The Bible shows us different types of mothers, from which we can learn important lessons for family life. Even those who have failed their children, being bad examples, can serve as a warning for the maternal posture and attitude with the children. So let’s see, some mothers who did wrong in the Bible:
1. Penina: the arrogant and provocative Mother
Penina’s life is briefly presented in the Bible. Even so, we can learn a lot from this mother’s bad example. Her story is parallel to that of Ana, Samuel’s mother. In the text, she appears as the second wife of Elkanah, who had sons and daughters and who constantly irritated her rival, Ana ( 1 Samuel 1: 6 ). From the report, Penina seems to have been an unpleasant and intolerant person who boasted of her motherhood. His pride was proof of an exalted and self-sufficient heart, capable of hurting and disturbing, without the grace and mercy of God.
Annually, her husband took the whole family to worship God in the city of Shilo. Imagine what an excellent opportunity Penina had to proudly display her many children to her sterile opponent … Ana suffered so much from her provocations and humiliations that she couldn’t even manage eat. But God, intervened in the story and blessed Ana’s humility. While Penina, it was no longer mentioned in the story. There are no more reports about her or her children. On the other hand, we know the relevance that God gave to the attitude of Hannah and her son Samuel ( 1 Samuel 2:26 ).
Bad attitudes like those of this mother should not be encouraged, nor do they please God ( Proverbs 12: 2 ). Be warned, with this brief history, that acting with pride and harassment does not bring any benefit. The Lord mocks mockers ( Proverbs 3:34 ), and chastises the arrogant ( Isaiah 13:11 ).
Penina made her children her trophy and used them to boast and despise Ana. As a mother, she forgot that she was being a bad example for her children, acting irritatingly, arrogant and arrogant ( Proverbs 21:24 ). She also forgot that it is GOD, who gives every good gift ( James 1:17 ), including the possibility of generating life. It is He who sustains, gives health, strength and intelligence to the children.
What you can do differently: Love your children and humbly appreciate the gift of being a mother. Don’t make it a reason to boast and despise others ( 1 Corinthians 3:21 ). Watch not to make your children your private idols. Nothing and no one should take first place in the hearts of those who love God, not even their children. Every wise mother should be grateful to God for her children and dedicate them to the Father, so that they can grow up loving and honoring the Lord, as Samuel did ( Proverbs 3: 5 ).
2. Rebeca: the mother who preferred one of her children
Rebeca was the wife of Isaac, Abraham’s daughter-in-law. She was sterile and her husband insistently prayed that she would become pregnant. God heard her prayer and Rebekah had twin sons: Esau and Jacob. From the womb, she felt that the children were fighting each other. The Lord showed him that two different peoples would descend from the two sons and that the youngest son would be bigger and stronger than the oldest.
Already grown up, boys have explicitly become targets of parents’ preference. Esau was an excellent hunter and pleased his father very much with the hunts he brought from the field ( Genesis 25:28 ). Jacob was more peaceful, homey and, probably because of that, he liked his mother more because he was closer to her at home. The story of the two brothers almost came to a tragic end because of the partiality of the parents.
Read the story of Esau and Jacob here
The problem with the children’s predilection is that it always generates feelings of rejection and envy, in addition to a lot of competition and opposition between the siblings. The family environment will be less peaceful if parents treat their children with partiality, granting advantages to one over another.
What you can do differently: Reflect on your relationship with your children. Observe the way you attend to each one of them and notice if you act with more appreciation for one at the expense of others. If they are older, the children themselves can signal if there is a “favorite”. Pray and ask God that you and your spouse have no favorites, but that you love your children equally, being fair and balanced in treating everyone.
3. Atalia: the Machiavellian mother and bad adviser
Atalia was Omri’s granddaughter, daughter of Ahab, wife of Jehoram and mother of Ahaziah, all evil kings of Israel. Unfortunately, he learned a lot from his parents’ sins, especially from his mother Jezebel’s bad influence.
Atalia became her son’s advisor when he took over the kingdom at the age of 2 2 Kings 8:26 . As the king’s mother, she had a strong influence on her life and guided him on real matters, with the same perversion as her ancestors. The Bible tells us that this bad advice led Ahaziah to ruin 2 Chronicles 22: 3-7 . After the son’s death, Atalia usurped the throne and had all of his family killed who could inherit the throne, escaping his grandson Joás. Atalia was killed when Joash was proclaimed king.
The end of this tragic story makes us reflect on mothers’ power of influence as a reference for their children. Atalia’s cruelty and cunning interrupted her son’s life.
What you can do differently: Be careful not to be a stumbling block to your own children. Strive to be the best influence for them: live with joy, kindness, honesty, hope, faith and love. Your child will potentially follow in your footsteps, so set good examples in practice and be a good counselor Proverbs 12: 5 . Thus, your children will be able to learn them and pass them on to others.
* See here: Who was Jezebel in the Bible?
4. Herodias: The manipulative (and murderous) mother
Herodias was Herod’s wife, and had previously been the wife of his brother Philip. The Bible says that Herod was constantly rebuked by John the Baptist for joining with his brother’s wife and for their other illicit attitudes ( Luke 3: 19-20 ). Herodias detested John the Baptist for confronting them and preaching that they should repent of their error. She wanted at all costs to silence him. Prison alone was not enough for her, the wicked woman sought an occasion to kill John ( Mark 6:19 ). Herod, however, feared John the Baptist and kept him safe.
From the first marriage, Herodias had a daughter and with cunning and malice he used her to liquidate his cunning plan. On Herod’s birthday, the opportunity arose and the mother instigated her own daughter to carry out her evil intentions. After dancing for Herod and his guests, the young woman pleased him so much that he was entitled to a request. Enticed by her mother’s malice, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist.
Herodias manipulated his own daughter to achieve his intentions. He conspired and succeeded in executing John the Baptist. This mother’s perversion and malice certainly contaminated her daughter’s heart. Watching so many wicked episodes at home, such as the mother herself betraying and abandoning her father to join her uncle, as well as the death hatred that she felt for João Batista, made her daughter co-participant in this evil and murderous nature.
With this story, we see that Herodias corrupted his daughter because he taught her several wrong principles.
What you can do differently: Remember that children often have their parents as role models. Try to be the best example of a person for your children. Everything they learn, hear and see you doing will serve as an incentive to practice as well ( Philippians 4: 9 ).
As a mother, you need to be careful not to use your children as a means to achieve your ends. Unfortunately, there are many children who are manipulated, acting as parts in a game of offense and friction between their parents, and they suffer immensely from it. Teach your children to respect and love their father and other family members, no matter how different you are. Promote a healthy and peaceful home environment for your children to mature in faith and be happy ( 2Peter 3:18 ).
5. The mother judged by Solomon: envious and selfish
This mother’s story is portrayed in an account of the wise judgment of Solomon 1 Kings . Two prostitutes, not named in the Bible, brought an intriguing question in court for the king to resolve. Both had children at the same time and shared the house in which they lived. One night, one of them, realizing that her baby was dead, exchanged it with her colleague’s living son. The two claimed the living son as their own … Big problem for the king to judge!
Solomon, through the wisdom of God, solved the case: he threatened to break the baby alive and divide it between the two mothers. The lying mother said that she could divide the baby in two: “- neither mine, nor yours!”
What a terrible envy and ambition for this mother, to the point of putting a child’s life at risk! Resentful of having lost her son, she didn’t care that the other’s son was also killed. Fortunately, Solomon was able to discover who the real mother was: clearly, the one who showed grief for the child’s life.
The evil posture of the lying mother shows us the degree of malice and greed that an envious heart can reach.
What you can do differently: As a mother, you need to be aware of the danger of these and other ills in your family. Constantly seek instruction in the holy Bible and allow your heart to be purified by the Word of God. Pray and watch that you do not act out of greed or envy ( Proverbs 4:23 ).
See here: What we can learn from mothers in the Bible
Although these mothers are not considered good references in their children’s lives, we can learn from their bad example. Seek help from the Lord to be a better person. God’s purpose is to shape the character of mothers and fathers so that they can lead well and bless their families. May you assume a posture of love, surrender, renunciation and dedication in raising your children, so that they can grow fully, honoring and loving the Lord and their parents.
Remember: being a mother is a godsend! It is also a great challenge for all women who have or expect to have a child. With God’s grace, you can be a better mother … Count on the Lord’s help and guidance and see a transformation in your family!