Bad Moms of the Bible

by | May 7, 2021 | Devotional

Counting up women in the Bible we would consider good mothers is easy. But what about the bad ones? You may know some Bad Girls of the Bible, but who are some bad moms of the Bible?

Herodias was bad. She told her dancing daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist. And any mom who would want John the Baptist beheaded has to be pretty bad. There are two starving moms in 2 Kings 6 who make a deal to eat their respective sons. One mom follows through with it and shares, the other backs out. One’s mom breaks her word, but both moms are cannibals. I get they were starving, but I still say they were both bad. And here’s one more: Athaliah. Second Chronicles tells us how evil her son, Ahaziah, was. But she was a terrible influence according to 2 Chronicles 22:3, which tells us how evil King Ahaziah was in some measure because “his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly.” This mom was an evil influence. And that makes her a bad mom. 

Mothers are counsellors. Mothers are influencers, no matter how many Instagram followers they have because they have influence over their children. For good or for bad. And being a good influence brings joy to both mother and child. Proverbs 23 tells mothers how they can find joy this their influence. 

Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice (Prov. 23:22–25).

Parents get old. Moms get old. They age. As parents age, and their children age, wise children still listen to their parents. Wise children, even as they grow older, still respect their parents. Children can show this respect by listening. The parent-child relationship changes. Adult children aren’t under their parents’ authority like they used to be. But it’s still wise to listen and respect parents. They’re your parents, after all. They gave you life! Treat their words like they’re important even if you know there’s some craziness mixed in there. (Surely there’s some craziness mixed in with what you’re telling your kids.) 

Approaching listening to parents from a different angle, you’re also listening to them by valuing the biblical principles they taught you while you were under their authority. We know everyone doesn’t get this benefit of godly parents, but this is the ideal pattern. Ideally, each generation trains the next to live for the Lord by teaching the wisdom found in God’s Word. 

Wisdom is valuable! So hoard it! Get truth, and instruction, and wisdom, and understanding, and don’t let go of it. You can’t buy wisdom with money, but pursuing this wisdom must be your priority. Learning to skillfully apply the principles of the Bible to life—that’s wisdom. Parents, teach your children to be wise with instruction based on Scripture. All of us should make our life’s pursuit obtaining godly wisdom to live properly for the Lord. And it’s to a mother’s benefit to raise wise children. It brings joy. It brings gladness. It’s reason to rejoice and praise God to see your children living wisely. 

Wise grown-ups still listen to what their parents have to say and what they’ve already said. And wise moms seize the opportunity to influence their children for the Lord. And when your kids are young—what an opportunity you have to influence them to live wisely for the Lord! You can instruct them and guide them to obey God and live life according to the Word of God. You can teach them to value wisdom. And as they please God with wise choices, you will be glad. You can thank God for using you and guiding your children as they pursue wisdom.

Are truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding your priority? Whether you’re a mother or not or if your parents are still around. Maybe you don’t have a mother who would rejoice over your desire for godly wisdom, but, in a sense, you do. At the end of Matthew 12, Jesus asked: 

“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:48–50). 

Your church family is a bunch of people who want to do God’s will. These are your brothers and sisters and mothers. These are people who will rejoice with you to see you living wisely for the Lord. These are people who can even offer you some of their wisdom as you’re looking for help and encouragement. There are bad influences out there, and bad moms for sure. But, by God’s grace, there are lots of good ones influencing their children for the glory of God. 


Note: I’ve never read the books by Liz Curtis Higgs, but their titles are the obvious inspiration for the title of this post.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez from Unsplash.




Brent Niedergall

Pastor, Grammarian, Runner

Brent Niedergall, MDiv, is Chief Editor at Positive Action for Christ in Whitakers, North Carolina. He’s gone to war in Afghanistan, felled towering trees, and parsed Greek verbs.


Brent Niedergall