Notes on Characters from King James Bible - Old Testament

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King James Bible - Old Testament Major Characters

God: The omnipotent and omniscient being who created the world. He destroyed it later because the people were wicked but preserved the animals and some people. He took some of these people as His chosen people and led them out of captivity. He made a covenant with them. They were to keep certain laws and He would make them prosper. When they did not keep up their part of the bargain, God punished them.

Adam: The first man, he was given the Garden of Eden and told to enjoy everything. God also gave him a wife, Eve. God told Adam not to eat from one particular tree in the Garden, the Tree of Knowledge. A serpent tricked Eve into persuading Adam to eat the fruit. For this, they were both expelled from Eden.

Eve: The first woman, God created Eve as a companion to Adam from one of Adam's ribs. She was also told not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. A serpent, however, convinced her to eat the fruit and give one to her husband. They were both expelled from the kingdom. For her sin, God cursed all women with pain in childbirth.

Noah: The only righteous man at the time of the flood. God decided to preserve Noah and his sons. He told Noah to build an Ark to save them all from the flood. Noah built this and came to land over 40 days after the waters first fell.

Abraham (Abram): A descendant of Noah, he had no sons by his wife Sarah so he had sexual relations with her handmaiden, Hagar. His first son was Ishmael. God made a covenant with Abraham and decided to give him another son. His second son, by the long-barren Sarah, was Isaac. God tested Abraham's faith by asking him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham almost did it but God stopped him just in time.

Moses: A son of the house of Levi, Moses was raised by a daughter of the Pharaoh. He came to talk with God and decided he must lead his people from Egypt. He took them out of Egypt into the desert. In the desert he received God's commandments and made the covenant. He made the Ark of the Covenant and led the people to their new land. He died on a mountain before they entered it.

Joshua: The sixth book of the Old Testament is named after him. Joshua appears first in Deuteronomy as an assistant to Moses. When Moses dies, he leaves Joshua the task of clearing Canaan of its present inhabitants. Joshua leads the Israelites to victory over many other nations and helps them establish their new cities.

Samuel: A prophet who arose in the land of Israel to judge and lead the people. He was given the power to anoint the first king, Saul. When the first king turned from the ways of God, he anointed the next king, David, and heralded in another era.

David: The second king of Israel, David killed Goliath when he was a young man. He refused to fight with Saul and did not become king until the earlier king, Saul, killed himself. He ruled for many years and fathered Solomon. He sinned in the eyes of God when he impregnated the wife of another man.

Solomon: The son of David. God asked him what he wished for and he wished for wisdom. This made God happy, so He granted this wish. Solomon became renowned for his wisdom and ruled Israel well for many years.

Minor Characters

Serpent: The creature that convinces Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

Cain: The son of Adam and Eve who kills his brother Abel because God loved Abel's sacrifice more.

Abel: The other son of Adam and Eve who is killed by his brother because God loved his sacrifice more.

Canaan: Ham's son, Noah's grandson.

Shem, Ham and Japeth: The three sons of Noah. Ham's descendants became the Canaanites who were cursed to serve their relatives.

Lot: A relation to Abraham. He split with Abraham and ended up in Sodom and Gomorrah where he was one of the only righteous men. His wife looked back on the destruction as they walked away and was turned into a pillar of salt.

Sarah: Abraham's wife, she bore Isaac at an old age.

Ishmael: Abraham's son by Hagar. Esau married women from this family.

Isaac: The son of Abraham who was almost sacrificed by his father. He was borne to his parents in their old age.

Rebekah: Isaac's wife from Mesopotamia.

Jacob: Jacob counterfeited his brother's position and was given rule over Esau as well as all of the inheritance. He became God's favorite and was eventually renamed Israel. His sons fathered the twelve tribes of Israel.

Esau: The hunter son whom Isaac loved more. His children became the Edomites. God did not bless these descendants.

Laban: Rebekah's relation. Jacob goes to him to get a wife and is tricked into working for 14 years and marrying two of his daughters.

Rachel: The younger daughter of Laban that Jacob actually wanted to marry.

Leah: Laban's older daughter who was given to Jacob by deception.

Reuben: One of the 12 sons of Jacob who fathered one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Simeon: One of the 12 sons of Jacob who fathered one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph kept him in Egypt for some time.

Levi: One of the 12 sons of Jacob who fathered one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Aaron and Moses descend from the house of Levi and all members of this house were dedicated to God after the second covenant.

Judah: One of the 12 sons of Jacob who fathered one of the twelve tribes of Israel. This also became the name of the second Kingdom of the Jews, which was ruled by the house of David.

Joseph: One of the 12 sons of Jacob who fathered one of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was given a beautiful coat by his father and sold into slavery by his brothers. In slavery he became very powerful and ended up helping his family in a time of great famine.

Benjamin: One of the 12 sons of Jacob who fathered one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Manasseh, Dan, Gad, Ephraim: Some of the 12 sons of Jacob who fathered some of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Aaron: Moses' brother who serves as a priest for the children of Israel and helps lead them out of Egypt.

Jethro: Moses' father in law.

Korah: The man who raised man against Moses but was swallowed up by the earth.

Phinehas: Grandson of Aaron and son of Eleazar, he served as a head priest of Israel.

Caleb: A leader of Israel, prominent in Judges.

Othniel: A nephew of Caleb who becomes a leader of the Israelites as they continue to struggle for supremacy in the land.

Deborah: A judge who helps the Israelites follow the ways of God.

Barak: A victorious general who serves with Deborah.

Gideon: The Israelite who defeats the Midianites and others with his three hundred trumpet blowers.

Baal: The Samarian/Babylonian Goddess of lust worshiped by many instead of God.

Abimelech: A rebellious son of Gideon who challenged the rightful heir to the throne of Israel.

Jephthah: A judge of Israel who defeated the children of Ammon and the rebellious Ephraim.

Samson: A judge of Israel whose strength was rooted in his hair.

Delilah: The woman who found out Samson's weakness and had his head shaved.

Elkhanah: Father of Samuel.

Hannah: Wife of Elkhanah who does not bear children until she praises God. She then bears Samuel.

Peninnah: The other wife of Elkhanah.

Elimelech: The father of the son who marries Ruth.

Naomi: Ruth's mother-in-law. She takes Ruth back with her to Bethlehem and encourages her to be closer to Boaz.

Ruth: The Moabite woman who marries into the families of Israel and becomes the great-grandmother of King David.

Boaz: The wealthy man that Ruth marries. A relative of Elimelech, her father-in-law.

Eli: The head priest of Israel before Samuel who died when he saw the Ark of the Covenant taken by the Philistines.

Saul: The first king of Israel, he led his people to many victories. He disobeyed the word of God and a replacement wasselected. David came to be loved by the people and in response to this love, Saul alienated him. In the end, Saul took his own life.

Jonathan: Saul's son who loves David.

Jesse: David's father.

Goliath: The giant warrior of the Philistines who is killed by David as a young boy.

Abigail: The wife of David.

Abner: A captain who named Ish-bosheth as king instead of David.

Ish-bosheth: A son of Saul who was used as a puppet king by Abner.

Nathan: A prophet who told David to build a temple.

Bath-Sheba: The woman David wrongly impregnated. Her second child was Solomon.

Joab: The leader of David's army.

Tamar: The sister raped by Ammon.

Absalom: The brother of Tamar who avenged his sister by killing David's other sons.

Ammon: The son of David who raped Tamar.

Sheba: A Benjaminite who tried to fight against David.

Adonijah: David's son who tries to wrest rule from Solomon.

Jeroboam: The ruler to follow David. Under him, Judah and Israel were split.

Ahab: The evil king of Israel who died fighting the Syrians.

Elijah: A prophet that God instructed to move against Ahab.

Obadiah: One of Ahab's assistants.

Jezebel: Ahab's evil wife who is torn apart by dogs.

Jehu: The man God tells Elijah to anoint as king.

Ahaziah: Ahab's evil son who worships Baal.

Elisha: A prophet who replaces Elijah and works against the house of Ahab.

Joram: A king of Israel who was sinful.

Hezekiah: A king of Judah who was good.

Josiah: A young king of Judah. While Isaiah helped him, he was a good king.

Isaiah: A prophet in Israel who helps Josiah.

Nebuchadnezzar: The king of Babylon who overcomes the people of Judah and takes the Israelites into slavery.

Cyrus: The semi-historical, legendary king of Persia. He started out with a kingdom in Asia Minor and extended it all the way to India and south through the Middle East into Babylon. This is recorded by the Greek historian Herodotus.

Darius: Not to be confused with the historical Darius II who lost the Persian Empire to Alexander the Great, Darius I was an earlier king of Persia who extended and solidified the Empire.

Ezra: The young priest who comes from Babylon already versed in the laws of Moses. He attempts to reunite the Israelites and teach them the commandments.

Artaxerxes: The Persian king between Cyrus and Darius. He halted the building of the Temple.

Nehemiah: An Israelite who led the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls. He also helped bring Ezra to Jerusalem to teach the ways and laws of Moses to the scattered people.

Ahasuerus: The Persian king who married Esther.

Mordecai: A servant to the king and father of Esther, he set the day of Purim as a holiday to be observed.

Esther: The woman who was married to Ahasuerus as the most modest and beautiful in the land. She had him stop the genocide begun by his servant, Haman.

Haman: A prince of Persia who initiates a slaughter of the Israelites because Mordecai would not bow to him.

Job: The man of faith who was tortured by God to prove that he was loyal out of faith, not good fortune.

Satan: Allegedly a fallen angel, his existence is more prominent in the New Testament.

Isaiah: A prophet who first heralded the downfall of Jerusalem and foretold a savior from the house of David.

Jeremiah: Another prophet who foretold the downfall of Judah.

Ezekiel: A prophet who foretold the downfall of Israel and the coming of a messiah.

Daniel: A prophet who began his days in Babylon with Nebuchadnezzar. He achieved his fame as a dream interpreter, like Joseph.

Hosea: A prophet at God's bidding he took a harlot as a wife. He pleaded with the people so they would stop worshiping other gods.

Jezreel: The son of Jezebel.

Joel: A prophet and book in the Old Testament. He told the people that Israel had fallen to pests.

Amos: A prophet and book in the Old Testament. He used the parable of the plumb line to describe the way in which God would rebuild the kingdom.

Obadiah: A prophet and book in the Old Testament. He foresaw the fall of the Edomites.

Jonah: A reluctant prophet who is consumed by a large fish and prayed to God for release.

Micah: A prophet and book in the Old Testament. He ministered in the days of Hezekiah.

Nahum: A prophet who prophesied about Ninevah and the fall of sinners.

Habakkuk: A prophet and book in the Old Testament. He predicted that God would use Chaldea to punish the Israelites.

Zephaniah: A prophet and a book in the Old Testament, who foresaw doom and rebirth for Israel.

Haggai: A prophet and a book in the Old Testament. He ministered in the time of Darius and foretold drought and death.

Zechariah: A prophet and a book in the Old Testament. Also a prophet in the time of Darius, he had multiple visions of God.

Malachi: A prophet and a book in the Old Testament. God told him that he hated the descendants of Esau and loved the descendants of Jacob.

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