List of names for the biblical nameless  

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This list provides names given in history and traditions for people who appear to be unnamed in the Bible.


Hebrew Bible

Wives of the antediluvian patriarchs

Patriarch Wife
Cain Âwân
Seth Azûrâ
Enosh Nôâm
Kenan Mûalêlêth
Mahalalel Dinah
Jared Baraka
Enoch Edna
Methuselah Edna
Lamech Betenos
Noah Emzârâ
Source: the apocryphal book of Jubilees
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 in the series is Noah's wife, to whom it gives the name of Emzara. Other Jewish traditional sources contain many different names for Noah's wife.

A literal reading of Genesis leads readers to wonder where Cain got his 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 they married their sisters.

Adam's first wife

Name: Lilith
Source: Jewish tradition, The Alphabet of Ben-Sira

Lilith is described as refusing to assume a subservient role to Adam during sexual intercourse and deserts him ("She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.'"

Noah's wife

Name: Naamah
Source: Middrash Genesis Rabah 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.

Potiphar's wife

Name: Zuleika
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 tempted Joseph in Egypt.

Pharaoh's magicians

Names: Jannes and Jambres
Source: 2 Timothy 3:8
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.

Job's wife

Names: Sitis, Dinah
Source: The apocryphal Testament of Job [2]
Appears in the Bible at: Book of Job

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.

Jephthah's daughter

Name: Seila
Source: Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum
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 thetwentyth

sixteenth century; see Works of Philo.

The Witch of Endor

Name: Zephaniah
Source: Rabbinical midrash
Name: Sedecla
Source: Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum
Appears in the Bible at: 1 Samuel 28

According to the Rabbinical midrash on 1 Samuel 28, Zephaniah was the mother of Abner, Saul's cousin, and a military commander in Saul's army. (See 1 Samuel 14)

Architect of the Temple of Solomon

Name: Hiram Abiff
Source: The traditional lore of Freemasonry
Appears in the Bible at: 2 Chronicles 2; 1 Kings 7:13-14

The Queen of Sheba

Name: Makeda
Source: Traditional Ethiopian lore surrounding Emperor Menelik I
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 carrying 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.

New Testament

The Magi

Names: Balthasar, Melchior, and Caspar (or Gaspar)
Source: European folklore
Names: Hor, Basanater, and Karsudan
Source: The Book of Adam, an apocryphal Ethiopian text
Names: Larvandad, Hormisdas, and Gushnasaph
Source: Syrian Christian folklore
Appear in the Bible at: Matthew 2

The Gospel is not clear that there were in fact three Magi or when exactly did they visit Jesus; only that there were more than one Magus, and three gifts. Nevertheless, the number of Magi is usually extrapolated from the gifts, and as such the Three Wise Men are a staple of Christian Nativity scenes. While the European names have gotten the most publicity, other faith traditions have widely different versions.

The Nativity shepherds

Names: Asher, Zebulun, Justus, Nicodemus, Joseph, Barshabba, and José
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.

Herodias' daughter

Name: Salomé (sometimes: Salome)
Source: The Jewish Antiquities of Josephus
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 14

Syrophoenician woman

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

According to the same source, her daughter was Berenice.

Hæmorrhaging woman

Name: Berenice
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 apparently a Latin variant on Berenice. According to the Acts, Veronica or Berenice obtained some of Jesus' blood on a cloth at the Crucifixion. Folklore identifies her with the woman who was healed of a bleeding discharge in the Gospel.

Samaritan Woman at the Well

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 woman at the well became a follower of Christ, was baptized, 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

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

Dives is simply Latin for "rich," and as such may not count as a proper name. The tale 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

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

A long standing Christian tradition identifies the woman taken in adultery with Mary Magdalene. 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 identify Mary Magdalene as the weeping woman who was a sinner, and who anoints Jesus' feet in Luke 7:36-50. Both the passages of Mark's gospel in which Mary's exorcism is mentioned, and the passage of the Gospel of John in which the woman taken in adultery appears, have been identified as inauthentic or misplaced by Biblical textual critics.

Pontius Pilate's wife

Name: Claudia, Procla, or Perpetua
Source: European folklore
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 27:19

Thieves crucified with Christ

Names: Zoatham and Canna
Source: Old Latin Gospel text
Names: Dismas and Gestas (or, Gesmas)
Source: Acts of Pilate
Appears in the Bible at: Luke 23

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

Soldier who pierced Jesus with a spear

Name: Longinus
Source: Acts of Pilate
Appears in the Bible at: John 19:34

The Lance of Longinus, also known as the Spear of Destiny, is supposedly preserved as a relic, and various magical powers are ascribed to it.

Man who offered Jesus vinegar

Name: Stephaton
Source: Codex Egberti, tenth century
Appears in the Bible at: Matthew 27:48

Guard(s) at Jesus' tomb

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

The Gospel text is unclear as to whether there was one guard, or more than one. It seems unlikely that large numbers of Jewish soldiers were enlisted in the Roman army under Pontius Pilate's command.

Cleopas's companion on the road to Emmaus

Names: Nathanael, Nicodemus, Simon, or Luke
Source: European folklore
Appears in the Bible at: Luke 24:18

Some have surmised that it was indeed the author of the Gospel of Luke who is this nameless Biblical character.

See also

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