Mother (אֵם , em, a primitive word; Gr. μήτηρ; but mother-in-law is חָמוֹת, chamoth'; once חֹתֶנֶת, chothe'neth, De 27:23; Gr. πενθερά). "The superiority of the Hebrew over all other contemporaneous systems of legislation and of morals is strongly shown in the higher estimation of the mother in the Jewish family, as contrasted with modern Oriental, as well as ancient Oriental and classical usage. SEE WOMAN. The king's mother, as appears in the case of Bathsheba, was treated with especial honor (1Ki 2:19; Ex 20:12; Le 19:3; De 5:16; De 21:18,21; Pr 10:1; Pr 15:20; Pr 17:25; Pr 29:15; Pr 31:1,30)" (Smith). "When the father had more than one wife, the son seems to have confined the title of 'mother' to his real mother, by which he distinguished her from the other wives of his father. Hence the source of Joseph's peculiar interest in Benjamin is indicated in Ge 43:29 by his being ' his mother's son.' The other brethren were the sons of his father by other wives. Nevertheless, when this precision was not necessary, the step-mother was sometimes styled mother. Thus Jacob (Ge 37:10) speaks of Leah as Joseph's mother, for his real mother had long been dead. The step-mother was, however, more properly distinguished from the wombmother by the name of 'father's wife.' The word mother' was also, like FATHER, BROTHER, SISTER, employed by the Hebrews in a somewhat wider sense than is usual with us. It is used of a grandmother (1Ki 15:10), and even of any female ancestor (Ge 3:20); of a benefactress (Jg 5:7), and as expressing intimate relationship (Job 17:14). In Hebrew, as in English, a nation is considered as a mother, and individuals as her children (Isa 1:1; Jer 1:12; Eze 19:2; Ho 2:4; Ho 4:5); so our 'mother-country,' which is quite as good as 'father-land,' which we seem beginning to copy from the Germans. Large and important cities are also called mothers, i.e., 'mother- cities' (comp. metropolis, from the Greek), with reference to the dependent towns and villages (2Sa 20:19), or even to the inhabitants, who are called her children (Isa 3:12; Isa 49:23). 'The parting of the way, at the head of two ways' (Eze 11:21), is in the Hebrew 'the mother of the way,' because out of it the two ways arise as daughters. In Job 1:21 the earth is indicated as the common mother, to whose bosom all mankind must return.'" The term is also applied to a city as the parent or source of wickedness and abominations; as "Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots " (Re 17:5). The Church, as the Bride, is spoken of as the mother of believers (Isa 49:14-22; Isa 56:8-12; Ps 87:5-6; Ga 4:22,21); and the sentiment, at once so mild and so tender, which unites the mother to her child is often alluded to in the sacred volume to illustrate the love of God to his people (Isa 44:1-8; Isa 56:6-12; 1Co 3:1-2; 1Th 2:7; 2Co 11:2). SEE CHILD.

Bible concordance for MOTHER.

Definition of mother

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.