The Importance of MothersApril 27, 2012 - 5:00 am
“In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba.” — 2 Kings 12:1
A common motif in the book of 2 Kings is not simply to provide the patriarchal lineage of the king, but also to provide the matriarchal lineage. Now, in the ancient patriarchal society, providing the name of the father makes sense. It grounds the new king in a royal lineage.
However, in regard to the mother, not only do we rarely ever hear of her again, but we also don’t know much about her in the first place. For example, we never find out any details of the life of Zibiah of Beersheba; nor for that matter, do we ever get any details about any of the mothers mentioned in 2 Kings.
Why then does the book go out of its way to always tell us the name of the kings’ mothers? A simple answer is that, as a history book, one in which follows a pattern as it lists the kings of Judah and Israel, it needs to chronicle both parents. Yet, only in a few other places in the Bible do we receive name of the mother of a leader, and in each case there are extenuating circumstances. Furthermore, in the book of 2 Kings, the name of the mother usually comes in a verse different from the name of the father. It almost gives the impression that the author intended to separate the influence of the mother from the influence of the father, but again, to what point?
I think we need to realize the historical situation of the kings at that time. For the most part, as attested throughout the Bible, the king typically had many sons and many wives, and did not have the time to actually take care of his children in the way we think of parents taking care of their kids today. The mothers, then, were the true parents of these princes.
The book of 2 Kings testifies to the importance of the mother in the upbringing of these one-day kings and states that whether they were good or bad stemmed from their parenting, specifically their mothers. In today’s society, parenting is usually more of a partnership, but the lessons still need to be taught.
In this age of hyper-information, our children have more “parents” than they can handle: TV, Internet, teachers, smart phones, celebrities, etc. So we need to remember that it ultimately rests upon us to help guide our children, whether we are their mother or father.