God’s First Mention of Mothers

Happy March!
As I mentioned yesterday, this month I plan on doing 30 blog posts – one per day, with one day for leeway. I’m going to study the word “mother” in the Bible. I hope to learn and share with you insights from the word about this person, this role of “mother”. Each of us had a mother, is a mother, or knows someone who is a mother. Or, of course, a combination of all three! OK actually everyone HAD a mother at some point, whether or not you knew her. I am a mother myself. I am a mother to four – three on earth, one in heaven (miscarriage). I look forward to learning about God’s purpose for mothers!
So, let’s get started! I’ll give a few definitions first and explain its basic usage in the Bible using a concordance.*
The English definition of “mother” is as follows:

  1. A woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth
  2. A female animal in relation to its offspring

1.bring up (a child) with care and affection, look after kindly and protectively, sometimes excessively so.
2. give birth to
Synonyms: female parent, look after, care for, protect, nurse, raise, rear
Antonyms: neglect
In Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word for “mother” is #H517 ’em

  • it occurs 202 times in the Old Testament
  • translated as “mother” 214 times
  • translated as “dam” 5 times
  • translated as “parting” 1 time

In Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word for “mother” is #G3384 meter

  • it occurs 85 times in the New Testament
  • it always translated “mother”
  • it points to both literal and metaphorical mothers

In Bible study there is something called the “law of first mention”.

“The ‘law of firstmention‘ is the principle in the interpretation of Scripture which states that the first mention or occurrence of a subject in Scripture establishes an unchangeable pattern, with that subject remaining unchanged in the mind of God throughout Scripture.” (www.theamericanview.com/the-law-of-first-mention)

I had this law of first mention in mind when I searched to discover the first time  the Lord had “mother” used in His Word.

Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
(Genesis 3:24)

The first time mother is mentioned is to say that her son will leave her? Wha? Nothing about the importance of mothers? No explicit instruction? Not a description of how much laundry she will have to do? Or all the other household responsibilities of being a mother?
Nope. But what I do see here between the lines is pretty incredible. It’s clear that the focus is on what a man will do when he grows up. But when we zoom in on the role of both fathers and mothers in this Scripture, it is that one day, our children will leave us. And to me, the Lord is speaking through this Word as if to say, “Your job as a mother will end. Your purpose is to prepare your children to leave.  Show him how to life live independently. Show him how to leave you and how to cleave to his wife. Don’t make them become dependent on all that you do for them. Remember, they will leave you to do life with their spouse.”  Life selflessly? Yes – as we will see later down the road in this study. But this? The law of first mention declares that this is the unchangeable pattern that the Lord has set forth for both mothers and fathers. Your children will leave you. So help them get ready.
Something else I glean from this verse is that a man (the son) shall “hold fast to his wife“.  No where in Scripture do we see mothers being called to “hold fast” to their children. Wives must hold fast to their husbands! “they shall become one flesh.
Could it be that being a faithful, loving, and respectful wife is even more important than being a godly mother? Seems to me that here in Genesis 3:24 we see that our intimate role in our children’s lives ends, but being a wife lasts as long as you live. Maybe it’s not more “important,” but certainly longer lasting! Interesting!
We’ve all seen how mothers-in-law can have a hard time with this leaving and cleaving business. It’s no wonder. We’re so involved in our children’s lives that it’s easy to forget that they are to grow up and leave up. I’ve heard so many stories about mothers that have a hard time giving up their intimate friendship (or co-dependency) with their sons. It must be hard to give up that role to the new wife – but it’s what motherhood was designed for: it’s what God had in mind when He created man and woman in His image.
So I pray we will heed what the Lord established way back in Eden, and remember that one day our children will leave us; it’s our job to prepare both ourselves and our children for that day. Thank You Jesus for this little nugget of truth today.

“…a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

*(A concordance is “an alphabetical list of the words …present in a text, usually with citations of the passages concerned” (thanks google) – and I will be using Strong’s Concordance, which explains and defines each word in the Bible.)


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