The Hebrew Bible, also called the Tanakh (/tɑːˈnɑːx/; תַּנַ״ךְ, pronounced [taˈnaχ] or [təˈnax]; also Tenakh, Tenak, Tanach) or Mikra, is the canonical collection of Hebrew scripture, which is also the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic (in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few others). The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT) and it consists of 24 books, while the translations divide essentially the same material into 39 books for the Protestant Bible, and into 46 books for the Catholic Bible.
Modern scholars seeking to understand the history of the Hebrew Bible use a range of sources, in addition to the Masoretic Text. These sources include early Greek (Septuagint) and Syriac (Peshitta) translations, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls and quotations from rabbinic manuscripts. Many of these sources may be older than the Masoretic Text and often differ from it. These differences have given rise to the theory that yet another text, an Urtext of the Hebrew Bible, once existed and is the source of the versions extant today. However, such an Urtext has never been found, and which of the three commonly known versions (Septuagint, Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch) is closest to the Urtext is not fully determined.
Complete set of scrolls, constituting the Tanakh
|Language||Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic|
|Period||8th–7th centuries BCE – 2nd–1st centuries BCE|
Tanakh is an acronym of the first Hebrew letter of each of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: Torah (‘Teaching’, also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi'im (’Prophets’) and Ketuvim (’Writings’)—hence TaNaKh. The books of the Tanakh were passed on by each generation and, according to rabbinic tradition, were accompanied by an oral tradition, called the Oral Torah.
The three-part division reflected in the acronym ’Tanakh’ is well attested in the literature of the Rabbinic period. During that period, however, ’Tanakh’ was not used. Instead, the proper title was Mikra (or Miqra, מקרא, meaning ’reading’ or ’that which is read’) because the biblical texts were read publicly. Mikra continues to be used in Hebrew to this day, alongside Tanakh, to refer to the Hebrew scriptures. In modern spoken Hebrew, they are interchangeable.
Many biblical studies scholars advocate use of the term Hebrew Bible (or Hebrew Scriptures) as a substitute for less-neutral terms with Jewish or Christian connotations (e.g. Tanakh or Old Testament). The Society of Biblical Literature's Handbook of Style, which is the standard for major academic journals like the Harvard Theological Review and conservative Protestant journals like the Bibliotheca Sacra and the Westminster Theological Journal, suggests that authors "be aware of the connotations of alternative expressions such as... Hebrew Bible [and] Old Testament" without prescribing the use of either. Alister McGrath points out that while the term emphasizes that it is largely written in Hebrew and "is sacred to the Hebrew people", it "fails to do justice to the way in which Christianity sees an essential continuity between the Old and New Testaments", arguing that there is "no generally accepted alternative to the traditional term 'Old Testament.'" However, he accepts that there is no reason why non-Christians should feel obliged to refer to these books as the Old Testament, "apart from custom of use."
Christianity has recognized the close relationship between the Old and New Testaments from its very beginnings, although there have sometimes been movements like Marcionism (viewed as heretical by the early church), that have struggled with it. Modern Christian formulations of this tension include supersessionism, covenant theology, new covenant theology, dispensationalism and dual-covenant theology. All of these formulations, except some forms of dual-covenant theology, are objectionable to mainstream Judaism and to many Jewish scholars and writers, for whom there is one eternal covenant between God and the Israelites, and who therefore reject the term "Old Testament" as a form of antinomianism.
Christian usage of "Old Testament" does not refer to a universally agreed upon set of books but, rather, varies depending on denomination. Lutheranism and Protestant denominations that follow the Westminster Confession of Faith accept the entire Jewish canon as the Old Testament without additions, although in translation they sometimes give preference to the Septuagint (LXX) rather than the Masoretic Text; for example, see Isaiah 7:14.
"Hebrew" refers to the original language of the books, but it may also be taken as referring to the Jews of the Second Temple era and their descendants, who preserved the transmission of the Masoretic Text up to the present day. The Hebrew Bible includes small portions in Aramaic (mostly in the books of Daniel and Ezra), written and printed in Aramaic square-script, which was adopted as the Hebrew alphabet after the Babylonian exile.
There is no scholarly consensus as to when the Hebrew Bible canon was fixed: some scholars argue that it was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty, while others argue it was not fixed until the second century CE or even later.
The original writing system of the Hebrew text was an abjad: consonants written with some applied vowel letters ("matres lectionis"). During the early Middle Ages scholars known as the Masoretes created a single formalized system of vocalization. This was chiefly done by Aaron ben Moses ben Asher, in the Tiberias school, based on the oral tradition for reading the Tanakh, hence the name Tiberian vocalization. It also included some innovations of Ben Naftali and the Babylonian exiles. Despite the comparatively late process of codification, some traditional sources and some Orthodox Jews hold the pronunciation and cantillation to derive from the revelation at Sinai, since it is impossible to read the original text without pronunciations and cantillation pauses. The combination of a text (מקרא mikra), pronunciation (ניקוד niqqud) and cantillation (טעמים te`amim) enable the reader to understand both the simple meaning and the nuances in sentence flow of the text.
The Tanakh consists of twenty-four books: it counts as one book each Samuel, Kings, Chronicles and Ezra–Nehemiah and counts the Twelve Minor Prophets (תרי עשר) as a single book. In Hebrew, the books are often referred to by their prominent first word(s).
The Torah (תּוֹרָה, literally "teaching"), also known as the Pentateuch, or as the "Five Books of Moses". Printed versions (rather than scrolls) of the Torah are often called "Chamisha Chumshei Torah"" (חמישה חומשי תורה "Five fifth-sections of the Torah") and informally a "Chumash".
Nevi'im (נְבִיאִים Nəḇî'îm, "Prophets") is the second main division of the Tanakh, between the Torah and Ketuvim. It contains three sub-groups. This division includes the books which cover the time from the entrance of the Israelites into the Land of Israel until the Babylonian captivity of Judah (the "period of prophecy").
Their distribution is not chronological, but substantive.
The Former Prophets (נביאים ראשונים Nevi'im Rishonim)
The Latter Prophets (נביאים אחרונים Nevi'im Aharonim)
The Twelve Minor Prophets (תרי עשר, Trei Asar, "The Twelve"), which are considered one book
Ketuvim (כְּתוּבִים, "Writings") consists of eleven books, described below. They are also divided into three subgroups based on the distinctiveness of Sifrei Emet and Hamesh Megillot.
The three poetic books (Sifrei Emet)
The Five Megillot (Hamesh Megillot). These books are read aloud in the synagogue on particular occasions, the occasion listed below in parenthesis.
The Jewish textual tradition never finalized the order of the books in Ketuvim. The Babylonian Talmud (Bava Batra 14b — 15a) gives their order as Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Daniel, Scroll of Esther, Ezra, Chronicles.
In Tiberian Masoretic codices, including the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex, and often in old Spanish manuscripts as well, the order is Chronicles, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Esther, Daniel, Ezra.
In Masoretic manuscripts (and some printed editions), Psalms, Proverbs and Job are presented in a special two-column form emphasizing the parallel stichs in the verses, which are a function of their poetry. Collectively, these three books are known as Sifrei Emet (an acronym of the titles in Hebrew, איוב, משלי, תהלים yields Emet אמ"ת, which is also the Hebrew for "truth").
These three books are also the only ones in Tanakh with a special system of cantillation notes that are designed to emphasize parallel stichs within verses. However, the beginning and end of the book of Job are in the normal prose system.
The five relatively short books of the Song of Songs, the Book of Ruth, the Book of Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and the Book of Esther are collectively known as the Hamesh Megillot (Five Megillot). These are the latest books collected and designated as "authoritative" in the Jewish canon, with the latest parts having dates ranging into the 2nd century BCE. These scrolls are traditionally read over the course of the year in many Jewish communities.
Besides the three poetic books and the five scrolls, the remaining books in Ketuvim are Daniel, Ezra–Nehemiah and Chronicles. Although there is no formal grouping for these books in the Jewish tradition, they nevertheless share a number of distinguishing characteristics.
There are two major approaches towards study of, and commentary on, the Tanakh. In the Jewish community, the classical approach is religious study of the Bible, where it is assumed that the Bible is divinely inspired. Another approach is to study the Bible as a human creation. In this approach, Biblical studies can be considered as a sub-field of religious studies. The later practice, when applied to the Torah, is considered heresy by the Orthodox Jewish community. As such, much modern day Bible commentary written by non-Orthodox authors is considered forbidden by rabbis teaching in Orthodox yeshivas. Some classical rabbinic commentators, such as Abraham Ibn Ezra, Gersonides, and Maimonides, used many elements of contemporary biblical criticism, including their knowledge of history, science, and philology. Their use of historical and scientific analysis of the Bible was considered acceptable by historic Judaism due to the author's faith commitment to the idea that God revealed the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai.
The Modern Orthodox Jewish community allows for a wider array of biblical criticism to be used for biblical books outside of the Torah, and a few Orthodox commentaries now incorporate many of the techniques previously found in the academic world, e.g. the Da'at Miqra series. Non-Orthodox Jews, including those affiliated with Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism, accept both traditional and secular approaches to Bible studies. "Jewish commentaries on the Bible", discusses Jewish Tanakh commentaries from the Targums to classical rabbinic literature, the midrash literature, the classical medieval commentators, and modern day commentaries.
Modern scholars often use the term 'Hebrew Bible' to avoid the confessional terms Old Testament and Tanakh.
The Hebrew term Abaddon (Hebrew: אֲבַדּוֹן Abaddon), and its Greek equivalent Apollyon (Greek: Ἀπολλύων, Apollýōn) appear in the Bible as both a place of destruction and an angel of the abyss. In the Hebrew Bible, abaddon is used with reference to a bottomless pit, often appearing alongside the place שְׁאוֹל (Sheol), meaning the realm of the dead.
In the New Testament Book of Revelation, an angel called Abaddon is described as the king of an army of locusts; his name is first transcribed in Greek (Revelation 9:11—"whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, The Angel of Death.") as Ἀβαδδὼν, and then translated ("which in Greek means the Destroyer", Ἀπολλύων, Apollyon). The Latin Vulgate and the Douay Rheims Bible have additional notes (not present in the Greek text), "in Latin Exterminans", exterminans being the Latin word for "destroyer".Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve, according to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions, were the first man and woman. They are central to the belief that humanity is in essence a single family, with everyone descended from a single pair of original ancestors. It also provides the basis for the doctrines of the fall of man and original sin that are important beliefs in Christianity, although not held in Judaism or Islam.In the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, chapters one through five, there are two creation narratives with two distinct perspectives. In the first, Adam and Eve are not named. Instead, God created humankind in God's image and instructed them to multiply and to be stewards over everything else that God had made. In the second narrative, God fashions Adam from dust and places him in the Garden of Eden. Adam is told that he can eat freely of all the trees in the garden, except for a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Subsequently, Eve is created from one of Adam's ribs to be Adam's companion. They are innocent and unembarrassed about their nakedness. However, a serpent deceives Eve into eating fruit from the forbidden tree, and she gives some of the fruit to Adam. These acts give them additional knowledge, but it gives them the ability to conjure negative and destructive concepts such as shame and evil. God later curses the serpent and the ground. God prophetically tells the woman and the man what will be the consequences of their sin of disobeying God. Then he banishes them from the Garden of Eden.
The story underwent extensive elaboration in later Abrahamic traditions, and it has been extensively analyzed by modern biblical scholars. Interpretations and beliefs regarding Adam and Eve and the story revolving around them vary across religions and sects; for example, the Islamic version of the story holds that Adam and Eve were equally responsible for their sins of hubris, instead of Eve being the first one to be unfaithful. The story of Adam and Eve is often depicted in art, and it has had an important influence in literature and poetry.
The story of the fall of Adam is often considered to be an allegory. There is physical evidence that Adam and Eve never existed; findings in genetics are incompatible with there being a single first pair of human beings.Aram (region)
Aram is a region mentioned in the Bible located in present-day Syria, including where the city of Aleppo now stands. At its height, Aram stretched from the Lebanon mountains eastward across the Euphrates, including parts of the Khabur River valley in northwestern Mesopotamia on the border of Iraq. The region was known as The Land of the Amurru during the Akkadian Empire (2335-2154 BC), Neo-Sumerian Empire (2112-2004 BC) and Old Assyrian Empire (2025-1750 BC) in reference to its largely Amorite inhabitants. During the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC), Neo-Babylonian Empire (612-539 BC) and Achaemenid Empire (539-332 BC) Aram was known as Eber-Nari.Biblia Hebraica (Kittel)
Biblia Hebraica refers primarily to the three editions of the Hebrew Bible edited by Rudolf Kittel. When referenced, Kittel's Biblia Hebraica is usually abbreviated BH, or BHK (K for Kittel). When specific editions are referred to, BH1, BH2 and BH3 are used. Biblia Hebraica is a Latin phrase meaning Hebrew Bible, traditionally used as a title for printed editions of the Tanakh. Less commonly, Biblia Hebraica may also refer to subsequent editions in the Biblia Hebraica series which build on the work of Kittel's editions.Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic is the form of Aramaic that is used in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few other places in the Hebrew Bible. It should not be confused with the Aramaic paraphrases, explanations and expansions of the Hebrew scriptures, which are known as targumim.Buzi
Buzi or Jakub Jankowski was the father of Ezekiel the kohen (Jewish priest). (Ezek. 1:3). Ezekiel, like Jeremiah, is said to have been a descendant of Joshua by his marriage with the proselyte Rahab (Talmud Meg. 14b; Midrash Sifre, Num. 78).Deborah
According to the Book of Judges, Deborah (Hebrew: דְּבוֹרָה, Devora, "Bee") was a prophetess of the God of the Israelites, the fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel and the only female judge mentioned in the Bible, and the wife of Lapidoth. Deborah told Barak that God commanded him to lead an attack against the forces of Jabin king of Canaan and his military commander Sisera (Judges 4:6–7); the entire narrative is recounted in chapter 4.
Judges chapter 5 gives the same story in poetic form. This passage, often called The Song of Deborah, may date to as early as the twelfth century BC, and is perhaps the earliest sample of Hebrew poetry.Development of the Hebrew Bible canon
Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Modern scholarship suggests that the most recently written are the books of Jonah, Lamentations, and Daniel, all of which may have been composed as late as the second century BCE.
The Book of Deuteronomy includes a prohibition against adding or subtracting, which might apply to the book itself (i.e. a "closed book", a prohibition against future scribal editing) or to the instruction received by Moses on Mt. Sinai.The book of 2 Maccabees, itself not a part of the Jewish canon, describes Nehemiah (around 400 BCE) as having "founded a library and collected books about the kings and prophets, and the writings of David, and letters of kings about votive offerings" (2:13–15). The Book of Nehemiah suggests that the priest-scribe Ezra brought the Torah back from Babylon to Jerusalem and the Second Temple (8–9) around the same time period. Both 1 and 2 Maccabees suggest that Judas Maccabeus (around 167 BCE) also collected sacred books (3:42–50, 2:13–15, 15:6–9).
There is no scholarly consensus as to when the Hebrew Bible canon was fixed: some scholars argue that it was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty (140–40 BCE), while others argue it was not fixed until the second century CE or even later.Edom
Edom (; Edomite: 𐤀𐤃𐤌 ’Edām; Hebrew: אֱדוֹם ʼÉḏōm, lit.: "red"; Akkadian: 𒌑𒁺𒈠𒀀𒀀 Uduma; Syriac: ܐܕܘܡ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west and the Arabian Desert to the south and east. Most of its former territory is now divided between Israel and Jordan. Edom appears in written sources relating to the late Bronze Age and to the Iron Age in the Levant, such as the Hebrew Bible and Egyptian and Mesopotamian records. In classical antiquity, the cognate name Idumea was used for a smaller area in the same general region.
Edom and Idumea are two related but distinct terms relating to a historically-contiguous population but two separate, if adjacent, territories that were occupied at different periods of their history by the Edomites/Idumeans. The Edomites first established a kingdom ("Edom") in the southern area of modern Jordan and later migrated into southern parts of the Kingdom of Judah ("Idumea", or modern southern Israel/Negev) when Judah was first weakened and then destroyed by the Babylonians, in the 6th century BCE.
Edom is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and also in a list of the Egyptian pharaoh Seti I from c. 1215 BC and in the chronicle of a campaign by Ramesses III (r. 1186–1155 BC). The Edomites, who have been identified archaeologically, were a Semitic people who probably arrived in the region around the 14th century BC. Archaeological investigation showed that the country flourished between the 13th and the 8th century BC and was destroyed after a period of decline in the 6th century BC by the Babylonians. After the loss of the kingdom, the Edomites were pushed westward towards southern Judah by nomadic tribes coming from the east; among them were the Nabataeans, who first appeared in the historical annals of the 4th century BC and already established their own kingdom in what used to be Edom, by the first half of the 2nd century BC. More recent excavations show that the process of Edomite settlement in the southern parts of the Kingdom of Judah and parts of the Negev down to Timna had started already before the destruction of the kingdom by Nebuchadnezzar II in 587/86 BCE, both by peaceful penetration and by military means and taking advantage of the already-weakened state of Judah.Once pushed out of their territory, the Edomites settled during the Persian period in an area comprising the southern hills of Judea down to the area north of Be'er Sheva. The people appear under a Greek form of their old name, as Idumeans or Idumaeans, and their new territory was called Idumea or Idumaea (Greek: Ἰδουμαία, Idoumaía; Latin: Idūmaea), a term that was used in New Testament times.Elohim
Elohim (Hebrew: אֱלֹהִים [ʔɛloːˈhim]) in the Hebrew Bible refers to deities, and is one of the many names or titles for God in the Hebrew Bible.
The word is identical to the usual plural of el, meaning gods or magistrates, and is cognate to the 'l-h-m found in Ugaritic, where it is used for the pantheon of Canaanite gods, the children of El, and conventionally vocalized as "Elohim". Most uses of the term Elohim in the later Hebrew text imply a view that is at least monolatrist at the time of writing, and such usage (in the singular), as a proper title for the supreme deity, is generally not considered to be synonymous with the term elohim, "gods" (plural, simple noun). Rabbinic scholar Maimonides wrote that the various other usages are commonly understood to be homonyms.The notion of divinity underwent radical changes in the early period of Israelite identity and development of Ancient Hebrew religion. The ambiguity of the term elohim is the result of such changes, cast in terms of "vertical translatability", i.e. the re-interpretation of the gods of the earliest recalled period as the national god of monolatrism as it emerged in the 7th to 6th century BCE in the Kingdom of Judah and during the Babylonian captivity, and further in terms of monotheism by the emergence of Rabbinical Judaism in the 2nd century CE.Esther
Esther is described in the Book of Esther as a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus (commonly identified as Xerxes I, reigned 486–465 BCE). In the narrative, Ahasuerus seeks a new wife after his queen, Vashti, refuses to obey him, and Esther is chosen for her beauty. The king's chief advisor, Haman, is offended by Esther's cousin and guardian, Mordecai, and gets permission from the king to have all the Jews in the kingdom killed. Esther foils the plan, and wins permission from the king for the Jews to kill their enemies, and they do so.
Her story is the traditional basis for Purim, which is celebrated on the date given in the story for when Haman's order was to go into effect, which is the same day that the Jews killed their enemies after the plan was reversed.Jezebel
Jezebel () is a figure of the Hebrew Bible, described in the Book of Kings (1 Kings 16:31) as a queen who was the daughter of Ithobaal I of Sidon and the wife of Ahab, King of Israel.According to the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible, Jezebel incited her husband King Ahab to abandon the worship of Yahweh and promote worship of the deities Baal and Asherah on a national scale. In addition, she ordered the prophets of Yahweh to be massacred and personally organized the execution of Naboth, a law-abiding landowner, after Ahab coveted his land. For these transgressions against the God and people of Israel, Jezebel met a gruesome death—thrown out of a window by members of her own court retinue, and the flesh of her corpse eaten by stray dogs.
In the biblical story, Jezebel became associated with false prophets. In some interpretations, her dressing in finery and putting on makeup led to the association of the use of cosmetics with "painted women" or prostitutes.Law of Moses
The Law of Moses (Hebrew: תֹּורַת מֹשֶׁה Torat Moshe), also called the Mosaic Law, primarily refers to the Torah or the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Traditionally believed to have been written by Moses, most academics now believe they had many authors.Leah
Leah is described in the Hebrew Bible as the daughter of Laban. She and her younger sister Rachel became the two concurrent wives of Hebrew patriarch Jacob. She had six sons, whose descendants became some of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. She also had a daughter, Dinah.Leviathan
Leviathan (; Hebrew: לִוְיָתָן, Livyatan) is a creature with the form of a sea monster from Jewish belief, referenced in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Job, Psalms, the Book of Isaiah, and the Book of Amos.
The Leviathan of the Book of Job is a reflection of the older Canaanite Lotan, a primeval monster defeated by the god Hadad. Parallels to the role of Mesopotamian Tiamat defeated by Marduk have long been drawn in comparative mythology, as have been wider comparisons to dragon and world serpent narratives such as Indra slaying Vrtra or Thor slaying Jörmungandr, but Leviathan already figures in the Hebrew Bible as a metaphor for a powerful enemy, notably Babylon (Isaiah 27:1), and some scholars have pragmatically interpreted it as referring to large aquatic creatures, such as the crocodile. The word later came to be used as a term for "great whale" as well as of sea monsters in general.Major prophet
The Major Prophets is a grouping of books in the Christian Old Testament, but not occurring in the Hebrew Bible. These books are centred on a prophet, traditionally regarded as the author of the respective book. The term "major" refers only to their length, in distinction to the Twelve Minor Prophets, whose books are much shorter and grouped together as a single book in the Hebrew Bible.
The books, in order of their occurrence in the Christian Old Testament, are:
Book of Isaiah
Book of Jeremiah
Book of Lamentations (in the Ketuvim (Writings) section of the Tanakh, ascribed to Jeremiah)
Book of Baruch (not in Protestant Bibles, ascribed to Baruch ben Neriah, scribe of Jeremiah)
Letter of Jeremiah (Chapter 6 of Baruch in most Catholic Bibles, its own book in Eastern Orthodox Bibles)
Book of Ezekiel
Book of Daniel (in the Ketuvim of the Hebrew Bible).In the Hebrew Bible the Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel are included among the Nevi'im (Prophets) but Lamentations and Daniel are placed among the Ketuvim (Writings). Baruch (including the Letter of Jeremiah) is not part of the Hebrew Bible.Mordecai
Mordecai is one of the main personalities in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible. He is described as being the son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin.Noah
In Abrahamic religions, Noah ( NOH-ə) was the tenth and last of the pre-Flood Patriarchs. The story of Noah's Ark is told in the Bible's Genesis flood narrative. The biblical account is followed by the story of the Curse of Ham.
In addition to the Book of Genesis, Noah is mentioned in the Old Testament in the First Book of Chronicles, and the books of Tobit, Wisdom, Sirach, Isaiah, Ezekiel, 2 Esdras, 4 Maccabees; in the New Testament, he is mentioned in the gospels of Matthew, and Luke, the Epistle to the Hebrews, 1st Peter and 2nd Peter. Noah was the subject of much elaboration in the literature of later Abrahamic religions, including the Quran (Surahs 71, 7, 1, and 21).Pharaohs in the Bible
The Hebrew Bible (Tenakh or Old Testament) makes reference to various pharaohs (פַּרְעֹה, /paʁˈʕo/) of Egypt. These include unnamed pharaohs in the legends of the Israelite settlement in Egypt, the subsequent oppression of the Israelites, and the period of the Exodus. They also include several later rulers, some of whom can be identified with historical pharaohs.