Is there any good father in the Hebrew Bible? Father's Day Thread

Thinking about the Lot and his daughters thread got me thinking, is there any good father in the Hebrew Bible?

1) Abraham tries to kill his son
2) David screws up with Absalom
3) Jacob favors Joseph leading to rivalry among his sons
4) Solomon doesn't seem to have taught his son Rehoboam well, because Rehoboam ends up screwing up and splitting the kingdom

The only 'good' father I think is Eli and his adopted son, Samuel. Eli was of course a terrible father to his two biological sons.

Comments

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    What about Joseph, the spouse of Our Lady, who took on the role of father to Jesus? A lesser man would have quietly put Mary away.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    What about Joseph, the spouse of Our Lady, who took on the role of father to Jesus? A lesser man would have quietly put Mary away.
    The OP asked about fathers in the Hebrew Bible, though. :wink:

    Perhaps the first question is how to define “good” when talking about a “good father.” I for one would hate to think that “good father” means not making mistakes or sometimes screwing up, because if that’s the case, I’d guess that we can all hang up any hope of being “good fathers.”

    If, on the other hand, if a man can be a good father despite the mistakes or screw-ups, then there’s hope.

    Job, maybe? I wonder if we have enough to go on to determine who was a good father and who wasn’t. We mostly get snippets of the lives of most people in Scripture—snippets that matter in some way or another to a larger story, but that aren’t necessarily the whole story of the people involved.

    I guess I’m a little leery of holding up Biblical characters as exemplars of manhood or womanhood, motherhood or fatherhood. (Okay, probably I’d make an exception to that leeriness for Mary and motherhood.) I prefer to see most of them as people—people who did some great things and who also made mistakes, sometimes big mistakes.

  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    edited June 22
    Elkanah - the husband of Hannah and father of Samuel (Sam1:1)
    Boaz - Book of Ruth 2:1, father of Oved
    Joseph (of Jacob and Rachel, father of Menashe and Ephraim)
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    Abraham of Ishmael - until he collapsed in the argument with Sarah over Hagar and the lad after Itzhak's birth
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Galilit wrote: »
    Abraham of Ishmael - until he collapsed in the argument with Sarah over Hagar and the lad after Itzhak's birth

    This of course assumes one can be a good father even though a shitty husband to the child's mum.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    What about Joseph, the spouse of Our Lady, who took on the role of father to Jesus? A lesser man would have quietly put Mary away.
    The OP asked about fathers in the Hebrew Bible, though. :wink:

    Yes, just noticed that. But we are told that Joseph was a good and devout man, and he seems to have observed the traditional Hebrew rituals
  • Mordecai was a good father figure to Esther.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    I think of God making the animals and bringing them to Adam to name.
  • Hmm. Re Adam - Abel turned out OK (presumably), at least until Cain did him in.

    If they ever actually existed, of course.
    :innocent:
  • Good father vs perfect father. We all have failed our children in some way at some time. Well, I do speak for myself, but if anyone would care to challenge that, I would suggest they have a heart to heart discussion with their spouse and children.

    And like was said above, all we see of Biblical fathers are snippets of their lives.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Hmm. Re Adam - Abel turned out OK (presumably), at least until Cain did him in.

    If they ever actually existed, of course.
    :innocent:

    He turned out OK whether or not he existed. It's a story. Harry Potter's dad's name was James even though no such person ever existed.
  • HarryCHHarryCH Shipmate
    I don't see that David screwed up things especially with Absalom. Rather, David seems to have done a poor job with all his sons.

    I think the family of Tobit was a more or less functional family.

    I am unsure about the family life of the Maccabees.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    HarryCH wrote: »
    Rather, David seems to have done a poor job with all his sons.

    And a worse job with his daughters.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    It all depends on what you think constitutes a good father.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Kwesi wrote: »
    It all depends on what you think constitutes a good father.

    Well, anyone whose definition would include the likes of David should seek professional help.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    I was thinking, tclune, of Romans 9, and Paul's reflection on the fatherhood of God in the OT:
    (Romans 9: 6-18: "............. not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants. For this is what the promise said, “About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call, she was told, “The elder will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So it depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills."

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