The Hebrew words AM and AB, mother and father, are simple and easy sounds for infant lips, like mamma and papa in English. See ABBA. "Before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and My mother," Isa 8:4. In addition to the usual meaning of "mother," AM sometimes signifies in the Bible grandmother, 1Ki 15:10, or some remote female ancestor, Ge 3:20. It is put for a chief city, 2Sa 20:19; for a benefactress, Jg 5:7; for a nation, as in the expressive English phrase, "the mother country," Isa 3:12; 49:23. The fond affection of a mother is often referred to in Scripture; and God has employed it to illustrate his tender love for his people, Isa 49:15. Mothers are endowed with an all-powerful control over their offspring; and most men of eminence in the world have acknowledged their great indebtedness to maternal influence. When Bonaparte asked Madame Campan what the French nation most needed, she replied in one word, "Mothers." The Christian church already owes much, and will owe infinitely more, to the love, patience, zeal, and self-devotion of mothers in training their children for Christ.
Honored in Israel as she is not in the East generally; one superiority of Judaism over other contemporary systems (1Ki 2:19). King Solomon rose up to meet and bowed himself unto Bathsheba, and set her on his right hand (Le 19:3). Figuratively, a city is mother of the surrounding villages its daughters (Jos 15:45; 2Sa 20:19). Ezekiel (Eze 21:21) uses "mother of the way" for the parting of the way into two roads which branch from it, as from a common parent; however, Havernick, from a Arabic idiom, translated it as "the highway."
The law commanded that honour was to be paid to a mother as well as to a father. In nearly all cases the mothers of the kings of Israel are mentioned as well as the fathers. The wise woman who appealed to Joab as 'a mother in Israel,' was at once listened to. 2Sa 20:19. A mother has naturally great influence over her children, whether for good or evil, as Jochebed the mother of Moses, and Jezebel the mother of Athaliah. The children of the virtuous woman arise and call her blessed. Pr 31:28. Timothy had a faithful mother and grandmother. 2Ti 1:5. There are also 'mothers' in the church, who have the Lord's interests at heart in the welfare of the saints, as Paul called the mother of Rufus his own mother also. Ro 16:13.
The superiority of the Hebrew over all 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. The king's mother, as appears in the case of Bath-sheba, was treated with special honor.