Zeruiah: The unseen Mother Force
I lost my mother 20 years ago. After that, I have learnt my roles and responsibilities from many characters of the Bible. These have shaped my life.
Many people find the genealogies in the Bible hard and irritating to read. They either merely glance or skip it entirely. I was one of them. Later, I realized there are some interesting things in the genealogies and one of whom we are going to learn now.
Can you name the children of Jesse?
He had 8 sons and 2 daughters
David had 2 sisters – can you name them?
Zeruiah – 1 Sam 16.10, Abigail – 1 Chron 2.16
Balm for pain
Zeruiah’s husband was Seraiah. Zeruiah means the balm used for medical purpose or pain. It also means tribulation of God. Sometimes I wonder how we are named because I too never liked my name.
Zeruiah’s name is mentioned 26 times in 25 verses in 3 books of the Bible.
She had 3 sons: Abhishai, Joab and Asahel.
Abishai was listed as one of David’s 37 mighty men. He was the second chief of the 3 – 2 Samuel 23.18,19.
Joab was the commander of David’s army and was also called as Joab the son of Zeruiah.
Asahel who was also listed as one of “David’s 37 mighty men” – 2 Sam 23:24. He had a light foot like a wild roe deer or doe – 2 Sam 2:15
I always wondered why these sons were called after their mother’s name, “sons of Zeruiah.” I then assumed that the father must have died early or she must be a remarkable woman with an impressive personality.
Coming to Zeruiah – she feared God and had a patriotic spirit – desh bhakti. I learnt that she was made strong and to become a determined woman of God through the sufferings she went through in life, the pain, the problems and also the rejection.
In the process, she carved three beautiful diamonds in the history of Israel. We can know more about her through the lives of her children Abishai, Joab and Asahel. David’s history would have been very different without his 3 nephews.
She trained her sons to be:
- Army personnel
- Martyrs of God and king
- Protectors/bodyguards of David.
Every decision which David took we find Zeruiah there. Every step which David took we find Zeruiah there. Every war which David took we find Zeruiah there.
Zeruiah prepared her sons to be the hedge for the kingdom and a wall for David.
Since she was a God-fearing woman she trained her sons:
1. To fear God
2. To defend the king
3. To protect the kingdom
Zeruiah sons were zealous for their uncle – they allowed no one to come or talk to him without their concern – no one dared to talk against David with them around.
I wish every mother is like Zeruiah because when one sees the children they see the mother reflected through them.
When we see how she named her sons, we see the strong faith she had on God:
Abishai – means more than a gift
Joab – God is my father
Asahel – God has done it.
We see Zeruiah stood for David in every situation. When everyone hated David, she was with him. She had strong conviction/faith that one day David was going to become king of Israel. She made all three of her sons like David; strong and zealous fighters. David never feared anything. She took David’s life as a test/energy/enthusiasm and made all her sons like David. Even they never feared anything. We see their bravery when Asahel was being chased by Abner, the enemy. In order to safeguard his uncle, he never looked back for his safety and in turn, died to save his uncle. He was known for his swift and stealthy movement like a doe. You can mark that all the sons were faithful here in the hands of Zeruiah. When Absalom declared war against his father (2 Sam:18:5) David commands to deal with his son Absalom gently and everyone obeyed the king. Joab thought David’s life is in danger to protect David’ he killed Absalom. You see his faithfulness here.
David called his nephews as “sons of Zeruiah” because he has seen the
-fear of God in them
-they were faithful to the king
-they stood with the king in every situation
-strong fighters and exhibited their talents.
David saw his sister in them
READ: 2 Sam 2:18, psalms 144:12
Normally children are called after their father’s name but here they were always addressed with Zeruiah’s. He probably mentions her so many times because she was the backbone of his 40-year reign.
Zeruiah’s desire was to live secretly and not be seen by others – her desire was to say that my sons are valiant personnel in David’s kingdom and in turn, protecting God’s kingdom.
Let’s examine how good sisters are we to our families?