Adoption in the Bible

Adoption in the Bible
Both the Old and New Testaments contain stories of adoption. Here are a few examples of God being glorified through adoption in the Bible.

There are many stories of adoption in the Bible. Since the beginning of time, God’s children have needed to be cared for, and since the beginning of time, God has cared for them.

Both the Old and New Testaments have examples of God taking care of His people and His people taking care of each other. Here are some examples of God’s glory shining through adoption in the Bible.

Moses and Pharaoh’s Daughter

Exodus 2:1-10

One of the earliest mentions of adoption in the Bible begins with Moses. Moses was born in Egypt at a time when the Israelites were being oppressed. Pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew baby boys be thrown into the Nile because he worried they would one day be able to take over Egypt.

When Moses was born, his mother, Jochebed, did everything she could to save his life. She eventually hid him in a waterproof basket along the river bank. When Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses, she took pity on him and decided to raise him as her own.

Miriam, Moses’ sister, had been watching over him, and she asked Pharaoh’s daughter if she needed someone to nurse him. Because of this, Moses’ family was able to remain in his life even though he had been adopted into a new family.

Samuel and Eli

1 Samuel 1:1-2:11

Hannah was a woman struggling with infertility. She was discouraged because she did not have a child. One night, she went to the temple to pray. 1 Samuel 1:10 says, “she was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.”

Hannah promised the Lord that if He gave her a son, she would give him back to God. Despite how much she wanted to be a mother, Hannah acknowledged that any child she was blessed with was a child of God’s first and foremost.

Quote about Samuel's story of adoption in the Bible

It would have been so easy for Hannah to say, “God granted me this child because I prayed for him; He would not want me to give him back so quickly.” But she knew from the beginning that Samuel was not really hers. He was the Lord’s.

In verses 27-28, Hannah says, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him. Therefore, I have lent him to the Lord.”

Rather than simply viewing the Lord as the guardian of her child, Hannah viewed herself as the guardian of the Lord’s child.

When Samuel was old enough, Hannah brought him to Eli, the priest. Samuel grew up under the watch of Eli, a man who was not his biological father. But God was with him all along.

Esther and Mordecai

Esther 2:5-10:3

Esther’s story of adoption in the Bible is a modern-day example of kinship care. When Esther lost her parents, her cousin, Mordecai, cared for her.

Quote about Esther's story of adoption in the Bible

When King Ahasuerus was in search of a new wife, Esther was one of the young women called to the King’s Court. Esther 2:15 says that she was “winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her.” The King eventually chose Esther to become the queen.

No one in the palace knew that Esther was a Jew, but when Mordecai told her there was a plot to kill every Jew in Persia, she demonstrated bravery and leadership. Esther encouraged the Jews to fast and pray. She then risked her life and went to the King.

Esther revealed her Jewish heritage to the King and pleaded for the safety of her people. The King granted her request. The Jews were given protection, and Mordecai was promoted to a high position in the kingdom.

Through kinship care, Mordecai empowered Esther to be a leader for her people. God worked through both Mordecai and Esther to bring deliverance to His people.

Jesus and Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25
Quote about Jesus' story of adoption in the Bible

When Joseph and Mary were betrothed, Mary “was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18 ESV). It would have been easy for Joseph to walk away. But rather than divorcing Mary quietly, Joseph listened to the Lord. He took Mary as his wife and took Jesus as his own son.

God chose Joseph to be the adoptive earthly father of His Son, and Joseph obeyed. Sometimes, the call to step into foster care or adoption is unexpected. But what matters is answering God’s call.

God and His People

Ephesians 1:4-14

As children of God, we have our own story of adoption in the Bible. Ephesians 1:5 says, “He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will.”

Through the offer of salvation, we have been welcomed into the Lord’s family. We are no longer waiting for salvation. It has been made available to us through His son.

Additional Resources

From the Old Testament to the present day, God continues to be glorified by adoption. To learn more about foster care and adoption, visit or explore the articles and videos:

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