The Ten: Most memorable mothers in the Bible

A look back at some of the most famous and infamous mums in the Bible.

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1. Eve

Let’s start at the very beginning. Eve is literally the reason you and I are here on this earth today, and also the reason birthing a small human is so painful. However, she also had a great responsibility as the very first mum: teaching her kids about God and His plans for the world.

2. Sarah

Best known for: laughing in the face of an angel when she was told she was going to have a baby (which, FYI, she’d only been praying about for years). Sarah, like a lot of mums, may have doubted God at times, but He proved He was still faithful, blessing her a son who would eventually become part of the genealogy of Jesus.

3. Naomi

Mother-in-laws, this one is for you. In her darkest hour, Naomi was returning to her native Bethlehem after the death of her husband and both of her sons. Her grief must have been immeasurable, but in the midst of it all, she still had compassion for the well-being of her daughters-in-law, urging them to go back to their families where they would be well-cared for. Naomi’s teachings and example also ultimately convinced her daughter-in-law Ruth to stay with her, and to decide she wanted Naomi’s God to be her God, too.

4. Mary

The ultimate mum. Mary had such a godly character and trust in God that she was chosen to carry the Saviour of the world. She raised Jesus (and his brothers and sisters) knowing the immense privilege and responsibility with which she had been tasked.

5. Widow of Zarephath

Things were rough for Elijah, who was currently running for his life from Jezebel (FYI: not a great person). But things were even rougher for the single mum from Zarephath, as she and her son were really suffering the effects of a rampant drought. As she was gathering sticks to prepare her last meal ever, Elijah arrived and asked her for a meal. Her hunger was overwhelming, but her faith was greater. She used up the last of her ingredients to make a meal for Elijah, and God provided: they ate for many days, as her jars of oil and flour were constantly refilled. If you’re a single mum struggling through, hold on: God will provide.

6. Hannah

So many women today can resonate with Hannah’s story. She’s best known for her deep heartbreak over not being able to have children—but she’s also known for her faithfulness. Not once did Hannah give up hope that God would hear her prayer. And when He did, she responded with a sacrifice unbearable to many mums: not just dedicating her baby Samuel to the Lord, but leaving him at the temple to serve God for the rest of his life. What a mum!

7. Herodias

How to be a terrible mother in two simple steps: Influence your child to dance seductively in front of her own stepfather, then tell her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. We don’t recommend this method of parenting.

8. Pharaoh’s daughter

Proof that you don’t have to birth a baby to be a mother. While her dad was ordering the deaths of Hebrew babies, Pharaoh’s daughter went from ordinary woman to mum in one early morning bath, when she discovered baby Moses and decided to adopt him. Though she may not have raised Moses to follow the God of his people, she, like many women today, did something extraordinary: provided a loving home for a child who needed one.

9. Lois

Here’s to all the grandmas! Lois was the mother of Eunice, who was the mother of Timothy, who ended up being one of Paul’s missionary companions. Not a lot is known about Lois, but her steadfast faith, example and teachings were a strong influence on Timothy, proving that grandmas matter, too.

10. Rebekah

There’s a reason parents shouldn’t have favourites, and it’s stark obvious in Rebekah’s story. Rebekah loved Jacob, so much so that she hatched a plan to get him the birthright she thought he deserved. While Rebekah’s scheme worked, the damage she’d done with her maternal manipulation lasted years.

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