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The Most Children in the Bible
One of God’s earliest instructions to mankind was “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). During Biblical times we see many of God’s patriarchs having quite a few children while others not as much.
When this question was originally presented, I thought the answer was Solomon, as he had the most wives recorded in the Bible. However, it’s important to note that from all his wives, just 3 of his children were mentioned and according to oral tradition, a possible 4th:
- Rehoboam (1 Kings 11:43)
- Taphath (1 Kings 4:11)
- Basemath (1 Kings 4:15)
- Menelik I (Oral Tradition – see Wikipedia – Menelik I)
So while it can be assumed he had the most children, for this answer we had to go further to define where the Bible actually mentioned number of children. This raises another issue, as during Biblical times sometimes only the sons were mentioned and not the daughters, so we had to split that into two other categories, one for the number of sons and one for the number of children mentioned.
However, to be fair a lot of these children were credited to the husband having a lot of spouses, so we also wanted to credit the women that had had the most children. As a result, what started as a single question now was broken down further to define the following:
- Most sons in the Bible – Recorded
- Most children in the Bible – Recorded
- Most children in the Bible – Assumed
- Most children in the Bible from a single woman – Recorded
- Most sons
- Most children
- Most children in the Bible from a single woman – Assumed
Most sons in the Bible – Recorded (70)
The most sons recorded in the Bible would actually be tied to Gideon and Ahab who both had 70 sons:
Gideon had seventy sons who were his own offspring, for he had many wives. (Judges 8:30)
The Bible doesn’t mention how many daughters they had, so they gets the title of the most sons recorded in the Bible. However, the title of who had the most children in the Bible (recorded) goes to another.
Most children in the Bible – Recorded (88)
Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, had the most recorded children in the Bible since it also included the number of daughters he had (2 Chronicles 11:21):
So, from his 18 wives and 60 concubines, he had 28 sons and 60 daughters, which gave him the title of most recorded children in the Bible. However, we saw that Gideon had many sons because of his many wives, and that logic proved true for Rehoboam who also had many wives, then on that, the most assumed children would go to the person who had the most recorded wives and concubines in the Bible.
Most Children in the Bible – Assumed (+1,000?)
Rehoboam had 88 children from his 78 wives and concubines which averaged to about 1.13 children per partner. His father, Solomon, had the 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3) [see How many wives did Solomon have?]:
And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.
If Solomon also averaged the same ratio of children per spouse as his son Rehoboam. then he would have had 1,130 children. Even if he averaged 1 per partner, that would still be 1,000 children.
Most Children in the Bible From a Single Woman
Similar with above cases, we also have to look at what was recorded and what could be assumed.
Most sons in the Bible from a single wife – recorded (7)
The most children in the Bible from a single woman would go to Job’s wife:
And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. (Job 1:2)
After the repentance and restoration of Job, he was once even given seven sons and three daughters:
He also had seven sons and three daughters. (Job 42:13)
However, some might say that we don’t know that all those children came from a single wife even though the Bible just mentioned 1 wife at the beginning. In the story of Job, he lost everything and eventually his 1 wife, with no other mention of another wife. Just the note that Job made a covenant with his eyes not to look upon another woman (Job 31:1), gives the impression that he only had one wife.
To accommodate for this argument, who have included the follow-ups for most sons in the Bible recorded from a single woman which was a tie between Abraham and his wife Keturah and Jacob and his wife Leah:
Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah (Genesis 25:1-2)
Most children in the Bible From a Single Woman – Recorded (10 and 7)
Also, in response to the argument that Job could have had his children from more than one wife we will also highlight Leah as having the most children. Along with her 6 sons mentioned above it was also recorded that she also had a daughter named Dinah:
Afterward she bore a daughter, and called her name Dinah. Genesis 30:21)
Most children in the Bible From a Single Woman – Assumed (100s?)
We can assume the most children in the Bible from a single woman could have been Eve, the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20). The original instruction to be fruitful and multiply was given to her. Adam lived to be 930 years old, and while the Bible doesn’t state how long Eve lived, it may be assumed that she was the longest woman to have ever lived in the Bible.
The Bible only mentions 3 of their sons, Cain, Abel, and Seth, while the Book of Jubilee and tradition mentions 3 other daughters Awan, Luluwa, and Azura.
By the time Cain and Abel were grown up, the Bible gives the impression that there were already others from Adam and Eve on the earth (Genesis 4:15) seeing that the children of Adam and Eve had to marry amongst themselves (see Where did Cain’s wife come from?).
So in conclusion, we saw that the most sons recorded in the Bible went to Gideon and Ahab who had 70, while the most children went to Rehoboam who had 88. We assumed that the most children could have gone to Solomon who had over 1000 wives and concubines.
When it came to which women in the Bible were recorded to have the most children, we saw that the wife of Job had 10 children, though we can only assume it was from that one wife. In the case that it wasn’t, then both Leah and Keturah were credited to have 6 sons, while Leah also had 1 daughter.
In His service,