Posted in Family, The Christian Man

Why Biblical Fathers get a Bad Rap

Fathers day

It seems somewhat discriminatory that I spent three posts on Biblical mothers during May, the month of Mother’s Day in the US, yet nothing has been said about fathers in June.

It doesn’t escape my notice that sermons and studies abound about Biblical mothers. Fathers from the Bible? Not so much.

Is it a case of discrimination? Aren’t there any fathers in the Bible who set a good pattern for men to follow?

I hope some men will chime in to answer these questions in the comments. As for me – a woman – I’m going to give a run-down of why I think fathers from the Bible might be ignored.

Why do Biblical fathers hide on the sideline while the mothers take center stage? Because Biblical fathers…

Play Favorites

As early as Isaac, we see men choosing one child (son) over the others.

Isaac loved Esau most because they shared common interests, hunting and the taste of game. The twin Jacob, on the other hand, seemed too “feminine” in his pursuits.

Jacob learned how to play favorites, as well. In the case of Joseph and Benjamin, they were the children of the wife he loved. (A good reason to only have one wife.)

Remember how that played out for Joseph? His brothers wanted to kill him. They settled on selling him into slavery instead. Thanks, Father Jacob, for showing favorites.

Offer Children as Sacrifices

This starts with Abraham, but he didn’t actually kill his son.

What about Jephthah? Remember how he made a hasty vow in Judges chapter 11, verses 29-31? That one cost his daughter her life (although there is debate regarding if she was actually killed, since the Lord isn’t a fan of human sacrifice).

In Kings, several of the wicked kings of Israel made their children “pass through the fire.” This is a reference to offering them as a sacrifice to the idol gods of the Canaanites.

Eschew Discipline

Three examples of fathers who didn’t bother to diligently teach their children to do right:

  1. Manoah – I mean, God told him that Samson had to keep the vow of the Nazarite in order to be the deliverer of Israel. Samson didn’t keep the vow and further, his father allowed him to marry a woman from their idolatrous enemies – also against the law. We know that didn’t have a happy ending.
  2. Eli the priest – His sons were supposed to follow him in the priestly duties. Instead, they corrupted the offerings and had sex with women in the tabernacle.
  3. Samuel – Eli was his mentor. Apparently, he taught him how to be an absentee father who doesn’t teach God’s law to his children. Samuel’s sons were just as wicked as Eli’s, and because of that it gave Israel an excuse to ask for a king.

Set a Poor Example

Fathers set the standard for their sons.

Solomon, the wisest man to live, showed his son that intermarriage to keep the peace was an acceptable thing. Further, allowing the heathen wives to build altars to worship their gods was okay.

Wrong. In fact, Rehoboam didn’t get to reign over Israel for too long. God’s judgment against Solomon fell on his firstborn son.

Of course, Solomon learned to have a weakness for women from his own father. David committed adultery and murder in order to gain Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, from the hands of another man.

In the end, these examples from God’s Word can teach us much. In fact, fathers everywhere should strive to NOT be like any of the men mentioned above.

Since negative examples aren’t a pastor or teacher’s first choice, it’s easy to understand why mothers merit an entire month of posts – and fathers, not so much.

Chime in below. Who are some godly examples of fathers in the Bible that can be used as positive examples?

Up next: The Problem with Judging



Freelance writer and editor whose background in education and BA in English Language & Literature amps her love of all things books. Twenty years of parenting and 26 of marriage gives unique insight to her preferred audiences of women, young adults, and teenagers.

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