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Absalom

Absalom was the third son of David and Maacah, the daughter of King Talmai of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3). He can be found on the Bible Timeline Chart around 1029 BC. Absalom had a sister named Tamar whose rape by their brother Amnon played a crucial role in Absalom’s rebellion.

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Early Life

Absalom was one of the sons born to David in Hebron and described as a handsome man who had no rival in Israel when it comes to physical beauty (2 Samuel 14:25). Over the course of time, Absalom had three sons and one daughter also named Tamar. He was known to be a charming man who insinuated his way into the hearts of the people of Israel to gain power (2 Samuel 15:1-6).

The Rape of Absalom’s Sister Tamar and His Escape to Geshur (2 Samuel 13)

The Bible does not gloss over the mistakes and weaknesses of many of its central characters, especially the House of David. It is ironic that the meaning of Absalom’s name was “Father of Peace” when his violent deeds resulted in a struggle for the kingdom with his father David that ultimately led to Absalom’s death. The narrative started in 2 Samuel 13 when Amnon schemed with his cousin Jonadab to bring Tamar, his half-sister, and Absalom’s sister, into his quarters by pretending to be sick and have her cook for him because he lusted after her.

King David unwittingly agreed when Amnon made the request and sent his daughter to Amnon’s quarters to prepare the food. She was then raped and cast out by her half-brother. The news reached her brother Absalom and her father, David. While they both were angry with Amnon, the incident was hushed up. Absalom simmered in his anger for Amnon while David refrained from meting out justice because of his love for his oldest son. Absalom had Amnon murdered afterward. Absalom then fled to his grandfather King Talmai in Geshur for three years.

Absalom
“David fleeing from Jerusalem”

Reinstatement and Rebellion (2 Samuel 14 and 17)

David longed to see his son Absalom in spite of his crime. Absalom returned to Jerusalem after a successful scheme by Joab involving a woman from Tekoa. She told the story of her two sons who killed each other. After his reinstatement, Absalom conspired to overthrow David and declared himself king over Israel in Hebron. David had to leave Jerusalem after most of the people sided with Absalom. Meanwhile, David sent his adviser Hushai back to serve and spy on his son. To add insult to injury, Absalom also slept with his father’s wives as advised by Ahithophel, David’s former counselor.

Ahithophel also promised Absalom to kill David himself so a civil war could be averted, but Hushai fooled Absalom and counseled against a direct assassination. Hushai suggested that they gather an army and go to an open war with David and his men. The news of the attack reached David, and they were able to escape. He assembled his men to prepare for a battle against his son but instructed his commanders and the soldiers not to harm Absalom.

Death (2 Samuel 18)

During the battle, Absalom got his hair caught in the branches of a tree. He was killed by Joab and was deeply mourned by David when news of his son’s death reached him. Absalom was buried in Ephraim’s Forest where Joab’s men threw his body into a deep pit and put piles of rock over it (2 Samuel 18:17).

References:
Picture By William Brassey Hole – http://www.orientalism-in-art.org/David-fleeing-from-Jerusalem-is-cursed-by-Shimei.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20344164
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Abraham Lived During The Life Of Shem

He was no doubt familiar with antediluvian events and would have given to his generation a very direct account of the same.

Abraham was one of Shem’s most distinguished descendants. (The line of descent from Shem down to Abraham is listed in Genesis 11:10-26.)  This is listed on the Bible Timeline Chart around 2004 BC. His ancestors were ordered as follows.

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Ancestor Age Upon Fatherhood Age Upon Death
Shem 100 600
Arphaxad 35 438
Shelah 30 433
Eber 34 464
Peleg 30 239
Reu 32 239
Serug 30 230
Nahor 29 148
Terah 70 205
Abraham 100 175

 

Abraham and Shem
“The genealogy of Shem to Abraham according to the Bible”

Abraham (then named Abram) was born in Ur of the Chaldeans in Mesopotamia when his father Terah was 70 years old. There were several generations linking Shem with Abraham. However, Shem was still alive when Abraham was born. As mentioned in Genesis 11:11, Shem lived 500 years more after the birth of Arphaxad. This overlapping of years between the two may have allowed Abraham to learn about the antediluvian events directly from one of the people who survived the flood such as Shem. This included the Genesis creation narrative, the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, as well as other notable ancestors who came before Shem. Although the construction of the Tower of Babel was mentioned before the appearance of Abraham in Genesis 11, it is not clear whether Abraham lived before, during, or after this event.

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Laban, Rebecca’s Brother

Laban was the son of Bethuel and Milcah and brother to Rebecca. He was Isaac’s cousin, and later he became Isaac’s brother-in-law after Rebecca’s marriage. Laban was also the father-in-law and uncle to Jacob through marriage to Leah and Rachel. He can be found on the Bible Timeline around 1829 BC.

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Laban was first mentioned in the Bible after Abraham’s chief servant set off to Paddan Aram (Aram Naharaim) to do his master’s bidding of finding a suitable wife for Isaac from his own kin. After the servant’s initial meeting with Rebecca by the town’s well, she rushed back to her family and told them about a man who gave her a gold nose ring and gold bracelets. Laban played a crucial role in Isaac and Rebecca’s marriage. He acted as the head of the family as Abraham’s servant asked for Rebecca’s hand in marriage on behalf of Isaac. Laban and his father Bethuel did not consent nor decline but acknowledged that the matter “is from the Lord” (Genesis 24:50).

Laban
“Laban and Jacob make a covenant together, as narrated in Genesis 31:44–54”

Laban once again became part of the story when his nephew Jacob fled his family after stealing his twin brother’s birthright. Laban gave his nephew refuge in Paddan Aram, and Jacob worked for him for seven years after meeting and falling in love with Laban’s daughter Rachel. The relationship between Laban and his son-in-law soured after a series of frauds which included the switching of brides during Rachel’s supposed wedding night, Laban’s dishonesty in the division of flocks, and changing of Jacob’s wages ten times. Jacob summed up the injustice he experienced with Laban in the passage below.

“I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. I did not bring you animals torn by wild beasts; I bore the loss myself. And you demanded payment from me for whatever was stolen by day or night. This was my situation: The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled from my eyes. It was like this for the twenty years I was in your household. I worked for you fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages ten times. If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.” Genesis 31:38-43 NIV

Both, later on, agreed on a covenant and parted on good terms.

References:
Picture By illustrators of the 1728 Figures de la Bible, Gerard Hoet (1648-1733) and others, published by P. de Hondt in The Hague in 1728 – http://www.mythfolklore.net/lahaye/032/LaHaye1728Figures032GenXXXI44-54JacobLabanMakeCovenant.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8479622
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Habakkuk 629 B.C

Habakkuk was a prophet who existed in the Hebrew Bible. He is listed on the Bible Timeline Poster around 629 BC. Very little is known about his life and very little about his life is mentioned in the Bible. What is noteworthy are his works, particularly the book of Habakkuk. The Book of Habakkuk is a short book of the Bible which is attributed to Habakkuk. The book contains five oracles about the Chaldeans which were a small Semitic nation that emerged during the period of the late tenth and early ninth century BC. It also contains a song of praise to God.

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Habakkuk
“Russian icon of the prophet Habakkuk”

The book has been admired by many scholars for its originality and uniqueness. As the book questions the working of God himself. This was extremely bold considering the times and suggests that the man was of great literary talent.

His final resting place is seen to be in dispute as it is claimed to be in multiple locations. Currently, the prophet’s tombs are located in two places; one in Israel and another in a shrine in Persia. There is a feast to celebrate him on the 2nd of January by the orthodox Christians and on the 15th of January by the Roman Catholics and the Greeks.

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habakkuk
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/H/Habakkuk/
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3379385,00.html
Picture By 18 century icon painter – Iconostasis of Transfiguration church, Kizhi monastery, Karelia, north Russia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3235522
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Bethuel the Syrian, Rebecca’s Father 1804 BC

Bethuel the Syrian was the father of Laban and more importantly, Rebecca. He is listed on the Biblical Timeline Poster around 1804 BC. Bethuel was also related to Abraham through his parents Nahor and Milcah. Who were Abraham’s brother and niece respectively. Bethuel was the youngest of eight sons which included Uz, Buz, Kemuel, Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, and Jidlaph. He was first mentioned in Genesis 22:22-23.

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Nahor settled in Paddan Aram (also known as Aram-naharaim, in northern Syria and now a site in Altinbasak village in southern Turkey) with his wife Milcah and eight sons which included Bethuel. Bethuel still lived in Paddam Aram when Abraham sent his servant to get a wife from his relatives for Isaac (Genesis 24).

Bethuel
“Isaac’s servant tying the bracelet on Rebecca’s arm”

Abraham’s servant prayed to God for guidance in choosing a suitable wife while resting beside a well just outside of town and saw Rebecca come out to draw water. Rebecca introduced herself as one of Bethuel’s children. He was also present (Genesis 24:50) during the servant’s narration of how Rebecca was chosen to be Isaac’s wife. Isaac and Rebecca were later married, making Bethuel both father-in-law and cousin to Isaac.

Bethuel’s grandson Jacob would come back years later to seek refuge from his brother Esau in his uncle Laban’s home in Paddan Aram. And later to marry two of Bethuel’s granddaughters Leah and Rachel.

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Esau married Judith and Bashmeth, Hittites

Esau is the elder twin brother of Jacob, sons of Isaac and Rebekah.

At the age of 40, he married his first two wives, Judith and Bashemath, who both came from the  Canaanite tribe of the Hittites. This event is listed on the Biblical Timeline Poster around 1829 BC. Judith is the daughter of Beeri the Hittite while Bashemath is the daughter of Elon the Hittite.

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Esau's Wives
“Hittite chariot, from an Egyptian relief”

His union with the two Canaanite women was against the wishes of his parents. Hittite women were considered heathens of Canaan at that time. Which was because of their ungodly ways of idolatry and adultery.

In Genesis 36, Esau’s two Canaanite wives were again mentioned; however, they went with different names from that of the wives referred in Genesis 26 and 28. In this later chapter, his wives were named Adah, the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah, daughter of Zibeon the Hivite. His third wife was called Bashemath, Ishmael’s daughter and Nebajoth’s sister. Scholars have since equated the three wives with those mentioned in earlier chapters.

When Esau saw that his father blessed Jacob, sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife, and commanded him not to marry any daughter of the degenerate Canaanites, he changed his evil ways. He went to visit his uncle Ishmael and married his cousin, Mahalath, whose name means “forgiveness.” By merit of his latest marriage, God forgave Esau all his sins.

After his father’s death, Esau took his wives, children, servants, and cattle to move away from Jacob and settle at Mount Seir.

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Milcah

Milcah – means ‘counsel’ and related to the Hebrew word for ‘queen’ (מלכה – malka) Phonetic Pronunciation: MIHL-kah. She can be found on the Bible Timeline around 1829 BC.

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Milcah
Milcah is related to the Hebrew word for ‘queen’

There are two Milcahs in the Bible. One being the fourth daughter of Zelophehad (Numbers 26:33). The more distinguished is Milcah, the daughter of Haran (Abraham’s oldest brother), wife (and niece) of Nahor, and brother of Lot. As Abraham’s niece, she plays a crucial role in continuing the line of the patriarchs as she is also the grandmother of Rebekah, who will later marry Abraham’s son Isaac, great-grandmother to Jacob and Esau, and one of the matriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel. She bore eight children to Nahor including Betheul, Rebekah’s father.

Intermarriage between close family members was forbidden in Chaldea where Milcah’s family originated. However, there seems to be an exception between uncles and nieces during that time. The Mosaic Laws were established long after Milcah’s (other patriarchs’ death). These laws mentioned specific prohibitions on and punishments for sexual relations between a number of close relatives in Leviticus 20. Although, the laws do not specifically state and forbid the sexual relations or marriage between uncles and nieces. It has been implied later on that the prohibitions in Leviticus 20 cover this type of relationship as well.

There is little to no information regarding Milcah’s later life and death.

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Joseph and Mary

Joseph and Mary are Jesus Christ‘s earthly parents. Mary who was engaged to Joseph but had not yet married and was still a virgin was chosen by God to conceive by the Holy Ghost (Mathew 1:18) and care for Jesus. Joseph was described as a righteous man and proved it by being kind to Mary when he found she was pregnant before their marriage. Declining to follow the law which justified death for Mary, Joseph decided to ‘put her away privily'(Mathew 1:19). While he was thinking on this and wondering what to do, an ‘angel of the Lord’ came to him in a dream instructing him to take Mary as his wife for she had been called upon by God to bear Jesus. That he was sent to ‘save his people from their sins’ (Mathew 1:21).

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‘Now this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”‘

‘Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.’ (Mathew 1:22-25)

Mary_and_Joseph
‘The Annunciation by Eustache Le Sueur, an example of 17th-century Marian art. The Angel Gabriel announces to Mary her pregnancy with Jesus and offers her White Lilies’

Mary

The meaning of the name Mary is not clearly translated or recognized for something specific but a few definitions listed are: ‘sea of bitterness’, ‘rebelliousness’ or ‘wished for child’. It is thought to have originated from Egypt and related to ‘mry‘ or ‘beloved’, possibly ‘mr‘ meaning ‘love’.

Mary played a vital role all throughout Christ‘s life, she was there from the day he was born till the time of his death. Her bravery and faithfulness shone brightly from the very beginning at God’s call for her to conceive Christ although not yet wed. Accepting such responsibility and likely great criticism from others with the threat of death being with child before marriage showed an unwavering trust in God. Her passing is not mentioned in the Bible, some believe that she was taken into heaven and spared the pain of death. Hyppolitus of Thebes recorded that Mary was alive for 11 years past the crucifixion of Christ and died around 54 AD.

Joseph_Mary_and_Jesus
‘Sagrada Familia del pajarito, by Murillo’

Joseph

The name Joseph in Hebrew is translated into ‘Yosef’ which means ‘he will add’. He is part of Christ’s history on the Bible Timeline Chart around 1 AD. Not much is recorded about Joseph and his relationship with Jesus as he grew. The scriptures do tell us that he was a good man who was faithful to God and obeyed his words. It was clear that he was dedicated to God by how often he has lead his family out of danger after being warned and hearkening to God’s guidance.  One particular occurrence was their journey to Egypt away from Bethlehem just in time to escape Herod the Great‘s massacre of male infants in an attempt to destroy Jesus.

The last mention of Joseph in the scriptures was when Christ was only 12. After that during Christ’s life as an adult Mary is spoken of in terms that indicate she was a widow. Joseph was not recorded in key events during those times that would have called for involvement on his part. He was not recorded to be standing there at Christ’s crucifixion and Jewish tradition would have placed responsibility on Joseph for the caring of Christ’s body after his death but this charge was undertaken by Joseph of Arimathea. Christ also would not have given Mary’s care into the hands of John if Joseph was still around.

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Azariah or Uzziah,  King

In Hebrew, the name Uzziah or Azariah means “Yahweh is my strength”. This man was noted as one of the Kingdom of Judah‘s finest kings. Although he ruled at a very young age, he was able to show great wisdom and character as a king, and this was the reason he remained in his reign for as much as 52 years. However, he was only his father’s co-regent during the initial 24 years that he ruled the kingdom.

According to some historians, King Azariah reigned from 783 to 742 BC, which is where he can be found on the Biblical  Timeline. In the Bible, he suffered from leprosy because of is disobedience to God. At this time, Jotham, his son, took his place. Another ruler named Pekah led the kingdom during the final year of King Azariah’s reign.

Life of Azariah

According to researchers, Azariah began his reign when he was only 16 years of age. Although he started as a young ruler, it was noted that his time was one of the most prosperous. He was also inspired and guided by Zechariah, a prophet, who helped him during the onset of his reign. Azariah remained faithful to God, and he did his best to always do what was pleasing to the Lord.

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king_uzziah
‘The King successfully made great machines used for battles including ones that can hurl big stones or shoot arrows, in case they were under attack by invaders.’

The king successfully made great machines used for battles including ones that can hurl big stones or shoot arrows, in case they were under attack by invaders. In 2 Chronicles 26, Azariah was able to defeat the Arabians and the Philistines. He also reorganized the country, and his army was re-equipped with strong weapons to use for battles. Indeed, the king was a responsible and committed ruler. His contributions made him popular in various lands including Egypt, as stated in 2 Chronicles 26:8.

The Downfall of a Great King

Unfortunately, things fell to an end when he allowed his pride to get the best of him. He made a mistake by entering the Lord’s temple to burn incense on the altar. When the high priest discovered this, a group of 80 priests confronted the King to say that he was not supposed to do a thing as that. Burning incense at the altar of the temple was supposed to be reserved solely to the priests who were Aaron‘s descendants.

Afterwards, there was a strong earthquake that occurred, and a large hole appeared in the temple where brilliant rays radiated from it. The ray hit the king’s face, and he was instantly afflicted with leprosy. Immediately, he was asked to leave the temple, and he was forced to find himself a separate dwelling where he stayed until he died.

Thus, Jotham, son of Azariah, was on a co-regency where his reign lasted for 11 years. This period was the last 11 years of the king’s life. In his death, he was given a separate grave, which was described as lonely and isolated.

This was the life of a powerful ruler who started his reign being admired by many, yet his pride caused him to lose everything he had even at the time of his death.

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Judah, Son of Jacob 

In the Book of Genesis, Judah was considered the founder and leader of the Tribe of Judah of the Israelites and can be found on the Bible Timeline around 1704 BC. He was Jacob and Leah’s fourth son, whose name means “praise” or “thanksgiving”. As mentioned in Genesis 29:35, upon giving birth to Judah, Leah sang praises to the Lord for having been blessed with a son.

In the Scriptures, Judah had several brothers including Reuben, Levi, Simeon, Zebulun and Issachar. In the Bible, narrations on Judah’s birth was followed by stories about how he and his brothers were jealous of Joseph, who was the favorite son of their father. When they had the chance they took Joseph and threw him into a pit and debated about what should be done with him. In Genesis 37:26-28, it was Judah who saw an Ishmaelite caravan passing them at that moment. The said caravan was bound for Egypt, and Judah suggested that instead of killing Joseph, he should be sold as a slave to this group of people. He believed it was better to gain profit from selling Joseph, which the other brothers took as a wise suggestion.

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Judah_and_Tamar
Judah and Tamar

Eventually, Judah was wed to a Canaanite, who was the daughter of Shua. He soon had three children named Er, Onan, and Shelah. When Er died after marrying Tamar, Onan took her in based on what was the custom that prevailed during that time. However, Onan died, and before his death, he refused to have any children with Tamar. Based on the custom, Tamar had a choice to marry Shelah, yet Judah was against it. However, Tamar decided to trick Judah by disguising herself as a prostitute. The two had intercourse, and this resulted in Tamar’s pregnancy. Upon discovering that he was tricked, Judah attempted to have Tamar killed, but what stopped him from doing so was the revelation that he was the father of the unborn child.

Joseph and Judah

judah_and_joseph
Joseph and his family reunite.

After Joseph had been sold as a slave, he experienced great fortunes in the land of Egypt. In fact, he soon was awarded a high position, and he became successful about 20 years after his brothers’ betrayal.

When the brothers came to Egypt, they did not recognize at first that it was Joseph whom they were speaking with. An incident happened during their visit, and Simeon was told to remain as a hostage. And would only be released as soon as Benjamin another of Jacob’s sons was brought to the palace upon the brothers’ next visit.

Judah spoke to Jacob and assured his father that Benjamin would be kept safe during their return to Egypt. However, another incident occurred, and Joseph ordered for Benjamin to stay in Egypt as his slave. Judah, who was responsible for Benjamin, decided to plead by taking the place of their youngest brother instead, until Joseph finally revealed his real identity upon discovering that his brothers have changed for the better.