What does the Bible say about motherhood?


by Shawn Brasseaux

God’s Word says plenty about motherhood. (Do we care to listen?)

A CONCERNED MOTHER. Moses’ mother Jochebed (Numbers 26:59) sought the wellbeing of her three-month-old child when he was in danger of execution. Exodus chapter 2 relates: “[1] And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. [2] And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. [3] And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink.” Jochebed hide her son from evil Pharaoh who was slaughtering the Hebrew baby boys. She is in stark contrast to mothers today who do not think twice about aborting the fruit of their womb or abandoning their small children in trashcans.

AN IDOLATROUS MOTHER. Athaliah was both a wicked mother and coldblooded grandmother. She influenced her son, King Ahaziah of Judah, to associate with pagan religion. In fact, she was a daughter of Omri, and thus a sister of infamous King Ahab of Israel. “Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly” (2 Chronicles 22:2-3). Later, Athaliah slew all her grandchildren but one in order to usurp the throne of her slain son Ahaziah (2 Kings 11:1).

ANOTHER IDOLATROUS MOTHER. Maachah, Queen of Judah, and grandmother of King Jehoshaphat, was also guilty of pagan idolatry. “And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron” (1 Kings 15:13; cf. 2 Chronicles 15:16). She was not a good influence on her children or nation.

YET ANOTHER IDOLATROUS MOTHER. While unnamed in Scripture, this woman was Micah’s mother. She encouraged her son to dedicate silver to make a carved image and a molten image (idols). This false religious system exploded to infect the whole tribe of Dan, eventually corrupting the entire nation Israel! Judges chapter 17: “[1] And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah. [2] And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son. [3] And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee. [4] Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah.” Considering the extensive damage her actions inflicted on the Jews, this woman was perhaps the worst mother in Scripture!

AN AFFECTIONATE MOTHER. In 1 Kings chapter 3, two prostitutes appear before King Solomon to argue they are both mother to a certain baby. Wise Solomon proposes to cut the baby in half and give a piece to each woman. Read the rest: “[26] Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.” This woman, who is unnamed, would rather let her child be given to a stranger than see her baby die. Despite her shameful lifestyle, she was tender with “natural affection” (2 Timothy 3:3).

ANOTHER CARING MOTHER. The Prophet-Priest Samuel was a young boy when he began to serve the LORD God. Scripture says of his mother Hannah, “Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice” (1 Samuel 2:19). She faithfully made and provided clothes for her son as the years passed.

AN UNBELIEVING MOTHER. “And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger…. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother” (Matthew 14:8,11; cf. Mark 6:24,28). Herodias influenced her daughter to demand King Herod give her John the Baptist’s head. She did not believe God’s prophet, she did not care about God’s words, and she persuaded her daughter to share her sentiment. Sadly, even now, many such women lead their daughters down this dangerous path.

A WELL-MEANING MOTHER (WHO INADVERTENTLY STARTED TROUBLE!). Matthew 20:20 says, “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.” We never learn her name, but the mother of Apostles James and John wanted something from the Lord Jesus. Verse 21 tells us what it was: “And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” This desire actually started a fight amongst the 12 Apostles! See verse 24: “And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.” She meant well, but her desire caused a needless occasion to the flesh. Mothers will go to great lengths to seek the best interest of their children, but they need to be quite careful not to let Satan use those well intentions to his advantage.

A BELIEVING MOTHER, AND A BELIEVING GRANDMOTHER. Timothy, the Apostle Paul’s young companion in ministry, is said to have the following background: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Chapter 1, verse 5, had already said, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” Timothy’s mother and grandmother raised him. These two Jewesses taught him the Scriptures (which was just the Old Testament at the time). The greatest lesson they ever taught him, the supreme inheritance they left him, was sound Bible doctrine!

A HUMBLE, DECENT MOTHER. “[9] In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; [10] But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. [11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. [13] For Adam was first formed, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. [15] Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (1 Timothy 2:9-15).

A GODLY MOTHER. “[3] The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; [4] That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [5] To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5).

A DEDICATED MOTHER VERSUS A LAZY MOTHER. “[10] Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. [11] But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; [12] Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. [13] And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. [14] I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. [15] For some are already turned aside after Satan” (1 Timothy 5:10-15).

ANOTHER BELIEVING MOTHER. It is assumed that “Lemuel” (“belonging to God”) is a symbolic name for King Solomon. Whoever the lady was, that mother (Bathsheba, if Lemuel is Solomon) taught her son a prophecy. Proverbs 31:1: “The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.” Read the rest of the chapter now, all about the “virtuous woman.”

“[10] Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. [11] The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. [12] She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. [13] She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. [14] She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. [15] She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. [16] She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. [17] She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. [18] She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. [19] She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. [20] She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. [21] She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. [22] She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. [23] Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. [24] She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. [25] Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. [26] She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. [27] She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. [28] Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. [29] Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. [30] Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. [31] Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”


My dear sisters in Christ, if you endeavor to be mothers in and through whom the Holy Spirit will work mightily, you must give heed to and believe these verses. As we saw, the Bible features respectable mothers and depraved mothers. Some were flagrant idolaters; others trusted and loved the God of creation. Some were gentle whereas others were dreadfully brutal. Some taught their children God’s Word; others led their progeny to worship Satan. Some mothers were hardworking, and the rest were slothful.

Having read these passages of Scripture, you know exactly what mistakes not to repeat. You saw precisely what temptations our female ancestors faced long ago. You have already been given counsel in the Holy Bible as to how you are to think and conduct yourselves if the Lord Jesus Christ is to be glorified. It is up to you now to make the choice. You can either take your stand by faith in these verses, or you can just continue “doing your own thing.” Just remember the disasters that resulted when mothers failed to believe God’s Word. Just remember the benefits that came when mothers trusted God’s Word. Choose life… choose the grace life! 🙂

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3).

“By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee” (Psalm 71:6).

Also see:
» Can you explain the “Corban” tradition?
» What about women in the ministry?
» Is it sinful for women to wear makeup?