100 most significant Old Testament people: A tool for deeper Bible study

old testament people
old testament characters

There are hundreds of named men and women in the Old Testament. Merely to list all of their names would fill many pages and be of little profit.

Here are the 100 most significant Old Testament people, based not on what I think or who I like, but on how many chapters are devoted to their lives. You will meet peasants and princes, queens and harlots, shepherds and soldiers.

Here are some tips about the English pronunciation. In all Bible names, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, ‘ch’ is always pronounced like ‘k’ as in ‘Christ,’ never like ‘tsh’ as in ‘Chester.’ All two-syllable names are stressed on the first syllable, never the last. All names with more than two syllables are stressed either on the third syllable from the end (as in A-do-NI-jah) or the next-to-last syllable (as in Ne-bu-chad-NEZ-zar).

I have identified each with a short description and a Bible reference of first mention. This doesn’t mean the reference cited is the only place this person is mentioned. Also, because some of the names refer to more than one person, you should not assume that the person I describe necessarily corresponds to the person bearing that name elsewhere in Scripture. It describes the most significant person of that name. Keep in mind that these names are in alphabetical order; they are in neither chronological order nor in the order in which they appear in the Hebrew Scriptures.

The 100 most significant Old Testament people

  1. Aaron – Brother of Moses and Israel’s first high priest. (Exodus 4:14)
  2. Abner – The general of King Saul’s army, treacherously killed by David’s general, Joab. (1 Samuel 14:50)
  3. Adebnego – One of Daniel’s three friends who were thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar. “Abednego” is the Babylonian name assigned to him by his captors. His Hebrew name is Azariah. (Daniel 1:7)
  4. Abimelech – One of the “Judges” of Israel who for a short time ruled as a king. (Judges 8:31)
  5. Abraham The man whose life of faith and covenant with God established the nation of Israel, his descendants, as the people of God. God changed his name from “Abram.” (Genesis 11:26)
  6. Absalom – The son of King David whose bitterness at how his father treated him led him to usurp his father’s throne. David’s general Joab killed Absalom to end the rebellion. (2 Samuel 3:3)
  7. Adam – The first human being, created out of the dust of the ground. His wife’s name was Eve. (Genesis 2:20)
  8. Adonijah – A son of David and half-brother of Solomon who tried to steal the throne during David’s declining years. (2 Samuel 3:4)
  9. Ahab – Powerful king of Israel (though in fact he only ruled over the northern 10 tribes). As a result of marrying Jezebel, Ahab introduced his kingdom to Baal worship. (1 Kings 16:28)
  10. Ahasuerus – King of the Persian empire and husband to the Jewess Esther. Known outside the Bible as Xerxes. (Esther 1:1)
  11. Amos – Farmer-shepherd whom God call to denounce the northern nation of Israel. Amos is the subject and presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Amos (Amos 1:1)
  12. Athaliah – Wicked daughter of Ahab and Jezebel who ruled over Israel until she was executed to make way for the boy-king Joash. (2 Kings 8:26)
  13. Balaam – Non-Israelite prophet who prophesied blessing for Israel rather than the curses he was being paid to declare. Balaam is also known for beating his donkey, who then spoke to him by God’s power. (Numbers 22:5)
  14. Bathsheba – Wife of Uriah with whom David committed adultery before murdering her husband. Bathsheba’s second child, and the only to survive more than a few days, was Solomon. (2 Samuel 11:3)
  15. Belshazzar – The last ruler of the Babylon before it was conquered by the Medes and Persians. Daniel prophesied his destruction–a prediction fulfilled that very night. Babylonian records disclose that Belshazzar was really the prince, son of King Nabonidus, but Belshazzar may have been at least de facto ruler of Babylon while his father was in Tema worshipping the moon goddess. (Daniel 5:1)
  16. Bildad – One of the three friends who visited Job and ended up discouraging him rather than comforting him. (Job 2:11)
  17. Boaz – A godly man in an ungodly age, Boaz married Ruth of Moab and became great grandfather of King David. (Ruth 2:1)
  18. Caleb – A tribal leader who, along with Joshua, counseled Israel to courageously conquer the land that they and the 10 unbelieving leaders had spied out. (Numbers 13:6)
  19. Cyrus – As the first great leader of the Medo-Persian empire, Cyrus abruptly changed the policy of the Babylonians, allowing exiled peoples to return to their ancestral homelands. In doing this, Cyrus was unwittingly fulfilling Isaiah’s much earlier prophecy that he was actually carrying out God’s will. (2 Chronicles 36:22)
  20. Daniel – One of the Israelites taken into Babylonian exile who, because of his faithfulness to God and to the king, rose to great power and influence in both the Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires. Daniel’s Babylonian name was Belteshazzar. Daniel is the main subject and presumed author of the Book of Daniel. (Daniel 1:6)
  21. David – Second king of Israel and famous as “the man after God’s own heart,” as a singer of psalms. Of the 150 psalms in the Old Testament Book of Psalms, 74 are ascribed to him, and it is possible that some of the 34 unascribed psalms come from him as well). In addition to these are a few other psalms found in the historical books of Samuel and Chronicles. He is also well known as the slayer of the giant, Goliath. David’s reign and that of his son Solomon was the time of greatest power and prosperity for the ancient nation of Israel. (Ruth 4:17)
  22. Darius – The first ruler of Babylon in the Medo-Persian empire, Darius the Mede appointed Daniel to be his counselor. Wicked advisors manipulated Darius into throwing Daniel to the lions, but he was greatly relieved when God’s prophet emerged unharmed. (Daniel 5:31)
  23. Deborah – As the only woman who served as a “Judge” of Israel, Deborah led the Israelites to a military victory over Sisera of Damascus. (Judges 4:4)
  24. Delilah – This Philistine woman deceived Samson into revealing the secret of his great strength so that she could deliver him to his enemies. (Judges 16:4)
  25. Eli – The high priest who took in Samuel when his mother Hannah dedicated him to the Lord. God punished Eli for not restraining the wickedness of his sons. (1 Samuel 1:3)
  26. Elihu – A young man who became angry as he listened to the discourse between Job and his three friends. In contrast to the friends, Elihu believed that God imposed suffering on Job, not to punish him for sins but to prevent him from sinning. (Job 32:2)
  27. Elijah – One of the greatest of the prophets, Elijah stood for God virtually alone during the time when King Ahab and his wife Jezebel were persecuting true believers and promoting the worship of Baal. (1 Kings 17:1)
  28. Eliphaz – One of the three friends of Job, all of whom were convinced that God was punishing Job for his wickedness. (Job 2:11)
  29. Elisha – The successor of Elijah as God’s prophet. Elisha sought and apparently received a double dose of Elijah’s miraculous power. (1 Kings 19:16)
  30. Esau – The elder brother of Jacob, who sold the birthright of firstborn to his brother and later also lost his father’s blessing to his brother. Although at the time of this second incident Esau vowed to kill Jacob, he later on was reconciled to him declaring how much God had blessed him. (Genesis 25:25)
  31. Esther – A beautiful Jewess whom the Persian king Ahasuerus married and made his queen. Esther later on saved the Jews from certain destruction by exposing the plots of Haman against her uncle, Mordecai. Her Jewish name is Hadassah. Her story is found in the Old Testament Book of Esther. (Esther 2:7)
  32. Ezekiel – Prophet among the Hebrew exiles in Babylonia who saw visions of why God would destroy Jerusalem and how He would restore it. Ezekiel is the subject and presumed author of the Book of Ezekiel. (Ezekiel 1:3)
  33. Ezra – A righteous priest and one of the exiles who returned under the sponsorship of the Persian government. Ezra helped Nehemiah to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord. Ezra is a major character and presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Ezra, and he figures prominently in the Old Testament Book of Nehemiah as well. (Ezra 7:1)
  34. Eve – The first woman, created from the side of the first man, Adam. (Genesis 3:20)
  35. Gideon – One of the “Judges” of Israel, convinced to lead the army against the Midianites by two miracles involving a fleece and dew. At God’s prompting, Gideon reduced his large army down to 300 men, and still won the victory. (Judges 6:11)
  36. Gomer – Wife of the prophet Hosea, whom he married despite her prostitution. Gomer’s unfaithfulness to Hosea was symbolic of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. (Hosea 1:3)
  37. Habakkuk – A prophet who struggled to understand how God could punish the wicked of his nation by the Babylonians, who were even more wicked. God’s reply, to which Habakkuk complied, was simply to trust him. Habakkuk is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk. (Habakkuk 1:1)
  38. Hagar – The slave of Sarah, the wife of Abraham. When Sarah remained childless after many years of trying to conceive, she gave Hagar to her husband–a practice common to the culture of that time. Hagar conceived and bore Abraham his first son, Ishmael. (Genesis 16:1)
  39. Haggai – Worked closely with his fellow-prophet Zechariah to inspire the people returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile to finish rebuilding the temple of the Lord. Haggai is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Haggai. (Haggai 1:1)
  40. Haman – An advisor to King Ahasuerus whose arrogance and pride led him to plot against Mordecai, the righteous uncle of Esther. When Esther uncovered Haman’s plot, the king ordered that he be hung on the gallows he had built to hang Modecai. (Esther 3:1)
  41. Hannah – Mother of Samuel who dedicated him to the Lord as soon as he was weaned. (1 Samuel 1:2)
  42. Hezekiah – Righteous king of Judah who sought and received God’s deliverance from the Assyrian army, reformed the worship of God, and brought about a second golden age similar to that of David and Solomon. Hezekiah benefitted greatly from having the prophet Isaiah for an advisor. (2 Kings 16:20)
  43. Hiram – King of Tyre who entered into a treaty and a close personal friendship with King Solomon. Hiram supplied the cedars for the building of the temple and Solomon’s palace. (2 Samuel 5:11)
  44. Hosea – Prophet of God who obeyed God’s command to marry the prostitute Gomer, as a living parable of God’s relationship to wayward Israel. Hosea is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Hosea. (Hosea 1:1)
  45. Isaac – Second son of Abraham but regarded as the firstborn, since he alone was son of Abraham’s wife Sarah. Isaac also entered into covenant with the Lord and prospered under His blessing. (Genesis 17:19)
  46. Isaiah – Prophet of God who advised King Hezekiah and, along with Micah, inspired the nation of Judah to return to the Lord. Isaiah is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Isaiah. (Isaiah 1:1)
  47. Ishmael – First son of Abraham, by Hagar, the slave-woman of Abraham’s wife Sarah. (Genesis 16:11)
  48. Jacob – Also known as “Israel” (Prince of God), Jacob was son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham, husband of Leah and Rachel, and father of twelve sons, who became tribal leaders of what would be known as “The Sons of Israel.” Jacob also had a daughter named Dinah. (Genesis 25:26)
  49. Jehu – The successor of Ahab as king of the northern nation of Israel. Appointed by the prophet Elijah, Jehu had Ahab’s wife, Jezebel killed, as well as all of Ahab’s sons. (1 Kings 16:1)
  50. Jephtha – A judge of Israel who delivered the nation from the oppression of the Ammonites. Jephthah foolishly vowed that if the Lord gave him the victory, he would sacrifice whatever came out to greet him upon his return home. Little did he know that it would be his only daughter. (Judges 11:1)
  51. Jeremiah – Called by God when very young and serving as a prophet for many years, denouncing Judah for its sin and predicting its fall to the Babylonians and a 70-year exile. Jeremiah lived to see his prediction fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. Jeremiah is known as “the weeping prophet” because of his sorrow over the fate of Jerusalem and the people of Judah. He is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations. (Jeremiah 1:1)
  52. Jeshua – Also called “Joshua.” High priest for the Israelites allowed by Cyrus to return to Jerusalem. Along with Zerubbabel, Jeshua led the people to complete the reconstruction of the Lord’s temple, in response to the prophetic ministry of Zechariah. (Zechariah 3:1)
  53. Jezebel – Princess of Sidon who married Ahab and led the northern nation of Israel into the practice of Baal worship. Jezebel tried to kill off all of the faithful prophets of the Lord, including Elijah. Among her other sins, Jezebel ordered the murder of Naboth in order to seize his vineyard. She was killed at the order of Jehu. (1 Kings 16:31)
  54. Joab – The nephew of David who served as the general of David’s army once David became king. Joab was a treacherous and violent man who nevertheless was fiercely loyal to David. (1 Samuel 26:6)
  55. Joash – A righteous king of Judah contemporary with Jehu, king of Israel. Joash became king when he was only six years old, having survived the wrath of Queen Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Among his other righteous deeds, Joash repaired the temple of the Lord. He was assassinated at age 22. (1 Kings 22:26)
  56. Job – (pronounced “jobe”). A righteous man whose severe trials and enduring faith are the subject of the book that bears his name. The book is a series of dialogues between Job and his friends regarding the cause of his suffering. (Job 1:1)
  57. Joel – A prophet the Lord sent to the northern nation of Israel, calling them to repentance on the occasion of a locust plague that happened during a drought. Joel describes the spiritual renewal that awaits those who heed his call. Joel is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Joel. (Joel 1:1)
  58. Jonah – A prophet the Lord sent to warn Nineveh that the city was about to suffer destruction. Jonah tried to run from God but eventually delivered the message, prompting the city to respond in fear and repentance. Jonah was angry that the Lord spared the penitent Ninevites and received a rebuke from the Lord in the form of an object lesson. Jonah is the subject and the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Jonah. (Jonah 1:1)
  59. Jonathan – As son of Saul, Jonathan was prince of Israel and should have been next in line for the throne. But the Lord had chosen David as Saul’s successor, and Jonathan, who was David’s best friend, was willing for David to assume the throne in his place. Jonathan lost his life in a battle against the Philistines on Mount Gilboa. (1 Samuel 13:2)
  60. Joseph – As the favorite son of his father Jacob, Joseph provoked the jealousy of his 10 older brothers, who sold him into slavery. God blessed Joseph, however, so that he eventually rose to become the ruler of Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh. From this position of authority, Joseph was able to save his entire family from a famine after he had demonstrated to his brothers that he had forgiven them. (Genesis 30:24)
  61. Joshua – The assistant of Moses who after the Lawgiver’s death, became his successor and led the Israelites in their conquest of the land of Canaan. The book of Joshua relates the history of his life. Joshua is the presumed author of most of the Old Testament Book of Joshua. (Exodus 17:9)
  62. Josiah – A righteous king of Judah who led important religious reforms. Unfortunately, Josiah lost his life in a battle near Megiddo against Pharaoh Neco. (1 Kings 13:2)
  63. Judah – One of the sons of Jacob whose descendants became one of the most populous tribes of Israel. Judah’s was the tribe of both David and Jesus. (Genesis 29:35)
  64. Laban – Brother of Rebekah and father of Leah and Rachel, Laban. (Genesis 24:29)
  65. Leah – Wife of Jacob, sister of Rachel, and daughter of Laban, Rachel was the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, during whose childbirth she died. Rachel was her husband’s favorite wife. (Genesis 29:16)
  66. Lot – Nephew of Abraham whom Abraham had to rescue from being a prisoner of war. After barely escaping from the destruction of Sodom, Lot fathered a son by each of his two daughters after they got him drunk on two successive nights. The descendants of the two boys became the nations known as the Moabites and the Ammonites. (Genesis 11:27)
  67. Malachi – Prophesied during the period after the return from Babylonian exile. Malachi predicted the coming of both John the Baptizer and Jesus. Malachi is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Malachi. (Malachi 1:1)
  68. Manasseh – Succeeding his father, righteous Hezekiah, to the throne of Judah, Manasseh was one of the wickedest kings of Judah. According to tradition he was responsible for stuffing the prophet Isaiah into a hollow log and then sawing the log in half (alluded to in Hebrews 11:37). After being punished by the Lord by going into exile, Manasseh turned back to the Lord at the end of his life. (2 Kings 20:21)
  69. Meshach – One of the three friends of Daniel who refused to bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar and were thrown into a fiery furnace. The Lord rescued the three from martyrdom as a testimony to Nebuchadnezzar of His greatness. “Meshach” is the name the Babylonians assigned to him; his Hebrew name was Mishael. (Daniel 1:6-7)
  70. Micah – A prophet of the Lord who prophesied to the nation of Judah. Micah was an older contemporary of the prophet Isaiah. Micah is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Micah. (Micah 1:1)
  71. Michal – Daughter of Saul given in marriage to David. When David fled from the wrath of Saul, Michal’s father gave her in marriage to another, who was forced to return her to David when David became king. Later on in their marriage, Michal came to despise her husband. She died childless. (1 Samuel 14:49)
  72. Miriam – Sister of Moses and Aaron and a prophetess. Miriam led the women in their song of rejoicing after the Lord drowned the Egyptian army in the Red Sea (Exod. 15:20-21). Miriam was temporarily struck with leprosy as punishment for joining with Aaron in questioning Moses’ unique authority. (Exodus 2:4; 15:20)
  73. Mordecai – Uncle of Esther who raised her as his own daughter. Mordecai enjoyed a position of favor in the court of Ahasuerus after exposing a plot against the Persian ruler. Esther rescued him from a plot against his life by wicked Haman.  (Esther 2:5)
  74. Moses – Used by God to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. Among the men of the Old Testament Moses was unequaled as a prophet and the lawgiver for the Israelites. His life is recorded in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. He is believed to be the author of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and most of Deuteronomy. Psalm 90 is also ascribed to him. (Exodus 2:1, 10)
  75. Naaman – Syrian military leader who sought a healing of his leprosy from the prophet Elisha. The Lord healed his leprosy after he dipped seven times in the Jordan River, as Elisha directed him. (2 Kings 5:1)
  76. Naomi – The mother-in-law of Ruth, who brought the young widow with her when she returned to Bethlehem from Moab after the death of her husband and both of her sons. It was Naomi who advised Ruth to seek protection from Boaz, resulting in Ruth’s eventual marriage to the rich kinsman. (Ruth 1:2)
  77. Nahum – A prophet of the Lord who predicted the fall of Nineveh. His predictions were fulfilled in 612 B.C.E. when the Babylonians conquered the Assyrian capital. (Nahum 1:1)
  78. Nathan – Faithful prophet of the Lord who served as David’s trusted spiritual advisor. Nathan had the honor of announcing to David that his dynasty would last forever, a prophecy ultimately fulfilled in the eternal reign of Jesus Christ. To Nathan also fell the unpleasant task of confronting David with his sin of adultery and murder and announcing that his infant child would die. (2 Samuel 7:2)
  79. Nebuchadnezzar – King of the Neo-Babylonian empire, who deported nobles from Judah, including Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. A few years later, in 586 B.C.E., the Babylonian army laid siege to Jerusalem, captured it, and destroyed it. Nebuchadnezzar recognized the potential of the young Hebrews and promoted them to leadership positions in his kingdom. (2 Kings 24:1)
  80. Nehemiah – Cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes and appointed by him to be governor of the exiles returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of the city. Against strong opposition, Nehemiah led his people to rebuild the walls of the city and helped Ezra in turning the people’s hearts toward the Lord. (Nehemiah 1:1)
  81. Noah – A man who found grace from the Lord in a desperately wicked generation and built the ark that rescued from the Great Flood his entire family and representatives of all of the land animals then living upon the earth. Upon leaving the ark, Noah entered into a covenant with the Lord and received from Him gracious promises, including the promise never again to destroy all life by a flood. (Genesis 5:29)
  82. Obadiah – A prophet the Lord used to denounced the Edomites for celebrating the fall of the Israelites and even cutting down their refugees. Obadiah’s predictions that Edom would be utterly destroyed were fulfilled. Obadiah is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Obadiah. (Obadiah 1:1)
  83. Rachel – The wife whom the patriarch Jacob loved more than his other wife, her older sister Leah, and who gave birth to Jacob’s two favorite sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Benjamin became the head of one of the tribes of Israel, almost wiped out in a war against the other tribes. (Genesis 29:6)
  84. Rahab – A prostitute of the pagan city of Jericho at the time the Israelites were about to invade. Rahab hid the Israelite spies in exchange for their protection in the coming battle. After the spies kept their word and spared her at the fall of the city, she married an Israelite, becoming one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ. (Joshua 2:1)
  85. Rebekah – Wife of Isaac chosen by Abraham’s servant because of her willingness to serve him by drawing water for him from a well and watering his camels. Rebekah was the daughter of Nahor and the sister of Laban. When Isaac became blind in his old age, Rebekah conspired with her son Jacob to deceive him into giving Jacob the Father’s Blessing in place of his older twin, Esau, to whom it rightly belonged. When Rebekah heard Esau threaten his revenge, she sent Jacob off to her father’s people and died without ever seeing him again. (Genesis 22:23)
  86. Reuben – The firstborn son of Jacob who lost his position over his brothers because of his sin with his father’s concubine. When his brothers wanted to kill their younger brother Joseph, Reuben intervened and persuaded them not to kill him. Reuben’s descendants became one of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Genesis 29:32)
  87. Ruth – A woman from Moab who, after the death of her Israelite husband, firmly committed herself to attend her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, the Israelite. After the two women returned to Bethlehem, Naomi’s home, Ruth married Boaz, Naomi’s kinsman. Their son Obed turned out to be the grandfather of King David. (Ruth 1:4)
  88. Samson – An Israelite dedicated to the Lord from before he was born, who nevertheless was vain, selfish, sensual, and violent. God used him despite his sinfulness to bring deliverance to Israel from their Philistine oppressors. Samson was deceived by a Philistine woman Delilah to reveal the secret of his great strength, his long hair, uncut as a sign of his dedication to God. When Delilah cut off Samson’s hair while he slept, Samson lost his great strength and fell victim to his enemies, who put out his eyes and bound him with chains. Samson got his revenge, however, for when his hair grew back, he pulled down a Philistine temple to which he was chained, killing not only Samson, but all of the Philistines who had assembled there to mock him. (Judges 13:24)
  89. Samuel – Another Israelite dedicated to the Lord before he was born and raised as the servant of the high priest Eli. Samuel grew up serving God and after Eli’s death, became the last judge of Israel and also one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament. Under the Lord’s guidance, Samuel anointed both Saul and his successor, David as the first two kings of Israel. (1 Samuel 1:20)
  90. Sarah – Wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. Sarah was very beautiful even as an older woman. God changed her name from “Sarai.” He blessed her to conceive a child after she was beyond the age of bearing children, in fact, when she was 90 years old. (Genesis 11:29)
  91. Saul – The first king of Israel and a powerful warrior who led Israel’s armies against the Philistines. Because Saul sinned against the Lord and apparently did not repent, the Lord took his kingdom away from him and gave it to David. Saul compounded his sin by trying to kill David again and again. Saul committed suicide on the battlefield after he realized the Philistines had won the battle and were about to capture him. Saul’s son, Jonathan was killed in the same battle. (1 Samuel 9:2)
  92. Sennacherib – King of Assyria who led an invasion that swept through Syria, Israel, and Judah at the end of the eighth century B.C.E. Sennacherib destroyed all of the fortified cities of Judah except Jerusalem. He surrounded Jerusalem and would have destroyed it as well, had not Hezekiah prayed and received from the Lord a mighty deliverance–in one night an angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 soldiers of Sennacherib’s army. Sennacherib returned to Assyria in humiliation, where two of his own sons assassinated him. Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh has been excavated, on the walls of which he depicts the taking of Lachish, an Israelite city near Jerusalem. He boasts, “I walled up Hezekiah in his city like a bird in a cage,” but makes no mention of taking Jerusalem or of the decimation of his army. (2 Kings 18:13)
  93. Shadrach – One of the three friends of Daniel taken into exile by the Babylonians before they destroyed the city of Jerusalem. His Hebrew name was Hananiah. With his two friends, Mishael and Azariah, better known as Meshach and Abednego, Shadrach refused to worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar. Although the three of them were thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, God sent someone Nebuchadnezzar described as “someone like a son of man” to rescue them, and they escaped unharmed. (Daniel 1:6-7)
  94. Solomon – King of Israel, succeeding his father David to the throne. At the beginning his reign, the Lord offered to give him whatever he wanted. Although quite young, Solomon asked for wisdom rather than riches or long life. In response, the Lord gave him all three, blessing his reign until he became renowned as the wisest and richest king in history. Tragically, however, his many marriages to foreign women turned his heart away from the Lord. Despite being remembered for building a glorious temple to the Lord in his capital city of Jerusalem, Solomon actually became an idolater. Solomon is the presumed author of the Old Testament books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs, and Psalm 72 is attributed to him. (2 Samuel 5:14)
  95. Uriah – A Hittite warrior among the elite soldiers in the army of King David, whom David treacherously ordered to be exposed to the enemy in battle and killed to hide the king’s adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. The Bible has nothing but praise for this victim of a king’s lust and the subsequent, self-serving cover-up. (2 Samuel 11:3)
  96. Uzziah – King of Judah and father of King Hezekiah. Uzziah was also known as “Azariah” (not the much later Azariah also called Abednego). He was a righteous king, but at the end of his reign became conceited and wrongly offered incense in the temple of the Lord. The Lord punished him with a leprosy that remained with him until his death. (2 Kings 14:21)
  97. Zechariah – A prophet of the Lord who, along with Haggai, persuaded the returned exiles to complete the temple they had begun four years earlier and neglected to finish while they built their own houses. Zechariah greatly encouraged the governor, Zerubbabel, reassuring him that the Lord could care for the nation’s defense while governor devoted himself to finishing the sanctuary of God. Zechariah also told the high priest Jeshua that the Lord Himself purified him for his duties as the spiritual leader of God’s people. Zechariah is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Zechariah. (Zechariah 1:1)
  98. Zephaniah – A prophet of the Lord chosen from among the royal household to urge the people to return to following after the Lord. Zephaniah is the presumed author of the Old Testament Book of Zephaniah. (Zephaniah 1:1)
  99. Zerubbabel – The Persian-appointed governor of the exiles who returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Supported by the prophetic ministries of Zechariah and Haggai, along with the ministry of the high priest, Jeshua, Zerubbabel was able to motivate the people to complete the rebuilding of the temple of Solomon in 516 B.C.E.  (Ezra 2:2)
  100. Zophar – One of the friends of Job, who, in the guise of trying to comfort him in the loss of all of his children, his possessions, and his health, instead sought to accuse him of deserving God’s punishment because of some hidden sin. Eventually the Lord vindicated Job and prompted him to pray for his three friends. (Job 2:11)

Not only are all of these Old Testament characters worthy of your attention. For the righteous ones (more than two-thirds of the 100), you are worthy of their attention. The author of Hebrews calls the Old Testament men and women of faith “a great cloud of witnesses.” Think of them as a stadium full of former Olympic champions, cheering you on as you “run the race with endurance” (Hebrews 12:1). They are your audience. Make them proud!

Want to go deeper?

The following resources are recommended to help you look deeper into the people of the Old Testament.

Recommended for purchase:

Herbert Lockyer. All the Men & All the Women of the Bible (2006) – provides short summary of each named person in the Old and New Testaments.

John Phillips. Exploring People of the Old Testament: Vol. 1 (2006) | Vol. 2 (2006) | Vol. 3 (2007) – by the writer of the John Phillips Commentary Series

David Mandel. The Ultimate Who’s Who in the Bible: From Aaron to Zurishaddat (2007)

Online resources:

Old Testament Character List – includes link to more detailed studies for several of the 22 on the list.

Bible Class Study: Characters of the Old Testament – 13 lessons on some of most important men of Old Testament in study-it-yourself, question-and-apply format.

Steve has been a Bible teacher for over 30 years. He has written many articles, more than 20 e-books, and several study guides, most recently, Overcoming: Guide to Understanding the Book of Revelation. His website, DeeperStudy.com, encourages all people to go deeper in their understanding of the Word of God, the Bible, and to become authentic, New Testament Christians who serve a risen Lord.

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