People in
the Old Testament


Person
Description / Notes
Aaron Moses' brother who was made his spokesman by God. Went with Moses to Pharaoh demanding children of Israel's release from slavery. Made Israel's first High Priest. Was not allowed to enter the promised land.
 
Abel Adam and Eve's second son. Murdered by jealous older brother Cain. Had faith in God (Hebrews 11) and called righteous by Jesus (Matthew 23:35).
 
Abraham Originally named Abram. Left home in Ur to go to promised land. Faith tested when asked to sacrifice son Isaac. Promised by God he would be father of many nations and kings. Called father of the faithful (Romans 4:16).
 
Absalom
 
King David's son who attempted to take over the throne. While fleeing after losing a battle with David's army he is caught in a tree and killed by Joab.
 
Adam Name means 'red' or 'red earth.' First human created by God. Sinned when he ate fruit of tree of good and evil (Genesis 3). Was cast out of Eden along with Eve. Lived 930 years.
   
Ahab
 
Worst king of Israel. Married to Jezebel. Expanded Israel's worship of pagan gods. Elijah the prophet confronted him for his evil.
   
Amos One of the Minor Prophets. Contemporaries were Isaiah and Hosea. Prophesied against Israel's oppression of poor, sexual immorality, luxury and corruption.
 
 
 
Important People in the New Testament
 
 
Old Testament Timeline
 
 
When was the Old Testament written?
 
 
Map of Division of Promised Land
 
 
Important Cities of Ancient Israel Map
 
 
Map of Jerusalem and its seven hills
Person Description / Notes
BalaamProphet asked by Balak, the king of the Moabites, to curse Israel as they camped in the wilderness. God warned Balaam not to curse Israel by miraculously having a horse talk and the Angel of the Lord appear ready to kill him (Numbers 22-23). Taught Balak how to corrupt the Israelites and bring God's judgment down upon themselves (Numbers 31).
 
BaruchWas from the tribe of Judah. Secretary for the prophet Jeremiah who wrote all his prophecies then read them to the people.
 
BathshebaWife of Uriah the Hittite. King David committed adultery with her then set up Uriah to be killed in battle. Child born out of adultery dies. Marries David and become mother of Solomon and Nathan.
 
BelshazzarLast king of Babylonian empire. Saw miraculous "handwriting on wall" which Daniel revealed was God's judgment on him and Babylon - and was killed that night. Darius the Mede, with consent of Persia's Cyrus the Great, takes Babylon.
 
BenjaminBorn to Jacob and Rachel. Was Jacob's youngest of 12 sons.
 
BilhahWas Rachel's handmaid given to her by her father Laban. Rachel, who was barren, gave Bilhah to Jacob so that she could have children through her (Genesis 30). Gave birth to two sons of Jacob: Dan and Naphtali.
 
BoazMarried Ruth (who authored the Bible book of Ruth) and was the great-grandfather of King David.
 
Cain Adam and Eve's first child who was a tiller of the ground. Became jealous of younger brother Abel and murdered him. Part of his punishment from God was to live as a fugitive.
 
Cyrus
the Great
Considered first true king of the Persian empire. Conquered the Median Empire in 549 B.C. and the Babylonian empire in 539 B.C. Issued decree to allow Jews to return to Jerusalem.
 
Daniel
 
A descendent of a noble Jewish family who was taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon when he conquered Judah. Was highly likely a eunuch. Became a chief advisor to the King and eventually was made third ruler of kingdom (Daniel 5). God gave him ability to interpret dreams. Survived being thrown in lion's den (Daniel 6). Gave prophecies that foretold of future world empires leading up to the return of Christ.
 
Darius I
the Great
Persian king who authorized the completion of rebuilding Jerusalem's Temple. Work on the temple was completed in 516 B.C.
 
David Youngest son of Jesse. Greatest king of Israel who ruled 40 years. As a young man killed Goliath the giant. Won military battles that expanded kingdom. Wrote most of book of Psalms. Conquered Jerusalem, made it his capital and brought to it the Ark of the Covenant. Committed adultery with Bathsheba. Son Solomon followed him as king.
 
Deborah A prophetess who, with the help of Barak, freed Israel from the oppression brought by the King of Canaan. Deborah and Barak serve as Israel's Judges for 40 years (Judges 4-5).
 
Delilah Philistine harlot who was bribed to entice Samson to reveal secret of his strength. Had Samson's hair cut while he slept, rendering him weak.
 
Eli High Priest who judged Israel 40 years after death of Samson. Taught a very young Samuel who eventually became one of God's prophets.
 
Elijah Prophet who warned and punished King Ahab for his sins. Raised widow's son from the dead. Had confrontation with Israel's false prophets which ended in their death. After fleeing death threats from Jezebel is told to anoint 2 kings and make Elisha his successor. Chariot of fire miraculously takes him to a location away from Elisha.
 
ElishaElijah's successor as prophet of Israel. Received 'a double portion' of Elijah's spirit after seeing him leave by chariot of fire. Brought back to life child who died in farming accident.
 
Enoch Eldest son of Cain and father of Methuselah, the oldest person who ever lived (969 years). Was 365 years old when God "translated" him, meaning moved him miraculously to another place on earth (and not to heaven as many teach) to likely avoid being killed.
 
Esau Also called Edom. Son of Isaac and older twin brother of Jacob. Sold his birthright for bowl of lentil soup. Founder of the Edomites.
 
Esther Jewish wife of Persian king. Told by Mordecai of plot to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom. Foils plot by Haman to kill Mordecai and all the Jews. Jewish festival of Purim celebrates events in Book of Esther and the delivery of the Jews through the Queen.
 
Eve First woman created by God. Made from one of Adam's ribs (Genesis 2:21-22). Her name means "life." Sinned by eating from tree of good and evil (Genesis 3) and was thrown out of Eden with Adam. Gave birth to Cain, Abel, Seth and many other children.
 
Ezekiel One of the Bible's major prophets. Taken into Babylonian captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar. Known for having visions of 'wheel in the middle of a wheel' (Ezekiel 1, 10) and valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37).
 
Ezra An Aaronic priest who led the effort, along with the Great Synagogue, to canonize the Old Testament. Produced Old Testament containing 22 manuscripts divided into three main divisions: The Law, The Prophets, and The Writings.
 
Gideon Called by God to deliver Israel from Midianite and Amalekite oppression. Took 300 men and surrounded the camp of Israel's enemies (Judges 7). After all the men blew trumpets and broke pitchers with torches in them the enemy became confused and fought amongst themselves. Gideon served 40 years as Israel's judge.
 
Goliath One of five giant Philistine brothers who was at least 9 feet 3 inches tall (2.82 meters). In battle he wore a protective coat that weighed at least 78 U.S. pounds (35.4 kilograms) and threw a spear that was 26 feet (7.9 meters) long. Considered the Philistine's greatest fighter when a very young David fought and killed him.
 
Habakkuk One of the minor prophets. Gave prophecies concerning destruction of Chaldeans and against greed, graft, idolatry and aggression.
 
Hagar  An Egyptian taken as Abraham's handmaid when Sarah, his wife, thought her age prohibited having children. On Sarah's approval Abraham had a child named Ishmael through Hagar. She lived with the couple until Ishmael was about 14 years old.
 
Haggai One of the minor prophets. Gave prophecies concerning the restoration of Jerusalem's temple and the neglect of those rebuilding it.
 
Ham The youngest of Noah's three children. Survived the great flood in the ark. His sons were Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan (from which the land of Canaan gets its name).
 
Hannah Barren woman who prayed to God for a child and promised to dedicate him to His service. She miraculously gave birth to Samuel, one of the most important prophets in the Old Testament.
 
Heber Also called Eber. Great-grandson of Shem. Lived from 2276 - 1812 B.C. It is believed that from his name the term 'Hebrews,' used to denote those claiming descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is derived.
 
Hiram King of Tyre who assisted King David in building his house. Helps King Solomon build temple by sending wood, gold, other materials.
 
Hosea One of the minor prophets who warned Israel about their adultery, idolatry and drunkenness.
 
HosheaLast King of Israel from 732 - 723 B.C. Samaria falls to Assyrian King Shalmaneser V in 723 B.C. and the Ten Tribes of Israel (also known as the Northern Kingdom) are taken captive to Assyria.
 
Isaac Only child of Abraham and Sarah. Miraculously born after Sarah healed of being barren. God tested Abraham's faith by asking he sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22). Wife was Rebekah, who bore him Esau and Jacob. Lived longer (180) than his father Abraham (175) or son Jacob (147).
 
Isaiah One of the Bible's major prophets. Served during reigns of kings Azariah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Foretold the coming and suffering of Jesus (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). Jesus began his ministry by quoting from Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:16-21).
 
Ishmael Abraham's eldest son by Hagar, Sarah's maidservant. Grew up to be a "wild man" (Genesis 16:12). Was cast into the wilderness with his mother when he mocked Isaac. God made him into a great nation and gave him twelve sons who were princes of their tribes (Genesis 17:20).
 
Jacob Son of Isaac and twin-brother to Esau. Buys Esau's birthright blessing for bowl of stew (Genesis 25:29-34). Steals father's blessing by pretending to be Esau. Flees Esau to Laban, where he must work 14 years to marry Rachel. Wrestles with man who is actually Jesus and has name changed to Israel (Genesis 32:22-32). His sons which represent the tribes of Israel: Asher, Benjamin, Dan, Gad, Isaachar, Judah, Naphtali, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulon. Levi, though a son, is usually not listed as a tribe due to being made priests by God. Although Joseph was also a son of Jacob his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, whom Jacob gave the birthright blessing (Genesis 48), are listed as tribes instead of him.
 
Japheth The middle oldest of Noah's three children. Survived the great flood in the ark. His sons were Gomer, Magog, Javan, Tubal and others.
 
JehoiachinKing of Judah who ruled for only 3 months in 598 - 597 B.C. After Jerusalem falls at the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar he is captured and taken as prisoner to Babylon.
 
Jeremiah
Destined to be a major prophet before he was born (Jeremiah 1:4-5). Foretells and laments the desolation of Jerusalem and Judah. Imprisoned by Judah's King Zedekiah but released by Nebuchadnezzar. Foretold suffering of Jesus.
 
JeroboamReigned over a divided Israel (composed of only 10 tribes), whose capital was originally Shechem, from 930-909 B.C. Set up a false golden calve god in Dan and Bethel to keep people from worshipping in Jerusalem (1Kings 12). Set precedence of idolatry and leading Israel to sin that God would reference many times (1Kings 16:2, 19, 31, etc.)
 
JesseGrandson of Boaz and Ruth. Was father of King David, his youngest of 8 children.
 
JezebelWife of King Ahab who led him to do great evil. Threaten Elijah the prophet with death.
 
JoabSon of David's sister and commander of David's army. Had several military successes. Played a part in David's plot to have Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, killed in battle to cover up his adultery with her (2Samuel 11). Murdered Abner in revenge for death of brothers (2Samuel 3). Did not support Solomon becoming the next king. Solomon had Joab killed per David's request (1Kings 2).
 
JobWrote first book of the Bible. Was wealthy and considered righteous when Satan challenged God regarding the sincerity of his obedience (Job 1). God allows devil to take away Job's possessions and kill his children. After a period of trial and testing (made worse by his 'friends') God personally confronts Job and causes him to repent.
 
JoelOne of the minor prophets whose prophecies parallel what is in book of Revelation. Gave prophecies regarding God's as yet future judgment and punishment of mankind.
 
JonahA prophet sent by God to warn Nineveh of their impending judgment for their sins. Jonah initially refuses to warn Nineveh. God then has a great fish swallow him. Jonah cries out to God and after 3 days and nights (a type of Jesus' death) the fish vomits Jonah on a beach near Nineveh. He then warns the city, which heeds his words, repents, and is spared destruction.
 
JonathanSon of King Saul. Was very close friend of King David. Died in battle.
 
JosephFavorite son of Jacob. Mother is Rachel. Received coat of many colors from Jacob (Genesis 37). Sold as slave by his brothers. Was prisoner in Egypt. Interprets dreams of Pharaoh and made overseer of Egypt (Genesis 41). Has two sons: Manasseh and Ephraim. Saves entire family by having them move to Egypt to avoid famine. Joseph is also name of Mary's (Jesus' mother) husband.
 
Joshua Led children of Israel into promised land after death of Moses. Led battles to conquer land given by God. Divided land among the tribes. Served 18 years as Israel's first judge.
 
Josiah One of the best Kings of Judah. Reigned 31 years. Helped restore true worship of God to Judah. Fatally wounded in battle by random arrow.
 
Judah Jacob's fourth son by Leah. Interceded to stop other brothers from killing Joseph (Genesis 37). Had incest with daughter-in-law (Genesis 38). Tribe of Judah led conquest of promised land (Judges 1).
 
Keturah Referred to in the Bible as Abraham's concubine. She likely married him after the death of Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six children: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.
 
Laban Brother of Abraham whose sister was the wife of Isaac. Did not keep agreement with Jacob who promised to work for him 7 years in order to marry Rachel (Genesis 29).
 
Leah Was the eldest daughter of Laban. Although Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, Laban deceived him into taking Leah as his first wife (Genesis 29). Leah bore Jacob six boys and a girl: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Isaachar, Zebulun and Dinah.
 
Levi Jacob's third son by Leah. As a tribe received no land inheritance in Canaan but did get cities throughout Israel. Made the priestly tribe of Israel by God and live by tithes paid by other Israelite tribes.
 
Lot His uncle was Abraham. Led out of Sodom and Gomorrah by angels before its destruction. Saw wife turned into pillar of salt for disobeying God (Genesis 19). After cities destroyed Lot's two daughters, thinking all humans got killed, get him drunk and get pregnant by him. The daughters give birth to founders of the Moabite and Ammonite peoples.
 
Malachi The last of the minor prophets to write (c. 400 B.C.). Gave prophecies regarding being prepared for God's Messenger, Jesus Christ. Spoke against divorce, adultery, priestly neglect of duties and robbing God by not tithing.
 
Manasseh Name of one of Joseph's son born in Egypt. Also name of one of Judah's kings who ruled longer (55 years) than any King of Israel or Judah. Consider one of the worst kings, he encouraged the worship of many false gods. He also used witchcraft, worked with evil spirits, and even sacrificed his own son by fire to the false god Moloch (2Kings 21).
 
Melchizedek
(Melchizedec)
 Abraham tithed to Melchizedek. Melchizedek means "king of righteousness," and "king of peace" (Hebrews 7). Paul states Melchizedek didn't have a father or mother, was never born, never died, and is a priest forever. Jesus is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5).
 
MethusalehLived from 3297 to 2328 B.C., a total of 969 years, which makes him the oldest human in history. Methusaleh died the same year as Noah's flood.
 
MicahOne of the minor prophets. Gave prophecies concerning lack of justice and oppression in the world.
 
MichalOne of Saul's daughters who became the first wife of King David. She was childless through David.
 
Miriam Prophetess who is sister of Moses and Aaron. Led song of triumphant after Red Sea closed and Egyptian army killed (Exodus 15). Jealousy of Moses led to being stricken with leprosy, which Moses prayed to God to heal (Numbers 12).
 
Moab Lot's son, born from incestuous relationship with Lot's older daughter
 
Mordecai Uncle of Queen Esther who helped save the Jewish people in captivity from total destruction.
 
Moses
 
A Levite who, when born in 1525 B.C., was hid in a small basket to avoid being killed. Was found and adopted by Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus 2). Moses is educated and learns how to govern in the court of Pharaoh. At the age of forty he sees an Egyptian beating up on a Hebrew and kills the man. His act is discovered and he flees to Midian.

Moses joins himself to a priest of Midian named Jethro. He soon marries his daughter Zipporah and spends forty years as a herdsman in the desert of Horeb.

Moses sees a miraculous vision of a burning bush and receives his calling from God to free the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. With his brother Aaron (who acted as spokesman) he travels back to Egypt and demands the children of Israel be set free. After a series of ten plagues, brought on due to the hardness of Pharaoh's heart, the Israelites leave Egypt in 1445 B.C.

Moses receives the Ten Commandments directly from God (Exodus 19-20). Because of the Israelites lack of faith, Moses and the entire nation wander the wilderness for forty years. During his wandering Moses writes the first five books of the Bible. He dies in 1405 B.C at the age of 120 years.
 
Nahum One of the minor prophets. Gave prophecies concerning the judgment of Nineveh and offered comforting words to Israel.
 
Naomi Mother-in-law of Ruth who lost husband and both her sons. Ruth, who was also a widow, accompanies her to Bethlehem.
 
Nathan Prophet during the reigns of David and Solomon. Reproved David for his adultery with Bathsheba (2Samuel 12) and educated Solomon in his youth. Also name of one of David's sons through Bathsheba who is in the genealogy of Jesus' mother Mary (Luke 3:31).
 
Nebuchadnezzar Greatest of all Babylonian Kings. Extends power of Babylon over the known world. Conquered Jerusalem in 597 B.C. and took Judah's king, Ezekiel, Daniel and others captive. In 586 B.C. he destroys Jerusalem and completely burns its temple.
 
NehemiahProphet who, as captive of the Persian empire, was given permission to return to Judah and rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1-2). Became Governor of Judah. Helped Ezra canonize the Old Testament.
 
NimrodGrandson of Ham. His name means 'rebellion.' Bible states he was "a mighty hunter before (meaning AGAINST or in opposition to) the Lord." (Genesis 10:9). He began the city of Babel (leading to the kingdom of Babylon) and built the city of Nineveh (in the land of Assyria).
 
Noah Commanded by God to build ark to save animals and his immediately family from worldwide flood. God brought 'Noah's flood' because humans had set their hearts to do evil continually (Genesis 6). Was 600 years old when flood occurred (Genesis 7:6). After flood a rainbow was given as sign another flood would not occur (Genesis 9). Had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. Lived 950 years total.
 
Obadiah One of the minor prophets. Gave prophecies concerning the Day of the Lord, Edom's destruction and Israel's restoration.
 
Rachel Was the youngest daughter of Laban and Jacob's favorite wife. Jacob agreed to work seven years for Laban in order to marry her but was deceived into first marrying Rachel's older sister Leah instead. After God healed her of being barren she gave birth to Joseph. She later died giving birth to Benjamin. Rachel is the first woman recorded in the Bible as dying in childbirth.
 
RahabHarlot who received and assisted spies sent by Joshua to spy out Jericho (Joshua 2). Mentioned in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5).
 
RebekahWife of Isaac who was healed of being barren after her and her husband prayed to God. Gave birth to twins Esau and Jacob.
 
Rehoboam King Solomon's son whose unwillingness to lighten the heavy tax burden imposed by his father (1Kings 12) helped Israel split into two distinct kingdoms. Ruled over the newly-separated Kingdom of Judah (tribes of Judah, Benjamin and priestly tribe of Levi) from 930-917 B.C.
 
Reuben Firstborn of Jacob through Leah. Because he committed adultery with Jacob's wife Bilhah Jacob cursed him. He was deprived of his birthright, which Jacob gave to the sons of Joseph.
 
Ruth Non-Israelite woman who, after becoming a widow, went to Bethlehem with mother-in-law Naomi. Meet Boaz, her future husband, while gleaning from his field (Ruth 2). Became Great-grandmother of King David (Ruth 4).
 
Samuel Prophet who was miraculously born when God healed mother of barrenness. Dedicated to serving God before birth (1Samuel 1). Anointed both Saul and David as Kings. Served 32 years as the last sole Judge of Israel.
 
Samson Helped free Israel of Philistine oppression. Possessed miraculous strength symbolized by his hair. Revealed to Delilah the secret of his strength. Gave his life to overcoming Philistines. Served as Israel's judge for 20 years.
 
Sarah Wife of Abraham whose initial name (Sarai) was changed by God (Genesis 17). Was healed of being barren and gave birth to Isaac when she was 91 years old and Abraham was 100. She is the only woman in the Bible where her age at death (127) is recorded.
 
Satan Angel created by God whose original name was Lucifer, which meant "light bringer." He and other angels willfully disobeyed and rebelled against God and in the process became demons (Revelation 12). Lucifer's name was changed to Satan, which means "the adversary." He corrupted himself through pride and vanity and sought to take control of all creation by force (Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14). God, however, cast Satan and his demons to the earth "like lightning" (Luke 10:18). Satan will ultimately be put to death for his rebellion.
 
Saul Of the tribe of Benjamin. Anointed by Samuel as Israel's first human king. Reigned from 1050-1010 B.C. Took a young King David into his service but out of jealousy grew to hate him then try to kill him. Lost chance to have descendants rule Israel due to disobeying God (1Samuel 11). Consulted a witch to try contacting a dead Samuel (1Samuel 28). Died in battle with son Jonathan. Saul is also name of apostle Paul before he was converted (Acts 13:9).
 
SennacheribMost famous of Assyrian kings. Burned Babylon. Defeated by an angel before entering Jerusalem (Isaiah 37:33-38).
 
Seth Adam and Eve's third son.
 
Shalmaneser VAssyrian king who conquered Samaria, Israel's (Northern 10 Tribes of Israel) capital, in 723 B.C. Took Israelites captive and transported them to Assyria.
 
Shem Eldest son of Noah who survived the flood in the ark. Lived 600 years. Is in lineage of Jesus.
 
Solomon One of King David's sons through Bathsheba. After becoming king asked God to give him "an understanding heart" with which to rule. God gave him not only wisdom but riches and honor (1Kings 3:10-13). Built Jerusalem's first temple. His 700 wives and 300 concubines turned his heart, when he was old, away from God (1Kings 11). Wrote Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and most of the book of Proverbs.
 
Zechariah One of the minor prophets. Foretold coming of God's kingdom preceded by building of temple.
 
Zephaniah One of the minor prophets. Gave prophecies concerning God's indignation, Israel's repentance and God's salvation toward them.
 
Zerubbabel Leads emancipated Jews in Babylon to Jerusalem. Was Prince and Governor of Judah. Directs the rebuilding of Jerusalem's altar and temple (Ezra 1, 3).
 
Zilpah Was the handmaid of Leah. When Leah thought she could have no more children she gave her to Jacob (Genesis 30). Zilpah gave birth to two sons of Jacob: Gad and Asher.
 
Zipporah Daughter of a Midianite priest who was Moses' wife. Was angry at Moses for having to circumcise their son (Exodus 4:24-26). Moses then sends Zipporah and their two sons back to her father. They later reunite (Exodus 18:2-6).
Additional Study Materials
Abraham's Journey to
Land of Canaan Map
Locations where Israel
taken captive Map
 
List of Kings of
Ancient Israel and Judah


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