CHARACTERS TO KNOW FROM THE BIBLE
Students should identify all the following characters from the Bible, making sure to read the basic stories in which the characters are involved, in order to add not only basic information, but in depth look at the character's influence (or lack of) on today's society. Students will be assessed on contributions, organization, links, images, relevance and comprehensiveness of material. Make sure to keep track of sources, if not already linked, and be sure to have at least two or more sources for your information. Make sure to communicate with the biblical allusions group if you come across contemporary connections.

Adam
In the beginning of Creation, Adam was born on the 6th day. He lived in the Garden of Eden and owned everything inside it, from plants to animals. Eve was created from one of Adam's ribs after a while. God instructed him to work with Eve to multiply and fill the planet with more people. God also instructs Adam to not eat any of the fruit off the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil," which he obeys until Eve convinces him to. Adam is known to be the first person of God's creation, and the first person on Earth to exist.
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Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
Adam's story

Abraham/Isaac
When Abraham was 75 years old, God promised him that someday, he would have control over a powerful nation. However, he didn't have any children until he was 86. That child was Issac. God does renew his promise about Abraham ruling a powerful nation, but then he asks him to sacrifice Issac, which he does.
The truth behind the story of Abraham

Eve
Eve was Adam's companion in the Garden of Eden. She also had control over the Garden on Eden along with Adam. However, Satan appeared in the garden and tempted Eve into eating the fruit off the tree of knowledge (God did this on purpose). Eve asked Adam to do the same. She knew that she committed a sin and felt guilty about it.

Cain
Cain was Adam and Eve's first child, who eventually became a farmer like Adam. Together with his brother Abel, they made offerings to God, but his was rejected. God informs him that he can either turn himself to sin or turn his attitude around. His jealousy was considered to be a sin (“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”), and eventually he was punished by losing his job as a farmer. His story is an example of how committing a sin is not a good thing.

Abel
Abel was the second son born to Adam and Eve, and he was also Cain's brother. He was a shepherd, but he was also the first martyr that the Bible talks about. But when Cain became jealous of Abel because his offer to God was not accepted, and he was killed. He is described as "a man of faith, righteousness, and obedience."
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Cain and Abel get into a deadly fight after Abel becomes jealous that his offer to God was not accepted.
More about Cain/Abel

Barabbas
Barabbas was said by many people to be evil, but some other people say that he was a celebrated fighter in the fight against the Romans. In a celebration of Passover, many people called for his release. By doing this, they ordered for Jesus to be crucified, but Barabbas was set free.
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David
David was both a young boy and a shepherd. He had been chosen, most likely by God, to be the next Israeli king. When the people of his kingdom battled the Philistines, he volunteered himself to go fight Goliath, the Philistines' "champion." Goliath wasn't impressed that he had come to fight, but in the end, using only a stone, David defeated Goliath. He was later hailed as a hero in Israel.
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The fight between David & Goliath
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Golden Calf
The Golden Calf was a "symbol" of the God of Israel that the Israelites asked Aaron to make. When he made the statue (made with gold earrings), they all celebrated. When Moses saw the statue (he had been away receiving the Ten Commandments), he was angry and burned the statue. Later, the Israelites were greeted by a plague after what had happened.
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The celebration of the Golden Calf

Goliath
Goliath was the giant brought in by the Philistines who came to Israel. When he saw that the young shepherd, David, had come to fight him, he wasn't impressed. However, David defeated him with a simple stone, and the Philistines fled.
Doubting Thomas
Didymus, or "Doubting Thomas," was one of Jesus' 12 disciples. He was nicknamed this because he did not believe that Jesus had really risen from the dead, but he was proved wrong when Jesus came to the house that the disciples were in. This is where the phrase "Doubting Thomas" comes from.
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Isaac vs. Ishmael
Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Sarah, born because they wanted an heir. He is considered to be a father of many Arab countries. Issac was also born to Sarah and Abraham, and it was considered a miracle because they were too old to have children. God tells Abraham, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." He was willing to sacrifice Ishmael, even though nothing caused harm to Isaac.
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Jacob vs. Esau
Esau and Jacob were the children of Issac and Rebekah. They were destined to control two different lands, and God told Rebekah that the older brother would serve the younger brother. When Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew, it went to Jacob, who would become the head of the household.

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Brothers Jacob & Esau

Jezebel
Jezebel was a Phoenician princess with her father ruling as a monarch. She always spoke her mind, even though at the time women were considered to be less important than men. After she came to Israel (her husband was king), she did several questionable things, like when she brought other gods & goddesses along with her.
An in-depth look at the story of Jezebel

Jesus
Jesus is one of the major figures in the Bible. He was the son of Mary and Joseph, despite Mary being a virgin. When he reached the age of 30, he was baptized by John the Baptist with water as purification. Soon afterward, he began to perform miracles, which angered all the other religious leaders. He was crucified and was resurrected several days later.
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Jesus: A Short Story

Job
Job was a huge supporter of God, even if others didn't approve. When the devil attempted to take everything away from him, thinking that Job would stop supporting God, but he did not. His friends tried to convince him that he sinned, but Job was convinced that he didn't. In the end, Job was rewarded with everything that he lost for praising God even when others doubted him.
The story of Job

John the Baptist
John the Baptist was a preacher near the Jordan River. He believed that people shouldn't sin, especially doing things like getting revenge on others or becoming jealous of others. When people came to see him and admitted to the sins they had committed, John then baptized them. He was also the one to baptize Jesus.
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Joseph (and his coat of many colors)
Joseph was one of the sons of Rachel & Jacob, and Jacob's favorite son. One day, his father gave him a gift, which was a coat of rainbow colors. It was nicer than the coats the other brothers had. Because he was the favorite son, he was envied by his other brothers, and Joseph ended up being the slave of a rich man.
Joseph wearing his coat of many colors
Joseph wearing his coat of many colors

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Judas
According to the New Testament, Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. The most famous story about him is his betrayal of Jesus. The gospel writer Mark said that the chief priests were always finding a foxy way to arrest Jesus. They determined to arrest him the night after the feast instead of do it right before feast because it would cause some insurrections. In terms of the Gospel of John, Judas is the person who carried the disciples' money bag all the time. He was bribed with "thirty pieces of silver" and to point out Jesus to the authorities he kisses Jesus on the cheek.
Now, we would say those people who betrayed people for money as “thirty pieces of silver” or “betray with a kiss”.
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The Kiss of Judas, by Giotto di Bondone.

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Lazarus
In the Gospel of John, Lazarus of Bethany died because of diseases. He was the last person that Jesus saved. He is a follower of Jesus. Lazarus’s resurrection is one of the nine resurrections that were recorded in Bible. He is the one who experienced death two times. Nowadays, we use Lazarus’s name to represent the resurrection which means someone rising from the dead.
We could say if someone is in a deep sleep, and he/she wakes up later, they are “Lazarus”.
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Raising of Lazarus, Bible Card illustration, 1905

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Lot/Lot’s wife
Lot is a man who was a character in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament. In his life, the noticeable events are his travels with his uncle Abram, his flee from the Sodom, where his wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. Also, his daughters’ seduced him. Sodom is a sin city, the God decided to destroy it. And he sent two angels to Lot. However, men in Sodom asked Lot hand over two angels, but Lot don’t want his guests get insulted. He said he would like to give out his two virgin daughters instead. However, they were not interested in them. While they tried to enter the room to get the angels, angels protected the house. Later, angels told the Lot keeping running to Zoar and never and ever stop and look back. While the God was destroying the city, Lot’s wife looked back to the city; she became a pillar of salt right away.
Nowadays, people use “Remember Lot's wife” as an analogy to "not look back" in Christian teaching. Also, it is a kind of analogy of desire.
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Lot flees from Sodom

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Mary
Joseph is Mary’s husband, and Jesus Christ is the son of Mary. She was conceived by the Holy Spirit when she was a virgin. People always called her the “Virgin Mary”. The archangel Gabriel announced that she was chose to be the mother of Jesus, which was accounted in the New Testament. In Italy, people call her “Madonna” or “My Lady” or “The Mother of Jesus, Mary”.
So, Virgin Mary represented the chastity, or humility.
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The Madonna in Sorrow, by Sassoferrato, 17th century

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Mary Magdalen
Mary Magdalen was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and she was the most important members during the movement of Jesus. In addition, she was the first person who saw Jesus after he resurrected. People thought she was a prostitute, but Jesus save her from being stored. And, Jesus cleaned her of “Seven demons” which means a really complicated disease at that time.
We could call those women who betrayed their husband, and noticed their mistakes and wanted to start with a clean slate.
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Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Cross, mourning for the dead Christ

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Moses
In the Exodus, Moses born during the time that an unknown Egyptian Pharaoh commanded all male to drown Hebrew children in the Nile River. Moses’s parents hid him until they couldn’t hide him any longer after three months. They decided to put him in a tiny boat, and let it float on the Nile River. Pharaoh's daughter Bithiah found this little boat. She asked her dad to find a Hebrew woman to nurse this baby. Therefore, Moses became the son of Bithiah. Also, he was authorized by Jehovah to lead Hebrews escaped from Egypt and went to a wealthy land. After forty years difficult trekking, Moses dead before they arrived the destination. He is a hero who led Hebrews gets rid of the poor life and taught them to follow the Ten Commandments. In addition, they became the first group who worshiped a single god religion.
We could call a hero as “Moses”, or we could describe someone saved people from troubles or disasters are “Moses” as well.
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Moses pleading with the Children of Israel, lithography from a Bible card published in 1907

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Naomi/Ruth
She is Ruth’s mother in the Old Testament Book of Ruth. She doesn’t like people call her Naomi because of the death of her husband Elimelech and her two sons Mahlon and Chilion. She told her two daughters that she is extremely pain inside. Ruth made a decision to follow her, however, the other daughter Orpah decide to choose Moab.
It basically represents a relationship daughter-in-law, or some other relationships in-law.
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Jan van Scorel, Ruth and Naomi in the fields of Boaz.

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Noah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Noah was the tenth and the last of the antediluvian (which means before the big floor period in the Bible) Patriarchs. It is said that he save his family and all the representatives of each animals from a huge flood through constructing an ark. And, he was the first husbandman mentioned in it. In the Hebrew, his name is more stands for “rest”.
Noah could be a representative of those people who saving people from hardship.
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Mosaic depiction of Noah sending the dove

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Paul
Paul the Apostle is described the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries. He always set a good example for the disciples, and asked them to follow it. Believe, expect, and love are the three virtues they are trying to obey in their belief, and it is a favor life gave us.
This could represent like someone who worship one religion at first, but suddenly totally changed their minds to other belief by physically knocked heads on something hard.
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Conversion of Saint Paul, a fresco by Michelangelo.

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Peter
He was a fish man who lives at the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee. He was introduced by Andre, who was the first disciple of Jesus, and became one of the first group disciples of Jesus. After Jesus dead, Peter became the leader in the disciples. It is said that Jesus predicted that Peter won’t admit he knows him continuously three times before the cock crows before he was arrested. Afterwards, Peter was so regretted about that. Later on, Jesus resurrection, he asked Peter to feed his disciples as retaliation, and he predicted Peter will be put to execution in the future. And, Peter martyred.
People will use Peter’s parable to present that people did something wrong and they regretted after.
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Painting of Saint Peter by Peter Paul Rubens depicting the saint as Pope (1611-1612).

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Pontious Pilate
According to the New Testament, Pontious Pilate is an indecisive viceroy in Rome. He interrogated Jesus a lot of times. He doesn’t think Jesus committed any crimes. However, under the pressure of Jewish leaders, he has no choice but to do execution to Jesus on a cross.
People who under someone’s pressure and have to do something they don’t want to do.
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Ecce Homo ("Behold the Man"), Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pilate presenting a scourged Jesus to the people of Jerusalem.

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Salome
In the Mark, Herod Antipas has a daughter named Salome. Salome danced before Herod and Herodias when he has his birthday supper. At the same time, she helped her mother a chance to get the head of John the Baptist. Also, in the book, Herodias pointed out that marriage between Herod and she was illegal. And, she encouraged Salome to ask John to be executed.
We could say someone use their beauty(or a beauty trap) to exchange something else as a “Salome” .
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Coin of Salome (daughter of Herodias), queen of Chalcis and Armenia Minor.

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Solomon

According to the Hebrew Bible, Solomon was the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem. He has a great wisdom, wealth, and power. However, in order to avoid conflicts with neighboring country, Solomon married some princesses from those stronger countries. And, allowed them to maintain their own belief, even permitted them to sacrifice. He successfully entertained his wives. Nevertheless, Jehovah was mad because of that due to his violation of not to follow other beliefs. As punishments, Jehovah said he will resize his country and gave it to his citizens after he died. After Solomon dead, public rebellion break out, the directly reason is because of the heavy taxations. Since that, unified kingdom became two separated countries.

We could say a person who is really smart as “Solomon”.
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Judgment of Solomon, Nineteenth century engraving by Gustave Doré

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