Creation to Flood
Adam (“man” or “to be red”) – first man
Seth (“placed” or “appointed”) – third son of Adam and Eve
Enos (“human being” – son of Seth, grandson of Adam
Kenan (“possession” – son of Enosh, grandson of Asam
Mahalalel – son of Kenan, descendant of Seth
Jared (“descent”) – father of Enoch
Enoch (“dedicated”) – son of Jared who was taken up to God without dying
Methuselah (“man of the dart”) – son of Enoch, grandfather of Noah
Lamech (“to make low”) – father of Noah
Noah (“rest” or “comfort”) – last of the ten antediluvian Patriarchs and hero of the Flood
Shem (“name”) – Noah’s oldest son and original ancestor of Israel. Through his line came Abraham
Cain line
Adam (“man” or “to be red”) – first man
Cain (“acquired”) – firstborn son of Adam
Enoch (“dedicated”) – son of Cain
Irad – son of Enoch
Mehujael – son of Irad
Methusael – “man of God”, descendant of Cain
Lamech (“to make low”0 – fifth descent from Cain, rude and ruffianly, with him the curtain falls on the race of Cain
Tubal-cain – son of Lamech
Noah and the arkPatriarchs after Flood
Arpachshad – third son of Shem, son of Noah, born two years after the Flood
Shelah (“petition”) – son of Judah, original ancestor of clan in tribe of Judah
Eber – descendant of Shem, ancestor of Abraham, original ancestor of the people associated with the Assyrians
Peleg – descendant of Shem, ancestor of Abraham (and Jesus), recognized as the ancestor of all the Semitic peoples of Mesopotamia
Reu – descendant of Shem, possibly ancestor of tribe associated with Ra’ilu, an island in the Euphrates below Anat
Serug – ancestor of Abraham (and thus Jesus)
Nahor – son of Serug, father of Terah, grandfather of Abraham
Terah – father of Abraham, his religious practices are hotly debated
Abraham – “father of multitude”, the first Hebrew patriarch, son of Terah, a descendant of Noah’s son, Shem. Originally known as Abram.
Isaac – only son of Abraham by Sarah and patriarch of the nation of Israel
Jacob – original ancestor of the nation of Israel and father of the 12 ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel. Son of Isaac and Rebekah, younger twin brother of Esau, husband of Leah and Rachel. God changed his name to “Israel” shortly after the signing of the historical treaty (which split Israel from the East) with his father-in-law, Laban.
Nationhood to Kingship
Judah – fourth son of Jacob and progenitor of the tribe of Judah; through Judah ran the genealogical line that led to Jesus.
Perez – one of the twins born through the illicit affair between Judah and his daughter-in-law, Tamar; his descendants were called Perezites.
Hezron – great grandson of Jacob and clan ancestor of the Hezronites through whom David was born.
Ram – ancestor of David and Jesus
Amminadab – Father of Nahshon, who led the tribe of Judah in the wilderness; ancestor of David and Jesus
Nahshon – name means “serpent”; leader of the tribe of Judah during the wilderness years; brother-in-law of Aaron
Salmon – father of Boaz
Boaz – hero of the book of Ruth; bargained with nearest relative who gave up right to marry Ruth, Boaz married Ruth and became Obed’s father (David’s grandfather)
Obed – son of Boaz and Ruth, father of Jesse, grandfather of King David
Jesse – name means “manly”; father of King David, a Judahite who lived in Bethlehem; had eight sons of whom David was the youngest, and two daughters
David – name means “favorite” or “beloved”; first king to unite Israel and Judah and the first to receive the promise of a royal messiah in his line; ruled from 1005 to 965 BC
Prophets in the Hebrew Bible
A biblical prophet receives word from GodPre-Patriarchal
Abel – second son of Adam, murdered by Cain
Kenan – grandson of Adam, son of Enosh
Enoch – son of Jared and father of Methuselah
Noah (in rabbinic literature) – last of the ten antediluvian Patriarchs and hero of the Flood
Patriarchs / Matriarchs
Abraham – “father of multitude”; the first Hebrew patriarch; son of Terah, a descendant of Noah’s son, Shem; originally known as Abram.
Isaac – only son of Abraham by Sarah and patriarch of the nation of Israel
Jacob – original ancestor of the nation of Israel and father of the 12 ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel; son of Isaac and Rebekah, younger twin brother of Esau, husband of Leah and Rachel; God changed his name to “Israel”
Joseph – elder of two sons of Jacob and Rachel; sold as slave by jealous brothers; became favored by Pharaoh and set over all the land of Egypt
Sarah – wife and half-sister of Abraham, mother of the “promised child”; only instance in scripture where age of a woman is recorded (127 years old)
Rebecca (or Rebekah) – wife of Isaac, daughter of Bethuel, Abraham’s nephew; bore twins Esau and Jacob
Rachel – endowed with great beauty; second and favorite wife of Jacob, her first cousin, mother of Jacob’s two youngest sons, Joseph and Benjamin
Leah – elder daughter of Laban, first wife of Jacob (Jacob asked for the younger Rachel’s hand but was tricked into marrying Leah), mother of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah
Israelite prophets in the Torah
Moses (in rabbinic literature) – leader of the Israelites in their exodus from Egyptian slavery and oppression; tribe of Levi (Israel’s tribe of priests); son or distant descendant of Amram
Aaron – Moses’s brother; Israel’s first high priest.
Miriam – sister of Moses and Aaron; after crossing the Red Sea, she assumed the role of prophetess and led the women in the song of victory that was steeped in faith and gratitude
Eldad and Medad – two of the 70 elders of Israel that God selected to help Moses
Phinehas – grandson of Aaron and high priest who often aided Moses and Joshua
Mentioned in the Former Prophets
Joshua – Moses’ general, leader of Israelites who first took control of the promised land of Canaan, led the people into the promised land; member of the Ephraim tribe that later formed the heart of the Northern Kingdom
Deborah – prophetess, judge, and wife of Lapidoth; probably lived around 1,200 BC during a period of Canaanite oppression; described as “a mother in Israel” because of her role in delivering God’s people
Gideon – son of Joash, tribe of Manasseh; judge who delivered Israel from the Midianites
Eli – father of Hophni and Phinehas; custodian of Samuel and largely responsible for his religious and spiritual training; when Samuel mistook the voice of God for the voice of Eli, Eli instructed him to ask the Lord to speak the next time he heard the voice
Elkanah – father of Samuel, husband of Hannah who was infertile but eventually allowed by God to bear a son
Hannah – wife of Elkanah and mother of Samuel; vowed to God that if allowed to give birth to a son, she would dedicate the child to God
Abigail – wife of David after the death of Nabal; praised for her wisdom; after the death of Nabal, David married Abigail and thus secured new social position and a rich estate
Samuel – grandson of Issachar; contemporary with Saul and David; considered the last judge; anointed Saul as Israel’s first king
Gad – seventh son of Jacob and progenitor of the tribe of Gad; mother was Leah’s maid Zilpah; Jacob promised Gad’s descendants a troubled life but foretold that they would hit back
Nathan – prophet in royal court during reign of King David and early years of King Solomon; David consulted with Nathan about building the temple; told David he would have a great house, great name, and a kingdom forever
David – name means “favorite” or “beloved”; first king to unite Israel and Judah and the first to receive the promise of a royal messiah in his line; ruled from 1005 to 965 BC
Solomon – tenth son of David and second son of Bathsheba; became third king of Israel around 1,000 BC, ruled for 40 years, was crowned king after his mother and Nathan intervened and ensured David’s decision to have Solomon succeed him
Jeduthun – also known as Ethan; served King David; temple musician; was said to have prophesied using musical instruments
Ahijah – Priest of the family of Eli; brought ark of God to Saul; protested against the idolatry of Solomon
Elijah – called the grandest and most romantic character that Israel ever produced, complex character; little know about his background; renowned for his miracles and prophetic role
Elisha – ninth century BC prophet; son of Shaphat and Abel-meholah; prophetic powers of Elijah bestowed upon him while plowing in a field
Shemaiah – prophet in days of Rehoboam; his message from God prevented war between Israel and Judah in 930 BC
Iddo – common name in the Old Testament; seer and prophet cited as one of the sources of the Chronicler; also the grandfather of the prophet Zechariah
Hanani – another common name in the Old Testament; priest musician; temple musician and descendant of Heman
Jehu – son of Jehoshaphat and king of Israel from 841-814 BC; also seer who foresaw the end of Baasha’s dynasty
Micaiah – prophet who predicted death of Ahab; proclaimed Ahab’s 400 prophets were possessed by a lying spirit; accused and imprisoned on a charge of false prophesy
Jahaziel – Levite and son of Asaph; prophesied victory for Jehoshaphat and his people
Eliezer – name scattered throughout the Old Testament; son of Dodavah who prophesied against Jehoshaphat; also the second son of Moses
Zechariah ben Jehoiada – chief priest of the Temple in Jerusalem who led coup during which Queen Athaliah was slain and Joash (Jehoash) was enthroned; influenced the young king to restore the temple
Huldah – wife of Shallum; around 521 BC was consulted by King Josiah after the discovery of “the book of the law in the house of the Lord”; prophesied judgment for the nation but a peaceful death for Josiah the king
Prophet Daniel and the den of lionsMajor Prophets
Isaiah (in rabbinic literature) – relatively little is known about him despite the large book associated with him; ministered primarily to the Southern Kingdom of Judah; highly educated prophet during the reigns of the Judean kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; author of the biblical Book of Isaiah
Jeremiah – name sometimes spelled Jeremias; son of Hilkiah; belonged to tribe of Benjamin; prophet to Judah before its fall in 586 BC; known as the weeping prophet because of this message of judgment and displays of emotion
Ezekiel – son of Buzi (a Zadokite priest); Judaean priest and prophet taken into exile by the Babylonians in 597 BC; characterized by his ecstatic visions and message of divine judgment and restoration, possessed detailed knowledge of the Jerusalem Temple
Daniel (in rabbinic literature) – hero of the book of Daniel; man of extraordinary wisdom and righteousness; member of Judean nobility; carried off to Babylon in 597 BC
The Twelve Minor Prophets (each with an individual book in the Old Testament)
Hosea – son of Beeri; prophetic ministry during period when Assyria emerged as a new world regime (Assyria’s rise to power posed a constant threat to Israel’s national existence); oracles were recorded in the book of Hosea; married Gomer who was apparently a harlot; often seen as the “prophet of doom” but underneath the message of destruction is a promise of hope
Joel – common name in Hebrew Bible; son of Pethuel; his preaching ministry produced the book of Joel; probably lived in Jerusalem; mentioned by name only once in the Old Testament – in the introduction to his own book
Amos – prophet around 750 BC in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, from southern Kingdom of Judah but preached in northern Kingdom of Israel; was a contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea; was called to remind people of the law of God’s retributive justice and to call them to repent; spoke against the disparity between the very wealthy and the very poor
Obadiah – fourth of the minor prophets; probably a contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel; little is known of his personal history; probably from Sychem (Shechem)
Jonah (in rabbinic literature) – son of Amittai; prophet of the northern Kingdom of Israel around 800 BC; famous for being swallowed by a whale
Micah – prophesied from approximately 737-696 BC in Judah; a contemporary of Isaiah, Amos, and Hosea; was a native of Moresheth-Gath; may be the “unknown prophet” who condemned King Ahab; prophesied the future destruction of Jerusalem and the future restoration of the Judean state; prophesied that the Messiah would be born n Bethlehem
Nahum – little is known about his personal history; was from Alqosh; wrote about the end of the Assyrian Empire; possibly wrote his prophesies around 615 BC
Habakkuk – believed to have lived in Jerusalem; probably a contemporary of Jeremiah and Zephaniah but possibly earlier
Zephaniah – prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah (641-610 BC); a contemporary of Jeremiah with whom he had much in common; spoke boldly against religious and moral corruption
Haggai – Hebrew prophet during the building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem; the first of three post-exile prophets; may have been one of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar; work on the rebuilding of the temple resumed through his and Zechariah’s efforts
Zechariah – son of grandson of Iddo; a contemporary with Haggai; no friend of the Samaritans; played a significant part in the rebuilding of the Temple
Malachi – author of the last prophetic book of the Old Testament about which nothing more is known (some believe the book was actually written anonymously)
Noahide (based on Seven Laws of Noah)
Beor – king of Edom, before Israel had a king; father of the prophet Balaam
Balaam – non-Israelite prophet whom Balak; king of Moab; promised money if he would curse the invading Israelites (he refused), later sabotaged the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land
Job (in rabbinic literature) – wealthy and pious man from the land of Uz; beset with horrendous disasters that take away all that he held dear, God rewarded Job’s obedience with riches and restoration of his health
Other Prophets
Amoz – father of the prophet Isaiah
Beeri – father of the prophet Hosea
Baruch – son of Neriah; scribe, attendant, and devoted friend of the prophet Jeremiah; wrote the first and second editions of Jeremiah’s prophecies as they were dictated to him by the prophet; despite the danger, read the prophecies of warning to the people gathered in the Temple in Jerusalem; possibly carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar II after the conquest of Egypt
Agur – author of Proverbs 30:1-33; may not be a proper name
Uriah – son of Shemaiah; prophet from Kiriath-jearim whose message supported his contemporary, Jeremiah; fled into Egypt but was captured, beheaded, and his body “cast into the graves of the common people”
Buzi – priest mother or father of Ezekiel; probably a Zadokite and likely from a important priestly family
Mordecai – son of Jair and descendant of Kish; Jewish exile employed in the palace at Susa; taken prisoner to Babylon by Nebuchadrezzar; succeeded Haman in office and used his position to encourage the Jews to defend themselves against the massacre inspired by Haman
Esther (in rabbinic literature)
Oded – father of prophet Azariah; also a prophet in the time of Ahaz who urged the Israelites to release the people of Judah that they had taken as prisoners of war
Azariah – common name in the Old Testament; son of Oded; prophet who gave King Asa the courage to restore proper worship in Judah
Rulers of Ancient Israel
Ancient biblical kingPre-dynastic
Abimelech – king of Gerar who took Sarah for himself after thinking she was Abraham’s sister rather than his wife; also King of Philistines at Gerar who offered Isaac protection after he passed Rebekah off as his sister (she was Isaac’s wife)
United monarchy (Israelite kingdom of Israel and Judah)
Saul – first king of Israel; son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin; anointed king by Samuel; reign generally dated from about 1020-1000 BC
Ish-boseth – son of Saul and his successor as king of Israel; reigned for only two years after his own captains murdered him; name means “man of shame”
David – the first king to unite Israel and Judah and the first to receive the promise of a royal messiah in his line; ruled from about 1005-965 BC
Solomon – tenth son of David and second son of Bathsheba; third king of Israel; reigned 40 years around 1000 BC
Kingdom of Israel (Northern Kingdom)
Jeroboam I – son of Nebat and Zeruah; member of the Tribe of Ephraim of Zereda; King Solomon made him superintendent of public works; king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel after the revolt of the ten northern Israelite tribes against Rehoboam that put and end to the United Monarchy; reigned for 22 years from about 922 to 901 BC.
Nadab – son and successor of Jeroboam I; second king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel; reigned for two years from about 901 to 900 BC; slain by one of his own captains, Baasha, who then slayed the rest of the royal family and made himself king of Israel
Baasha – son of Ahijah of the Tribe of Issachar; reigned for 23 years from about 900 – 877 BC, came into power by murdering previous king (Nadab); prophet Jehu foretold the destruction of his dynasty which came to pass with the assassination of Baasha’s son Elah
Elah – son of Baasha who succeeded him as the 4th king of Israel; reigned from about 877 – 876 BC; was murdered (along with the rest of his family) by his chariot commander Zimri who became his successor
Zimri – king of Israel for seven days around 876 BC; murdered king Elah at Tirzah as Elah was drinking in the house of Arza; finding his position untenable, he set fire to the palace and was burned alive
Tibni – son of Ginath (a man of some position); reigned from about 876 – 871 BC; after the death of Zimri a considerable number of people chose him as monarch and he contended with the throne against Omri who also had many supporters; fought with Omri’s forces for several years until Omri prevailed and Tibri died
Omri – founder of the House of Omri an Israelite royal house which included other rulers such as Ahab, Ahaziah, Joram, and Athaliah; was “commander of the army” of king Elah when Zimri, “commander of half the king’s chariots”, murdered Elah and made himself king; reigned for 12 years from about 876 – 869 BC
Ahab – reigned for 22 years from about 869 – 850 BC; married Jezebel (daughter of the King of Tyre) who was a dominant influence on him; strove to spread the worship of Baal in Isreal
Ahaziah – son of Ahab and Jezebel; reigned from about 850 – 849 BC; historical documents record that the Moabites revolted against him; died after falling from the roof-gallery of his palace, having no son he was succeeded by his younger brother
Jehoram – son of Ahab and Jezebel and brother to King Ahaziah; reigned for 12 years from about 849 – 842 BC; worshipped Baal; attacked Mesha (King of Moab), suffered a disastrous defeat at Ramoth-Gilead and was injured, was murdered by his general Jehu by an arrow through the back; his death marked the end of the Omni Dynasty
Jehu – son of Jehoshaphat, grandson of Nimshi; reigned from 842 – 815 BC after murdering Jehoram; saw Jezebel (Jehoram’s mother) watching him from a palace window in contempt and ordered her thrown from the window (Jehu then drove his chariot over her body), ordered Ahab’s entire family be slain (70 heads were piled in two heaps outside the city gate), slaughtered another 42 people related to Omrides, summoned all worshipers of Baal and killed them; little else is known about his reign
Jehoahaz – son of Jehu; reigned seventeen years from about 815 – 801 BC; was initially faithful to God but his people followed the religious practices of the house of Jeroboam
Jehoash – son of Jehoahaz; reigned for 16 years from about 801 – 786 BC; when he ascended the throne, the Kingdom of Israel was suffering from the predations of the Arameans, whose king Hazael was reducing the amount of land owned by Israel; was sinful and did evil in the eyes of God for tolerating the worship of golden calves; advanced on Israel, broke down a portion of the wall, and carried away the treasures of the Temple, died shortly after he defeated Amaziah at Beth-shemesh
Jeroboam II – son and successor of Jehoash; ruled for 41 years from about 786 –746 BC; was victorious over they Syrians and conquered Damascus extending Israel to its former limits; promoted the worship of golden calves; reigned during the period of the prophets Hosea, Joel, Johan, and Amos all of whom condemned the materialism and selfishness of the Israelite elite of the day
Zechariah – son of Jeroboam II; reigned for 6 months from about 746 – 745 BC; murdered by Shallum who took the throne; his death marked the end of the dynasty of Jehu fulfilling prophesy in 2 Kings 10:30
Shallum – originally a captain in the army of King Zechariah, he conspired against Zechariah and slew him; reigned for “a month of days” before another captain from Zechariah’s army put him to death and succeeded him
Menahem – son of Gadi and founder of the House of Gadi or House of Menahem; reigned for 10 years from about 745 – 736 BC after murdering Shallum and taking the throne; destroyed the city of Tiphsah and put all of its inhabitants to death; rule described as one of cruelty and oppression; believed to have died of natural causes and succeeded by his son Pekahiah
Pekahiah – son of Menahem; second and last king from the House of Gadi; reigned for 2 years from about 742 – 740 BC, ruled from the capital of Samaria; continued the practices of Jeroboam; was assassinated in the citadel of the royal palace at Samaria by Pekah, son of Remaliah, one of his chief officers
Pekah – son of Remaliah, captain in the army of king Pekahiah whom he killed to become king; reigned for several years from about 737 – 732 BC (date and time of his reign is still debated); was slain by Hoshea who took the throne
Hoshea – son of Elah; last king of the Israelite Kingdom of Israel from about 732 – 721 BC; served as a captain in Pekah’s army; was arrested by Shalmaneser and lost his land to the Assyrians who deported all of the citizens of Israel beyond the Euphrates
Kingdom of Tribes of IsraelJudah (Southern Kingdom)
Rehoboam – son of Solomon and Naamah the Ammonite, grandson of David; initially king of the United Monarchy of Israel but after the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled in 932/931 BC to form the independent Kingdom of Israel he was king of the Kingdom of Judah, or southern kingdom, as the unified kingdom of David began to disintegrate; reigned from about 932 – 915 BC
Abijam – son of Rehoboam and Maacah (or Micaiah), grandson of Solomon, great-grandson of David; fourth king of the House of David and second of the Kingdom of Judah; had 22 sons and 16 daughters from 14 wives; battled with King Jeroboam I (see above) in attempt to unite the two kingdoms, Jeroboam was soundly defeated and was said to have lost 500,000 soldiers, thereafter Jeroboam posed no threat to Abijam; reigned from 915-913 BC
Asa – son of Abijam; reigned 41 years from 913-873 BC; became ill and made his son Jehoshaphat coregent (Asa died two years later); was zealous in maintaining the traditional worship of God and ridding the country of idolatry; long period of piece during his reign which was finally broken in the 36th year of his reign by King Baasha of the northern kingdom.
Jehoshaphat – also spelled Jehosaphat, Josaphat; son of Asa and Azubah; reigned for 25 years from about 871 – 849 BC; sent priests out throughout the land to instruct people in the Old Testament Law; joined Jehoram (northern kingdom) in war against Moabites but withdrew and returned to his own land after seeing Mesha’s (king of Moabites) act of offering his own son as a human sacrifice
Jehoram – son of Jehoshaphat; reigned for 8 years from 849 – 842 BC; to secure his position he killed his six brothers; formed alliance with northern kingdom by marrying the daughter of King Ahab; several areas revolted against him and gained their independence from his kingdom; after receiving a letter of warning from the Prophet Elijah, he suffered painful inflammation of the abdomen and died
Ahaziah – son of Jehoram and Athaliah; reigned for one year in 842 BC; was the youngest son of Jehoram but became king after his older brothers were carried off in a Philistine and Arab raid; under the influence of his mother (who was from the northern kingdom), he was introduced to alternative forms of religion; killed by an arrow while attempting to flee a northern kingdom meeting that had turned into a coup; with no heirs, his mother became queen consort
Athaliah – daughter of northern kingdom’s King Ahab and Queen Jezebel; queen consort of Judah as the wife of King Jehoram, reigned for 6 years from 842-837 BC; promoted the worship of Baal in Judah, ordered the execution of all possible claimants to the throne but her sister managed to rescue on of Athaliah’s grandsons who would eventually become the next king of the southern kingdom; Athaliah was surprised when it was discovered that Jehoash had lived, he was proclaimed king of Judah, Athaliah rushed to stop the rebellion but was captured and executed
Jehoash – also known as Joash, Joas; sole surviving son of Ahaziah after the massacre of the royal family ordered by his grandmother, Athaliah; first king to be descended from both the House of David and the House of Omni; reign began when he was 7 years old, reigned for 40 years from about 837 – 800 BC; Gospel of Matthew does not list him in the genealogy of Jesus (being one of four kings of Judah so omitted) possibly because of his ancestry from the House of Omni, ordered the destruction of all altars of Baal and executed Mattan, the priest of Baal; was assassinated by his own servants (one an Ammonite and the other an offspring of a Moabite)
Amaziah – son of Joash and Jehoaddan;took throne after assassination of his father at the age of 25; reigned for 29 yers from about 797-768 BC; upon taking the throne, ordered the execution of the murderers of his father but contrary to custom, permitted their children to live; began to worship Edomite idols; rushed into disastrous battle at Beth-shemesh where he was captured, the wall of Jerusalem broken down, and the city, palace, and Temple looted; as a result of his poor rule, he was assassinated at Lachish to which he had fled
Uzziah – son of Amaziah; reigned for 52 years from about 783 – 742 BC; was faithful to God during his early reign; was struck with leprosy for disobeying God; made unique machines for shooting arrows and launching large stones, tablet discovered in 1931 dated to around 30-70 AD with the inscription: “Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, king of Juday. Not to be opened.”
Jotham – son of Uzziah and Jerusha; took reign after father (Uzziah) was inflicted with leprosy, reigned for 11 years from about 742 – 735 BC; built the Upper Gage of the Temple of Jerusalem, defeated the Ammonites, contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah whose advice he heeded and benefited from
Ahaz – son of Jotham; reigned for 16 years from about 732 – 729 BC; against the objections of his advisors, began following alternative Gods and place their altars in the Temple; inherited a strong government but veritably destroyed it through poor rule, died at the age of 36 and was succeed by his son; Hezekiah, because of his wickedness, he was “not brought into the sepulchre of the kings”, an insult to his rule
Hezekiah – son of Ahaz and Abijah; reigned for 29 years from about 715 – 686 BC; upon taking the throne, immediately commissioned priests and Levites to open and repair the doors of the Temple (it had been closed by Ahaz) and to remove the defilements that Ahaz had placed therein (a task which took 16 days); enacted sweeping religious reforms prohibiting alternative forms of religion and resumed the Passover pilgrimage; contemporary with the prophets Isaiah and Micah; died from natural causes at the age of 54 and was succeeded by his son Manasseh
Manasseh – son of Hezekiah; took throne at age 12 and reigned for 55 years from about 687 – 643 BC; was the first king to have no experience with Kingdom of Israel which had been destroyed by the Assyrians in 720 BC; reversed the reforms made by his father Hezekiah and re-instituted pagan worship, prophets were “put to the sword” during his reign
Amon – son of Manasseh and Meshullemeth; reigned for 2 years from about 642 – 640 BC; most remembered for his idolatrous practices while king which led to a revolt against him and eventually his assassination in 641 BC by his servants, his reign occurred in the midst of a transitional period – Assyrian Empire was beginning to disintegrate while the Babylonian Empire had not yet risen to replace it and Egypt was recovering from Assyrian occupation
Josiah – son of Amon, took throne at 8 years old after assassination of his father and reigned from 31 years from about 641 – 610 BC; instituted major religious reforms and is credited with the compilation of important Hebrew Scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule; ordered the renovation of the Temple during which Hilkiah discovered the “Book of the Law” or “the book of the law of Yahweh by the hand of Moses” while clearing the treasure room of the Temple, many scholars believe this was either a copy of the Book of Deuteronomy, finding of the book prompted Josiah to renew the ancient covenant with God; destroyed pagan idols and emblems of Baal and even burned bones of dead pagan priests, died during battle against Egyptians
Jehoahaz – son of King Josiah and Hamautal, his birth name was Shallum; disregarded the reforms of his father; reigned for only 3 months in 609 BC before being disposed by Egyptian Pharaoh Necho II, died in exile (the only king to have died in exile)
Jehoiakim – son of King Josiah and Zebidah, birth name was Eliakim, reigned for 11 years from about 608 – 597 BC after being appointed king by Necho II, King of Egypt; after Egyptians were defeated by the Babylonians, Nebuchadnezzar II raided Jerusalem; known for burning the manuscript of one of the prophecies of Jeremiah which insisted on repentance and adherence to the Old Testament law; in 598 BC he died and his body was thrown out of the walls of the city
Jeconiah – son of Jehoiakim; reigned 3 months and 10 days from December 9, 598 to March 15/16 597 BC, Jeremiah cursed him that none of his descendants would ever sit on the throne of Israel; listed in Matthew as an ancestor of Joseph providing further support for the virgin birth of Jesus; dethroned by Nebuchadnezzar II, the King of Babylon and his uncle Zedekiah put in his place
Zedekiah – the last king of Judah before the destruction of the kingdom by Babylon, Hebrew Bible says he was made king by Nebuchadnezzar II in 597 BC at the age of 21 which is supported by the Babylonian chronicle; revolted against Babylon and switched alliances to Egypt, Babylon invaded as a result capturing Jerusalem and Zedekiah, after watching his sons put to death, his eyes were put out and he was carried to Babylon where he remained a prisoner until his death
Hasmonean Dynasty (the ruling dynasty during classical antiquity)
Simon Maccabaeus – also known as Simon Thassi; second son of Mattathias and member of the Hasmonean family line; reigned from 142 – 135 BC; Hasmonean Dynasty found by resolution at large assembly of priests and citizens; assassinated (along with his two oldest sons) at the instigation of his son-in-law Ptolemy during a ceremonial banquet
John Hyrcanus I – son of Simon Maccabaeus; reigned from 134 – 104 BC, nephew of Judas Maccabaeus and Jonathan Maccabaeus whose story is told in 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, the Talmud, and in Josephus; during his rule, Antiochus pillaged the countryside and laid siege on Jerusalem, Hyrcanus had to loot King David’s tomb to pay Antiochus under his required terms; after the death of Antiochus in battle, the relative military might of Hyrcanus increased greatly; upon his death his wife, Aristobulus, took over government of the country
Aristobulus I – eldest son of John Hyrcanus; reigned only one year from 104-103 BC; first ruler in Hasmonean Dynasty to call himself “king”; use trickery and help from his brother (whom he later had executed) to take control of the kingdom from his mother (whom he placed in prison and allowed to starve to death); died in 103 BC from “internal bleeding” from a disease
Alexander Jannaeus – son of John Hyrcanus, inherited the throne after his brother’s death and reigned 27 years from 103 –76 BC; during his reign, the country remained in near-constant military conflict including the six-year Judean Civil War in which 50,000 Judeans lost their lives and left the country unhappy and in poverty; on his deathbed he entrusted the government, not to his sons, but to his wife Salome; known to be supportive of the Sadducees
Salome Alexandra – wife of Aristobulus I and later Alexander Jannaeus; reigned from 76 – 67 BC; one of only two women to rule over Judea; increased the size of the army and provisioned numerous fortifications in the surrounding towns which bordered the Judean frontier; known to be sympathetic to the Pharisees
Hyrcanus II – eldest son of Alexander Jannaeus and Alexandra Salome, installed as High Preist by his mother upon his father’s death, upon his mother’s death, she named him successor to the Kingship as well; supported the Pharisees (in contrast to his father who supported the Sadducees); first reign lasted only 3 months from 67 – 66 BC when his younger brother, Aristobulus II, rose in rebellion, during a battle near Jericho, many of Hyrcanus II’s soldiers went over to his younger brother giving him the victory and the kingship, Hyrcanus agreed to renounce the throne in return for lifelong salary; second reign ran from 63 – 40 BC during which time he was technically “High Priest” and not king
Aristobulus II – son of Alexander Jannaeus and Alexandra Salome, took throne from older brother Hyrcanus via a decisive victory near Jericho; was defeated and captured by Roman military leader Pompey at which time the throne was handed back to Hyrcanus II (who was merely a figurehead deprived of political authority)
Antigonus II Mattathias – son of King Aristobulus II; with help from Parthians, led a fierce struggle for independence against Rome and became king in 40 BC, by 37 BC he was defeated and killed by the Herod the Great (his nephew) during the Roman siege against Jerusalem; captured by Herod, taken to Antioch, and executed; last Hasmonean king of Judea
Herodian dynasty
Herod the Great – son of Antipater the Idumaean; after defeating and capturing Antigonus II Mattarthias (his nephew), Herod was appointed the Roman king of Judea; reigned from 37 – 4 BC; described as a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis; known for his colossal building projects; married Antigonus’ niece in order to secure a legal claim to the throne and to gain Jewish favor, converted to Judaism (his identification as a Jew was questioned by many), no attempts to gain Jewish favor succeeded and he was hated by many, died an excruciating death likely from kidney disease and gangrene
Herod Archelaus – son of Herod the Great, after the death of Herod, the kingdom was divided among three of Herod’s sons, Archelaus became ruler over the tetrarchy of Judea and reigned from 4 BC – 6 AD, violation of Old Testament Law and his extreme cruelty caused the Jews to complain to Augustus, as a result, Archelaus was deposed and banished to Vienne in Gaul
Herod Antipas – son of Herod the Great, after the death of Herod, the kingdom was divided among three of Herod’s sons, Antipas became tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea and reigned from 6 AD – 39 AD; often portrayed as effeminate; known for his role in the events that led to the execution of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth; divorce from his wife was condemned by John the Baptist and believed to be the reason Antipas had him arrested and executed; accused by his nephew Agrippa I of conspiracy against the new Roman emperor Caligula who sent him to exile in Gaul
Philip the Tetrarch – sometimes (mistakenly) called Herod Philip II; son of Herod the Great, after the death of Herod, the kingdom was divided among three of Herod’s sons, Phillip became tetrarch of territories east of the Jordan and reigned from 4 BC until his death in 34 AD; married Salome who appears in the Bible in connection with the execution of John the Baptist, the evangelists, Mark and Matthew, wrote that Philip was her father, which seems an odd mistake until one realizes that the older half-brother of Philip the Tetrarch is also sometimes named Herod Philip or Herod Philip I.
Salome I (?) – kingdom governed by Prefect
Agrippa I – also known as Herod Agrippa I; son of Aristobulus IV and Berenice; born Marcus Julius Agrippa; released from prison by Caligula and made king of territories that comprised most of Israel including Judea, Galilee, Batanaea, and Perea, reigned from 41 until his death in 44 AD (likely from a heart attack);
Agrippa II – son of Herod Agrippa; reigned from 48 – 53 AD; last king of the family of Herod the Great; contemporary with Josephus and supplied him with much information for his historical work, Antiquities of the Jews
Post–Second Temple era
Simon bar Kokhba – Jewish leader of what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 AD, established an independent Jewish state, reigned for 3 years before being conquered by the Romans in 135 AD
Aaron – son of Amram and Jochebed and brother of Moses (he was 3 years older than Moses); because of his superior eloquence he was to be Moses’ spokesman to the Israelites and to Pharaoh
Eleazar – son of Aaron who he succeeded as chief priest; frequently mentioned alongside Moses or Joshua as a leader of the Israelites
Eli – the priest in the house of the Lord at Shiloh; likely a descendant of Ithamar, the youngest son of Aaron (it is unknown how the priesthood passed from the line of Eleazar)
Phinehas – son of Eleazar, also son of Eli described as “worthless men”, they abused their privileges as priests claiming more than the proper share of the sacrifices
Old Testament prophetsTwelve Tribes of Israel (sons of Jacob, aka Israel)
Asher – eighth son of Jacob and Zilpah (Leah’s handmaid), founder of the Tribe of Asher; formed part of the rear guild in the wilderness marches
Benjamin – twelfth and last born of Jacob’s sons; founder of the Tribe of Benjamin; occupied the smallest territory of all tribes but played an important role, Saul, Israel’s first king, was a Benjamite. the city of Jerusalem was near the border between the territories of Benjamin and Judah and may have been in Benjamin originally
Dan – fifth son of Jacob and the first son born to Jacob by Rachel’s maid Bilhah, founder of the Tribe of Dan; founded the city Dan which was originally the town of Laish; Samson was a Danite
Gad – seventh son of Jacob and Zilpah and founder of the Tribe of Gad; known for their raising of livestock in an area generally northeast of the Dead Sea; Jacob promised Gad’s descendants they would have a troubled life but would hit back
Issachar – ninth son of Jacob, fifth born by Leah; founder of the Tribe of Issachar; little is known about his personal history
Joseph, which was split into two tribes descended from his sons – eleventh son of Jacob, first by his favorite wife Rachel, taken to Egypt as a slave, eventually became interpreter of the pharaoh’s dreams
Ephraim – second and youngest son of Joseph and Asenath and founder of the Tribe of Ephraim; adopted by his grandfather Jacob and given precedence over his older brother Manasseh; occupied a region slightly to the northwest of the Dead Sea; Joshua, Samuel, and Jeroboam I were Ephraimites
Manasseh – son of Joseph and Asenath and founder of the Tribe of Menasheh; adopted by Jacob; when the promised land was apportioned, half of the tribe of Manasseh settled on the east bank of the Jordan and half on the west
Judah – fourth son of Jacob and founder of the Tribe of Judah; was seduced by his daughter-in-law Tamar; occupied territory west of the Dead Sea; city of Jerusalem was on the border between Judah and Benjamin; David was from the Tribe of Judah
Levi – third son of Jacob and Leah and original ancestor of Israel’s priests, was savage and merciless, later Jacob spoke harshly of him, founder of the Tribe of Levi which was also characterized as an instrument of wrath
Naphtali – sixth son of Jacob by his concubine Bilhah, characterized as energetic (“a hind let loose”), founder of the Tribe of Naphtali; occupied territory north of the Sea of Galilee; joined with Asher and Manasseh to help drive the Midianites out of the land
Reuben – first son of Jacob and Leah, founder of the Tribe of Reuben (Reubenites); felt compassion for Joseph when his brothers wanted to kill the brash dreamer and was willing to be responsible to his father for Benjamin’s wellbeing; the Reubenites held a place of honor among the other tribes; occupied territory just east of the Dead Sea and was the first parcel of land to be bestowed
Simeon – second son of Jacob of Leah; rebuked by Jacob for their violent nature and were to be divided and scattered
Zebulun – tenth son of Jacob and sixth by Leah; occupied land between the Sea of Galilee and Mount Carmel; possessed more of the allotted territory than most of the tribes
New Testament Characters
Jesus and his relatives
Jesus – needs no introduction, the savior and central figure of the New Testament
Mary – mother of Jesus, wife of Joseph, known as “the Virgin” because of her virginal conception of Jesus, Gospel of James names her parents as Joachim and Anne, from the Tribe of Levi; her death is not recorded in the Bible
Joseph – son of Jacob or Heli, husband of Mary, a descendant of David; is last mentioned in the Bible when Jesus was 12 years old and his absence in later events suggest he may have died, was by trade a highly-skilled craftsman in wood, stone, or metal
Brothers of Jesus (meaning of “brother” is debated by some who insist Mary remained a perpetual virgin)
James the Just – relationship to Jesus is debated, although apparently not followers of Jesus’ ministry, was present at critical events, referred to, along with Jude, as “brothers of the Lord” which hints strongly to status as a sibling but could mean close friend or associates of Jesus; reportedly put to death by priestly authorities in Jerusalem a few years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD
Jude – referred to, along with James, as “brothers of the Lord”, sometimes confused with “Judas”, son or brother of James that was one of the twelve disciples
Joses – also known as Joseph, mentioned in Mark as a brother of Jesus
Simon – mentioned in Mark as a brother of Jesus
Christian Apostles of Jesus
The Last Supper – Twelve DisciplesThe Twelve
Peter (aka Simon or Cephas) – son of John (or Jonah or Jona); from village of Bethsaida in Galilee; brother Andrew was also an apostle; originally a fisherman; thrice denied Jesus; leader of early Christian Church, Catholic Church considers him to be the first pope; crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar, tradition holds that he was crucified upside down per his request; Gospel of Mark traditionally thought to show the influence of Peter’s preaching and eyewitness account of the events
Andrew (Simon Peter’s brother) – born in village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee, fisherman by trade, at the beginning of Jesus’ public life, he lived with him in the same house in Capernaum; was also a disciple of John the Baptist; said to have been martyred by crucifixion in Patras in Achaea; several relics of the Apostle Andrew are known to exist
James, son of Zebedee – often identified as James the Greater, son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of John; probably came from a family with some wealth; was with John and their father when Jesus called them to follow; Herod Agrippa had James executed by sword and is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament
John, son of Zebedee – son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James; tradition holds that he outlived the other apostles and that he was the only one not to die a martyr’s death; tradition is that he authored several books of the New Testament (Gospel of John, the three Epistles of John, Book of Revelation) but true authorship is uncertain
Philip – Christian traditions describe Philip as the apostle who preached in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia, possibly setting out on his own to spread the word; hailed from the city of Bethsaida which may connect him to Andrew and Peter who were from the same town; was one of the men around John the Baptist when John pointed Jesus out as the savior; legend proclaims he was tortured and executed in Hierapolis (a tomb thought to be his was discovered in Hierapolis in 2011)
Bartholomew – introduced to Jesus by Philip, mentioned several times in the company of Philip so they may have been good friends; possibly also identified as Nathanial; legend says he went on a missionary tour to India, Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia; legend holds he was martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia, either beheaded or flayed alive and crucified
Thomas also known as “Doubting Thomas” – tradition holds he travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, traveling as far as India; called “Doubting Thomas” when after Jesus had risen, he said, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the print, I will not believe.”, after which Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds; full name may have been Judas Thomas; tradition holds Thomas was killed in 72 AD at Mylapore near Chennai in India possibly by spears or arrow
Matthew – mentioned as a tax collector (possibly for Herod Antipas); also called Levi, son of Alpheus, believed to be the author of the Gospel of Matthew (as a tax collector, he would likely have been literate and well-versed in several languages)
James, son of Alphaeus – often identified as James the Less (probably due to short stature or younger age), may have been a brother of Matthew, possibly the author of the Gospel of Mark and/or the mysterious “Q” source
Judas, son of James (aka Thaddeus or Lebbaeus) – not to be confused with Judas the traitor (they are clearly distinguished in the Bible), may have been related to James; some lists of apostles omitted Jude but included “Thaddeus” hinting that possibly his nickname was Thaddeus or that the name “Judas” had been tainted by Judas Iscariot (the traitor); opinion is divided whether Jude the apostle is the same as Jude, the brother of Jesus; tradition holds that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya; legend says he was born into a Jewish family in Paneas, a town in Galilee; likely spoke Greek and Aramaic and was a farmer by trade; tradition holds he suffered martyrdom in 65 AD in Beirut, in the Roman province of Syria, together with the apostle Simon, possibly died by axe, body brought to Rome and placed in a crypt in St. Peter’s Basilica
Simon the Zealot – one of the most obscure among the apostles of Jesus; likely not Simon, the brother of Jesus
Judas Iscariot (the traitor) – son of Simon Iscariot, notorious for the kiss and betrayal of Jesus to the Pontius Pilate for thirty silver coins; tradition holds that he hanged himself following his betrayal, his place later filled by Matthias
Matthias – chosen by the remaining eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and suicide; tradition holds that he planted the faith along the coasts of the Caspian sea; possibly stoned to death
Paul (Saul) – missionary, theologian, and writer of the early church; wrote 13 epistles that comprise almost 1/4 of the New Testament; born in Jewish family in Tarsus of Cilicia probably around 10 AD; from the tribe of Benjamin; probably came from a family of tentmakers or leatherworkers who were moderately wealthy; born a Roman citizen which gave him important legal rights that aided his missionary labors, probably carried a wax tablet that acted as a birth certificate proving his citizenship; grew up in Jerusalem; recognized the threat that followers of Jesus posed to traditional Jewish religion (as was later evidenced by authorization to imprison believers in Christ); initially rejected Jesus as the Messiah; became a believer while travelling to Damascus to arrest and imprison believers – Jesus appeared with “blinding radiance” and commented on Saul’s resistance to believing – Saul’s blindness was healed and he became a believer too; was known to have spent time with the disciples; became “wanted” by the Jews and evaded capture for some time; first missionary journey occurred sometime around 47-48 AD; arrested in Jerusalem in 57 AD; described by historians as small in stature, balding, and “full of friendliness”
Barnabas – Levite and native to Cyprus; birth name Joseph (or Joses); sold his property and gave the proceeds to the Jerusalem church; cousin of “Mark”
James, the Lord’s Brother – precise meaning of “the Lord’s brother” is debated, possibly brother, stepbrother, cousin, or close friend; not a believer until after Jesus’ resurrection; in time he assumed leadership of the Jerusalem church (originally held by Peter); death ordered by high priest Ananus and was either by stoning or being cast down from the temple tower
Jude, the Lord’s Brother – identified as one of the “brothers of the Lord” in Matthew, Mark, Acts, and Corinthians; also called Judas (not to be confused with Judas the apostle); not a believer until after Jesus’ resurrection
New Testament Priests
Caiaphas, high priest – Joseph Caiaphas; high priest at the time of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus (during Pilate’s administration), leader in the plot to arrest and execute Jesus, had no power to inflict punishment of death so sent Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor, so that he could pronounce the sentence against him; son-in-law of Annas; served as high priest from about 18 – 37 AD; attested in writings of Josephus; remains recovered in a ossuary discovered in Jerusalem; was of the sect of Sadducees
Annas, first high priest of Roman Judea – son of Seth, high priest at the time John the Baptist began his preaching; served as high priest from 6 – 16 AD by Quirinius, governor of Syria; when Jesus was arrested, he was taken before Annas who, although not high priest at the time, still held considerable influence
Zechariah, father of John the Baptist – priest in Jerusalem and father of John the Baptist; at an elderly age, angel Gabriel appeared and announced that he and his wife (Elizabeth) would give birth to a child
New Testament Prophets
Agabus – “prophet” in the early church; possibly one of the 70 disciples of Christ; prophesied at Antioch of the approaching famine (during the reign of Claudius, confirmed by historians); met with Paul at Caesarea and warned him of the bonds that awaited him in Jerusalem
Anna – daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, a “prophetess” who met the infant Jesus and his parents in the temple and recognized him as the Messiah
Simeon – prophet and teacher in the church at Antioch; also aged saint who visited the temple when Jesus was presented and uttered lofty words of thanksgiving and prophecy
John the Baptist – of priestly descent, son of Zacharias and Elizabeth (daughter or Aaron); birth took place about six months before Jesus’; denounced Sadducees and Pharisees as a generation of vipers; baptized Jesus; was cast into prison by Herod and beheaded
Other New Testament believers
Apollos – eloquent, educated man well versed in the scriptures; was taught Christian doctrine by Priscilla and Aquila; respected friend of Paul; wrote First Epistle to the Corinthians
Aquila – married to Priscilla; came from Italy to Corinth after Claudius ordered Jews expelled from Rome; became Christians and assisted Paul in his ministry; tentmakers by trade (as was Paul); instructed Apollos in the Christian faith
Dionysius the Areopagite – one of Paul’s converts at Athens; member of the Areopagus, an elite and influential group of officials
Epaphras – fellow prisoner of Paul; Christian preacher; native of Colossae; apparently held in high regard by Paul
Joseph of Arimathea – rich member of the Sanhedrin; after the crucifixion of Jesus, he boldly requested the body of Pilate and along with Mary Magdalene, Mary (Jesus mother), Nicodemus, and others, laid it in his own unused tomb; from Arimathea which is probably the same as Ramathaim-zophim (Old Testament town of Ramah) northwest of Jerusalem
Lazarus – brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany, raised from the dead after he had lain for four days in a tomb, this miracle so excited the Jews that they sought to put both Jesus and Lazarus to death
Luke – Gentile author of Third Gospel and book of Acts (possibly while in Rome with Paul during his imprisonment), according to his statement, was not an “eye-witness and minister of the word from the beginning”; close friend and travelling companion of Paul; possibly from Antioch; identified as a physician by Paul
Mark – sometimes called John; son of Mary, a woman of means and influence; cousin of Barnabas; minister who accompanied several of the apostles in their travels
Martha – close friend and follower of Jesus; sister of Mary and Lazarus; portrayed as a person in charge who welcomed Jesus into her home
Mary Magdalene – one of the early followers of Jesus, one of the first recipients of the news of Jesus’ ressurrection, appeared at the cross and Jesus’ tomb, name implies that she was from Magdala (town on western shore of the Sea of Galilee), Jesus cast seven demons from her.
Mary – sister of Martha and Lazarus in Bethany
Nicodemus – an influential Pharisee who showed an interest in Jesus’ teaching, mentioned as “a secret disciple whose faith grew slowly”.
Onesimus – a runaway slave belonging to Philemon (see below), the subject of the New Testament Letter of Philemon, met the Apostle Paul during his imprisonment and became a believer.
Philemon – “friend and fellow-worker” of Paul and the recipient of the New Testament letter that bears his name, importan member of the church at Colossae.
Stephen, first martyr
New Testament Secular rulers
Herod the Great
Herod Antipas, called “Herod the Tetrarch” or “Herod” in the Gospels and in Acts 4:27
Pontius Pilate
Agrippa I, called “King Herod” or “Herod” in Acts 12
Felix governor of Judea who was present at the trial of Paul, and his wife Drusilla in Acts 24:24

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