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Who Had the Most Kids in the Bible?
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Who Had the Most Kids in the Bible?

Having a large family is seen as a blessing in the Bible. God commands people to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Children are described as gifts from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5). Several key figures in Scripture were blessed with many children. But who had the most?

Key Takeaways:

  • Gideon had the most named children – 70 sons
  • Jacob had the most children overall – at least 77
  • Rehoboam had the most named wives – 60
  • King Abijah had the most named sons – 28
  • Jacob, Gideon, Rehoboam, and Abijah had unusually large families, even for Biblical times
  • Large families were a sign of God’s blessing and favor in Scripture
Who had the most kids in the bible?

Gideon Had 70 Named Sons

One of the largest named families in the Bible belongs to Gideon. He had 70 sons:

“Now Gideon had seventy sons who were his own offspring, for he had many wives.” (Judges 8:30, NKJV)

Gideon was a judge over Israel who led the people to victory against the Midianites (Judges 6-8). As a judge and military leader, he likely married many women and had many children. His 70 sons played a role later in the Biblical narrative:

“And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother’s brothers, and spoke with them and with all the family of the house of his mother’s father, saying, “Please speak in the hearing of all the men of Shechem: ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal reign over you, or that one reign over you?’ Remember that I am your own flesh and bone.” (Judges 9:1-2)

So out of all the named children in Scripture, Gideon had the most sons – 70.

Jacob Had at Least 77 Children Total

While Gideon had the most named sons, Jacob has the highest number of named children overall in the Bible. Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. He was later named Israel and became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Here is a list of Jacob’s children:

  • Reuben (Genesis 29:32)
  • Simeon (Genesis 29:33)
  • Levi (Genesis 29:34)
  • Judah (Genesis 29:35)
  • Dan (Genesis 30:5-6)
  • Naphtali (Genesis 30:7-8)
  • Gad (Genesis 30:10-11)
  • Asher (Genesis 30:12-13)
  • Issachar (Genesis 30:17-18)
  • Zebulun (Genesis 30:19-20)
  • Dinah (Genesis 30:21)
  • Joseph (Genesis 30:23-24)
  • Benjamin (Genesis 35:16-18)

That’s 13 named children by his wives Leah and Rachel. Then Jacob also had children with Leah and Rachel’s handmaids:

  • Zilpah’s children: Gad, Asher (6 more)
  • Bilhah’s children: Dan, Naphtali (6 more)

That’s a total of 13 + 12 = 25 named children.

But wait, there’s more! Genesis 46:7 tells us:

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“His sons and his sons’ sons, his daughters and his sons’ daughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.” (NKJV)

Jacob brought all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren with him to Egypt as well. If we assume even a modest number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, easily over 50, then Jacob had at least 77 descendants when he went to Egypt.

So while Gideon had the most named sons, Jacob had the most named children overall, and the most descendants taking into account his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

King Rehoboam Had 60 Wives and 60 Concubines

When it comes to the most named wives, King Rehoboam wins the prize:

“And Rehoboam loved Maachah the granddaughter of Absalom more than all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and begot twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.” (2 Chronicles 11:21, NKJV)

Rehoboam was not even the most famous king – he was a rather weak leader who ruled over the Kingdom of Judah after it split from the Kingdom of Israel. Yet he managed to accumulate a huge harem of 78 women – 60 concubines and 18 wives!

The fact that Rehoboam loved Maacah more than his many other wives and concubines indicates that this massive harem may have been for political reasons, to make alliances with other kingdoms.

Still, having relations with 60 women and fathering 88 children is an astounding feat. This makes Rehoboam the man with the largest named harem in Scripture.

King Abijah Had 28 Named Sons

The next massive family belongs to King Abijah of Judah:

“And Abijah took for himself fourteen wives, and begot twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.” (2 Chronicles 13:21, NKJV)

So Abijah had 14 wives and at least 28 named sons. This may not be the most wives or most children overall. But it is the most named sons attributed to a single father in Scripture.

Once again, amassing wives and children was likely a political strategy for kings to make alliances and maintain power. Nevertheless, Abijah’s family of 28 sons is remarkable in the Bible.

Extraordinarily Large Families Even for Biblical Times

To summarize the numbers:

  • Gideon had 70 named sons
  • Jacob had at least 77 children total
  • Rehoboam had 60 wives and 60 concubines
  • Abijah had 28 named sons

These are extraordinarily large families, even by Biblical standards. Polygamy was practiced by wealthy men in Biblical cultures. But having dozens of children was still very uncommon.

God allowing these men to have such abundant offspring was seen as a blessing and sign of favor. Their numerous children built the tribes of Israel and kingdoms of Judah. So large families were part of God’s promise to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:5).

Of course, we do not live in Biblical times. In today’s context, these massive families raise ethical concerns about how women were treated and the sustainability of unrestrained procreation. Times have changed, and fruitfulness can manifest in many responsible ways.

Still, we see how God miraculously granted children in Scripture, preparing the way for Israel’s growth. For these men of great faith, large families were a testimony to God’s provision and grace.

Conclusion

In summary, while several men in the Bible had extraordinarily large families, the records show:

  • Gideon had the most named sons at 70
  • Jacob had the most children overall at 77+
  • Rehoboam had the most named wives at 60
  • Abijah had the most named sons at 28

Their stories reveal how God blessed His people with fruitfulness for His sovereign purposes in Biblical times. While those cultural practices differ from today’s, we can still stand in awe of how God worked mightily through these families to shape His people Israel. Their giant families point to God’s amazing power and grace.

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Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.