Five Extraordinary Mothers Of The Bible

By Liz Kanoy

1. Sarah: The Mother Who Waited

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In Genesis 11:30 we learn, “Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.“ This would have grieved both Sarah and Abraham, and in Genesis 15 when the word of the LORD came to Abram he answered, what will you give me LORD since you have not given me an heir? God tells him to look at the stars in the Sky, for that would be the number of his offspring. Abraham and Sarah waited 15 years before God renewed His promise, and 10 more years before the promise was fulfilled and Sarah bore a son, Isaac.

Sarah probably wouldn’t win an award for waiting and she even laughed at the idea that God could do what He promised, but thankfully God’s promise did not rely on the level of Sarah’s faith. God fulfilled His promise according to His plan and Sarah responded in Genesis 21,

’God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.’ And she added, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’”

Can you imagine waiting that long for a blessing? Sarah tried to believe the promise, but she had doubts until it finally came to fruition. Then she laughed with joy at what the LORD had done. Isaac would go on to continue the legacy of his father Abraham.

2. Hagar: The Mother Who Endured

A woman performs a breast self-examination.
A woman performs a breast self-examination.

Hagar was an Egyptian slave and a maidservant to Sarah, the wife of Abraham; she didn’t have much say about anything and especially not in becoming Abraham’s wife. Though her status changed, she was still secondary to Sarah.

Once Hagar became pregnant with Abraham’s child, a rift developed between her and Sarah. After receiving mistreatment from Sarah, Hagar fled toward her homeland. But she met the angel of the LORD who told her to return, He also promised her numerous descendants through her son whom she was to name Ishmael.

Later, Hagar and her son Ishmael were sent away into the desert, where she believed they would both die. But God is faithful and showed her a well. Genesis 21 tells us, “God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.”

Hagar thought she would get to escape her misery, but God called her to return to it. She obeyed, and He blessed her and her son just as He promised He would.

3. Rebekah: The Mother Who Deceived

Rebekah was a woman of great faith, obeying God when Isaac’s servant told her of the man who wanted to marry her. Genesis 25 tells us that when Rebekah became pregnant she could feel the babies jostling within her. When she asked the LORD why this was happening, He answered her: “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.” In that time, the older would have never served the younger, and the firstborn son would have inherited the best of everything.

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When Isaac was old in age, he told Esau to hunt and prepare food so that he could receive his blessing. But Rebekah overheard this and told Jacob to bring her food so she could prepare it for Isaac first. Jacob was unsure about deceiving his father, but Rebekah responded in Genesis 27, “My son let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.” I think it is safe to say that she remembered and took very seriously what God had spoken to her during her pregnancy.

Rebekah risked deception to follow God’s promise, and His plan unfolded exactly as He had told her. Later her son Jacob would wrestle with God and be given a new name, Israel.

4. Leah and Rachel: The Mothers Who Had to Share

When Jacob went to stay with his uncle Laban, he met one of his daughters, Rachel, and loved her. He wanted her for his wife and was willing to work seven years to marry her. But Laban tricked Jacob by giving him his older daughter Leah in marriage instead. Jacob worked another seven years for Rachel, and he loved her more. Leah, knowing that she was unloved, bore Jacob many children to please him, while Rachel remained barren.

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Both women ended up giving their maidservants to Jacob, who in turn bore him more children. Genesis 30 tells us, “Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.” Rachel bore Jacob two sons, Joseph and Benjamin, before she died in childbirth with Benjamin.

Siblings like to compete, but can you imagine having to share a husband with your sister, feeling like you always had to outdo the other. But God blessed both Leah and Rachel with children, continuing his covenant promise with Abraham. Leah and Rachel’s sons would go on to form the 12 tribes of Israel.

5. Jochebed: The Mother with a Plan

A new King in Egypt came to power who was under no obligation to honor Joseph’s deeds in Egypt and keep the special arrangement with the Israelites. He was worried about the Hebrews outnumbering and overtaking the Egyptians, so he made them slaves. He also commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill Hebrew baby boys when they were born, but they did not listen. Then Pharaoh gave another decree in Exodus 1, “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”

Women face an uphill battle to fight for their rights under illiberal regimes. Kacper Pempel/Reuters
Pempel/Reuters

A Levite woman, Jochebed, gave birth to a son and hid him for 3 months. Exodus 2 tells us that when she could hide him no longer, she coated a papyrus basket with tar and pitch, placed the baby in it, then she set it in the reeds along the bank of the Nile. Jochebed’s daughter, Miriam, watched to see what would happen as Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bath. When Pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket, her servant’s retrieved it for her and inside she found the baby crying and knowing he was a Hebrew child she felt sorry for him.

Miriam then spoke up and asked her if she would like her to fetch a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby; she agreed and Jochebed returned with her daughter to nurse her own baby. Pharaoh’s daughter paid Jochebed to nurse and raise the baby until he was old enough to come live with her. She then adopted him as her son and named him Moses.

Source: crosswalk.com

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