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Mothers In The Old Testament

Updated on March 29, 2009

Mother is another word for teacher.

"Mothers, you are your children's best teacher. ... Teach your children the gospel in your own home, at your own fireside. This is the most effective teaching that your children will ever receive. This is the Lord's way of teaching. The Church cannot teach like you can. The school cannot. The day-care center cannot. But you can, and the Lord will sustain you. Your children will remember your teachings forever, and when they are old, they will not depart from them. They will call you blessed-their truly angel mother."

(President Ezra Taft Benson, Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Mormons)

Learning lessons from the mothers of prophets.

A study of the Old Testament will reveal the prominent role that women played in shaping and teaching those who would be prophets of God. The lives of these great Biblical women are great examples for us today to use in teaching our children the ways of the Lord.

Eve, The Mother of All Living

Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve

List of Women Who Are Named In The Old Testament

Abi, Abiah, Abigail, Abihale, Abijah, Abishag, Abital, Achsah, Adah, Ahinoam, Ahlai, Aholah, Aholibah, Aholibamah, Anah, Asenath, Atarah, Athaliah, Azubah

Baara, Bashemath, Basmath, Bathsheba, Bathshua, Bilhah, Bithiah


Deborah, Delilah, Dinah

Eglah, Elisheba, Ephah, Ephratah, Ephrath, Esther, Eve


Hadassah, Hagar, Haggith, Hammoleketh, Hamutal, Hannah, Hazelelponi, Helah, Heph-Zibah, Hodesh, Hodiah, Hoglah, Huldah, Hushim


Jael, Jecholiah, Jedidah, Jehoaddan, Jehosheba, Jehudijah, Jemima, Jerioth, Jerusha, Jezebel, Jochebed, Judah, Judith

Keren-Happuch, Keturah, Kezia

Leah, Lo-Ruhamah

Maachah, Mahalah, Mahalath, Mahlah, Mara, Matred, Mehetable, Merab, Meshullemeth, Michaiah, Michal, Milcah, Miriam

Naamah, Naarah, Naomi, Nehushta, Noadiah, Noah

Oholibamah, Orpah

Peninnah, Puah

Rachel, Rahab, Rebecca, Reumah, Rizpah, Rugh

Sarah, Sarai, Serah, Shelomith, Sherah, Shimeath, Shimrith, Shiphrah, Shomer, Shua

Tahpenes, Tamar, Taphath, Timna, Tirzah


Zebudah, Zeresh, Zeruah, Zeruiah, Zibiah, Zillah, Zilpah, Zipporah

"And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living."

The first great woman of the Bible that must be discussed is Eve, for she is the ultimate example of the word mother, in that "she is the mother of all living." She is one of the greatest women who have come to this earth, being the first mother; she was the model for all mothers.

Joined together as husband and wife, she and Adam showed us the perfect pattern that the Lord has set for families to follow. Being symbolically formed from the rib of Adam, we are taught that she is a lateral partner with her husband, working side by side in equality as they raise their children in righteousness.

As partners they became co-creators with Deity, to build and organize bodies of mortal men, making them literal parents, or progenitors, of the human race. All the children of mortality are their offspring and can fondly call them Father Adam and Mother Eve.

Eve taught her children about Jesus Christ through "the law of sacrifice."

Being created in the image of God, and deemed "very good" Eve learned to call upon the name of the Lord, or pray. She and Adam blessed the name of the Lord, and were taught the law of sacrifice as it pointed to the last and great sacrifice, Jesus Christ. These concepts of prayer, calling upon the Father through Jesus Christ, and offering sacrifices they lovingly taught their children.

Eve experienced both sorrow and joy from being blessed with children.

As a mother, Eve knew the heartache of loss as she suffered from the effects brought about by both spiritual and physical death of her children, Cain and Able. She knew the happiness and joy of knowing her posterity would continue in righteousness with the blessing of an obedient child in Seth. She received all the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and enjoyed all the gifts of the Spirit, and as a great teacher sought to prepare her posterity for all the same blessings that she enjoyed.

Another great example of motherhood is that which is set by Sarah the wife of Abraham.

Sarah's life would be one of sacrifice, it was filled with continual tests or trials, which as she proved faithful and obedient, resulted in blessings without number.

First, she was required to leave her home and family and cleave unto her husband, as they left the familiar surroundings of Ur to travel, by faith, to an unknown land. Arriving in the land of Canaan during a time of great famine, Abraham and Sarah are required to journey into Egypt for sustenance. It is here that Sarah is asked to relinquish her title as wife, and become a sister to her husband to save him from death.

Her willingness to sacrifice even her precious virtue to Pharaoh if need be, so that Abraham could live, served as an example of consecration in marriage in the fullest sense. Being blessed for her obedience, both she, with her virtue in tact, and her husband left Egypt with far more substance than they had when they arrived; they received riches, through the Lord, in abundance from Pharaoh himself.

Adriaen van der Werff, Sarah presenting Hagar to Abraham
Adriaen van der Werff, Sarah presenting Hagar to Abraham

If Abraham is called the “Father of Nations”, then surely Sarah must be “Mother of Nations” as well.

The Lord's covenant, which was made with Abraham, promised him that through his lineage would continue a "royal priesthood", and that his posterity would be "as numerous as the sands of the seashore." Yet, after 24 years of marriage, Abraham still had no seed by Sarah.

At the age of seventy-five, knowing that the years of her child bearing possibilities had passed, she learned another great lesson of sacrifice. Putting her heart on the altar she submitted her will in offering her handmaid Hagar as another in her stead, to fulfill the promise of an heir to Abraham. Because of her willingness to consecrate her all, this time to the Lord, she was blessed with the miracle birth of Isaac.

The character of Isaac testifies of the motherly skills of Sarah.

We are assured of her motherly skills as we come to know the character of Isaac more fully through the experience he has with his father, when Abraham was asked to offer him as a sacrifice to the Lord. His unquestioning submission to the will of both his earthly father and his heavenly father confirms the fact that Sarah had taught him the ways of the Lord, and the importance of the law of sacrifice, which she had a firm testimony of herself. That testimony entitled her to the same blessings as Abraham in the eternities to come.

Rebekah at the well in Haran.

Offering water to Eliezer
Offering water to Eliezer

Rebekah, the mother of twins, taught us how to be mothers who listen to the Lord.

From the moment we are introduced to Rebekah in the scriptural account in Genesis, we see her as a righteous, obedient daughter of God.

As Eliezer, servant of Abraham comes to Haran seeking a suitable bride for Abraham's son Isaac; he is prompted by the Lord to seek after Rebekah. The kindness shown to Eliezer, as she not only offers to serve him with water, but offers to water his camels as well, proves to him that she is the choice for Isaac.

When Rebekah learns what the Lord desires for her, as Eliezer asked her to go with him back to Caanan, she simply replies, "I will go." Her virtue and worthiness allowed her to know for herself, through the spirit, what the Lord would have her do. Her faith and obedience to the Lord in building His kingdom on earth are remarkable.

In faith, Rebekah obeys the will of the Lord in all things.

This same reliance upon the spirit is shown years later as she becomes pregnant with twins. In a quest to know what the "struggle" was that she felt in her womb, she simply "enquires of the Lord."

Her answer is one in which she will be required to prove herself in faith and obedience later, as she with her husband Isaac teach their children right from wrong. Making the correct decision, the one the Lord had revealed to them, she aids her husband in choosing Isaac as the worthy birthright heir. This delicate situation put both her sons at risk, but offering all she loved, she preceded in faith.

Jacob and Esau

Repent and forgive.
Repent and forgive.

Rebekah, A teacher of repentance and forgiveness, two needed doctrines for salvation.

Rebekah's magnificent teachings as a mother are, like the women before her, manifest through the lives of her children. Faith, repentance, hope, and forgiveness must have all been taught by this mother. These are revealed through her sons, Jacob and Esau, in an embrace of brotherhood after a long period of conflict and strife between them comes to an end. Truly, as a mother, she is blessed by the Lord.

Mothers today can look to the examples taught in the scriptures through the lives of these women.

There are many great women whose stories are contained in the pages of the scriptures. Named and unnamed, they show us the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ as they lived them in their everyday lives, teaching them to their children by precept and example.

By study and through faith, we can use these teachings for our own benefit and learning; for we are mothers today, striving to rear our children in righteousness attempting to make our influence for good felt for generations to come, just as they did for theirs.

Mothers, there is no greater call or blessing.

"Let every mother realize that she has no greater blessing than the children who have come to her as a gift from the Almighty; that she has no greater mission than to rear them in light and truth, in understanding and love. ...

"I remind mothers everywhere of the sanctity of your calling. No other can adequately take your place. No responsibility is greater, no obligation more binding than that you rear in love and peace and integrity those whom you have brought into the world."

(Gordon B. Hinckley, Prophet for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Mormons)


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    • Joy56 profile image


      4 years ago

      What an interesting topic for a hub...... I so enjoyed reading that

    • profile image

      Ana Henriques 

      7 years ago


      Everything was part of the plan, when Eve took the fruit, she didn't helped herself only, but she also helped Adam to be able to achieve the highest degree of glory that he could not, by no means, achieve without partaking from the fruit. Actually she helped all of us.

      Eve was created from Adam's rib, to show, in a literal way, that after the convenant of eternal marriage, the couple is considered to be one, and make decisions as one. She was one with Adam not only on a physical way, ( his rib) but also in a spiritual and eternal way.

      When the scriptures tell us, women, to obey our husbands, it would be like, respect the power of the priesthood they hold, that just like you remarkably said that you could not give birth but learned how to live with it, we can not have, but also we learned how to live with it. And to obey the revelations they have from holding the priesthood, but not to obey as a puppy, submissive and kind of "blind".

      Men and women need each other equally, just like the men can not bear children, and women can not hold the priesthood, one need each other to fulfill all the covenants. A men does not have more power over a women, more than a women have power over men. It is equal, when you marry someone, you are not signing an ownership contract, but a parternership one.

      The men preside over the family of course, the men have the priesthood and as I said, have revelations, but that doesn't mean he preside over his wife, with whom, he works together. That's a family.

      It's written crystal clear in "the family-proclamation to the world" that the husband and wife " mother and father have the obligation to help each other mutually, like equal partners"

      I'm from brazil, so that might explain some of the English errors. I enjoyed reading your point of view. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      As I understand it, God told Adam to name the animals and Adam did not find a suitable mate among them. God did not expect adam to choose a mate from another species.

      Anyway The first council God gave was that it was not good for the man to be alone. I think that makes it quite important.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      9 years ago from California


      So Eve was God's mistake? lol I find it interesting that you admit that you can't give birth, but I beg to differ with you on the last part of your comment wherein you state, "I have learned to live with that". Frankly without Eve you would not be living at all. Blessings to you as well. :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      interesting, your ezar example is a good try but you over read it. When i help my boss i am still his helper, subordinate, knowing my place under his authority, a staff member, perhaps even second in command, if my job description states "you are to subject yourself to the instructions of your boss at all times and he will rule over you, in no way can i infer that i am his equal. My position as a helper is clearly stated even though i may be the worlds best helper and i do greatly help him.

      A side note on eve helping adam, she kinda helped herself to the apple which didn't help adam, my assumption here is "helper gone awry" for i fear she was trying to rule the roost (as usual).

      Equality is big to women, i know, and in 'husbands love your wives' the man is not to abuse his top dog position. In wives 'obey your husbands' the woman is second. Second never equals first, these are fleshly goals and somewhat socially corrected by present day standards but god never changes and neither do his creeds. It seems to be a matter of perception and im fine with that.

      I don't see how you can sluff off the rib as a supporting bone when clearly it supports the chest and just say "oh well, that doesn't matter i am still gonna go with equal".

      Remember when before eve, god said to adam, check the animals first to see if there is a help meet for you there. God displays a certain attitude here, delaying the making of eve, and not from the ground but from the rib and i don't think gods attitude was one of equality, it was more like "oh no".

      Anyway i can't give birth but i've learned to live with that. Be blessed in the lord.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      9 years ago from California


      I thought you might find this information interesting in light of your comments about Eve. I agree that the organization of the priesthood is one of a Patriarchal order, however both components (man and woman) of this structure are necessary for creation and advancement to occur. Neither one of the roles have a lesser degree of importance, thus my statement was made that Eve knew her role as a “lateral partner” in the family unit.

      We find that Eve’s role was listed in Genesis 2:18, 20 as “helpmeet”. In Hebrew, the word is “ezar” which literally means “a helper”. It is used twenty-one times throughout the scriptures:

      Twice, it refers to Eve as the first woman.

      Three times, it refers to vital human assistance in times of extreme need. For example, it describes the action of someone who gives water to a person dying of thirst, or places a tourniquet on the arm of a bleeding man, thereby saving his life. In one of its verbal forms, it sometimes refers to a person who offers testimony in law court, and thus provides grounds for the defendant’s exoneration and acquittal.

      In the other sixteen places, it refers to God, who acts as Israel’s “mighty helper”, so there is absolutely no idea that this is an inferior position. It is a comparison that is very similar to the Savior’s job description.

      The word help “meet,” exar “negedo,” means that which is conspicuous, in front of, or in full sight of. It possesses a full range of ideas- royalty, vigor, courage, efficiency, and adventurousness. The verbal root suggests achievement , pioneering, and risk taking –all appropriate descriptions relating to Eve’s behavior.

      Young Hebrew girls were also reminded that “the wisdom of women builds the home” (Proverbs 14:1). In connection with the idea that women “build” a home, it is noteworthy that the Biblical Hebrew verb BNH “to build” had three main applications. In Genesis 2:22, it is the verb used when God created or built a woman. First, this had overtones of beauty, stability and durability. She was literally “built to last.” Second, it is an architectural term that is only used in relation to a very specific kind of building and its associated furnishings. The building is the temple. And third, it means to bear children. These are wonderful associations. You might say that children literally go through a temple when they are born. And that the birth of each child born in the covenant is building God’s kingdom on the earth. (The Beloved Bridegroom, Donna Nielsen)

      These insights and many others lead me to believe that Eve was created as Adam’s equal partner, completing him.

      Genesis 5:2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      adam and eve... from the rib.. the rib is a supporting structure..

      (Gen 3:16) and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.

      (Ephesians 5:22) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

      (Ephesians 5:23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

      (Ephesians 5:24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

      (Ephesians 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.

      Husbands love your wives and wives obey your husbands is the scriptural pattern.

      If equality were the objective i would think eve would have been made from an eye or a forehead... :)

    • profile image

      Fedesco Freeman 

      9 years ago

      It is good to read about good mothers.Te Bible teaches us to love and care. Ruth is an and good example of loving mother.

    • menomania profile image


      9 years ago from Elmira, New York

      Great hub. I actually homeschooled my children and some of my grandchildren, as well as some of the church family children. I would do it all over again if I had too. Thanks

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      So thorough and enjoyable! I love Hannah and Ruth. Wonderful reading about mothers in the Old Testament.


    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      Everytime I study the scriptures I learn something new. That is what is so beautiful about them to me! I love the Old Testament... and the wonderful mothers that are mentioned within its pages.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      11 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      HI Diana, reading all this takes me back to highschool when we read the old testament and the stories it contains. It's nice to see things from another perspective and to get a deeper view. Thank you for the enlightening hub :) There is much to learn.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      Thank you for your encouragement.

    • LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

      Kathryn Skaggs 

      11 years ago from Southern California

      Great Hub Doghouse... what more can one say:-)



    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      Thank you for your generous compliments and encouraging words. I am so glad that you enjoyed the HUB.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California

      Lucky Dog,

      I would have to agree with you on that one. I like Esther too! Thanks.

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 

      11 years ago from Midwest USA

      My friend. You have enlightened my afternoon with your knowledge and grace. Your hubs are always a joy to read. Very informative and inspiring. You are becoming a blessing to so many. Keep up the great work!

    • Lucky Dog profile image

      Lucky Dog 

      11 years ago

      I like Esther! She's an amazing woman!

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California

      Crazycat and Funnebone

      Thank you for your comments.

    • crazycat profile image


      11 years ago from Philippines

      I've read a book long time ago about some of these women in the old testament and how they live their lives.

    • funnebone profile image


      11 years ago from Philadelphia Pa

      Thank you...

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California

      Mr M.

      Thank you again for your comments. I do love Ruth also, I hope to write and entire Hub on her and Naomi. Mothers are certainly wonderful people. I would have to agree with you on that!

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      11 years ago from Sydney

      All the Mothers together and the great ones to come.

      I do belive I like ruth the most.

      She has shown the most in all

      Great hub on Mothers and women in general.

      I take my hat off to all Ladies.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      Thank you for reading and adding your comment.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      I would agree with you, being a mother is an important responsibility, as is being a father. This is God's plan for His children here on earth, to be raised by loving parents who teach them of His ways. Honoring your parents therefore is one of God's laws for His children to follow. I am grateful for the wonderful parents that were an example to me. You are so right, they deserve our respect and honor. Thank you for your insightful comments.

    • dsasser profile image


      11 years ago from US

      interesting article

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      Thank you for your comments, I am so glad you enjoyed the HUB.

    • PenmanZee profile image


      11 years ago

      Always a pleasure to read your hubs Doghse. Besides God, a mother is probably the most influential person in out lives especially in the formative years and you have made it very clear. You rightly exhort mothers to realize the significance of their station in life. I would also say realizing the important role mothers play it behooves us to honor them accordingly and teach others to do so too.

    • commentonthis7 profile image


      11 years ago

      there are great pictures great hub great everything enjoy reading

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      BTW, thank you for the suggestion for the spotlight, I just received the notice. :)

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 

      11 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks Doghouse, I'm looking forward to the hub on Hannah and Samuel :) I know, there are so many wonderful women in scripture to talk about!

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      Thanks I liked them too!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I like paintings

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California

      Hi amy

      Great new picture! Hannah is an awesome example of sacrifice and love, isn't she. As you can see, I simply started from the beginning of the Bible and decided I had better quit when I had only reviewed these three, for the sake of my readers. lol I hope to devote time to Hannah later in another Hub, as I review the prophet Samuel. There are just simply too many wonderful women to pay tribute to I am afraid. Thank you for you kind comments.

    • In The Doghouse profile imageAUTHOR

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      Thank you for your kind remarks. I was contemplating putting the story of Ruth and Naomi in here, but decided I would devote an entire HUB to that story in itself. I too, love the example of those fine women. Thank you for your "Thumbs up" vote.

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 

      11 years ago from Connecticut

      Great hub, as always, Doghouse. My favorite Old Testament mom has always been Hannah. She went through so much, and just kept right on praying :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This is a very well written hub. Good points made and very encouraging also. Before I started reading it, my mind went to Naomi. I notice she wasn't mentioned here. Maybe in another thread? Thumbs up from me!!!


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