The Bible is a unique document in that its narrative doesn't revolve around a single character or hero the way many stories do, but is a collection of stories that take place in the same world and have to do with the same culture. As a result, the Bible has many heroes, many villains, and many supporting characters. Lists of these characters are long, and out of context it is hard to put a name to a face. Scholars spend their lives picking apart who these characters are and what they mean to the overall story of the Bible, and even some of those scholars cannot name all the characters in the Bible.
Most of the biblical characters are men, but there are plenty of women in the Bible. How well do you know them? When you think of heroes who sacrifice for their faith, how often do you think of women from the Bible? Do you know many women beyond the central female characters? Could you identify them from a brief sentence describing them in a few crucial details? Could you go toe to toe with a biblical expert and identify all the women of the Bible? Well now is your chance! Take the quiz!
Mary was the mother of Jesus, a pregnancy she had after a virgin birth. The story goes that the angel Gabriel visited her to tell her that she would have God's child prior to her pregnancy.
Eve is one of the many maligned women of the Bible, but it makes little sense to hold any of the first humans to modern standards. How could she know the consequences of her actions when no actions had yet had consequences?
Mary Magdalene is one of the most famous characters in the Bible. She was a follower of Jesus and some have theorized she was his wife, though there is little hard evidence of this.
Yes, Abraham's wife Sarah was also his half sister, but given some of the things biblical people got up to, it's not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.
Isaac's wife was Rebecca, the daughter of Abraham’s nephew, Bethuel. Her sons were Esau and Jacob.
Rachel was known for her beauty, and for being the mother of Benjamin and Joseph.
Leah was Jacob's first wife and mother of Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Dinah. She wasn't Jacob's first choice, but she did bear him many kids.
Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron, and she helped lead the Israelites to freedom from Egypt. She then led the Israelites in song, to celebrate their freedom and thank God.
Deborah, the only female judge, is credited with telling Barak to fight the Canaanites. She is a saint in the Catholic Church.
Hannah is best known for being so desperate for a son that she prayed to God, promising that if she gave birth to a son, she would dedicate the child to God.
Abigail was a very intelligent woman from a moneyed family who married David after the death of his wife, Nabal.
Huldah prophesied divine judgment for Israel but a peaceful death for Josiah. She advised King Josiah after the discovery of “the book of the law in the house of the Lord”.
The Bible intimates that Gomer was not faithful to her husband, though it does not specify that her three children were not her husband's issue.
Elizabeth was the wife of Zecheriah and the mother of John the Baptist. She appears in the Book of Luke.
A daughter of Etam, Hazelelponi was the sister of Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash. She's more of a supporting character than a major player.
Mahalath is the third wife of Esau mentioned in the Bible.
Susanna is mentioned in the 8th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, described as taking care of Jesus out of her personal resources.
Zipporah was the daughter of Jethro, the shepherd Moses met in the desert after leaving Egypt as a young man. Zipporah and Moses married after Moses dealt with some competing shepherds.
Zilpah was Leah's handmaid. Leah "gave" her to Isaac to produce children, and Zilpah did not disappoint, producing two sons who Leah raised as hers, naming them Gad and Asher.
Zeresh is best remembered as advising Haman on the creation of huge gallows to use in the execution of Mordachi. To her horror, those gallows were used on Haman and his sons.
Tirzah and her sisters approached Moses upon the death of their father, asking to inherit his estate. Moses asked God, and God said it would be so. As a result, Jewish women have always been allowed to inherit their families' estates.
Tamar married two of Judah's sons, producing children for neither man. Both men died, presumably by divine judgement, and Tamar was cast out by Judah. She disguised herself as a prostitute and approached her widowed father, who had sex with her. Before she could be executed for prostitution, she proved to Judah that he was the father, and so she and her child lived.
Euodia is mentioned as one half of two Christian women who get into an argument, and are told to "agree with the Lord," thus ending the argument.
Sheerah is credited with building Lower Beth-horon, Upper Beth-horon, and Uzzen-sheerah, three cities of the day. It is unclear how she did this, but she was a name worth putting on your city, so she must have been a big deal.
Ananias and Sapphira basically lied to the tax man and died for it. Unfortunately for them, the tax man was God.
The daughter of Herod II, Salome is best known for asking for the head of John the Baptist. She danced for Herod II on his birthday, and this somehow convinced him to obtain the head as requested.
Rizpah was one of Saul's concubines, and bore him children. When David conquered all of ancient Israel, he had Saul's heirs executed. Rizpah sat by the bodies of her children for as long as they were left outside, to keep them from being devoured by carrion eaters. Her watch ended when David had them buried.
Rhoda was a servant girl who is mostly known for answering the door when Peter was released from prison. In her excitement, she went to tell the Christians inside the house rather than open the door to let Peter in.
When King Ahasuerus of Persia asked his wife Vashti to display her beauty for his friends, she refused, and was banished and replaced by Ester, and the beginning of the story of Purim begins.
Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth, and encouraged Ruth to pursue Boaz when Naomi realized that Boaz was interested in Ruth. While some have characterized this as scheming, isn't it what anyone would do for their single relatives?
Michal was the first wife of King David. A daughter of Saul, her marriage to David was to cement an alliance that would determine the fate of nations.
Lydia of Thyatira was a seller of "purple," probably meaning purple dye, a luxury item of the age. When she heard the call of her faith, she had herself and her family baptized.
Aholibamah was a Canaanite woman who married Esau, who convinced her to change her name to Judith to pacify his family, who didn't appreciate him marrying someone outside the faith.
Asenath was an Egyptian woman "given" to Joseph by the pharaoh to be Joseph's wife. Her father was a high priest of Heliopolis, and her sons were the patriarchs of two major Hebrew tribes.
Keturah is variously referred to as a concubine of Abraham and as "another wife" of Abraham. She bore him six children however, so either way, her place in history is assured.