Jews. Moses’ biological mother, Jochabed, gave birth during a time when Hebrew baby boys were being killed at birth. Female babies were allowed to live, but Pharaoh had given an order that the baby boys were to be thrown into the Nile. Jochabed defied the law and hid her son. When it becomes risky for her to keep Moses safe, Jochabed places him in a basket and floats him in the Nile.

An Egyptian woman, the Pharaoh’s daughter, finds the baby and determines to adopt him. Moses’ adopted mother also employs Jochabed to nurse the baby. Both mothers risked a lot to protect the boy, but their story is only told in a few short verses in the second chapter of Exodus. These two women had to have been important to who Moses became as an adult.

Samuel’s Mother

Samuel was a priest who anointed Israel’s first king, Saul, and the second king, David. As a priest, Samuel often faced the wrath of the king when he would confront the leader about sin in the kingdom or in the king’s own house. Samuel’s mother almost didn’t have him. The narrative of Hannah, his mother, can be found in the first two chapters of I Samuel. She was one of two wives married to Elkanah. The other wife gave Elkanah many children, but he preferred Hannah. Even though he favored her, she desired a child of her own.

Her prayer is recorded in verse 11 of I Samuel: “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” She was in such agony during her prayer that the current priest, Eli, thought she was drunk. When he learned of her troubles, he blessed her by saying, “May the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She gave birth to Samuel. A few years later, she gave Samuel to Eli to fulfill the vow she made. Read her song in I Samuel 2 to experience her joy in her son. The Catholic Church celebrates Hannah on December 9 every year.

Naomi, the Antithesis of Stereotypical Mother-in-Laws

Naomi is a central character in the book of Ruth, which is one of the shortest books in the Bible. Naomi and her family leave Judah and move to Moab to escape a famine. Her son marries a Moabitess, Ruth. Naomi loses both her sons and her husband and decides to return to Judah. Ruth returns with Naomi, even though Naomi knows that Ruth may have it even harder in the foreign country. They have no protector and little to their name.

Naomi orchestrates a marriage between Ruth and Boaz, who is a kinsman of Naomi’s late husband. Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David, a major figure in Jewish history, but it was Naomi who brought Ruth to Judah and gave her a new life. Ruth’s narrative is about loyalty and redemption. Naomi must have been a very worthy person to elicit such devotion. 

Category: Holidays and Observances Religion

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