List of names for the biblical nameless

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Nicolas Poussin's Moses rescued from the Nile (1638) shows Pharaoh's daughter, who is unnamed in the Bible, but called Bithiah in Jewish tradition.

This list provides names given in Jewish, Islamic or Christian tradition for characters who are unnamed in the Bible.

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament[edit]

Wives of the antediluvian patriarchs[edit]

Patriarch Wife
Cain Âwân
Nod[1]
Seth Azûrâ
Enos Nôâm
Kenan Mûalêlêth
Mahalalel Dinah
Jared Baraka
Enoch Edna
Methuselah Edna
Lamech (Seth's line) Betenos
Noah Emzârâ
Naamah[1]
See also: Antediluvian
Source: the book of Jubilees (part of the Oriental Orthodox deuterocanon)
Appears in the Bible at: Genesis 4–5

The book of Jubilees provides names for a host of unnamed biblical characters, including wives for most of the antediluvian patriarchs. The last of these is Noah's wife, to whom it gives the name of Emzara. Other Jewish traditional sources contain many different names for Noah's wife.

The book of Jubilees says that Awan was Adam and Eve's first daughter. Their second daughter Azura married Seth.

For many of the early wives in the series, Jubilees notes that the patriarchs married their sisters.

The Cave of Treasures and the earlier Kitab al-Magall (part of Clementine literature) name entirely different women as the wives of the patriarchs, with considerable variations among the extant copies.

The Muslim historian Ibn Ishaq (c. 750), as cited in al-Tabari (c. 915), provides names for these wives that are generally similar to those in Jubilees; however he makes them Cainites rather than Sethites, despite clearly stating elsewhere that none of Noah's ancestors were descended from Cain.

Cain and Abel's sisters[edit]

See also: Cain and Abel
Name: Calmana
source: Golden Legend[2] which also tells stories about many of the saints
Appears in the Bible at: Genesis 4:17
Name: Delbora
source: Golden Legend[2] which also tells stories about many of the saints
Appears in the Bible at: Genesis 4

See also: Balbira & Kalmana for alternate traditions of names.

Noah's wife[edit]

See also: Noah
Name: Naamah
Source: Midrash Genesis Rabbah 23:4
Appears in the Bible at: Genesis 4:22; Gen. 7:7

Daughter of Lamech and Zillah and sister of Tubal-cain (Gen. iv. 22). According to Abba ben Kahana, Naamah was Noah's wife and was called "Naamah" (pleasant) because her conduct was pleasing to God. But the majority of the rabbis reject this statement, declaring that Naamah was an idolatrous woman who sang "pleasant" songs to idols.

See also Wives aboard the Ark for a list of traditional names given to the wives of Noah and his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Ham's wife[edit]

Name: Egyptus
Source: Book of Abraham  

The Mormon Book of Abraham, first published in 1842, mentions Egyptus (Abraham 1:23) as being the name of Ham's wife; his daughter apparently had the same name (v. 25).

Nimrod's wife[edit]

See also: Nimrod (Bible)
Name: Semiramis
Source: The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop  

A large body of legend has attached itself to Nimrod, whose brief mention in Genesis merely makes him "a mighty hunter in the face of the Lord". These legends usually make Nimrod to be a sinister figure, and they reach their peak in Hislop's The Two Babylons, which make Nimrod and Semiramis to be the original authors of every false and pagan religion.

Mother of Abraham[edit]

Name: Amthlai bath (daughter of) Khrubu
Source: Babylonian Talmud Tractate Baba Bathra Chapter 5[3]
Appears in the Bible at: Book of Genesis

Lot's daughters[edit]

Names: Pheiné and Thamma
Source:
Name: Paltith
Source: Book of Jasher 19:24
[4]
Appears in the Bible at: Book of Genesis

Lot's wife[edit]

Name: Ado ( or Edith )
Source: Book of Jasher 19:52
[4]
Appears in the Bible at: Book of Genesis

Laban's wife[edit]

Name: Adinah
Source: Book of Jasher 28:28
[5]
Appears in the Bible at: Book of Genesis

Potiphar's wife[edit]

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife, by Guido Reni 1631
See also: Potiphar
Name: Zuleika or Zulaikha
Source: The Sefer Hayyashar, a book of Jewish lore published in Venice in 1625. [1]
Appears in the Bible at: Genesis 39:12

Potiphar's wife attempted to seduce Joseph in Egypt.

Pharaoh's daughter[edit]

Name: Merris
Source: Eusebius of Caesarea (Preparation for the Gospel 9.15)
Name: Merrhoe
Source: Eustathius of Antioch (Commentary on Hexameron MPG 18.785)
Name: Thermutis
Source: Flavius Josephus
Name: Bithiah or Bitya
Source: Jewish tradition
Appears in the Bible at: Exodus 2

Pharaoh's daughter, who drew Moses out of the water, is known as Bithiah in Jewish tradition (identifying her with the "Pharaoh's daughter Bithiah" in 1 Chronicles 4:18).

Simeon's wife[edit]

Name: Bunah
Source: Book of Jasher 34:36[6] Legends of the Jews Volume 1 Chapter 6[7]
Appears in the bible at: Genesis

Pharaoh's magicians[edit]

Names: Jannes and Jambres
Source: 2 Timothy 3:8,[8] Book of Jasher chapter 79[9] Antiquities of the Jews Book 2[10] Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ Chapter 109 [11] Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VIII[12] Easton's Bible Dictionary[13] The Book of the Bee Chapter 30[14] Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. XIII[15] Legends of the Jews Volume 2 Chapter 4,[16] Chronicles of Jerahmeel, Papyrus Chester Beatty XVI: The Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres
Appears in the Bible at: Exodus 7

The names of Jannes and Jambres, or Jannes and Mambres, were well known through the ancient world as magicians. In this instance, nameless characters from the Hebrew Bible are given names in the New Testament. Their names also appear in numerous Jewish texts.

The Cushitic wife of Moses[edit]

Name: Tharbis
Source: Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, Book II, Chapter 10 [17]
Appears in the Bible at: Numbers 12
Name: Adoniah
Source: Book of Jasher, 23.5–25.5
Georges de La Tour,
Job Mocked by his Wife.

Job's wives[edit]

Names: Sitis, Dinah
Source: The apocryphal Testament of Job[18]
Appears in the Bible at: Book of Job

Apocryphal Jewish folklore says that Sitis, or Sitidos, was Job's first wife, who died during his trials. After his temptation was over, the same sources say that Job remarried Dinah, Jacob's daughter who appears in Genesis.

Name: Raḥma
Source: Islamic tradition[19]

The source does not tell which wife of Job has this name.

Samson's mother[edit]

See also: Wife of Manoah
Name: Z'llpunith
Source: Babylonian Talmud Tractate Baba Bathra Chapter 5[3]
Appears in the Bible at: Book of Judges 13

Jephthah's daughter[edit]

Name: Seila
Source: Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum
Name: Adah
Source: Order of the Eastern Star[20]
Appears in the Bible at: Judges 11

The Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum falsely ascribes itself to the Jewish author Philo. It in fact did not surface until the sixteenth century; see Works of Philo.

David's mother[edit]

Name: Nzb'th, daughter of Edal
Source: Babylonian Talmud Tractate Baba Bathra Chapter 5 (folio 91a)[3]
Appears in the Bible at: Book of Samuel

The Witch of Endor[edit]

Saul and the Witch of Endor by Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, 1526.
See also: Witch of Endor
Name: Sedecla
Source: Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum
Appears in the Bible at: 1 Samuel 28


The Man of God[edit]

Name: Iddo
Source: [21]
Appears in the Bible at: 2 Chronicles 12:15 and 1 Kings 13

The wise woman of Abel[edit]

Name: Serah
Source: Aggadic Midrash[22]
Appears in the Bible at: 2 Samuel 20

The Queen of Sheba[edit]

An Ethiopian fresco of the Queen of Sheba travelling to Solomon.
See also: Queen of Sheba
Name: Makeda
Source: Traditional Ethiopian lore surrounding Emperor Menelik I; see the Kebra Nagast
Name: Nicaule
Source: Josephus
Name: Bilqis
Source: Islamic traditions
Appears in the Bible at: 1 Kings 10; 2 Books of Chronicles 9

According to Ethiopian traditions, the Queen of Sheba returned to Ethiopia pregnant with King Solomon's child. She bore Solomon a son that went on to found a dynasty that ruled Ethiopia until the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974.

Haman's mother[edit]

Name: Amthlai daughter of Urbthi
Source: Babylonian Talmud Tractate Baba Bathra Chapter 5[3]
Appears in the Bible at: Book of Esther

Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books[edit]

Ciseri's Martyrdom of the Seven Maccabees (1863) depicts the woman with seven sons.

The Deuterocanonical books, sometimes called the "Apocrypha", are considered canonical by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox (though these churches' lists of books differ slightly from each other), but are considered non-canonical by Jews and Protestants.

The woman with seven sons[edit]

The woman with seven sons is a Jewish martyr who is unnamed in 2 Maccabees 7, but is named Hannah, Miriam, Shamuna and Solomonia in other sources. According to Eastern Orthodox tradition, her sons, the "Holy Maccabean Martyrs" (not to be confused with the martyrs in the Ethiopian book of Meqabyan), are named Abim, Antonius, Gurias, Eleazar, Eusebonus, Alimus and Marcellus.

The seven Archangels[edit]

Tobit 12:15 reads "I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One."[23] Of the six unnamed archangels, Michael is named in the Book of Daniel, and Gabriel is named in the Gospel of Luke.[citation needed]

The Book of Enoch, deuterocanonical in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, names the remaining four archangels Uriel, Raguel, Zerachiel, and Ramiel.[24] Other sources name them Uriel, Izidkiel, Haniel, and Kepharel.[25] In the Coptic Orthodox Church the names of these four archangels are given as Suriel, Sedakiel, Sarathiel and Ananiel. Several other sets of names have also been given.

New Testament[edit]

The Three Wise Men are given the names Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar in this late 6th century mosaic from the Basilica of Saint Apollinarius in Ravenna, Italy.

The Magi[edit]

Main article: Biblical Magi
Names: Balthasar, Melqon, Gaspar
Source: Armenisches Kindheitsevangelium [26]
Names: Balthasar, Melchior, and Caspar (or Gaspar)
Source: European folklore
Names: Basanater, Hor, and Karsudan
Source: The Book of Adam, an apocryphal Ethiopian text
Names: Larvandad, Hormisdas, and Gushnasaph
Source: Syrian Christian folklore
Names: Manatho, Alchor, and Gaspar
Source: White Shrine Of Jerusalem - Masonic
Appear in the Bible at: Matthew 2

The Gospel does not state that there were, in fact, three magi or when exactly they visited Jesus, only that multiple magi brought three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Nevertheless, the number of magi is usually extrapolated from the number of gifts, and the three wise men are a staple of Christian nativity scenes. While the European names have enjoyed the most publicity, other faith traditions have different versions. According to the Armenisches Kindheitsevangelium, the three magi were brothers and kings, namely Balthasar, king of India; Melqon, king of Persia; and Gaspar, king of Arabia. The Chinese Christian Church[clarification needed] believes that the astronomer Liu Shang was one of the wise men.

The Nativity shepherds[edit]

The Shepherds
Names: Asher, Zebulun, Justus, Nicodemus, Joseph, Barshabba, and Jose
Source: The Syrian Book of the Bee
Appear in the Bible at Luke 2

The Book of the Bee was written by Bishop Shelemon in the Aramaic language in the thirteenth century.

Sisters/step-sisters/female cousins of Jesus[edit]

Names: Maria
Source: Gospel according to Phillipus[27]
Names: Lysia and Lydia
Source: History of Joseph the Carpenter[28]
Names: Maria or Anna, Salomé
Source: Epiphanus[28]

The fact that Jesus had at least two sisters/stepsisters/female cousins is mentioned in Mark 3, 32–34 and Matthew 12, 50, though their exact number is not specified in either gospel. In addition, the various versions of Epiphanus differ on whether one of the sisters was named Maria or Anna.

Herodias' daughter[edit]

Name: Salome
Source: The Jewish Antiquities of Josephus[29]
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 14, Mark 6

Syrophoenician woman[edit]

Name: Justa
Source: 3rd century pseudo-Clementine homily
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 15, Mark 7

According to the same source, her daughter was Berenice.

Hæmorrhaging woman[edit]

Name: Bernice
Source: The apocryphal Acts of Pilate
Name: Veronica
Source: Latin translation of the Acts of Pilate
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 9:20–22

Veronica is a Latin variant of Berenice (Greek: Βερενίκη). According to the Acts of the Apostles, Veronica or Berenice obtained some of Jesus' blood on a cloth at the Crucifixion. Tradition identifies her with the woman who was healed of a bleeding discharge in the Gospel (see also: Veil of Veronica).

Samaritan woman at the well[edit]

Name: Photini
Source: Eastern Orthodox Church Tradition
Appears in the Bible at: John 4:5–42

In the tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the name of the woman at the well when she met Jesus is unknown, but she became a follower of Christ, received the name Photini in baptism, proclaimed the Gospel over a wide area, and was later martyred. She is recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Damned rich man[edit]

Name: Nineveh
Source: Coptic folklore
Name: Phineas
Source: Pseudo-Cyprian, De pascha computus
Name: Dives
Source: European Christian folklore
Appears in the Bible at: Luke 16:19–16:31

Dives is simply Latin for "rich", and as such may not count as a proper name. The story of the blessed Lazarus and the damned rich man is widely recognised under the title of Dives and Lazarus, which may have resulted in this word being taken for a proper name.

Woman taken in adultery[edit]

Name: Mary Magdalene
Source: Western Christian tradition
Appears in the Bible at: John 8

A long standing Western Christian tradition first attested by Pope Gregory I identifies the woman taken in adultery with Mary Magdalene, and also with Mary of Bethany.[30] Jesus had exorcised seven demons out of Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9), and Mary Magdalene appears prominently in the several accounts of Jesus' entombment and resurrection, but there is no indication in the Bible that clearly states that Mary Magdalene was the same person as the adulteress forgiven by Jesus. Roman Catholics also have identified Mary Magdalene as the weeping woman who was a sinner, and who anoints Jesus' feet in Luke 7:36–50, and while the Church has dropped this interpretation to a degree, this remains one of her more famous portrayals.

The Eastern Orthodox Church has never identified Mary Magdalene as either the woman taken in adultery, or the sinful woman who anointed Jesus' feet.

The man born blind[edit]

Name: Celidonius
Source: Christian tradition
Appears in the Bible at: John 9:1–38

Pontius Pilate's wife[edit]

Main article: Pontius Pilate's wife
Name: Claudia, Procla, Procula, Perpetua or Claudia Procles
Source: European folklore; Dolorous Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ (as "Claudia Procles")[31]
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 27:19

During the trial of Jesus the wife of Pontius Pilate sent a message to him saying, "Have nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him."

The proposed names of Procla and Procula may not be names at all, but simply a form of Pilate's official title of Procurator, indicating that she was the Procurator's wife.

Thieves crucified with Jesus[edit]

Names: Zoathan and Chammata
Source: Gospel of Mark (Latin addition to the Greek text)[32]
Names: Zoatham and Camma
Source: Gospel of Matthew (Latin addition to the Greek text)[33]
Names: Joathas and Maggatras
Source: Gospel of Luke (Latin addition to the Greek text)[34]
Names: Titus and Dumachus
Source: Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour
Names: Dismas and Gestas (or, Gesmas)
Source: Acts of Pilate
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23

Dismas is revered as a saint under that name by Roman Catholics.

Soldier who pierced Jesus with a spear[edit]

Jesus' side is pierced with a spear, Fra Angelico (c. 1440), Dominican monastery of San Marco, Florence.
Name: Longinus
Source: Acts of Pilate
Appears in the Bible at: John 19:34

In tradition he is called Cassius before his conversion to Christianity.[35] The Lance of Longinus, also known as the Spear of Destiny, is supposedly preserved as a relic, and various miracles are said to be worked through it.

Man who offered Jesus vinegar[edit]

Name: Stephaton
Source: Codex Egberti, 10th century
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 27:48, Mark 15:36, & John 19:29–19:30

Guard(s) at Jesus' tomb[edit]

Name: Petronius
Source: Apocryphal Gospel of Peter
Names: Issachar, Gad, Matthias, Barnabas, Simon
Source: The Book of the Bee
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 27:62–66

Ethiopian Eunuch baptized by the Deacon Philip[edit]

Name: Simeon Bachos
Source: Adversus haereses (Against the Heresies, an early anti-Gnostic theological work) 3:12:8 (180 AD)
Name: Bachos
Source: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo tradition[36]

In Eastern Orthodox tradition[37] he is known as an Ethiopian Jew with the name Simeon also called the Black, the same name he is given in the Acts of the Apostles 13:1.

Appears in the Bible at: Acts 13:1

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nod's Land. Avbtab.org.
  2. ^ a b Medieval Sourcebook: The Golden Legend: Volume 1 (full text). Fordham.edu.
  3. ^ a b c d The Babylonian Talmud, Rodkinson tr., Book 7.: Tract Baba Bathra, Part I: Chapter V. Sacred-texts.com.
  4. ^ a b Book of Jasher, Chapter 19. Sacred-texts.com.
  5. ^ Book of Jasher, Chapter 28. Sacred-texts.com.
  6. ^ Book of Jasher, Chapter 34. Sacred-texts.com.
  7. ^ Chapter VI: Jacob. Sacred-texts.com.
  8. ^ Passage Lookup: 2 Timothy 3:8. BibleGateway.com.
  9. ^ Book of Jasher, Chapter 79. Sacred-texts.com.
  10. ^ http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/ant-2.htm
  11. ^ Chapter 106. Sacred-texts.com.
  12. ^ Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII: Apocrypha of the New Testament.: Chapter 5. Sacred-texts.com.
  13. ^ Easton's Bible Dictionary. Sacred-texts.com.
  14. ^ Chapter XXX – The History of Moses' Rod. Sacred-texts.com.
  15. ^ Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. XIII: The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.: 2 Timothy 3:1–7. Sacred-texts.com.
  16. ^ Chapter IV: Moses in Egypt. Sacred-texts.com.
  17. ^ http://sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/ant-2.htm
  18. ^ Job, Testament Of:. JewishEncyclopedia.com.
  19. ^ Eric Geoffroy et Néfissa Geoffroy : Le grand livre des prénoms arabes – Plus de 5500 prénoms classés par thèmes avec leurs correspondances en français, Albin Michel, 2009.
  20. ^ Adah, South Carolina Order of the Eastern Star website.
  21. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  22. ^ Rashi on 2 Samuel 20:19.
  23. ^ Tobit 12:15. Etext.virginia.edu.
  24. ^ Enoch XX. Sacred-texts.com.
  25. ^ James Hastings, A Dictionary of the Bible: Volume IV, Part I: Pleroma–Shimon, 1898, reprinted 2004 by the Minerva Group, ISBN 1-4102-1728-0, p. 202 (RAPHAEL).
  26. ^ Wilhelm Schneemelcher, Neutestamentarische Apokryphen. In deutscher Übersetzung: 2 Bde., Mohr Siebeck; 1999
  27. ^ Wilhelm Schneemelcher, Neutestamentarische Apokryphen. In deutscher Übersetzung: 2 Bde., Mohr Siebeck; 1999, Vol. 1, p. 159
  28. ^ a b Wilhelm Schneemelcher, Neutestamentarische Apokryphen. In deutscher Übersetzung: 2 Bde., Mohr Siebeck; 1999, Vol. 1, p. 363
  29. ^ "Antiquities of the Jews – Book XVIII". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  30. ^ Italians find 'Jesus' foot salve', 10 Dec 2008
  31. ^ Dolorous Passion Of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus-passion.com.
  32. ^ Nomine Zoathan et nomine Chammata; in: Codex Colbertinus, 4051 (Lat. 254), National Library, Paris
  33. ^ Nomine Zoatham et nomine Camma; in: Codex Colbertinus, 4051 (Lat. 254), National Library, Paris
  34. ^ Joathas et Maggatras; Codex Rehdigeranus 169, National Library, Berlin (Depot Breslau 5); facsimile: Library of the University of Basel, A. N. IV.2
  35. ^ "Longinus", in: Johann Evangelist Stadler et al., Vollständiges Heiligen-Lexikon, 1858–1882 (reprint: Hildesheim, 1996)
  36. ^ Paulos, Abune (1988). The Mariological tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 
  37. ^ History of the Church

For further reference[edit]