Whose who in the Bible…..

by Diane D. Louw (Foxcroft)

Here is the whose who in the Bible.  I know it gets confusing sometimes to remember everyone, so I started to make a study list.  SO here is my lift.

Early chapters of Genesis is set in Mesopotamia:  the garden of Eden, Tower of Babel, beginning of Abraham’s journey to the Promised Land –  where God would make him a nation and people.

Abraham and others were driven by famine to the richer grain-growing country of Egypt.  The Israelites took on an identity and increased in numbers and they became victimized.  Eventually, under the  leadership of Moses, they won their freedom and escaped – the story of Exodus.

During the exodus from Egypt to their Promised Land, the Israelites had to spend 40 years of hardship in the mountainous, desert area of Sinai.  Here God gave them the laws, in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

After the conquest of the land by the Canaanites, as described in the book of Joshua, the Israelite divided the land among their ten tribes and settled.  They were harassed from by other tribes and can be read in the book of Judges.

The story of their development as a nation, with Kings and Prophets, can be read in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles with a background formed by the story of Ruth.

The Persian Empire adopted a policy of allowing people to remain in their own lands.  Cyrus sent the Jews back to Jerusalem to restore the city and to rebuild the temple as told in the books of Ezra and  Nehemiah. In one of the Perisan capitals, King Xerxes 1 made a Jewess his  queen and this is told in the book of Esther.

The books of poetry ( Psalms and Song of Songs) and wisdom literature  (Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) follow.

The rise of Assyria as one of the threatening powers of the north – formed the background to some of the prophets, especially Isaiah.  After numerous threats of invasions, the people of Israel (Northern  Kingdom) were taken into exile and Judah (Southern Kingdom) narrowly escaped.

The Assyrian Empire gave way to the power of Babylon, to which Judah and Jerusalem eventually fell. This is the background of Jeremiah. The prophet Ezekiel was one of the exiles, calling the people to remember their God while far away from their own temple.

Daniel tells the story of a man of God who rose to prominences in the foreign regime.

Books of Ezra and Nehemiah recount the stages in the return of the Jews to the land of Israel.  The prophets Haggai and Zechariah also belong to this time.

Book of Judges

The judges were :

  1. Othniel of Judah who defeated Cushan-rishathaim
  2. Ehud of Benjamin who killed King Eglon of Moab
  3. Shamgar who defeated the Philistines
  4. Deborah (from Ephraim) and Barak (from Naphtali) who defeated Jabin and Sisera (Judges 4-7)
  5. Gideon of Manasseh who defeated the Midianites and Amalekites
  6. Tola of Issachar
  7. Jair of Gilead
  8. Jephthah of Gilead who defeated the Ammonites
  9. Ibzan of Bethlehem
  10. Elon of Zebulun
  11. Abdon of Ephraim
  12. Samson of Dan who fought the Philistines (Judges 13 – 16)

Israel’s first Kings  :  Saul, David and Solomon

Saul was the first King.  He was a Benjaminite.  But power went to his head and he began to disregards Gods instructions.  Because of this, his son Jonathan did not inherit the throne.

Instead, God sent Samuel to anoint David as the next King.  David was popular has as a shepherd by he killed a Philistine Champion named Goliath.  Saul was jealous over David’s popularity and David life was always in danger. David was made King at Hebron but for 2 years he was only the King of  Judah.  (Davids’ wars can be found in 2 Samuel 8; 10; 1 Chronicles 18-20) Then Saul and Jonathan were killed in a battle against the Philistines and David  became King.  He captured Jerusalem who was under the Jebusite stronghold and made Jerusalem his capital.  During his lifetime – he expanded his kingdom.  He left a legacy of peace and security to his son Solomon.  David wanted to build a temple for God in Jerusalem but he could only get the materials together.  It was his son, Solomon, who built the temple and many others.

But Solomon brought many other things on the people which caused a division in the kingdom after his death.  1 Samuel 8 – 1 Kings 11  But when Solomon’s on Rehoboam became King, the people asked him to help lighten their burden and he refused.  The 10 northern tribes rebelled. And two kingdoms were set up.  In the north, Jeroboam 1 ruled as king and in the south, Rehoboam ruled the kingdom of Judah (tribes of Judah and Benjamin) from Jerusalem.  These two kings were classified as the good and the bad when the books  of Kings and Chronicles were written.

Prophets before the exile:-

Jonah – sent to warn the inhabitants of Nineveh of God’s judgment.  The people changed their ways and God spared the city.

Isaiah – lived in Jerusalem at the time that Judah was been threatened by the Assyrians.  Looked ahead to the conquest of Jerusalem by  the Babylonians and to the future age of peace

Hosea – He warned that the people would become slaves in Assyria because they had forgotten God.  They even turned to Assyria and Egypt for help.

Amos –  born in Judah but prophesied in Israel.  Condemned Israel’s neighbouring countries of their cruelty and warned that the Israelites would be taken  captive by the Assyrians.

Micah – warned of the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions, predicted the fall of Samaria and  Jerusalem.

Nahum – predicted the destruction of Nineveh as a judgement on the Assyrians for their cruel  treatment of other nations.

Zephaniah – lived during Josiah’s reign.  Condemned the worship of the Canaanites and Assyrian Gods.  Predicted disaster for the pagan nations .  Foretold about the destruction and  restoration of Jerusalem.

Prophets of the invasion and exile :

Jeremiah – warned continually that Jerusalem would be captured and that the inhabitants would be exiled to Babylon.  Prophesied against the pagan nations; promised that after 70 years the Jews would return.  After the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah was forced to live in Egypt.

Ezekiel – was one of the Jews taken captive to Babylon.  He predicted the downfall of nations who were hostile to Judah and gave encouragement to other exiles for their return to their own land.

Daniel – was taken captive during Nebucadnezzar’s attack on Jerusalem.  He became the Chief Minister in the royal court in Babylon.  He prophesied about  the downfall of the Babylonian empire and those succeeding it.

Obadiah – prophesied against Edom for attaching Judah at the time of the Babylonian invasion.

Habakkuk – questioned how God could allow the cruel Babylonians to defeat his own people.

Prophets who returned back to Jerusalem from exile:

Joel – warned of devastation which would sweep across the land like a plague of locusts;  gave hope of great blessings to follow

Haggai – he urged  the Jews to forget about their own interests and finish rebuilding the temple

Zechariah – prophesied about the Jews return from exile; predicted the destruction of those nations who oppressed the Jews; foresaw a time when people would come from every part of the world to worship in Jerusalem.

Malachi – prophet who lived in 5th century BC.  He reminded the Jews who had become disillusioned and apathetic of God’s  demands and of the coming Messiah.



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