That Womanly Influence

Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly. Therefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction. He also followed their advice, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth Gilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram.” 2 Chronicles 22:2-5
My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother.” Proverbs 6:20[1]
The privilege of having a loving and wise mother is an inestimable blessing to one’s early life. When godliness is added to this list of virtues, she is truly a favorable influence on her family. As Proverbs 31:28 affirms: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her.” But in King Ahaziah’s case, his mother was jealous rather than loving, and wicked instead of wise. Under the Queen-mother Athaliah’s malign tutelage, this king continued in the footsteps of his wicked father and his dissipated maternal grandfather and great-grandfather, the vile tyrants Ahab and Omri. Many in this world enter life with similarly bad parents. Is there no hope for them? Thankfully, God’s Word shows that even without good natural parents, people may learn righteous maternal wisdom in the Scriptures (Prov. 6:20), and find the Lord to be “a Father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5.)
A Woman Scorned
Athaliah was a poor example and an even worse teacher for her son. Her wicked instruction directly lead to his untimely death with his apostate cousins, slain by Jehu as a judgment from God (2 Chron. 22:5-9.) In Ahaziah’s career one sees the principle that was earlier enunciated by Abijah: “O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!” (2 Chron. 13:12.) Another verse notes: “Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard” (Prov. 13:15.) In the aftermath, his mother vented her wrath on the remainder of the royal seed (2 Chron. 22:10.) Nevertheless, in God’s providence, a godly woman named Jehoshabeath and her faithful husband Jehoiada the priest intervened to save one heir: Joash, who eventually reigned on Judah’s throne, thereby safeguarding the Davidic covenant of 2 Samuel 7.
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child . . .
How different from this sad tale was the experience of Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and others whose God-fearing mothers taught them the divine promises. Later children in the Old Testament era could join with Timothy in saying: “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15.) But what if some did not enjoy this favored home-life? The Bible offers surrogate maternal guidance in the form of biblical teaching. For example, Proverbs regularly personifies wisdom in feminine form (e.g. Prov. 1:20-33.) Dear reader, you may not have had godly parents, but the Lord offers you parental guidance in His Word. In fact, if you obey their teaching they will lead you to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal salvation (John 1:12-13.) His Spirit will live within you and lead you as you prayerfully read the Bible (1 Cor. 2:7-16.) God will lead you into an increasing knowledge of the truth, mentally and experientially, and you will find Him to be a faithful Father who always blesses His children. ________________________________________________________________________
[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture citations are from the Holy Bible, New King James Version. The boldface is mine for emphasis.
[2] Edouard Manet, “Berthe Morisot With A Bouquet Of Violets.” Image in the public domain, labelled for non-commercial reuse with modification; accessed on 12/19/17 here:
[3] Camille Corot, “A Woman Reading.” Image in the public domain, labelled for non-commercial reuse with modification; accessed on 12/19/17 here: