4 Lesser Known Bible Characters that Have Something to Teach Us
The pages of scripture are full of Bible stories that are awe-inspiring and miraculous. Some have become more popular than others while many Bible characters have fallen through the cracks. Come with me and let’s explore some lesser-known Bible characters and hear their message to us.
From Moses parting the Red Sea in the Old Testament to the Apostle Paul’s amazing conversion in the early church, we see the power of God and heroes of faith throughout the pages of scripture. These are given to us not only to take a historical account but to teach us how to live out our faith in our day to day.
While I chose only a handful of these Biblical heroes, I hope this post encourages you to dig deep into the lives of the lesser known characters in the Bible and search the pages of God’s word to get to know them intimately.
4 Lesser Known Bible Characters (And What They Teach Us Today)
The Story of Ehud
The story of Ehud is found in the book of Judges. There is a cycle that occurs over and over in this book. The people of Israel sin by worshipping false gods, the one true God allows them to be defeated by a Canaanite tribe. After a period of oppression, they cry out to God for help. God sends someone to deliver them and judge them for a period of time and then it begins all over again.
Amongst these judges are great heroes that are more well known such as Gideon and Samson. Ehud is the second in the line of judges and while he did not kill a thousand Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone, he does set the people free through the direction and strength of God.
Because of the sin of His people, God allowed Eglon, King of Moab to become stronger than the Israelites and conquers them. After 18 years, they call out to God and God chooses Ehud, a left-handed man from the tribe of Benjamin.
The story is pretty no-nonsense. Nothing big and elaborate. The people of Israel sent their tribute money to King Eglon. Ehud had sharpened a dagger and hid it on his right thigh.
After presenting the money to the king, he tells him that he has a secret message. The king sends everyone away and allows Ehud to talk to him in his private chambers. Ehud pulls out his dagger, stabs the king in his middle, locks the door, and escapes out the porch door.
The Bible gives some gross details about the dagger going so far into the king’s middle that the fat folds in around it and his intestines come out.
The king’s servants find the door locked so think he is using the bathroom. After a while, they finally unlock the door and find the king dead on the floor.
Meanwhile, Ehud blows the trumpet of the Lord and gathers the men together. They fight the Moabites, killing about ten thousand. There was peace under Ehud’s rule for the next eighty years.
What can we learn from this story of Ehud?
Obedience. Obedience to God will set you free.
Jethro’s Wise Suggestion
Who is Jethro? Jethro is the father-in-law of Moses and he gives wise advice to this mighty man of God. Let’s back up and start at the beginning.
We first meet Jethro in Exodus chapter two. Moses, having killed an Egyptian, runs for his life and ends up in Midian. There he helps the daughters of Jethro fight off some rude shepherds and ends up finding favor with Jethro.
Moses marries Jethro’s daughter Zipporah and lives happily there for the next forty years. I imagine he is a good son-in-law. We see Jethro again when he gives Moses his blessing as Moses tells him about God’s call.
Jethro appears again in Exodus 18. Moses excitedly tells him all that God has done and they rejoice together.
The next day, Jethro watches as Moses sits and a long line of people come to him one by one to settle disputes and be judged. This went on for the entire day.
That evening Jethro has some advice for Moses. Select men to help judge. Some to be judge over 50, some 100, and some 1,000. Only the most difficult cases should come before Moses.
This was going to wear Moses right out. He needed to delegate.
This is wise advice isn’t it? Have you ever been in a situation in which you needed to delegate? It is easier for some of us than others.
What can we learn from this story of Jethro and Moses? Always remain humble enough to listen to those who are older and wiser than you.
Eleazar and His Son
In a time when God was trying to establish who He was and what righteousness looked like amongst the children of Israel, Eleazar stands out as one who obeyed God. Many did not during this time (during any time really) which makes you appreciate him all the more.
We first meet Eleazar in Exodus 28:1 when God commands Aaron and his four sons, Eleazar, Nadab, Abihu, and Ithamar to be set apart as priests.
Unfortunately, not all of the sons were as faithful to God as Eleazar. Leviticus 10:1 tells us that Nadab and Abihu burned incense before the Lord that had not been commanded. God kills them with fire.
We see that Eleazar remains righteous before God when Korah rebels against Moses. Korah seemed to think that the priests were not any better than the rest of them and shouldn’t have the special jobs of temple worship. He believed that he should be able to burn incense before the Lord as well and he inspired others to rebel also. A complete disregard for the order God had established.
Long story short, God opens the ground and swallows the rebels and their families. He continues to send fire to burn up 250 more. God’s power is seen in a big way and shows that He does not take rebellion lightly.
Eleazar is then instructed to clean up some of the mess. I can imagine how glad Eleazar was that he remained faithful.
God rewards Eleazar by passing the high priest position from Aaron to him. He was the high priest that had the honor of going into the Promised Land.
We see Eleazar grow to be an important leader in Israel even helping distribute the conquered land of Canaan (Joshua 14:1)
The son of Eleazar, Phinehas, was also a righteous man, determined to obey the one true God. We read his story in Numbers 25.
The men of Israel began committing sexual sins with the women of Moab who then lured them into worshipping their god, Baal. God was angry at this and commanded that all of those who were bound to the harlots or were in the sin of idolatry be killed.
A man named Zimri had no respect for God and takes a Moabite woman into his tent in front of everyone. Phinehas, zealous for God and angry at the rebellion, takes a javelin and thrusts it through both of them in the tent.
“Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel.’ ” (Numbers 25:11-13)
What can we learn from Eleazar and Phinehas? Stand strong in your faith and stick to God’s word when those around you are following their own way. You will never be sorry for choosing the righteous way.
Josiah Did That Which was Right in the Sight of the Lord
The story of Josiah begins with the conspiracy, envy, and murder that has plagued hierarchies since the beginning of time. Amon, Josiah’s father was a wicked man following in the ways of his father Manasseh.
The people plot against him and kill him but then they are killed as well. Josiah, only 8 years old, is made king over Judah.
The first positive thing we read in this story is 2 Kings 22:2.
“And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.”
Josiah had some growing up time and then set to work for the Lord. 18 years into his reign he sends people to clean up the temple of the Lord. They find the Law of Moses which had apparently been lost.
Josiah gathers all the people together and has the book read aloud to everyone. Now he understands what God had taught his forefathers and he knew what was expected of him.
He makes a lot of changes and I want to list them for you because I want you to see how seriously he took God’s law and the responsibility he had as king to help the people obey them. We have this same responsibility to keep and spread the truth of God.
- Removed the items created for idol worship from the temple
- Removed all of the priests throughout Judah that had been hired to lead the people in idolatry.
- Burned the wooden images
- Tore down ritual booths
- Destroyed Topheth which is where the people sacrificed their children to Molech
- Removed the horses and chariots that had been dedicated to the sun
- Destroyed the altars of other gods and ground them into a powder
- Destroyed the high places surrounding Jerusalem including those put up by King Solomon many years before
Ok, you get the idea. There are more high places and altars listed, but now Josiah turns his attention to following the Lord. It is spring and nearing Passover.
I’m assuming that with Judah in a state of spiritual decay, Passover had not been celebrated for many years. Josiah continued his purge by removing all mediums and spiritists and preparing the temple for the sacred holy days.
Josiah commanded that the Passover be observed just as it was written in the book they had found in the temple. Scripture sums up this story perfectly and states what I feel is the lesson to be learned.
Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him. (2 Kings 23:25)
May you serve God with your whole heart and soul and might just like Josiah. Not only removing the sin from your life but following God’s leading and instruction all the days of your life.
One Last Word on Lesser Known Bible Characters
I was at a funeral recently and as I was listening to people talk about the woman who had passed away, a thought kept nagging at me. What would people say about me at my service? Will I have touched their lives in such a positive way that they will have been better because I lived?
Will they remember the love of Christ that I showed or the faith I stood strong upon? Would they mention that I had been obedient to God’s word?
Each of these lesser-known Bible characters were obedient to God and touched the lives of others. While their stories are contained in fewer verses than many other stories we repeat over and over, their impact was no less.
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