Characters: Book of Genesis
Adam and Eve
And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creep upon the earth."
- Adam and Eve Plot: The original.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Many biblical scholars argue that Adam was the most handsome man and Eve the most beautiful woman, being directly created by God.
- Double Standard: Some people have put the blame solely on Eve, others on Adam. Others put the blame on both.
- Meaningful Name: Adam was the first man, his name means "man". Eve was the first woman. Her name in Hebrew means "living one" or "source of life".
- Methuselah Syndrome: Not only Adam and Eve, but plenty of their offspring. It is not until after Exodus things start to even out.
- Ms. Fanservice / Mr. Fanservice: Even during the most prudish epochs of western history, nobody could deny that the nudity of Adam and Eve was an important plot point in the bible. This always gave artists an excuse to paint a couple each wearing only a single fig-leaf and still claim that it's purely religious art not meant to be titillating in any way.
- Sadly Mythtaken: The Bible does not call the fruit an apple (Muslims call it Khuldi). The portrayal of said fruit as an apple is a Stealth Pun on the Latin word malus.
- In fact, unless those who originally came up with the story had contact with people from Kazakhstan and the surrounding area, it's unlikely that they would even know what an apple was.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Picture the most beautiful person of the preferred gender you know of. Thanks to them, you're not hanging out naked with him or her in the Garden.
Sentient Talking Snake, (Satan according to some traditions); sometimes named Nahash
You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
- Big Bad: Of...practically everything, actually. As stated below, with one simple action he managed to ruin the paradise God created. According to the Book of Genesis, he is the reason we are able to die, the reason we know of good and evil and the reason we are not able to enter the Garden of Eden and never will.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite causing the following: Mankind receiving knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden and being cursed, the existence of death, the existence of the entire human race, and the first evil act ever, the snake absolutely disappears off of the face of the earth after the whole "Eden" incident. It is possible that he is Satan, but The Bible is not explicit about this.
- The Corrupter
- Our Dragons Are Different: One interpretation. Before being made to crawl upon his belly he must have had legs. What would you call a walking, talking serpent with(at least) human level intelligence?
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Although in this case, he becomes physically abhorrent as a punishment for his morally abhorrent action.
- Smug Snake: Figuratively and literally.
- Talking Animal
"Am I my brother's keeper?"
- Being Evil Sucks: According to Islam, he felt really bad after killing Abel but he never really repented.
- Biblical Bad Guy
- Cain and Abel: Duh, they're the Trope Namer.
- Deadpan Snarker: The world's first. Check his quote.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Sure you may have gotten shafted in the contest, but was murder really the best way to resolve the issue?
- Green-Eyed Monster: Murdered his brother because of it.
- Joker Immunity: The ur-example. He commits the first murder and is protected from retribution ever after by his mark. It was intend to prevent a Cycle of Revenge. It has not worked.
- Meat Versus Veggies: This indirectly kicked off the circumstances that led to Cain murdering Abel. What happened was that God asked both Cain and Abel to give him sacrifices. Cain sacrificed his vegetables, while Abel sacrificed his livestock and gave God meat. God decided that Abel's sacrifice was more worthy, which pissed Cain off enough to kill Abel over it.
- Name of Cain: Trope Maker.
- Red Right Hand: God gave him a mark to protect him from harm, specifically anyone who might seek vengeance upon him for Abel's death. Exactly what kind of mark is not canonically specified, and interpretations vary.
- The Resenter: Bible commentators indicate that Cain was this due to his parents having been driven out of the garden of Eden. He also resents God for picking Abel's sacrifice over his own (and murders Abel over this resentment), to which God responds by incredulously wondering why he's downcast, since if Cain had done right he would've been picked.
- Walking the Earth: After Cain murdered his bother, he became a wanderer until he settled in the Land of Nod.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's not really explained why God rejected Cain's sacrifice in favor of Abel's. Cain sacrificed produce, while Abel sacrificed livestock, but the Bible doesn't really make it clear whether God simply prefers meat, or whether it was because Cain didn't sacrifice enough.
"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?"
- Cain and Abel
- Killed Off for Real: The first.
- Meat Versus Veggies: This inadvertently got him killed. He sacrificed meat to God by sacrificing his livestock, while his brother Cain sacrificed the vegetables growing in his field. God decided that Abel had given him a better sacrifice, and for this Cain killed him out of jealousy.
- Smug Snake: His one piece of dialogue makes him come off as one. Cain did not like being lectured by his little brother.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Not in the story where he's from, but after his death, in Matthews 23:35, Jesus calls Abel "righteous", and Christian tradition sometimes calls Abel the first martyr.
- Youngest Child Wins: Slightly subverted since he dies, and Adam and Eve have another son after his death.
He spent his life in fellowship with God, and then he disappeared, because God took him away.
And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Doing a bit of math, one can see that he died in the year of the Great Flood. It's never explained if he died in it or before it, since he's not among the eight humans who went aboard the Ark. (In the Talmud, he dies the week before, and a week of mourning is held inside the Ark.)
- Long Runner - The oldest Patriarch.
- Methuselah Syndrome: Trope Namer.
He was a mighty hunter before The Lord.
There went in two and two unto Noah into the Ark, the male and the female.
"I will bless those who bless you. But I will curse those who curse you. And through you I will bless all nations."
- Angel Unaware: Is rewarded for entertaining three of these with a long-awaited son in his old age.
- Bargain with Heaven
- The Chosen One
- Cool Old Guy
- Famous Ancestor: Many Middle Eastern peoples trace their ancestry to Abe.
- Idiot Ball: Locked his wife Sarah in a box while passing through Egypt, for fear that she would be taken by the Egyptians on account of her beauty. He didn't stop to think that maybe, just maybe the box would have to pass through Customs.
- I Lied: Well, more like told a half-truth: told the Egyptians (who found her in the above incident) that she was his sister. (She was his half-sister, as well as his wife.) He did this to protect himself from being killed by the men in order to obtain her. (Which they never did, even upon finding out the truth.) The lie causes all sorts of mayhem. Oh, and this happened more than once.
- Human Sacrifice: Abraham was almost sacrificed (according to a Midrash), but escaped. Later, he almost sacrificed Isaac, but just barely didn't.
- Macho Masochism: An ur-example.
- Meaningful Rename: God has him change his name from Abram (High father) to Abraham (Father of many).
- The Mourning After: Averted. After Sarah dies, he marries another (much younger) woman named Keturah. (Who some believe is his concubine Hagar, by another name, though this is unlikely.)
- Parental Favoritism: He preferred Isaac over Ishmael, but was ready to sacrifice Isaac to God when God told him to. Good thing it was just a test. The Genesis account indicates that Abraham actually pleaded with God for Ishmael to receive some sort of blessing from God as well. Isaac was really The Chosen One Because Destiny Says So.
- Parents as People
- Sacred Hospitality: God is debating whether to destroy the city of Sodom. Abraham bargains God down to letting the city survive if there are ten good men. God's messengers go to Sodom, and they meet Lot and his family. The Sodomites want to rape them. Lot's even willing to let them rape his daughters rather than these men. The city is destroyed.
"Alas for me! shall I bear a child, seeing I am an old woman, and my husband here is an old man? That would indeed be a wonderful thing!"
"His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him."
"Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."
"Two nations fight in your womb. The lesser will defeat the greater, the older shall serve the younger."
- Because Destiny Says So
- Guile Heroine
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Though she had less of a problem with it than the other matriarchs; she and Isaac prayed together and were able to conceive without Isaac ever taking a concubine/second wife.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Esau's Canaanite wives "vex" her.
- Parental Favoritism: Favored Jacob to the point of deceiving his father Isaac into giving him the better inheritance.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: With Isaac.
- Pyrrhic Victory: She helps Jacob on the path to becoming ancestor of the greatest nation on earth as God foretold, but she never sees her son again and the enmity between his and his brother Esau's descendants would last for centuries.
- Sacred Hospitality: Offers Abraham's messenger a place to stay, plus water for himself and all his camels.
And he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
- Cain and Abel: The trope might just as well have been called Jacob and Esau. Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for some porridge, Jacob tricks Isaac into giving him Esau's blessing, Esau tries to kill Jacob, Jacob runs away and comes back with gifts for Esau. End result: Esau repents, makes up with Jacob, and accepts gifts from Jacob. The thing is, it's kind of hard to tell who is Abel and who is Cain in this scenario.
- God actually forbid Israelites from fighting Edomites because they are brothers.
- Carpet of Virility: Esau was such a hairy man that when Jacob tricked Isaac (who had gone blind in his old age) into thinking he was Esau, he wore a goat skin to simulate Esau's hairiness.
- Comically Small Bribe: Sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead
- Evil Twin: To Jacob. (Unlike most examples, he's not truly evil, just short-sighted, and he and Jacob are Different as Night and Day.
- Easily Forgiven: When meeting Jacob again for the first time in years, Jacob is terrified that Esau will try to get revenge on him and sends him dozens of gifts. To his surprise, Esau has already forgiven him.
- Founder of the Kingdom: His descendants founded the city-state of Edom, who continued to harass their Israelite brothers.
- Parental Marriage Veto: Rebekah does not like the Canaanite women he married.
- Polyamory: As many men of that time and place did, Esau was married to Adath, Basemath, and Oholibama, three local Canaanite women.
- Rated M for Manly: Why Isaac favors him over Jacob; Isaac admires Esau's hunting skill.
- Self-Made Man: He is not The Chosen One, but after the Time Skip, he already has a lot of wealth and status to his name (almost as much as Jacob).
"Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man."
Rachel was lovely in form and beautiful.
Leah had tender eyes.
- Archnemesis Dad: Laban is almost single-handedly responsible for all the angst faced by his daughters and their sons. His deception in marrying both daughters to Jacob leads to an intense rivalry between them, which in turn damages the relationship between their sons, almost to the point of fratricide.
- Evil Uncle: The man's got some talent.He manages to be Archnemesis Dad to his daughters and Arch-Enemy to his nephew/son-in-law.
- Manipulative Bastard: Not only did he trick his son-in-law into marrying both of his daughters, but he went out of his way to keep Jacob working for him.
- Stealth Pun: Keeps culling the sheep without speckles or spots from Jacob's herds, before Jacob turns the tables on him with primitive methods of breeding.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Laban. The first time we see him (in the context of his sister Rebecca's wedding), he seems like a Nice Guy. By the time Jacob goes to work for him, he's turned into a Manipulative Bastard par excellence.
Joseph, son of Jacob
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors.
- Big Brother Instinct: Benjamin evokes this response in Joseph. One of the motivations behind Joseph's Xanatos Gambit is to rescue Benjamin from his half-brothers if it turns out they have been treating him as poorly as they treated Joseph.
- Parental Favoritism: Benjamin is subjected to this nearly as much as Joseph was before him. However, fortunately, his brothers don't hate him for it.
- Replacement Goldfish: After Joseph's disappearance, Jacob takes to Benjamin as his "replacement" favorite, as Benjamin is his One True Love Rachel's only other son. However, given that Jacob continues to mourn for Joseph despite keeping Benjamin close to him, it is implied that Benjamin remains Always Second Best.
- The Voiceless: Despite being the subject of monumental angsting and drama for three chapters, Benjamin doesn't get even one spoken word of dialogue. The only time he isn't just a passive figure and does something is when he returns Joseph's embrace and cries. Otherwise, he is only mentioned to demonstrate the feelings or moral progress of other characters, such as Jacob's bereavement, Joseph's Big Brother Instinct or Judah's Character Arc.
Jacob's other sons
- Bash Brothers / Red Oni, Blue Oni: Simeon & Levi.
- Bilingual Backfire: The brothers recall their betrayal of Joseph in front of the Vizier of Egypt, who doesn't speak Canaanite, or so they think.
- Black Sheep: Dan is seen as this. He hated Joseph the most (folklore) and his land is associated with evil (Jeremiah). His most famous descendant is Samson.
- Gang of Hats: The tribe of Levi are all priests.
- Hot-Blooded: Simeon.
- Incest Is Relative: Reuben slept with the mother of 2 of his half-brothers. This led to him losing his birthright as firstborn.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Early on, the brothers have an arguable case against Annoying Younger Sibling Joseph, who comes across as something of a Spoiled Brat. After their selling of Joseph they lose the reader's sympathy until Joseph makes them suffer.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Poor Ruben, through and through. A prime example of this trope is when Ruben tries to persuade Jacob to let Benjamin travel with him to Egypt. As an indication of his sincerity, he tells Jacob he will let both his own sons be killed if he can't bring Benjamin back. Needless to say, Jacob isn't persuaded.
- Out of Focus: This is especially true of the sons of the concubines. Despite being The Unfavorites, most of Leah's sons get individual characteristics: Judah is the Hero of Another Story, Ruben is the disgraced older brother, Dan is the Black Sheep, Simeon is a problem "wild child", Levi is the most pious one, Issachar is The Smart Guy and Asher is the peacemaker. Do we know anything about Naphtali and Gad, other than their genealogy?
- Passed Over Promotion: Judah became leader of the brothers because of various stuff his three older brothers did.
- This Bear Was Framed: To explain Joseph's disappearance to the rest of the clan, the brothers smear goat's blood on his coat and send it to their father, Jacob, who concludes that Joseph must have been torn apart by wild animals.
- Token Good Teammate: Judah was the one who suggested selling Joseph to slavery instead of killing him.
- Although there's also Reuben, who was planning to take Joseph out of the pit and save him.
- Girl in a Box: According to Jewish tradition, when her family went to visit Esau, Jacob was afraid Esau would want to marry her, so he locked her in a box. He is rebuked by God for doing so. According to this tradition, her destiny was to become Esau's wife (well, one of them, since by then he was already married to three pagan women), and serve as a Morality Pet for him.
- Hostage Situation: Sort of. By custom, she was not allowed to leave the prince's tent by herself.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: When she was abducted and raped by the prince, she was going out to visit the women of the land.
- Rape as Drama
- Rape and Revenge: Her brothers avenge her by killing the prince who did it, as well as every adult male in his village.
- Token Girl: The only daughter born to Jacob.
- Victim Blaming: Some blame her for the incident, citing the fact that she dared to leave the relative safety of her family tent (i.e. the private sphere) and enter the public one. Thus, her tale has been used in some traditions as a cautionary warning for women to Stay in the Kitchen.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never know what happens to her after her brothers rescue her from Shechem, making her a tragic One-Scene Wonder.
- Some Midrashic tales say that Dinah gave birth to Shechem's daughter, who was spirited away to Egypt to be raised as the daughter of Potiphera, Priest of On, and that it was this daughter, Asenath, who was given in marriage to Joseph. The rather Unfortunate Implication of this tale is that it puts Joseph in a squicky uncle-niece relationship. However, most scholars dismiss this story as a Fanon attempt to make Joseph's sons of pure Jewish lineage.
- Others believe that she married her brother Simeon (at her request), because no one would want her now that she was no longer a virgin. According to this school of thought, it was a Sexless Marriage, simply to ensure that she would be provided for and protected.
Tamar (daughter-in-law of Judah)
- Bed Trick: Tricked Judah into sleeping with her by disguising herself as a prostitute.
- Cartwright Curse: She married Judah's first son, who died. Then she married Judah's second son, who practiced coitus interruptus and was killed by God as punishment.
- GuileHeroine: Tamar turns the odds in her favor despite being a neglected, powerless widow trying to get a fair deal from the head of the family in a patriarchal society.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Briefly. She impersonates a hooker as part of a ploy to get her stingy father-in-law to do as he'd agreed and provide her with a new husband.
- Youngest Child Wins: Her younger son took his brother's place as first-born as they were being born.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: God gave him two prophetic dreams that Joseph interpreted.
- No Name Given / Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: His real name is never given. Pharaoh is a title.
- One Steve Limit: Averted, there are other Pharaohs mentioned. In fact, it's likely that Joseph served under multiple Pharaohs.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He seems to appreciate Joseph a lot and is kind to his family when they arrive. He was willing to accommodate Joseph's relatives in Goshen, a particularly fertile area of Egypt where they would be able to graze their flocks (and also where they would be separate from the Egyptian populace, as Egyptians tended to look down on shepherds).