There are plenty of mothers and daughters in the Bible. But why are there so few mother-daughter relationships mentioned in the Bible, especially compared to mothers and sons? That’s the question a follower posed to me on Twitter last week. While editing a Mother’s Day sermon video, he noticed all the examples of mothers involved a male child. He wondered if there are examples of a mother valuing daughters. Here’s how I replied:
The Story of a Woman’s Son
The storyline of the Bible is not one of modeling parenthood, but one of looking for the promised son (the offspring of the woman). So, as it unfolds, it naturally focuses on sons (as opposed to daughters) because it is highlighting the line of a son (not because it devalues daughters.)
On that note, however, we notice that the Lord promises it is “her offspring” that will crush the head of the serpent. So, we’re clued in to look for the one who comes through a woman. This is why there are so many examples of courageous women of faith who rescue the line of the seed when threatened.
A prime example is the mother-daughter team of Jochebed and Miriam, who together courageously save the life of Israel’s redeemer.
Naomi and Ruth
My favorite mother-daughter team is Naomi and Ruth. A first, Naomi does not value her daughter-in-law Ruth. Despite the fact that Ruth has left everything to devote her life to Naomi and her God, Naomi says, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.”
Nevertheless, Ruth—taking the initiative for leadership, protection, and provision in the home—models what a daughter should be. She is a picture of covenant faithfulness. (In many ways, she is a picture of Jesus.)
When Ruth returns with word of Boaz’s kindness, Naomi realizes the Lord is showing kindness to her. Her faith is revived and works itself out in love for her daughter-in-law. Now Naomi takes the initiative for leadership, protection, and provision in the home, scheming for Ruth to initiate a marriage proposal to Boaz.
The story ends with the women of Bethlehem, offering a subtle rebuke to Naomi. She thought she was empty because she lost her sons. But her daughter-in-law, who loves her, is better than seven sons.
The Promised King
This story took place during the time when the judges ruled. There was no king in Israel, so everyone did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Israel desperately needed a king—someone to conquer sin, to crush the serpent’s head.
How does the Lord provide that King? Through whom did he keep his promises?
“A son has been born to Naomi,” and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
The Lord preserved and extended the line of the promised one through a mother-daughter team whose faith in the Lord worked through love.
A Blessed Alliance
Naomi and Ruth are a real mother-daughter relationship, one that includes sin, disagreement, faith, and sacrifice. More than that, they illustrate both the strength and value of women.
Spiritual mothers, daughters, and sisters in the faith remain an indispensable part of God’s plan to accomplish his Great Commission.