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Mothers of Kings

by Tim O'Hearn

Bathsheba. Naamah. Maachah bet Abishalom. Azuba bet Shlhi. Athaliah bet Omri. Zibiah of Beersheba. Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. Jecholiah of Jerusalem. Jerusha bet Zadok. Abi bet Zachariah. Hephzibah. Meshullemeth bet Haruz. Jedidah bet Adaiah. Hamutal bet Yirmahu. Zebudah bet Pedaiah. Nehushta bet Elnathan.

Hardly a Hall of Fame of characters in the Bible, although some are better known than others. One was known to be generally good; one was known to be wicked. Most are just named in the scriptures and little is known about them, except perhaps by the reputations of their sons. For these are the mothers of the kings of Judah, from Solomon to the exile in Babylon.

When people complain, incorrectly, that women are hardly mentioned in the Bible, they forget (or never knew) that the books of the Kings and Chronicles make a point to mention the names of the mothers of all the kings except King Ahaz, who was extremely wicked. The Chronicles do not list the mothers of kings after Hezekiah, but they are listed in the book of 2 Kings. Interestingly, after Jeroboam the authors do not list the mothers of any of the kings of the northern tribes of Israel.

Mothers play an important role throughout the Bible. We have the stories of women who were barren for a long time, and eventually became mothers (Sarai; Hannah; the mother of Samson; Elizabeth). Other mothers figure prominently, like Eve, Leah and Rachel, Naomi, and (of course) Miryam (Mary) the mother of Jesus.

Why all this interest in mothers, since Mother’s Day in the United States was months ago? Perhaps it is because my mother passed from this life a couple of months ago, to await the resurrection at the return of Jesus. (1 Thes 4:16-17) If it weren’t for her influence in my life, I would probably not have been publishing Minutes With Messiah for the past seventeen-plus years. Mothers have a profound influence, good or bad. My mother’s influence can certainly be seen in me.

One of the great commands of God, repeated both to the Israelites specifically and to Christians, is, “Honor your father AND your mother.” (Ex 20:12; Eph 6:2, emphasis mine) Paul points out that it comes with a promise of long life.

One of the writers of Proverbs gave advice to men about the kind of woman they should look for in a wife. Among other qualities, he listed, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” (Prov 31:28)

Not every mother is perfect. Not every mother is even good. Nevertheless, we are to honor them.

My mother was deserving of honor. She stayed faithful to her husband for over 53 years of marriage. She raised three sons who all turned out pretty good. One of the best tributes to her recently came from one of the elders in the congregation where she and I worshipped the last several years. She had been legally blind for a while, and did all of her reading, including daily Bible reading, by audio. This particular elder commented that although she never brought a Bible to classes, her knowledge of the scriptures was outstanding. She would probably be embarrassed by my saying this, but she was a woman of great price.