3 -: parenting stories from the Bible
1. Cut the baby in Half!
Most mothers will do anything to have their baby in their arms. Most mothers will also do anything to make sure no harm comes to them. In 1st kings Chapter 3, a woman loses her newborn baby and takes another from a woman’s home. Trying to get the baby back, Solomon’s court sees that both women are claiming to be the biological mother. What does Wise Solomon say to resolve this issue? “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other.” Completely outrageous right? One of the mothers actually agreed! “He will be neither mine nor yours! Let them cut him in two!” Thankfully the true mother would very much prefer for her baby to be alive than dead. “Give the living child to the first woman! By no means put him to death, for she is his mother.” The original mother didn’t know it was a clever ploy. She was ready to give up her baby to make sure he would be fine. Who knows why the impostor was willing for that baby to be in cut in half.
2. Embarrassing Mother
A mother can sometimes be embarrassing. You can imagine why a mother would insist on being there for an interview when the kid is 14, or 15. You wouldn’t expect to see a mother representing her son when is he … I don’t know, 30! Two sons, who happened to be Jesus apostles, had their mother talk to Jesus. “Give the word that these two sons of mine may sit down, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your Kingdom.” Jesus told her she didn’t even know what she was asking. He could have also told her to stop coddling her sons who are in their 30’s. Understandably, Bible times had different standards and a different culture than our modern one. It’s still weird for someone to demand a response “my sons better rule as kings with you, I want them to have pretty high positions.” If ever you wondered it overprotective mothers only existed in our century, now you know it’s been happening for thousands of years.
3. Prodigal Son Returns
In the book of Luke there is a story about a wealthy man who had two sons. The younger son decided to leave home, “Father, give me the share of the property that should come to me.’ His father abided and once he got his share, the son left home. So far, this younger son is not probably not the favourite anymore. He sounds pretty entitled and ungrateful. Later in the story, the son squanders all he owns and struggles to keep him afloat. Realizing the men who work for his father live better off than he is at the moment, he wants to go home and plea to his father for forgiveness. He came crawling back but a lot humbler this time, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy of being called your son.” Instead of rubbing his unfortunate situation into his face, the father was actually pretty psyched to see him. “Quick! bring out a robe, the best one, and clothe him with it, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. Also bring the fattened calf, slaughter it, and let us eat and celebrate, for this son of mine was dead but has come to life again;he was lost and has been found.” Instead of treating him like garbage, which is pretty easy to argue that he would deserve it. The father was rejoiced to see him again. This is probably a good story for a kid who thinks his parents hate him for breaking a vase. parents will always love their children.
2 -: parenting stories from the Bible
4. Pharaoh’s daughter
When the Pharaoh made a genocidal decree, mother Jochebed had to help her baby flee by putting him in an ark of papyrus and set him down in the nile. Sure, the baby was now going to escape execution but how will he survive? Who will adopt him? It would be none other than Pharaoh's daughter who would take in the baby and raise him in the Palace. Going from death sentence to raised as a prince is pretty impressive. The lesson here? Adoption works. It is recommendable not to expect all babies to be automatically adopted if placed into a river (That baby did grow up to become Moses who did rebel against the Pharaoh, but that is a whole other story).
5. Playing Favorites
Parents are not suppose to play favorites. If they do, they should at least be subtle. When an aging father Isaac sends his son Jacob hunting to return with a ‘tasty dish’ to proceed to give him his blessing, Mother Rebekah sees an opportunity. She devises a plan to trick her husband to give the blessing to her favorite son Esau. By slapping on one of Jacob’s tunic and placing goat hair on his body to resemble Jacob’s hairiness (how hairy was he?!), the almost blind Isaac gives his blessing to Esau. Seeing this story of manipulation, it makes us curious to know if our own mothers have done manipulations to favor own child. It can also make us paranoid if there is even collusion.
6. Mary the Virgin
Mary did get the unique privilege of giving her birth to Jesus, but it was no cakewalk. It was actually a 90 mile march to the city of Bethlehem. All infants had to come to the city for registration. This is why she had to stay in a barn and give birth to her baby there. Her marriage faced the awkward awkward situation of her explaining why she was a pregnant vigrin (They didn’t have insemination like in that new tv show “Jane the Virgin”). It is not easy explaining to your husband that you were impregnated by God to give birth to his son. After a visit from the wise men, They had to flee to Egypt since the King Herod hunting down all newborn babies since there was a prophecy that there would be born a new king. After his demise, they family finally settled down to Nazareth. No doubt, this was hard story to top at every dinner party they were invited to afterwards.
1 -: parenting stories from the Bible
7. Disney Candidate for Evil mother
Mother Queen of the land in Israel, tried to manipulate and use her influence over her sons when they were put into power. Was she a good role model for her children? When Jehu killed her ruling son Jehoram, she adorned herself, lot of makeup, and posed him from a place window, thinking she could seduce the man that killed her son. Pretty weird plan, I must admit. Did it work? When she was taunting Jehu sarcastically as Jehu arrived, He asked out to anyone, “Who is with me?” when a few guards looked out to him, He commanded, “Let her drop!” So they threw her out the palace window, where she would trampled by horses and then eaten up by scavenger dogs. This story doesn’t paint a pretty picture (despite her efforts to paint herself up pretty) for evil controlling mothers. Somehow, whenever reading the story of Jezebel, you feel like you know at least one person in your office who matches the description.
8. This is why you don’t have two wives
When God promised that his ‘offspring will number the stars,’ Abraham and Sarah must have been dumbfounded when they were under the impression that she was barren. Sarah probably regretted offering her slave girl ‘Hagar’ to fulfill the prophecy, since later she would finally give birth to Isaac. Meanwhile, Abraham would have his son with hagar. When Animosity growing, Sarah told her husband to throw out Hagar and her son. Then God told Abraham to listen to his wife and that he would make sure Ishmael would become a great nation himself (as well as Isaac). After getting the boot with no more than bread and a skin bottle of water, hagar wanders in the wilderness and throws her son under a bus with the logic that ‘she doesn’t want to see him die.’’ Don’t worry, she is convinced to raise her child after God send an angel to talk to her. It is a good thing she came to her senses. Without Ishmael, there wouldn’t be a great nation which apparently would be the origin of a prophet in 570 CE, Muhhamad.
9. He saw her bathing on the roof
Things don’t start so well for BathSheba and King David. After an affair that makes her pregnant, King David makes a scheme for her husband to have his own affair. When that doesn’t work, he gets himself killed on the frontline in a war. So far nothing to be proud of. Luckily, she did prove to be a good mother looking out for her son, Solomon. When David promises that Solomon is the heir to the throne, she makes sure he keeps his word. When Solomon’s half-brother Adonijah tried to usurp the throne. She reminds David to keep his promise. The story ends with Solomon proving to be a great king (with hundreds of wives and concubines). Not only that. Jesus’ lineage traces back to Bath-sheba. Doesn’t matter that she was an adulteress, not many people get to say they they are one of Jesus ancestors.
10. Lemuel’s mother
If it wasn’t for this woman, what kind of advice would mothers today would be giving their sons? “ It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine” OK, don’t drink. What else? Who can find a capable wife, her value is far more than corals. She watches over her household and does not eat the bread of laziness.” These words are probably the inspiration to Smokey Robinson’s “You better shop around.” King Lemuel’s mother has her words immortalized in Proverbs Chapter 31. People quote the book of Proverbs when talking about wise decisions. Great parenting you can trust that is three thousand years old. Too bad she is only known as Lemuel’s mother, who knows if we will ever get to know her name.