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Four Bible Mothers and Their Significant Strengths

MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, has spent four decades empowering young and adult women to pursue positive, productive womanhood.

Four Bible Mothers and their Significant Strengths

Four Bible Mothers and their Significant Strengths

Important Mothers of the Bible

There are exceptional women everywhere whose names remain unfamiliar and even unknown. The following four Bible mothers are among those who are not included on the list of most popular mothers, but each of them made impressive contributions to the value of motherhood.

We do well to consider the unique strengths of Rizpah, Belshazzar’s mother, the Canaanite Mother, and Eunice.

Story Sources

The WomenTheir ChildrenText Location


Armoni and Mephibosheth

2 Samuel 3:7; 21: 8-13

Belshazzar’s Mother

King Belshazzar

Daniel 5:10-12

The Caananite Mother

Unnamed daughter

Matthew 15: 21-28; Mark 7: 24-30



2 Timothy 1:5

Rizpah Protecting the Dignity of Her Sons

Rizpah Protecting the Dignity of Her Sons

1. Rizpah: Sense of Entitlement

Rizpah was a concubine to Saul, King of the Israelites and she bore him two sons. Her name does not appear on the list of popular Bible mothers, because her devoted motherhood is overshadowed by the political events of her day.

Despite a previous promise of the Israelites to protect the Gibeonites, Saul tried to annihilate them. When David, his successor, tried to appease them, they asked to even the score by hanging (and leave hanging on a hill) seven of Saul’s descendants. David gave up seven of Saul’s sons, including Rizpah’s two children. She was powerless to stop the killing; but she would not allow their flesh to be devoured by vultures. She kept lonely vigil for about six months until David took down the rotting bodies and buried them.

“Now Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until the late rains poured on them from heaven. And she did not allow the birds of the air to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night." (2 Samuel 21:10 NKJV).

The lonely grieving mother disregarded her personal pain to ensure that her children received the respect to which human beings are entitled. She demonstrated the kind of selfless love, generated only in the deepest depths of motherly hearts.

Among all the heart-moving episodes in the Bible, none is so compelling and touching as the story of Rizpah and her care of the dead. (All the Women of the Bible, Copyright Zondervan 1988)

2. Belshazzar’s Mother: Intuition

Although she was the queen mother living in the palace, she did not attend Belshazzar’s banquet in which he desecrated the temple vessels. In the midst of his revelry, he watched as part of a mysterious hand wrote his doom on the palace wall. He was never more scared. Then the queen mother appeared and rendered a short speech based on her intuition that her advice was the perfect remedy for the situation. She calmed his fear.

Elizabeth Mary Baxter in The Women in the Word commends the queen mother for her strength of godliness in the midst of ungodliness; it helped that she had probably become friends with Daniel the prophet. She knew that God have given him the description and interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and she trusted that God could also explain the current mystery through him. She knew that the interpretation could mean judgement for her son (and it did), but his behavior had to be corrected some time.

This nameless woman did and said what her godly intuition thought was best for her son. She is an encouragement to mothers everywhere to turn their children over to God when leaving them up to their folly would cause their self-destruction.

Her sudden appearance . . . is enough to tell us that where she went, she went for God, and what she said, she spoke for God. (Mary Elizabeth Parker)

3. The Canaanite: Determination

She is nameless also, and referred to in the texts as “Canaanite” and “Syro-Phoenician,” providing a clue to her non-Hebrew race; also as “Gentile” and “Greek”, which identifies her as heathen. Despite these descriptions, Jesus saw some character strength which caused Him to offer her such commendation.

Her daughter was demon-possessed and she heard that Jesus, the Teacher Healer was within walking distance. She searched for Him, found Him and humbly asked that He delivered her daughter from her suffering. Despite the fact that Jesus initially ignored her; that His disciples tried to chase her away; that He, in his delayed response, compared His attention to her with giving the children’s bread to the dogs, she insisted that her child deserved His help. She would not let Him deny her.

She is an example for mothers who are determined to see their children succeed even if they live on the wrong side of the tracks, even if nobody else sees their value. Such strength of determination usually wins against all odds.

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! (Matthew 15:28)

Timothy, Influenced by Mother and Grandmother

Timothy, Influenced by Mother and Grandmother

4. Eunice: Influence

Eunice’s name is mentioned only once in Scripture, and only as a woman of “genuine faith” who passed on this virtue to her son, Timothy. She is just one of the many mothers who intentionally plant good seeds within their children and reap their reward in the fruit that their offspring produce.

Eunice was a Jewess married to a Greek husband (Acts 16:1). It is likely that their home offered conflicting religious training to their son. However, her influence helped to guide him into the acceptance of her faith. Paul, his ministry mentor credited his devotion to the influence of his mother and grandmother who trained him in the Scriptures from an early age (2 Timothy 3:15).

Mothers like Eunice remain unseen, while their influence shines through godly lives from generation to generation. It begins with diligence in child training.

I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you [Timothy], which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. (2 Timothy 1:5)

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© 2018 Dora Weithers


Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 18, 2018:

Thanks, Rosheda. It is so encouraging to find someone else who likes Bible stories as much as I do.

Rosheda Stephenson on May 18, 2018:

This is such great motivation to delve deeper into the Old Testament: I honestly had never even heard of the name Rizpah, much less the story. The bible really is a treasure chest that keeps giving.

Gained a follower here!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 18, 2018:

Thanks, Lawrence. There are so many more where these came from. Glad you like my pick.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on April 17, 2018:


Four great stories you've reminded us of here.

Thank you

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 20, 2018:

Thanks, Manatita. I agree with you. Your last sentence says it all.

manatita44 from london on February 19, 2018:

Yes, that is where I feel that diligence should begin, in the children. Noble examples of women in scriptures and I'm sure that there are others. Thank you for highlighting them. We need both pair of wings in order to fly.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 12, 2018:

Jill, you're right. After Saul's death, she became wife to Abner. It seems that she is most popular (if we consider her popular at all) for her commitment to her sons.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 12, 2018:

Sharon, I'll keep trying. These Old Testament stories are even more interesting when we try to find lessons which fit our contemporary lifestyles.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 12, 2018:

Rev, thanks for your encouragement. Means much to me. That story is one of my favorites.

Jill Spencer from United States on February 12, 2018:

I did not remember Rizpah at all and, even after reading her story in the Bible and your hub, am sketchy on the events she lived through, including (apparently) a relationship of some sort with Abner. Her story is a grim one! Wow!

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 12, 2018:

Margaret, Bless you and thank you, I have spent numerous hours, short of reading the whole Bible looking for this specific story that I remembered my Mammaw reading to me as a child.

Dora, thank you also for writing such interesting and significant article.

Blessings my friends

Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on February 12, 2018:

Dora, I like what you said: "humorous and symbolic." I never thought of that description before, but you are right. Keep writing. I am enjoying your articles, and it is apparent that others are engaging with them also.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 12, 2018:

Rev, thanks for providing that prompt reply to Sharon's question. See what I told her about the names of these women.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 12, 2018:

Shyron, sorry for the delay in answering your question. True, the women are not named, but in my presentations, I usually refer to them as "the first woman" and "the other woman" the way they are described in the text. Humorous and symbolic.

Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on February 11, 2018:

Shyron E. Shenko, the passage you refer to is 1 Kings 3:16–28 that gives an account of two mothers living in the same house with an infant son. After one of the babies died, they went to King Solomon for him to handle the case. The women were not named.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 11, 2018:

I could not find her name, if you do, send me the passage please.



Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 11, 2018:

Good, Bill. Wish I could attend your series on Bible women. Hope you'd publish at least some of your messages.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on February 11, 2018:

Hi, Dora. Interesting stuff. I'm planning to do a series of messages on the women of the Bible at our church soon. this is great information to get me started. Thanks for the time you put into this.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 09, 2018:

Thanks,Shyron. I love her too. She may just make the next batch of strong women.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 08, 2018:

Dora, wonderful hub, I love your stories of these strong and faithful women. One of my favorite mother other than Mary is the woman who would give up her baby to the woman that would see that baby cut in half as King Solomon suggested.

Blessings always my friend

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 06, 2018:

Thanks, Peg. Glad that you like the article. The lessons these women teach are so relevant for mothers today.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on February 06, 2018:

These four women serve as examples to all women that hope to be strong of faith, spirit and determination. I loved the stories you told here. Thank you for the explanation of Jesus's statement about the bread of children. I never understood that one until I read this.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 06, 2018:

Thank, Kari. Sometimes women have to be the cheerleaders for other women who go unnoticed. That is as true now as then.

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on February 06, 2018:

Isn't it funny that the mothers are the unnamed and unseen in stories, although the mother is probably the most important person to any young child. I love how you give the reason each is an example to us. :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 06, 2018:

Thanks Frank. I appreciate you sharing your observations. So true!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on February 06, 2018:

thank you MsDora for sharing.. for me educational as well as inspirational pieces.. They warm the spiritual heart during these transitional times.. religion has fallen on irrelevant times and hubs like these help reel them back in.. bless you

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 06, 2018:

Thanks, Devika. Glad you like these stories. Will try to find others.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 06, 2018:

Thanks, Blossom. My pleasure to find positive stories of women and share them.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 06, 2018:

Thanks Demas. The punishment was for Saul's wrongdoing, nor for anything his sons did. Sins of the father? I'd say yes. That hurts.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 06, 2018:

Thanks, Denise. We also may be denied the popularity that some others get, but somebody somewhere may be impressed by our efforts.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 06, 2018:

Thank you, Linda. Mothers have made outstanding contributions since Bible times. These stories encourage us to do likewise.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 06, 2018:

Rev, thank you for pointing out that error. I started with six in mind. I am honored to have you read and like my work.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 06, 2018:

Incredible read! I like the way you explained and each and with great knowledge too.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on February 05, 2018:

I love these stories and of how these women, as mothers, showed what a heart they had for their children; concerned for their offspring more than for their own well-being. Thank you for writing about them.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on February 05, 2018:

Bible = A history of God's relationship with man.

Question I will want to study: How bad were Saul's sons, that David could allow such deaths? Something for "the greater good" philosophy? An eye for an eye? The sins of the father?

This reminds me of a minister friend who was desperately searching to understand the difference between God of the Old Testament and God of the New Testament.

A thought provoker is what you have presented here. Good show!

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on February 05, 2018:

These are certainly less well-known in the stories of the Bible. Thanks for pointing out that their example is worth emulating.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 05, 2018:

Thank you for sharing these interesting stories about the devotion of mothers, Dora. Good mothers are very important in our world and in our lives.

Margaret Minnicks from Richmond, VA on February 05, 2018:

Ms. Dora, I enjoyed reading about the four women you selected to write about. When I read your title I couldn't wait to see who you had picked. Then in the body of your article you mentioned six women. I become more excited. However, you still reported on four. Therefore, you owe your readers two more women. Just kidding!

I love your images and your chart. Keep up the good work writing after such thorough research.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 05, 2018:

Thanks, Mary. These stories are not favorite picks for Mothers' Day sermons, but they can be.

Mary Wickison from USA on February 05, 2018:

Thank you for these stories, I wasn't familiar with them.

There is no greater strength than a mother's love when she speaks from faith.

The story of Rizpah was dramatic and the image perfect for your article.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 05, 2018:

Thanks Bill. And the role in which women are strongest seems to be in motherhood.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 05, 2018:

There is no doubt in my mind at all that women are stronger than men. I've seen proof of it constantly in my lifetime. Beautiful read, Dora!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 05, 2018:

Thanks, Flourish. You made an interesting observation: the parent's devotion to the child takes precedence over his or recognition by name. The Canaaanite mother is one of my Bible favorites.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 05, 2018:

Thanks, Jackie. Sometimes we have to dig for the Bible stories about women, but the search is worth it. Yes, every kind we need is there.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 05, 2018:

Thanks, Whonu. Your comments are always appreciated. Blessings also to you and yours.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 05, 2018:

It's so interesting that several of these mothers are nameless, as that is so consistent with the role -- devotion to one's child rather oneself. I particularly appreciated the lessons of The Canaanite.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 04, 2018:

Oh, Dora the Rizpah story was so amazing. Can you imagine the toll this played on her and how she ever lived through it. Day and night of keeping watch on top of the sorrow of her loss.

What fantastic, interesting writing. I knew none of this and it is so interesting I want to go in search of more. Any story we could want is right there in the bible, and true stories!

Thank you for another winner. You really do deserve a reward. How do you even imagine these things!

So glad you do.

whonunuwho from United States on February 04, 2018:

Thank you MsDora for sharing this information and of its importance in our scriptures. All women, as well as men, are important. Many blessings. whonu

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 04, 2018:

Thanks Eric. We appreciate your respect for mothers. The women in your life obviously did well by you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 04, 2018:

Thanks, Tim. Happy that you find the article informative and happy that you want to share. I appreciate you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 04, 2018:

Thanks Lori. Some of these mothers are remain quiet in the background, but their work speaks volume. This of true of women then and now.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 04, 2018:

Thanks, Mary. When a woman earns the title of Church Mother, it is because we have benefited from the fruit of her motherhood. These Mothers keep the church going.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on February 04, 2018:

As my role as a Sunday School teacher I tried never to fail in putting the women on equal footing. How could you dare talk about Timothy without giving credit to Eunice. Christ without Mary. How can you spark a child without understanding the unknown? There are/were six women in my life that I owe my good to, the bad I own all by myself.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on February 04, 2018:

Wonderful article. These women are powerful symbols of faith and strength. I had forgotten Eunice was the mother of Timothy (my name sake.) Thanks for writing such an informative article, Ms. Dora. To quote the young people: You rock, my friend! (Blame it on my Sunday school class today.) I'll definitely share this with some of the mothers who came to church.

Lori Colbo from United States on February 04, 2018:

The only one of these mother's I'm familiar with is Eunice. The others I found exceptional, especially Rizpa, then Belshazzar's mother. I always love your profiles of people in the Bible. Nice work Dora.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 04, 2018:

The Mother has always played a key role in religion, the Bible and the Church is referred to as Mother. As a symbol, it is the closest to us so it is powerful. I have not known of some of these mothers. Thanks for writing about them.