Biography of Boaz

Husband of Ruth

Some facts about Boaz:
Boaz means “fleetness” or “alacrity”
Mentioned in Ruth, 1 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles
Ancestor of King David
Wealthy landowner
Lived sometime around 1100 BC
Related to Naomi and Ruth by marriage

Boaz was a wealthy landowner living in Bethlehem who took care of Naomi when her husband Elimelech died. For her sake, he also took care of her daughter-in-law, Ruth. He was a kinsman-redeemer for Ruth, who was a young widow. Together they had a son, Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Read the story of Boaz in Ruth 1-4 .

Biography of Theophilus

Luke addressed both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts to Theophilus.

Luke [Luke 1:3] and Acts [Acts 1:1] were both written to a man named Theophilus. It was a common name among both Romans and Jews at that time, so there’s little we can know about him for certain. He would have lived at the time Luke wrote, which was somewhere between AD 40 and AD 64.

Possible identities:
Coptic (Egyptian) tradition says that he was a Jew, from Alexandria.
Titus Flavius Sabinus, a Roman prefect who had become a Christian.
He may have been Paul’s lawyer in Rome.
Because “Theophilus” means “lover of God”, some have suggested that Luke didn’t write to an individual at all.
Theophilus ben Ananus, high priest of the temple at Jerusalem between AD 37 and AD 42. He was a kohen (descended from Aaron, Moses’ brother) and a Sadducee. He was the son of Annas and the brother-in-law of Caiaphas and, as a result, grew up in the Jewish Temple.

If Luke wrote to Theophilus ben Ananus, it would explain parts of the Gospel of Luke. The evidence seems to fit. Luke begins with Zacharias, the righteous priest (a kohen), who had a vision at the Temple. He tells of Mary’s purification and Jesus’ redemption rituals at the Temple. He tells of Jesus teaching at the Temple at the age of twelve. Theophilus may have known this story, as Annas (his father) was likely high priest at that time. Note how prominently the Temple figures. While Matthew and John both mention Caiaphas’ role in Jesus trial, Luke makes no mention at all, which might suggest that he was looking to avoid conflict. He also emphasizes Jesus’ physical resurrection, which may have been written to specifically counter the Sadducees’ teaching that there is no resurrection of the dead.

In the end, we really don’t know who Luke’s Theophilus was.

Biography of Huldah the Prophetess

Some facts about Huldah:
A prophetess
Related to Jeremiah
Huldah means “weasel”
Lived in the Second District of Jerusalem
Married to Shallum

According to the Bible, Huldah was a prophetess. We know more about her husband than we do about her but, though she appears in only nine verses, it’s clear that she was considered a very important person. King Josiah’s men came to her on his behalf to ask for wisdom. Her response shows her own sense of self: “Tell the man who sent you…”. Her language seems to suggest that she considered the king like any other man.

The date of this event appears to be around 622 BC. It was the 18th year of Josiah’s reign, which began in approximately 640 BC. The Book of the Law, which had been lost, was rediscovered. Josiah, King of Judah (the southern kingdom) wanted to be a good king, and sent his men to ask Huldah if what they found was legitimate. She indicated that it was indeed God’s Word, and that Josiah’s response to its contents gained God’s favor.

As a result, Josiah had everything related to the worship of any other gods (notably Baal, Asherah, Chemosh, Ashtoreth, and Molech) destroyed. He reinstituted the worship of the God of the Bible. The entire life of Josiah can be found in 2 Kings 22 & 23 .

Huldah was related to the Biblical prophet Jeremiah, as they were both descended from Rahab by her marriage to Joshua. According to Jewish Rabbinical literature, Huldah was also a teacher of Jewish oral tradition in the school at Jerusalem. There was a ‘Gate of Huldah’ in the second Temple, but there are questions as to whether the two names are related.

Biography of Ishmael

Son of Abraham and father of the twelve tribes of Arabia

Some facts about Ishmael:
Firstborn son of Abram (Abraham) and Hagar
Ishmael means “God will hear”
Half brother of Isaac
He was a skilled archer
He married an Egyptian woman
Fathered 12 sons and 1 daughter
Said to be the ancestor of Muhammad

Ishmael was the oldest son of Abram (Abraham). His mother was Hagar, Sarai’s (Sarah’s) Egyptian maidservant. God told Abram and Sarai that they would have many descendants, despite their old age. When they tired of waiting, Sarai convinced Abram to take matters into their own hands, and he took Hagar as his second wife.

While pregnant, Hagar began to despite Sarai, which she passed on to Abram. He allowed her to do as she wished, and Sarai began to mistreat Hagar. After she fled Sarai, God came to Hagar and told her to go back. He said that He would give her many descendants as well, and instructed her to name the child Ishmael, which means “God hears”. Abram was 86 when Ishmael was born.

When the boy was 16, Sarah saw Ishmael mocking 2 year-old Isaac and asked Abraham to kick the boy and his mother out of the house. Abraham hesitated until God promised that He would take care of the boy for Abraham’s sake. He expelled Hagar and Ishmael, who went out into the wilderness of Beersheba.

They ended up in the wilderness of Paran. Ishmael became an expert archer, and was married to an Egyptian woman. In accordance with God’s promise, they had twelve sons: Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. They also had a daughter named Mahalath or Bashemath, who married Esau. Ishmael and Isaac together buried their father, Abraham. I’m not aware of any date being suggested for Ishmael’s death.

Muslims consider Ishmael an appointed prophet of God and teach that it was he, not Isaac, that was almost sacrificed in Genesis 22. This is celebrated by Muslims every year as Eid ul-Adha. Muhammad, founder of Islam, is thought to be a descendent of Ishmael. In the writings of the Baha’I, Ishmael is considered a lesser prophet…and their leader, known as “the Bab”, is thought to be Ishmael’s descendent as well.

Biography of Simon Peter, Jesus’ Disciple

One of Jesus’ inner circle of 12 men, Simon Peter is both a prominent character in the Bible and the author of two of its books.

Some facts about Simon Peter:
Born in Bethsaida, in Galilee
His given name: Simon Bar-Jona (son of Jona)
His name was changed to Peter by Jesus
Brother of another disciple: Andrew
Philip was also from Bethsaida
Occupation: Fisherman
He was married (Matthew 8:14 ).
According to Clement of Alexandria, Peter had children
Jesus gave him the name Cephas (John 1:42 )
Jesus healed his mother-in-law’s fever (Matthew 8:14-15 )
After Jesus’ death, Peter was one of three primary leaders in the Christian church in Jerusalem. (Galatians 2:9 )
Manner of death: traditionally, crucified upside-down in Rome
Tradition holds that Peter’s wife was also martyred

Biography of Andrew, Jesus’ Disciple

One of Jesus’ inner circle of 12 men, Andrew was the first disciple called by Jesus.

Some facts about Andrew:
Brother of another disciple: Simon Peter
From Bethsaida, in Galilee.
Occupation: fisherman
Follower of John the Baptist
After Jesus’ death, Andrew continued ministering in Scythia, Asia Minor, Thrace, Greece, and Achaia.
Manner of death: martyred in Patras, in Achaia

Mary’s Geneology

Mary’s lineage is listed in Luke 3 . Notice that Mary’s name doesn’t actually appear in this list, while Joseph’s does. For a more thorough explanation of why this is actually Mary’s geneology, see Jesus’ Geneology.

While Luke doesn’t mention Mary by name, that shouldn’t be considered unusual. Mary’s geneology was written as Jesus’ geneology, and would traditionally include only notable family members. Very few women are listed by name in such lists, which is to be expected in a patriarchal society. This list has been reversed to list Mary’s family beginning with Adam.

Note that God is listed first. This is not to say that God is the physical father of Adam, of course. It’s listed here because it’s listed in Luke 3. The Hebrew words used for “father” and “son” are very flexible, being used to describe a historical family relationship rather than simple parentage. We see this when we read of Jesus that He is ‘the son of David’. Biblical genealogies weren’t written to account for every generation but to establish succession. This would include notable ancestors rather than comprise a complete list of every physical father and son.

Mary’s Geneology
Mary (not listed by name)