Who were the worst parents in the Bible?
This question posed on Facebook by a good friend of mine sparked a lot of discussion on her page as well as here at my house. Put your thinking caps on and get ready to share your thoughts with me here!
One gal mentioned Adam and Eve as her first choice because they left their children (and the rest of their descendants) with a legacy of sin.
Dan mentioned Isaac and Rebekah who had a set of twins – Jacob and Esau. Their saga begins in Genesis 25:19. The jealousy and favoritism shown by the parents caused all kinds of heartache and trouble for the boys during their childhood and still affects the descendants of those two sons today.
My first thought was of Aaron, the brother of Moses who was appointed as the first high priest of Israel. Aaron and two of his sons Nadab and Abihu, were allowed to accompany Moses part way up the mountain when God gave the ten commandments, witnessing the glory of God.
Returning down the mountain some time before Moses, Aaron yielded to the people and helped them build the golden calf idol. I have to wonder if their father’s example influenced Nadab and Abihu to disrespect God to the point where they deliberately offered “unholy fire” on the altar of incense later during their priestly work in the temple? Their actions upset God resulting in their deaths at His hand.
Generations later, another high priest had trouble with his sons and was reprimanded by God for their behavior. Read the story of Eli and his sons in 1 Samuel 2:12-36.
The high priests weren’t the only ones whose children were influenced by their parents’ examples. Consider King David – the man beloved by God and his people. Yet, his family was one of the most dysfunctional in all of scripture. His firstborn son Absalom was extremely greedy, stopping at nothing to inherit his father’s throne. Another son, Amnon raped his sister, then cast her aside to suffer shame. Even Solomon, who started out so well and received the gift of wisdom from God, eventually succumbed to the pressures of the royal life, turning away from God.
We only have to read the books Kings and Chronicles to see more examples of royal parents impacting their children’s lives in negative ways.
Needless to say, these negative examples tell us a lot about how not to parent our kids. Tomorrow we’ll check out some positive Bible examples of parenthood.
Perhaps you have someone else in mind? I’d love to hear your vote for the “Worst Bible Parent of the Year” Award.