Emily Belle Freeman



Thou Seekest to Destroy a Mother in Israel

2 Samuel 22:2 - 1 Kings 1 :37

Over the weekend we read about a wise woman out of the city.

I was immediately reminded of one of my dearest friends.  She is not my mother, or my grandmother, but she is someone I turn to for advice on a regular basis  ––because she is wise.  She just turned 101.

Once a month we have a lunch date.  We laugh and talk together.  I never leave her home without being given sage words of advice.  Always I am strengthened, uplifted, and encouraged.

When I read about the wise woman in 2 Samuel 20, I picture my friend, Verda.

I can't help but admire the courage of this wise women.  As Joab and his army approached the city I wonder if all of the people took refuge inside their homes.  I picture this wise woman walking out of the city walls to meet Joab who was armed for battle and intent on destroying the entire city in his pursuit of Sheba.

I can imagine her saying, “Hear, hear; say, I pray you…come near hither, that I may speak with thee.”  (vs. 16)

I picture Joab bending close, perhaps out of respect, to hear what the handmaid would say.

I love the way she introduced herself to him, “I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel…” (2 Samuel 20:19)  She does not give her name, she gives a description that inspires honor and admiration.

And then she speaks a line that has been at the forefront of my thoughts all day, “thou seekest to destroy a mother in Israel:  why…”  (2 Samuel 20:19)

I think of the women I admire most in my life.  Handmaids.  Peaceable and faithful.  Mothers in Israel.  Woman who I look up to, and honor, and admire.

And then I think of the world we live in…filled with evil designs bent on destroying all that is peaceable, faithful, honorable.  And I hear that same echo…

“thou seekest to destroy a mother in Israel: why…”

And I know that if Satan can destroy a mother, he can destroy an entire generation.  So I look to see how this wise woman out of the city, this mother in Israel, will respond to the danger she has been placed in.  I want to learn from her example.

Joab explains to her that it is not his desire to destroy the mothers and all they hold dear to them…but that there is an evil man within the walls of the city, “who hath lifted up his hand against the king”… he must be delivered out of the city for the mothers and the city to be saved.

“Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab.  And he blew a trumpet, and… retired from the city.”  (2 Samuel 20:22)

The answer this wise woman teaches is that together we must be watchful.  We cannot allow that which is evil or threatens our belief in our King to find a haven within our homes, or within our hearts.  It must be cast out for us to remain safe.

It is a gentle reminder of my responsibility as a mother, and the important role that I fulfill on a daily basis.

I want to be a mother in Israel just like this wise woman was …peaceable and faithful…strong in my belief…courageous enough to stand up and protect all that I love…willing to cast out that which could bring us harm.

As I prepare a place in my home for scripture study, for family home evening, for family prayer I wonder if, perhaps, in that moment, I am following her example, “Hear, hear; I pray you, come near hither, that I may speak with thee.”

Perhaps I, too, can stand up for and protect that which is most dear to me.


If you have a moment, take a minute to read the powerful words below from a wise woman out of the city in our day who cheers each of us on in this dispensation…

“We live in a world of uncertainty. Never has there been a greater need for righteous mothers—mothers who bless their children with a sense of safety, security, and confidence about the future, mothers who teach their children where to find peace and truth and that the power of Jesus Christ is always stronger than the power of the adversary. Every time we build the faith or reinforce the nobility of a young woman or man, every time we love or lead anyone even one small step along the path, we are true to our endowment and calling as mothers and in the process we build the kingdom of God.

No woman who understands the gospel would ever think that any other work is more important or would ever say, “I am just a mother,” for mothers heal the souls of men.

Look around. Who needs you and your influence? If we really want to make a difference, it will happen as we mother those we have borne and those we are willing to bear with.

As mothers in Israel, we are the Lord’s secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place from the beginning. In the premortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we didn’t stand in wide-eyed wonder that He would bless us with a sacred trust so central to His plan and that He would endow us with gifts so vital to the loving and leading of His children. I wonder if we shouted for joyat least in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom. The world won’t tell you that, but the Spirit will.

We just can’t let the Lord down. And if the day comes when we are the only women on earth who find nobility and divinity in motherhood, so be it. For mother is the word that will define a righteous woman made perfect in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, a woman who has qualified for eternal increase in posterity, wisdom, joy, and influence.

Will you rise to the challenge of being mothers in these perilous times, though doing so may test the last ounce of your endurance and courage and faith?

Will you stand steadfast and immovable as a mother in Israel and a woman of God?

Our Father and His Only Begotten Son have given us a sacred stewardship and a holy crown in their kingdom.

May we rejoice in it.

And may we be worthy of Their trust.”

(Sheri Dew, Are We Not All Mothers, October 2001)

Emily Freeman