In the New King James Version (NKJV), “mother” shows up 306 times. The first occurrence grabbed my attention.
Genesis 2:24 New King James Version (NKJV)
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Our children — my lady and I — now have grown children. They have left us to begin their own lives. The separation is necessary, but it hurts. In order to raise our children well, we must love them and expect nothing in return. Yet we get much. Still, they must go.
It is Mother’s Day, but what is a mother without a father? Curious, I found out “father” shows up up 1510 times in the Bible, about five times as often as “mother”. I suppose some will call that sexist, but I think some people jump to conclusions too quickly.
The first verse where “father” occurs is also Genesis 2:24. So I guess, like my lady, I also have our Lord’s permission to miss the patter of little feet.
So why does father occur so much more often in the Bible? I am not certain, but given how little importance some people attach to fatherhood these days, it is worth considering. I suppose I have found a good project for Father’s Day.
What is a mother without her husband? What is a father without his wife? The word “husband” shows up 129 times in the NKJV and the word “wife” shows up 370 times. Significant? Perhaps. We have lots of jokes and proverbs that tell us that behind every successful man stands a good wife. Here is one of my favorites.
Genesis 3:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Was the woman a temptation for the man?
What is the first occurrence of wife? Like mother and father, the word wife first shows up in Genesis 2:24. It is the love of a woman that drives a man to leave his father and mother.
There is an old saying that seems to be in accord with the Bible (Proverbs 14:1).
Men make houses, women make homes (from here)
God gave Eve to Adam because he needed her. Eve made Adam whole, and he knew it. But it does not seem to be easy for a woman to be a good wife. Perhaps she is too preoccupied being a good mother, and it is not easy for a man to be a good father. Perhaps he is too preoccupied with the wrong kind of success.
What is a good woman? She is precious. She is a woman in whose hands her husband’s heart is safe.
Proverbs 31:10-31 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Virtuous Wife
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.