Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mother of Seven Sons

“The mother of seven will grow faint and breathe her last. She will die, ashamed and humiliated, while it is still daylight” (Jeremiah 15:9).

In ancient Israel, the symbolism of giving birth to seven children was used as a proverbial expression to describe a woman blessed with children or to refer to a family whose future in Israel was guaranteed because the family name would survive in the memory of the community through the sons.

Two classic examples of “mother of seven” appear in the Old Testament.When Hanna was delivered from her barrenness and gave birth to Samuel, she said: “The barren has borne seven” (1 Samuel 2:5). These words reflect Hannah’s joy in becoming a mother and the awareness that she had conceived a son because of God’s help.

The second example is found in Ruth 4:15. After Ruth married Boaz and gave birth to Obed, the women of Bethlehem paid her the highest compliment by telling Naomi that her daughter-in-law Ruth was better “than seven sons.” This recognition spoke highly of Ruth’s character since being a mother of seven sons was the highest accolade a woman in Israel could receive.

Read it all at the Lobster Pot, here.

2 comments:

The Very Rev'd G. Richard Lobs III said...

Thanks for posting, Alice, you have a great thread going here with the "sons".

My wife is reading a book about Ruth which she says is off the charts good. But, alas, I do not have the title at hand and she is not home. Helpful aren't I? GRL3

Alice C. Linsley said...

Let me know the title. Ruth is another of my favorite OT books. Did you know that it may have been written originally to be performed as a court drama? Thus the chorus parts. It consists of 7 scenes:
Scene 1 - Three Widows on the Plain of Moab
Scene 2 - Naomi's plight explained
Scene 3 - Ruth gleans
Scene 4 - Naomi's scheme
Scene 5 - Ruth at the threshing floor
Scene 6 - Boaz at the town gate Scene 7 - Ruth becomes Boaz' wife and bears him a son, Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, the great King of Israel, from whom came Messiah. Thus the chorus of Bethlehem women tells Naomi that Ruth is more valueable to her than 7 sons.