Influential People From the Old Testament Quiz



By: Robin Tyler

7 Min Quiz

Image: Kemter/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The creation event, prophecies about the Messiah, battles, the destruction of cities, heroes, villains ... the Old Testament of the Bible truly has it all!

The first part of the Christian Bible, the Old Testament, was written by many authors, including some of the biggest names in the religion. These include Moses, David, Solomon and Isaiah, just to name a few. Interestingly, the Old Testament shares much in common with the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible; in fact, Christianity and Judaism share many of the same foundational stories.

Much of this section of the Bible tells of the many covenants God made with people, such as the covenant with Noah that he and his family would be saved from the flood. Or, for example, the covenant with Abraham that he would father a great nation. 

The people of the Old Testament have a huge impact on countless other books of the Bible, including the New Testament. Some of these people are far more influential than others, but all have an important part to play in the early histories of the nation of Israel, as well as in other aspects of both the Old and New Testaments. But how much do you know about the Old Testament and the people in it? Will you be able to ace our quiz?

Good luck!

From the list below, can you name a strong man of biblical proportions who destroyed a Philistine temple?

The story of Samson appears in the Book of Judges. Born with incredible strength, Samson is said to have killed a lion and many Philistines with his bare hands. The secret of his strength, however, was discovered when he confided in Delilah, who in turn told the Philistines. They instructed her to cut off his hair. While chained in their temple, Samson showed one final display of strength. Praying to God to help him, he pushed over the supporting columns of the temple, killing himself and everyone in it.


This influential biblical figure sure had a whale of a tale! Do you know who he is?

Jonah was a prophet directed by God to warn the people of Nineveh of their impending destruction due to their sin. He disobeyed, however, and fled by boat to Tarshish. God sent a huge storm that battered the boat so badly that Jonah pleaded to be thrown into the sea, knowing that he was the cause of the storm for disobeying God instructions. Incredibly, he was swallowed by a whale. After three days inside the whale, Jonah promised to do God’s work, and the whale threw him up on the shores of Nineveh. Jonah then went to Nineveh, and the whole city turned away from sin, thanks to his preaching. Jonah's story is told in the Old Testament book of the same name.


This Old Testament figure, the world's first human, lived in the Garden of Eden. Who is he?

Adam was God’s first human creation. God placed him in the sacred Garden of Eden, where he gave Adam a companion, the woman Eve. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden after eating fruit from the tree of knowledge, which God had forbidden them to touch.


Can you name the eventual king of Israel who killed a giant while still a shepherd boy?

David was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse. He is well known for killing the giant Goliath while still a shepherd boy. Interestingly, David wrote many of the pieces appearing in the Book of Psalms, including the widely popular Psalm 23. David is considered one of Israel's greatest kings.


Name the Israelite raised as an Egyptian who led the nation of Israel to Canaan, the promised land.

Moses was born at a time when Pharaoh had ordered the killing of all Hebrew male children in Egypt. His mother hid him in a reed basket along the bank of the Nile, where he was discovered by Pharaoh's daughter and subsequently raised as an Egyptian in the palace. Moses is known for leading the Israelites out of Egypt, receiving the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai and leading his people to the promised land of Canaan. Interestingly, God never let him enter the promised land as punishment for at one time disobeying him.


Which of the women below is considered to be the mother of the nation of Israel?

Rebekah was wife to Isaac and mother to Esau and Jacob. In a vision, God told her that in her womb were nations. She gave birth to Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, and Esau, the father of the Edomites. Rebekah helped Jacob receive the blessings from his father that were actually entitled to Esau as the firstborn son.


This man is the first murderer in the Bible. Who is he?

Firstborn of Adam and Eve and brother to Abel, Cain spent his life as a farmer. He became angry when God accepted Abel’s sacrifice over his, which led him to kill his brother. Cain was banished from the land by God and ended up living in the land of Nod. Interestingly, the term "my brother's keeper" comes from the story of Cain and Abel; it's a phrase said by Cain when God asked him where his brother was.


Can you name a man of the Old Testament who is a patriarch to the Jews, Christians and Muslims?

A patriarch to Jews, Muslims and Christians, Abraham established the first covenant with God. God had told Abraham, who was then called Abram, that he would be the father of a great nation. Abraham believed God, even though he knew that his wife Sarah was barren. When he was 100 years old, Sarah gave birth to a son, Isaac.


Which biblical character was instructed by God to build an ark?

The story of Noah is from the book of Genesis, the first in the Bible. It tells how Noah was instructed by God to build a massive wooden ark since he planned to destroy the world by flooding it. Noah was told to save only himself and his family, as well as two of each kind of animal in the world. After floating for 40 days, the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, and Noah and his family started the world anew.


Which of the men below led the Israelites into the land of Canaan after the death of Moses?

Joshua was a spy sent by Moses to survey the land of Canaan. After the death of Moses, God ordered Joshua to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. Joshua is credited for destroying the walls of Jericho when he and the Israelites marched around the city eight times. Joshua was also tasked with allocating each tribe of Israel with a section of land in Canaan.


Who does the Old Testament say Moses' sister is?

The first time Miriam is encountered in the Bible is when she sees Pharaoh's daughter find baby Moses in the bullrushes, although she is unnamed at this point. She was then tasked by Pharaoh's daughter to help raise baby Moses. Miriam played an important role once the Israelites left Egypt, as the high priestess for all the Israelite women.


Can you name the man with such a strong faith that even the threat of lions could not turn him from praying to God?

Daniel was a servant in the high office of King Darius of Babylon. He was hated by Darius' other advisors, who tricked Darius into issuing a decree that said no one other than Darius could be worshipped. Daniel ignored this and, despite his reluctance, Darius had to act, electing to have Daniel thrown into a lion's den. The next day, Darius returned to see if Daniel lived. Daniel had indeed survived, explaining that since he was blameless in God's eyes, God bound the lions' mouths shut.


Which prophet was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire?

The story of the prophet Elijah taken up into Heaven is told in 2 Kings 2:11. While he was talking to his follower Elisha, a wind spirited Elijah away into a chariot that was on fire, pulled by horses that were on fire. He was never seen again. Elijah is one of the major prophets of the Old Testament.


True or false: David was the son of Jesse.

Indeed, David's father was named Jesse. Jesse had eight sons, of which David was the youngest. He was a sheep breeder, which explains why David was a shepherd as well. Jesse's name is sometimes spelled Isai.


Who is considered the father of the nation of Israel?

Jacob fathered twelve sons. These men were to be the cornerstones of the new Israelite nation. Each son would lead a tribe as the Israelite nation grew. Their names were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin.


Can you name which son of Jacob was sold into slavery by his brothers?

Because they thought their father favored him, Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. They told Jacob that Joseph was eaten by a wild animal. Joseph ended up in Egypt, where he eventually became a trusted advisor to the Pharaoh. Joseph would later meet his brothers again when they come to Egypt looking for food, where they then bowed down to him, just as his dreams had predicted.


A giant of a man, he was felled by a single stone thrown by a shepherd boy. Who was he?

The future King David challenged the Philistine champion Goliath to one-on-one combat. Goliath's height varies in pieces of manuscripts over the years, with some saying he was nine feet tall. Goliath was felled by a single stone from David's sling. After their champion was felled, the Philistines were routed by the Israelite army.


Which of King David's son's revolted against him?

Absalom was the third son of David. He later declared himself king and revolted against his father. He was defeated in battle at Ephraim's Wood and was killed by the commander of David's army, Joab, against the king's instructions.


Abraham's nephew played an influential role in his story in the Bible. Who was he?

The name of Abraham's nephew is Lot. He had a pretty eventful life, including his capture by Chedorlaomer, the King of Elam. Abraham took an army of 318 men and saved Lot. Later, Lot was saved from destruction in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, although his wife was turned to a pillar of salt when she looked back at the cities while fleeing, against God's orders.


Which Old Testament king, a son of David, was said to be the wisest of all?

Solomon plays a very important part in the Old Testament. Not only did he build the first temple for the Israelites, but he was also said to be incredibly wise. He was an author, responsible for three books in the Old Testament: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.


God commanded which influential Old Testament prophet to anoint David as king?

Even though he had anointed David's predecessor King Saul, God instructed Samuel to anoint David as well. This was while Saul was still in power. The anointing process involved covering the king's head with olive oil poured from a goat horn. Samuel was the last judge of Israel. His mother, Hannah, had pledged him in service to God from a young age.


Which female resident of Jericho helped the spies of Israel when they came to check out the city before attacking it?

When the Israelites were nearing Canaan after wandering in the desert, Moses sent spies ahead, with some going to the city of Jericho, the first place the Israelites planned to attack. Here they were helped by Rahab, a prostitute. When the Israelites did attack and the walls of Jericho came down, they knew to spare Rahab's household because she had hung a red cord out of a window.


The brother of Moses and first high priest of the Israelites was ______.

Aaron plays an important part in the story of Moses and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, often serving as his brother's spokesman in dealing with Pharoah. He was later appointed the first high priest of the Israelites.


Name the influential Old Testament queen who wanted the prophet Elijah dead.

Jezebel was the queen to King Ahab, ruler of Israel. She was a follower of the deity Baal and ordered many priests killed. Elijah, however, escaped. He predicted to King Ahab that he would be killed and Jezebel would be torn apart by dogs. Both prophecies came true.


Can you name the firstborn son of Abraham?

Isaac was Abraham's son, born to his wife Sarah. He married Rebekah and had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Before his death, Rebekah tricked Isaac into giving Jacob his blessings and telling Esau that he would forever live under the rule of his brother Jacob. Isaac also played an important role in his father Abraham's forming a covenant with God.


Who was the first king of Israel after a long line of judges? He was anointed by Samuel.

Saul was the first king of Israel, ruling between 1021 and 1000 BC. He was anointed by Samuel, the last judge, after the people of Israel demanded that he give them a king. Saul's disobedience made God angry. God eventually removed him as king of Israel and anointed David in his place.


Of all the books in the Old Testament, two are named after women. One is Esther; what is the other?

The Book of Ruth is the eighth book of the Old Testament. In the Gospel of Matthew, Ruth is one of the five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. It's interesting to note that Ruth was not an Israelite but was instead from Moab. The story of Ruth is one of kindness. Following the deaths of her husband and father-in-law, she remained with Naomi, her mother-in-law, as she journeyed to Jerusalem. There she met and married Boaz, an Israelite, and found happiness.


Which judge of Israel, who was also an incredible military leader, led the Israelite army to many victories?

The son of Joash, Gideon was a mighty judge, military general and prophet. During his time as the commander of the Israelite army, although always outnumbered, he won many crucial battles against the Midianites. The death of Gideon saw Israelites turn away from God and start worshipping Baal.


Murdered by his brother Cain, he was the second son of Adam and Eve. Can you name him?

Abel was the second son of Adam and Eve and brother to Cain. He was a shepherd who gave God the firstborn of his flock. After the Lord had accepted Abel's offering, his brother Cain became angry and murdered him, cursing himself in the process.


From the list below, can you identify the only female judge of Israel?

Deborah was a prophetess of Israel and the only female judge mentioned in the Bible. She prophesied that the Israelites would defeat the Canaanites under the commander Sisera. In turn, the ruler Barak led the Israelites to victory over Sisera's forces. The Song of Deborah, found in the Book of Judges, is recognized by scholars as one of the oldest parts of the Bible.


What is the name of God's faithful servant, punished by Satan but eventually blessed by God?

Job was a wealthy, God-fearing man with a large family and many heads of cattle. Satan torments Job and plunges him into suffering, first by killing his family and removing his wealth and then by inflicting illness on Job himself. In spite of his suffering, Job continues to praise God, who eventually rewards him for his faithfulness.


One of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament, he foretold the coming of the Messiah, his rejection by the people and his death. Can you name him?

Isaiah was a prophet who lived in Jerusalem. His first prophecy was the death of King Uzziah; later, he prophesied the coming of the Messiah, the fall of Babylon, the rejection of the Messiah and that God’s son would die for humanity's sins. The Book of Isaiah is a focal point for many parts of the New Testament.


Who was the mother of Isaac and wife of Abraham?

Sarah was the wife of Abraham and mother to Isaac. Initially barren, God promised her a son, and she gave birth to Isaac at the ripe old age of 91. However, while she waited to become pregnant, she doubted God’s promise and offered her servant Hagar to Abraham in order to give him a son. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, and Sarah eventually had the pair banished.


Which of the people below was the son of Saul and best friend of David?

Once David joined Saul's household, he and Jonathan became firm friends. As Saul began to sour toward David, Jonathan tried to change his father's opinion, but he was unsuccessful. Jonathan warned David that Saul was jealous and wanted to kill him. Jonathan and Saul were eventually killed by the Philistines.


While exiled in Egypt, which influential Egyptian did Joseph work for?

The Book of Genesis tells us that Joseph worked for Potiphar, gaining his trust. It also tells us that Potiphar was a military man and was the captain of the guards of Pharaoh's palace. Potiphar had Joseph jailed when his wife said Joseph made advances toward her, something he later discovered was not true.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!