’ēm. Mother, point of departure (once). (ASV and RSV generally the same.)
The word always (except once) means “mother.” In most occurrences it refers literally to the female parent. It is used at times in a figurative sense.
’ēm refers to Eve, figuratively as mother of all living beings (though she was also the literal mother, Gen 3:20); to Deborah as a mother in Israel (Jud 5:7); to a city as mother to its inhabitants (Isa 50:1; Ezk 16:44; Hos 2:2 [H 4]); and even to a worm as mother of Job (Job 17:14). On some occasions the term is applied to nonhuman mothers: Ex 34:26; Deut 22:6.
In studying the contexts and senses in which the word is used we note several of particular interest, first, texts which relate to the duties of the mother. She is to be a source of comfort (Isa 66:13), a teacher (Prov 31:1), and a discipliner (Zech 13:3).
We note also what her children owe her. These obligations may be defined as positive duties and negative duties. On the positive side, her children owe her obedience (Gen 28:7), blessings (Prov 30:11), honor (Ex 20:12), fear (i.e. respect, Lev 19:3), and mourning when she has died (Ps 35:14). On the negative side, her children must not strike her (Ex 21:15), rob her (Prov 28:24), chase her away (Prov 19:26), bring her to shame (Prov 29:15; so Lev 18:7), set light by her (i.e. ridicule her, Deut 27:16), nor forsake her law (Prov 1:8). This shows clearly the high standing of motherhood in a redeemed society.
Yet, the mother’s role in her adult son’s life was clearly subordinate to that of his wife (Gen 2:24). His duties to his mother could not supplant or take precedence over his duties to his wife.
A pagan mother could indeed love her son, and presumably the pagan son could feel a sense of duty to his mother (Jud 5:28).
The sense of guilt expressed by Job and the Psalmist (Job 31:18; Ps 51:5 [H 7]) does not indicate any particular blemish on their mothers but expresses the doctrine we call original sin.
The occurrence of the word in Ezk 21:21 [H 26] is unique and evidently means “the parting (fork) of the road” in the sense of the origin (mother) of the road.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
muth´ẽr (אם, 'ēm, “mother,” “dam,” “ancestress”; μήτηρ, mḗtēr): In vain do we look in the Scriptures for traces of the low position which woman occupies in many eastern lands.
1. Her Position in the Old Testament
A false impression has been created by her present position in the East, especially under Mohammedan rule. Her place as depicted in the Scriptures is a totally different one. Women there move on the same social plane with men. They often occupy leading public positions Exo_15:20; Jdg_4:4; 2Ki_22:14. The love of offspring was deeply imbedded in the heart of Hebrew women, and thus motherhood was highly respected. Among the patriarchs women, and especially mothers, occupy a prominent place. In Rebekah's marriage, her mother seems to have had equal voice with her father and Laban, her brother Gen_24:28, Gen_24:50, Gen_24:53, Gen_24:55. Jacob “obeyed his father and his mother” Gen_28:7, and his mother evidently was his chief counselor. The Law places the child under obligation of honoring father and mother alike Exo_20:12. The child that strikes father or mother or curses either of them is punished by death Exo_21:15, Exo_21:17. The same fate overtakes the habitually disobedient Deu_21:18-21.
In one place in the Law, the mother is even placed before the father as the object of filial reverence Lev_19:3. The Psalmist depicts deepest grief as that of one who mourneth for his mother Psa_35:14. In the entire Book of Proverbs the duty of reverence, love and obedience of sons to their mothers is unceasingly inculcated. The greatest comfort imaginable is that wherewith a mother comforts her son Isa_66:13.
M'CLINTOCK,AND JAMES STRONG
( אֵם, em, a primitive word; Gr. μήτηρ; but mother-in-law is חָמוֹת, chamoth'; once חֹתֶנֶת, chothe'neth, Deu_27:23; Gr. πενθερά). "The superiority of the Hebrew over all other contemporaneous systems of legislation and of morals is strongly shown in the higher estimation of the mother in the Jewish family, as contrasted with modern Oriental, as well as ancient Oriental and classical usage. SEE WOMAN. The king's mother, as appears in the case of Bathsheba, was treated with especial honor (1Ki_2:19; Exo_20:12; Lev_19:3; Deu_5:16; Deu_21:18; Deu_21:21; Pro_10:1; Pro_15:20; Pro_17:25; Pro_29:15; Pro_31:1; Pro_31:30)" (Smith). "When the father had more than one wife, the son seems to have confined the title of 'mother' to his real mother, by which he distinguished her from the other wives of his father. Hence the source of Joseph's peculiar interest in Benjamin is indicated in Gen_43:29 by his being ' his mother's son.' The other brethren were the sons of his father by other wives. Nevertheless, when this precision was not necessary, the step-mother was sometimes styled mother. Thus Jacob (Gen_37:10) speaks of Leah as Joseph's mother, for his real mother had long been dead. The step-mother was, however, more properly distinguished from the wombmother by the name of 'father's wife.' The word mother' was also, like FATHER, BROTHER, SISTER, employed by the Hebrews in a somewhat wider sense than is usual with us. It is used of a grandmother (1Ki_15:10), and even of any female ancestor (Gen_3:20); of a benefactress (Jdg_5:7), and as expressing intimate relationship (Job_17:14).
In Hebrew, as in English, a nation is considered as a mother, and individuals as her children (Isa_1:1; Jer_1:12; Eze_19:2; Hos_2:4; Hos_4:5); so our 'mother-country,' which is quite as good as 'father-land,' which we seem beginning to copy from the Germans. Large and important cities are also called mothers, i.e., 'mother- cities' (comp. metropolis, from the Greek), with reference to the dependent towns and villages (2Sa_20:19), or even to the inhabitants, who are called her children (Isa_3:12; Isa_49:23). 'The parting of the way, at the head of two ways' (Eze_11:21), is in the Hebrew 'the mother of the way,' because out of it the two ways arise as daughters. In Job_1:21 the earth is indicated as the common mother, to whose bosom all mankind must return.'" The term is also applied to a city as the parent or source of wickedness and abominations; as "Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots " (Rev_17:5). The Church, as the Bride, is spoken of as the mother of believers (Isa_49:14-22; Isa_56:8-12; Psa_87:5-6; Gal_4:22; Gal_4:21); and the sentiment, at once so mild and so tender, which unites the mother to her child is often alluded to in the sacred volume to illustrate the love of God to his people (Isa_44:1-8; Isa_56:6-12; 1Co_3:1-2; 1Th_2:7; 2Co_11:2).
S TWOT GK221n.f. mother (Ph. אם, Arabic أُمٌّ, إِمٌّ (˒ummun, ˒immun), Ethiopic እም (˒əmm), Sab. אם (only in n.pr. cf. e.g. Bae 118) Assyrian ummu COT; Aramaic אֵם, אִימָּא, ܐܶܡܳܐ (˒emo))—א׳ abs. Gn 32:12 +; cstr. Gn 3:20 +; sf. אִמִּי Gn 20:12 + etc.; †pl. only sf. אִמֹּתֵנוּ La 5:3; אִמֹּתָם Je 16:3 La 2:12()— 1. lit. (human) mother, as parent Gn 20:12; 32:12; 44:20 Ex 2:8 ψ 51:7; 113:9 (opp. עֲקֶרֶת) Je 15:8, 10; 20:14; 22:26; 50:12 1 Ch 4:9 Ct 6:9; 8:5 +; hence of Eve אֵם כָּל־חָ֑י Gn 3:20; poet. of birth, יָצָא מִבֶּטֶן אֵם Jb 1:21 Ec 5:14; יָצָא מֵרֶחֶם אֵם Nu 12:12 cf. ψ 139:13 (Je 20:18 + ) מִמְּעֵי אִמִּי גּוֹזִי ψ 71:6 (subj. י׳, cf. גחה 22:10; > גּוֹזִי = my benefactor from birth Thes Ew Hup Pe); also וַתְּהִי אִמִּי קִבְרִי Je 20:17; מִבֶּטֶן אֵם = from earliest existence Ju 16:17 Jb 31:18 ψ 22:11; so מִמְּעֵי אֵם Is 49:1; as giving suck Ct 8:1 (שְׁדֵי אֵם) ψ 22:10 cf. 131:2; (v. Ex 2:9 cf. v 8); as exercising authority Gn 21:21; 24:28; 27:11, 13, 14 Ju 17:2 f Ru 1:8 Ct 3:4; 8:2 etc.; especially of queen-mother as possessing dignity & influence 1 K 1:11; 2:13, 19, 20 2 Ch 22:2, 3 Ct 3:11 Pr 31:1; cf. names of mothers of kings of Judah 1 K 14:21, 31; 15:2, 10, 13 +; as shewing love & care 1 S 2:19 1 K 3:27; 17:23 2 K 4:30 Is 66:13 (sim. of י׳’s comforting his people; cf. also Gn 27:45); as beloved & lamented 1 K 19:20 (|| אָב) Gn 24:67 ψ 35:14; בֶּן־אִמּוֹ = own (uterine) brother Gn 43:29; & || אָח Gn 27:29 Dt 13:7 Ju 8:19 ψ 50:20; 69:9 Ct 1:6 cf. 8:1; so בַּת־אִמּוֹ Lv 18:9; 20:17 Dt 27:22 (|| בַּת־אָבִיו) Gn 20:12; often with אָב, as parentes Je 16:3 Zc 13:3() Is 8:4; as rightfully claiming honour, authority, etc., cf. supr., Gn 28:7 (P) cf. 37:10 (E) Ju 14:2f, so in precept Pr 1:8; 6:20; 10:1; 15:20 etc. cf. Ez 22:7; laws enjoining these Ex 20:12 = Dt 5:16 Lv 19:3 cf. Dt 22:15; laws prohib. contrary Ex 21:15, 17 (E) Lv 20:9() (H) Dt 21:18, 19; 27:16; laws as to mourning for Lv 21:2, 11 (H) Nu 6:7 (P) cf. Je 16:7 Ez 44:25; left for wife Gn 2:24; for mother-in-law Ru 2:11; for husband Dt 21:13 (law for captive women); cf. Dt 33:9 (of devoted service of Levites); loving, caring for children Pr 4:3 (on the opposite cf. ψ 27:10); loved, cared for Jos 2:13 cf. v 18; 6:23 1 S 22:3 1 K 19:20 cf. 2 S 19:38. † 2. fig. of Deborah as caring for her people אֵם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל Ju 5:7 (cf. אָב Is 22:21 Jb 29:16); so of a city 2 S 20:19 (‘stock, race, community’ RS 28cf. Proph. iv. n 8); of Israel Ho 2:4, 7; 4:5 cf. 10:14; of Judah Is 50:1(); of Hittite as mother of Jerusalem אָבִיךְ הָאֱמֹרִי וְאִמֵּךְ חִתִּית Ez 16:3, 45 cf. v 44, 45; also 19:2, 10 & vid. 23:2. † 3. of animals, dam Ex 22:29 (of ox & sheep) Lv 22:27 (of bullock, sheep, or goat); Ex 23:19 = 34:26 = Dt 14:21 (of kid); mother-bird Dt 22:6(), 7; fig. Jb 17:14 לַשַּׁחַת קָרָאתי אָבִי אָ֑תָּה אִמִּי וַאֲחֹתִי לָרִמָּֽה׃. † 4. = point of departure or division אֵם הַדֶּרֶךְ Ez 21:26 (|| רֹאשׁ שְׁנֵי הַדְּרָכִים).
†i. אַמָּה S, , , TWOT, , , GK, , , n.f. only mother-city, metropolis (cf. אֵם 2 S 20:19 & Ph.); in phrase מֶתֶג הָאַמָּה authority of mother-city 2 S 8:1; v. מֶתֶג; cf. Dr.
Edited by anh Mike, 05 January 2020 - 08:36 PM.