Best and Worst Fathers of the Bible

The role of Father is the central and primary role of God


A.      The central image of God is that of a Father. Islam has 99 descriptions of Allah but he never described as a father!

B.      God is the Father of our spirits who loves and disciplines us like our earthly fathers:

a.      “and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:5–9)

C.      “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)


4 YEARS: My Daddy can do anything.

8 YEARS: Dad doesn't know

12 YEARS: Oh, well, naturally Father doesn't understand.

14 YEARS: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned

21 YEARS: Oh, that man is out of date; what would you expect.

25 YEARS: He comes up with a good idea now and then.

30 YEARS: Must find out what Dad thinks about it.

35 YEARS: A little patience--let's get Dad's input first

50 YEARS: What would Dad have thought about that?

60 YEARS:I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.

E.      Orphans of the Living:

We think of orphans only as the little girls and lads,

Who haven't any mothers and who haven't any dads.

They are grouped with other children and in groups they're put to bed.

With some stranger paid to listen while their little prayers are said.

All the grownups look with pity on such lonely children small,

And declare to be an orphan is the saddest fate of all.

But sometimes I look about me and with sorrow hang my head

As I gaze on something sadder than the orphans of the dead.

For more pitiful and tragic as the long days come and go,

Are the orphans of the parents they're not allowed to know.

They're the orphans of the living, left alone to romp and play,

From their fathers and their mothers by ambition shut away.

They have fathers who are busy and so weighted down with cares,

That they haven't time to listen to a little child's affairs.

They have mothers who imagine, life could give them, if it would

Something richer, something better than the joys of motherhood.

So their children learn from strangers, and by strangers' hands are fed,

And the nurse, for so much money, nightly tucks them into bed.

Lord, I would not grow so busy that I cannot drop my task,

To answer every question which that child of mine may ask.

Let me never serve ambition here so selfishly, I pray,

That I cannot stop to listen to the things my children say.

For whatever cares beset them, let them know I'm standing by.

I don't want to make them orphans till the day I come to die.

Edgar A. Guest


I. The worst fathers of the Bible:

  1. Eli: the Permissive but not absentee father
    1. “Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting. He said to them, “Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people? “No, my sons; for the report is not good which I hear the Lord’s people circulating. “If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the Lord desired to put them to death.” (1 Samuel 2:22–25)
    2. “‘Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?’” (1 Samuel 2:29)
    3. ““For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them.” (1 Samuel 3:13)
  2. Samuel was an equal failure as Eli:
    1. “And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 8:1–6)
  1. David: The absentee but not permissive father. What is most incredible about this, is that David is likened unto God, the Father and Solomon is likened unto Jesus in 2 Sam 7:12-14. David fulfilled may aspects of his role in antitype to God, but failed as a father.
    1. firstborn Amnom was a rapist,
    2. secondborn Absoloam usurped David's throne and slept with his wives,
    3. fourthborn Adonijah usurped his brother, Solomon's throne against the will of God revealed through David,
    4. seventh born Solomon violated every law God made for a king. His sons were abandoned to the harem as an absentee father. In addition to worshipping idols, Solomon violated every element of this warning in no less than three double sins: Deut 17:14–20:

                                                              i.      Double sin #1: He multiplied horses for himself and sent people back to Egypt to get horses and married the daughter of pharaoh the first year of his reign.

                                                            ii.      Double sin #2: He was forbidden to marry many Hebrew wives, but instead married 1000 non-Jewish wives.

                                                          iii.      Double sin #3: It appears that Solomon not only never wrote out a copy of the law himself, neither did he read it throughout his life.

    1. Dear Abby: My dad works all the time. He is never home. He gives me money and lots of toys, but I hardly ever see him. I love him and wish he would not work all the time so I could see him more. Jeff
    2. "Daddy, how much do you make an hour?"

 With a timid voice and idolizing eyes, the little boy greeted his father as he returned from work.

Greatly surprised, but giving his boy a glaring look, the father said: "Look, sonny, not even your mother knows that. Don't bother me now, I'm tired."

"But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour, " the boy insisted. The father, finally giving up, replied: "Twenty dollars per hour."

"Okay, Daddy. Could you loan me ten dollars?" the boy asked.

Showing his restlessness and positively disturbed, the father yelled: "So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Go to sleep and don't bother me anymore!"

It was already dark and the father was meditating on what he said and was feeling guilty. Maybe he thought , his son wanted to buy something. Finally, trying to ease his mind, the father went to his son's room.

"Are you asleep, son?" asked the father.

"No, Daddy. Why?" replied the boy, partially asleep.

"Here's the money asked for earlier, " the father said.

"Thanks, Daddy!" rejoiced the son, while putting his hand under his pillow and removing some money.

"Now I have enough! Now I have twenty dollars!" the boy said to his father, who was gazing at his son, confused at what his son had just said. "Daddy, could I buy you for an hour?"

  1. Manassah: sacrificed his children to demons: 2 Kings 21:1-9
    1. “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord provoking Him to anger. Then he set the carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of which the Lord said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever. “And I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers, if only they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.” But they did not listen, and Manasseh seduced them to do evil more than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.” (2 Kings 21:1-9)
    2. “But they mingled with the nations And learned their practices, And served their idols, Which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood. Thus they became unclean in their practices, And played the harlot in their deeds. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people And He abhorred His inheritance. Then He gave them into the hand of the nations, And those who hated them ruled over them.” (Psalm 106:35–41)
  2. Ahaz worshipped idols and sacrificed his children to demons:
    1. “Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his father David had done. But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before the sons of Israel. He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.” (2 Kings 16:2–4)
    2. ““Also My bread which I gave you, fine flour, oil and honey with which I fed you, you would offer before them for a soothing aroma; so it happened,” declares the Lord God. “Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to Me and sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? “You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire.” (Ezekiel 16:19–21)
    3. “They forsook all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him. So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.” (2 Kings 17:16–18)


II. The best fathers of the Bible:

1. Jonadab/Rechabites - A Respected Father whose children obeyed him

a.      Jehonadab was first mentioned in 2 Kings 10 where he joined hands with Jehu in destroying the wicked family of Ahab. 2 Kings 10:15-16

b.      Jehonadab was the son of Rechab and his descendants were known as "Rechabites."

                                                                          i.      Jonadab gave commands to his sons and they obeyed him, and his commands were handed down to the next generation who did likewise. Not many fathers command and obtain such respect today.

c.       Notice how the Rechabites refused the wine to drink by Jeremiah. Jer. 35:1-11

d.      Jeremiah used the obedience of these people to reprove the people of Judah. Jer. 35:12-14

e.      God blessed the Rechabites because of their obedience to their father as an eternal covenant. Jer. 35:18-19

2.  Job was involved with his children socially and prayed for them spiritually.

a.      The cycle of annual family feasts were the invention of Job as a way to keep the family close together.

b.      “His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.” (Job 1:4–5)

3.       A Day Wasted?

Charles Francis Adams, son of U.S. President John Quincy Adams was a diplomat to Great Britain, as had been his father and grandfather. On one occasion he wrote this in his diary:

"Went fishing with my son today--a day wasted."

His son, Brooks, wrote this entry for the same day:

"Went fishing with my father--the most wonderful day of my life."


I may never be as clever,

As my neighbor down the street;

I may never be as wealthy,

As some other men I meet;

I may never have the glory,

That some other men have had;

But I've got to be successful, As a little fellow's Dad.

There are certain dreams I cherish,

That I'd like to see come true; There are things I would accomplish,

Ere my working day is through; But the task my heart is set on, Is to guide a little lad;

And to make myself successful, As that little fellow's Dad.

I may never come to glory; I may never gather gold;

Men may count me as a failure, When my business life is told; But if he who follows after, Shall be manly, I'll be glad;

For I'll know I've been successful, As that little fellow's Dad.


He's strength and security, laughter and fun.

A prince to his daughter, a pal to his son.

A great story—teller and mender of toys,

Who's seldom dismayed by his family's noise.

He's an everyday Santa who brings home surprises,

The man to consult when a problem, arises.

As eager a worker as ever there'll be

Who wants all the best for his whole family.

He's a loving instructor who struggles to teach

His child to achieve all the goals one could reach.

And he knows in his heart that it's worth all the bother

When he hears his child say "That man?" "That's MY father!"


  1. God is primarily and fundamentally a Father.
  2. The worst fathers of the bible are: Eli, Samuel, David, Manassah and Ahaz
  3. The best fathers of the bible were Job and Jonadab.
  4. Beatitudes for Parents

Blessed are the parents who make their peace with spilled milk and mud, for such is the kingdom of childhood.

Blessed is the parent who engages not in the comparison of his child with others, for precious unto each is the rhythm of his own growth.

Blessed are the fathers and mothers who have learned laughter, for it is the music of the child's world.

Blessed and wise are those parents who understand the goodness of time, for they make it not a sword that kills growth, but a shield to protect.

Blessed and mature are they who without anger can say no, for comforting to the child is the security of firm decisions.

Blessed is the gift of consistency, for it is heart's ease in childhood.

Blessed are they who accept the awkwardness of growth, for they are aware of the constant perilous choice between marred furnishings and damaged personalities.

Blessed are the teachable, for knowledge brings understanding, and understanding brings love.

Blessed are the men and women who, in the midst of the unpromising world, give love, for they bestow the greatest of all gifts to each other, to their children, and in an ever widening circle to their fellow men.


  1. A father teaches and instructs his children in the law of the Bible:
    1. “The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”” (Genesis 18:17–19)
    2. ““Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.” (Deuteronomy 4:8–9)
    3. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
    4. ““You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.” (Deuteronomy 11:18–21)
    5. “Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.” (Psalm 78:3–4)
    6. “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings (via Timothy's Jewish mother and grandmother) which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14–15)
    7. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
    8. “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

By Steve Rudd, Father's Day, 2013



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