Although many of the characters of the Bible are named and even someone we look up to, there are still many who remained unnamed. Given a careful thought and study of their lives, these unnamed Bible characters deserve to be respected and to be in the spotlight.
The Wine Server who Help Joseph the Dreamer (Gen. 39, 40, 41)
Without this Wine Server the whole clans of Israelites will be completely vanished and of course Jesus will not be even born. That’s how we must value the Wine Server. Let’s first trace how did Joseph and the Wine Server met.
As we can read from the Book of Genesis, we know that Joseph was sold as a slave under Potiphar by his brothers (how painful was that). Potiphar’s wife desired Joseph intensely that she always seduced him, but he refused that repeatedly. Upset, Potiphar’s wife accused him of raping her. So Joseph was thrown into prison. In this prison the warden liked Joseph, so he was put in charge of other prisoners. One of the prisoners was the Wine Server of the King of Egypt. This Wine Server had a strange dream that he was eager to interpret its meaning. Then Joseph came to the rescue.
God has been helping Joseph interprets dreams (that’s how “The Dreamer” was derived).He easily explains to the Wine Server his bizarre dream. Joseph asks likewise to return the favor by not forgetting him and help him to get out of prison. After three days as what Joseph interpreted in the dream that the Wine Server’s will be free and be serving the King of Egypt, came to happen. It’s a bit frustrating to Joseph as the Wine Server forgets his promise. Good thing that the King of Egypt had a dream and he needed someone to interpret it. Guess who was remembered by the Wine Server? It’s Joseph. And it took him two years to remember!
And so Joseph correctly interpreted the king’s dream that seven years good harvest and seven years of hunger in Egypt will happen. The King then appoints Joseph to be in charge of all the land in Egypt to manage storing of grains as preparations of the famine. This famine was very severe not just felt by the Egyptians but also by their neighbors-the Israelites. Joseph’s brothers (who sold him to slavery) was so desperate to find food, they visited Egypt known to have stored grains. Then they meet and forgive each other and Joseph was even allowed to let his clan live in Egypt to save from hunger.
If it weren’t for the Wine Server’s recommendation (though he was forgetful) of Joseph to the King of Egypt, the Israelites will all die to hunger and the Book of the Bible might end prematurely in Genesis.
The Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4)
This Samaritan woman has been privileged to have a heart to heart talk with Jesus whom as we can read from the bible, she didn’t first recognized. She was a bit shy about it because Jews do not associate with Samaritans. The woman was completely honest when ask by Jesus admitting she doesn’t have a husband.
The story goes like this: It was in the heat of the afternoon; Jesus was tired and thirsty because of his journey. He sat down at the well and saw the Samaritan Woman who was about to draw water from that well. (This event is not normal. As we can notice no one will fetch water at noon because it’s hot.) The women during those times do it early in the morning. The reason why this Samaritan woman does it at noon is because she doesn’t want to be seen. Why she doesn’t want to be seen? Because she had a bad reputation as someone whose have relationships with many men. As the story progress Jesus came and told her about the Living Water (whom He was). The Samaritan woman humbly asks that she need it.
The Thief hanged beside Jesus (Luke 23:39-43)
We all know that Jesus was crucified and He was not alone. There are two other criminals who were also hanged on the cross: one on Jesus right and the other on His left. They were both nameless in the Bible. One is bad and demanding while the other is good and repentant. By the way those were their pseudonyms for the mean time.
The bad and demanding thief insulted Jesus and even commanded Him to save them if He is truly the Lord (see how demanding this thief is?)The other who is the good thief reproached this fellow thief that he should not treat Jesus that way. This thief knew how sinful he is and repented. He added that they both deserved to be punished; not Jesus. After this the good thief asks Lord to please remember him in Heaven. Jesus immediately responded and assured that He will.
How this good and repentant thief deserved our respect and even love? We are in a way like Him-sinners. The best thing we can learn from him is his humility .He didn’t waste time saying sorry to Jesus who happens to be just beside him.
The Widow and her Jar of Oil (2 Kings 4:1-7)
The Widow’s persistence, undoubted faith in God, and her endless supplies of oil save his two sons from slavery are what make her character remarkable. What makes her story exciting is how she obeyed in what it seems odd advice to her of Prophet Elisha (also known as Man of God).
The story starts in a very distressful tone. The widow and her two sons were left with a debt they can’t afford to pay and the creditor was coming to just take her sons to be his slaves as payment. Then the widow quickly turns to Prophet Elisha for help. The Prophet responded immediately and asks what they have in their house. The Widow replied that they have nothing but a jar of oil. Now this part is what makes it a bit odd. Prophet Elisha then asks the Widow to go borrow vessels from her neighbors, shut the door and then pour the oil into those vessels. The oil seems infinite that the Widow commanded his sons to borrow more vessels. So they sold it. They had more than enough oil to pay the debt and even use some for their own needs. Though unnamed, her story is a living proof how powerful and sometimes mysterious God works.
The Woman who pour Perfume (Luke 7:36-50)
When the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with them this Woman with alabaster jar of perfume forthright go to Jesus. She quickly reached His feet and weep there (yes weep in the feet). She even kissed it and then wipes it with her hair. Then there’s more, she pour the perfume she brought, to Jesus’ feet. She was known by the Pharisees as sinner. They despised her. But Jesus as we all know came to save the sinners. This woman’s actions were so remarkable that Jesus immediately said she is forgiven. Though her actions are bit disgust she really showed how she says sorry and how she revered Jesus.
The Widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:7-16)
Yes, it’s another widow from our list and she happens to meet a prophet named Elijah. This widow may seem morbid but she cannot deny how powerful God miracles are.
It started when God ordered Elijah to go Zarephath and stay there for a while. God assured Elijah that a widow will supply her with food there. When Elijah meets this Widow who is busy gathering sticks he requested for a jar of water. As the Widow was about to get it, Elijah requested also to bring a piece of bread for him. Now the Widow reply was this: “As surely as the Lord your God lives, I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” That’s the part I was saying a bit morbid. Good thing that Elijah is a one helpful fellow. He replied calmly saying to her to don’t be afraid and that bring to him what he was asking. The Widow did so and God make the miracles. If we encountered the widow with the infinite jar of oil, now this Widow from Zarephath have an infinite jar flour and oil. How was that remarkable? She still obeyed Elijah though she knew they had nothing. And that obedience leads to an endless resource of food. “So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”
The Pharaoh’s Daughters Who Saved Baby Moses (Exo.1 and 2)
If it weren’t for their genuine concern, our world will even be more chaotic. We all know that it was Moses who brought the Ten Commandments given by God. But did you know that as early as a baby, Moses’ life was near cut short because of the atrocious order of the ruthless King of Egypt?
Israelites during that time were so numerous than the Egyptians. The King feared they might fight with them so they make the Israelites slaves and to make it worst, exterminate Israelites babies by throwing them in the Nile River. And this order endangers baby Moses promising career of leading the famous Exodus, dividing the waters of the Red sea, and talking with Jesus at the Transfiguration. But Moses’ mom made a smart move. “Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile”. This event led to the Pharaoh’s Daughters saving baby Moses. They knew that Moses was an Israelite but they save him. Though come to think of it they were disobeying their King .What’s more shocking is one of these Pharaoh’s daughter hire someone to nurse the baby and without knowing it, she hired Moses’ real mom! Not only did they save Moses from drowning, he was even became one of the Pharaoh’s Daughter’s son. Now it’s clear that God was really at work here.
The Determined Canaanite Woman (Matthew 15:21-28)
She is an example of a profound faith and perseverance. Though she was sent away by the disciples, this Canaanite Woman will do everything for her demon possessed daughter to be healed by Jesus. Her exchange of words with Jesus is definitely outstanding. When Jesus said these phrases “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” “And it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” This is her plead:” “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Deriving this statement allegorically, the Canaanite Woman is willing to even be a dog just to get near Jesus. The woman’s humility and faith saved her daughter at that moment and Jesus was deeply moved by such a powerful faith.
The Poor Widow whose offering was praised by Jesus (Luke 21:1-4)
The Poor widow’s story in the bible was short and simple. Yet she portrays how people should give offerings. By giving two very small copper coins into the temple treasury, Jesus knew she gave all more than the rich people who give gifts. For the record the two coins is equivalent to less than 12 minutes wages .She is really that poor and Jesus knew that .She may be mentioned in just four verses and not even named, but her little gestures were acclaimed by Christ Himself.
The Boy with the 5 Loaves and Two Fishes (John 6:1-14)
This boy made the famous feeding of the five thousand possible. He was mentioned in just one verse when introduced by disciple Peter.
The story starts when a crowd followed Jesus because he was known to heal the sick and perform miracles. Then Jesus asks his disciples where they shall buy bread to feed the crowd. But as we can read, Jesus had in mind what to do. Could it be because Jesus knew there’s a boy who will enthusiastically give his food? Maybe. This boy with five loaves and two fishes didn’t fail Jesus in doing one of the best loved, known and amazing event of feeding the five thousand.
With his attitude to give all his food, he really is remarkable. Come to think of it: The boys gave his all, not half or even leave himself one fish.
Your most favorite unnamed Bible characters
Maurice Malcolm from FL on October 28, 2020:
Everyone ne of us are here on earth to fulfill our purpose. There are some unique purposes that are set to change to course of history. Many un-name persons are often involved and even forgotten but God does remember and reward those people.
It is good that you could use this post to highlight some of these people. Nice writing indeed.
kristinekaren (author) from Philippines on April 26, 2018:
Hi Tim Truzy!
I'm glad you liked it.Truly even if they are unnamed they were an inspiration to all of us.
May God bless you and your loved ones!
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on April 25, 2018:
Excellent article. My favorite person from this group was the boy with the loaves of bread. I've always thought many of the people in the Bible are left unnamed to represent us as you pointed out. Interestingly enough, bread shows up repeatedly in these stories, and we "break" bread during church services to represent His body. Likewise, "wine" is representative of His blood.
This was a very good article about people a lot like modern humans with respect to faith who go unnamed and unknown.