Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Ronald KatzEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_8

The Bible doesn’t “speak” to us in words about adoption but conveys great insight through its stories. It teaches us by example. Adoption consists of two parts: the relinquishment of the child by the parent(s) and the adoption of the child by a new parent(s). In the Bible, the relinquishment of the child is always associated with the threat of death to the child. In the first instance, Abraham relinquishes his son Israel to G-d while expecting that it will result in his son’s death. In the next story of adoption, the mother of Moses is forced to relinquish him by placing him in the Nile River in order to save him from certain death. In the story of Esther, not part of the actual Bible itself, relinquishment comes about as a result of the death of Esther’s parents. In a related example of relinquishment in the Bible, two women appear before King Solomon claiming to be a baby’s mother, and when the King threatens to kill the baby by cutting it in half, the real mother relinquishes the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Clothier, F. (1943). The psychology of the adopted child. Mental Hygiene, 27(7), 222–226.Google Scholar
  2. Huda. (n.d.). Adopting a child in Islam. Retrieved from http://islam.about.com/cs/parenting/a/adoption.htm.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New YorkUSA