To commemorate Mother's Day, we're paying tribute to some of the most inspiring matriarchal figures in the Bible, from Eve, the Mother of Humanity, to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Genesis 2:18
Eve was the first woman, the first wife, and the first mother. Though she was not without her flaws and failings, she also experienced many firsts, both joyful and heartbreaking: She was the first to experience childbirth, the first to see her children at odds with one another, the first to experience the grief of losing a child and of seeing one of her offspring commit violence.
"I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her." Genesis 17:16
Many couples can identify with the sorrows of Sarah and her husband, Abraham. They longed to have a child together, but they were still childless long after they might reasonably have hoped to conceive. But God sent three angels to assure Abraham that he would be blessed with a son by Sarah. As promised, Sarah soon gave birth to Isaac and thereby was annointed the mother of all Israel.
"Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." Genesis 25:24
Rebekah was wife to Isaac, and like her mother-in-law, Sarah, she was for many years unable to bear a child. Isaac prayed for God to bless Rebekah with a child, and his prayers were answered: She gave birth to twins, Esau and Jacob. Esau was born first, but Jacob was his mother's favorite. This caused strife between the two brothers, though they eventually made peace. Jacob would father 12 sons, by several mothers, and they would go on to lead the 12 tribes of Israel.
So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water." Exodus 2:9-10
Having given birth to a son at a time when the Pharoah was threatening to have all male Hebrew babies killed, Jochebed hid her baby among the reeds in a waterproofed basket. He was discovered there by a royal maidservant and brought to the Pharoah's daughter. Jochebed's daughter, Miriam, witnessed this and convinced the Pharoah's daughter to allow a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. That woman was Jochebed. Having nursed him and raised him, Jochebed brought her son back to the Pharoah's daughter to insure that he would be safe. God would eventually use Moses to lead the Hebrews out of slavery.
Jochebed was also mother to Aaron, a high priest of Israel.
Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." 1 Samuel 1:17
Hannah was unable to have children and her husband's other wife, who had born children, taunted her for it. She prayed in the house of worship at Shiloh for God to bless her with a child, and the high priest Eli blessed. Hannah, who had promised God that if He blessed her with a son, she would dedicate him to His service, soon gave birth to a child she named Samuel, who would be Israel's first prophet. God further blessed Hannah with three more sons and two daughters.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!" Luke 1:41-42
Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, were both advanced enough in age that when the angel Gabriel told Zechariah they would soon have a child, Zechariah refused to believe it (he was made mute for his lack of faith).
As Gabriel had promised, Elizabeth soon conceived, and while she was pregnant, she received a visit from Mary, who was also with child. The Bible tells us that Elizabeth's son jumped for joy within her at the sound of Mary's voice.
Elizabeth and Zechariah named their child John, as Gabriel had instructed them to do, and when they had done so, Zechariah's power of speech immediately returned. John would grow up to be John the Baptist, the prophet who foretold the coming of the Christ: Mary's son, Jesus.
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the most beloved and revered woman in the Bible. An angel appeared to her and said, "Hail, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women." Nervous as she may have been, she willingly accepted her role, to give birth to Jesus. "He shall be great, and men will know him for the Son of the most High; the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob eternally," the angel told her. She remained stalwart in her faith. As she said after she learned she would give birth to Jesus, "Behold, from this day forward all generations will count me blessed."
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