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Biblical Allusions. Old and New Testament. The Bible as Literature. OT—Adam and Eve. Lived in the Garden of Eden, a paradise A 1557 “Geneva Translation” describes the clothing they fashion as a “fig leaf”

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Biblical allusions

Biblical Allusions

Old and New Testament

The Bible as Literature

Ot adam and eve
OT—Adam and Eve

  • Lived in the Garden of Eden, a paradise

  • A 1557 “Geneva Translation” describes the clothing they fashion as a “fig leaf”

  • Warned not to eat the apples from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Eve is visited by a serpent (Satan) who persuades her to do so anyway. This is the first sin.

  • As a result, Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden and eve is given the curse of “extended childbirth” (seen as both menstruation and pain in childbirth)

Cain and abel
Cain and Abel

  • Adam and Eve’s two sons

  • In Jealousy, Cain, a farmer, murders his brother. Abel’s blood spills into the ground

  • As punishment for this, Cain is forced to live east of Eden and the blood makes it more difficult to grow.

  • He is given a mark that shows his crime to everyone

Noah and the deluge
Noah and the Deluge

  • Upset with the way mankind had developed, God chose to destroy it

  • Noah, a righteous man, was told to build an ark to house himself and his family and two of every species of animal.

  • It rains for forty days and nights

  • The ark lands on Mount Ararat

  • To see if the water had subsided, Noah releases a dove. It returns, then again with an olive branch and then stays away.

  • God sets a rainbow in the sky as promise never to do this again.

  • Noah later ferments grapes and becomes a bit of a drunk

  • Noah dies at the age of 950

The tower of babel babylon
The Tower of Babel (Babylon)

  • Noah’s descendants decide to stop wandering and attempt to set roots by creating a city and a tower which would reach to the heavens

  • This is an affront, since man continually attempts to place himself on an even playing field with his deities

  • They begin building, but God “confounds their tongues” so that each begins to speak a different language

  • They are scattered once again


  • Good man, traveled with wife, Sarah, and nephew, Lot.

  • Tried twice to protect his wife by claiming she was his sister. Both times she was returned to him.

  • Thinking herself barren, Sarah suggests Abraham to have a child with Hagar, their servant. Hagar has Ishmael.

  • Though very old, Sarah also has a son, Isaac.

  • Abraham sees the smoke from Sodom.

  • In jealousy, Sarah sends Ishmael and Hagar away

  • For no given reason, God commands Abraham to kill his remaining son, Isaac. As he is poised to do so, an angel stays his hand signifying that he has passed his test of faith.

Lot and his wife
Lot and his wife

  • Living in Sodom, Lot shows great hospitality to two travelers, not knowing they are angels sent to destroy the five cities of Jordan (Sodom and Gomorrah, being the two most famous)

  • As a result of this, they allow him to leave with his family, provided that they do not look upon the destruction as they leave

  • Lot’s wife ignored the command and was turned into a pillar (statue) of salt.

Isaac and rebecca
Isaac and Rebecca

  • The first circumcised child of Abraham and Sarah, marries Rebecca

  • Has twin sons, Jacob and Esau

  • He is beset with horrible persecutions at the hands of the Philistines, but bears them peacefully, even when they uproot him from his home.

  • Sort of fascinating because his life is so uneventful. Simply fathers children and lives peacefully

Jacob and esau
Jacob and Esau

  • Prior to their deaths it was fated that Jacob would rule his Elder brother, and that the brothers would start two nations.

  • Jacob “tricked” Esau by refusing to give him a “mess of pottage” or soup until Esau relinquished his birthright.

  • Jacob then impersonates his brother so that the blessing of birthright meant for Esau was given to Jacob by Isaac instead.

  • Jacob then flees from his brother and has a dream as his head rested on a rock. He dreams of a ladder with angels descending and ascending with god at the top.

Rachel and leah
Rachel and Leah

  • Two daughters of Laban

  • Jacob falls in love with Rachel, but Laban tricks him by veiling Leah, and giving her away instead

  • Jacob then also marries Rachel

  • Jacob loves Rachel more, so God gives children to Leah first.

  • Jacob changes his name to Israel, and has twelve sons with Leah, Rachel and their maids which beget the twelve tribes of Israel.

Joseph the coat of many colors
Joseph-The coat of many colors

  • Jacob returns to the spot of his dream and makes sacrifices to the Lord on the rock.

  • Joseph was Jacob’s favorite and a tattle-tale. He was given a coat of many colors by his father.

  • Joseph has two dreams, first his brothers, though older bow to him, then the sun moon and eleven stars bow to him also.

  • Joseph went to visit his brothers who strip him of his coat and sell him into slavery in Egypt for 20 pieces of silver

  • The brothers cover the coat in goat’s blood and show it to Israel, who believes his son is dead.

Joseph in egypt
Joseph--in Egypt

  • Joseph is sold to a man named Potiphar. He works hard and is made a leader of the household

  • Potiphar’s wife orders Joseph to sleep with her, but Joseph refuses

  • She accuses Joseph of rape and he is thrown in prison. He becomes a leader of the prisoners

  • The Pharaoh has two dreams: One of 7 hungry cows eat 7 fat ones but remain hungry, One of 7 thin ears of corn eat 7 fat ones and are still hungry.

  • Joseph, known for interpretations, suggests that 7 years of plenty will be followed by 7 years of famine, and that the years of plenty will be forgotten as a result of the famine.

  • The Pharaoh prepares for this emergency and makes Joseph second ruler of Egypt for his help

Moses the lucky baby
Moses-the lucky baby

  • To control the Israelite population, a new Pharaoh has all male children thrown in the Nile.

  • Moses’ mother, Jochebed, makes a boat from bulrushes and sets baby Moses afloat.

  • He is found by the daughter of the Pharaoh who pays Jochebed to raise him!

  • At about the age of twelve, after his true mother had taught him all about the OT God, he is brought to live at the palace.

Moses the liberator
Moses-the Liberator

  • Moses sees an Egyptian striking a Hebrew slave and kills the Egyptian

  • To escape punishment, he becomes a shepherd. 40 years pass.

  • Moses sees a burning bush and hears a voice that tells him to free the Hebrew slaves and take them to “the Land of Milk and Honey” (Canaan)

  • Nearly killed for not circumcising his son

  • Aaron and Moses meet with the pharaoh. “Let my people go!” To prove themselves, Aaron throws down his rod and it turns into a serpent.

  • The Pharaoh is not impressed and makes things harder for his slaves like making bricks without straw.

  • Aaron touches the rod to the river which runs with blood and kills the fish (first plague)

  • Next frogs overrun the town (second), then lice (3), then flies (4), then disease of animals (5), boils (6), hail (7), the locusts (8) and darkness (9)

  • Finally, OT God decided to kill the firstborn son of every household (10). The Hebrews marked their doors with lamb’s blood so that the spirit of death would pass over (hence the holiday) their doors.

  • The pharaoh’s son dies and he allows the Hebrew’s passage.

Moses the leader
Moses-The Leader

  • Moses leads his people out of Egypt by parting the Red Sea.

  • Moses brings forth water from a rock to slake the thirst of his people.

  • Moses Brings the ten commandments from Mount Sinai

  • The Hebrews wander the desert under Moses’ leadership for 40 years. Moses never reaches the promised land


  • Takes leadership after Moses

  • Proves a great military leader

  • One of the books of the OT bears his name

  • Conquers a great territory, including Jerusalem and the Gaza strip

  • Divides the land for the twelve tribes of Israel


  • After some time, the Hebrews again fall under the rule of the Philistines. A child is born that is to deliver them once again from oppression. His name is Samson.

  • With his great strength, he slays a lion with his bear hands.

  • He marries a Philistine woman, and some time later returns to the lion. Bees are in the carcass. He eats the honey.

  • Gives a riddle, which his wife gives away, regarding the honey. Murders 30 Philistines to pay for the wager.

  • While away his wife marries someone else

  • He continues to commit great acts of strength like killing 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.

  • He marries Delilah who is bribed by the Philistines to find the source of his power. Though he tricks her twice, he finally tells her it is his hair. She cuts it while he sleeps and as a result is defeated by the Philistines.

  • Later, after his hair had re-grown, he calls a meeting with the Philistines. He pulls the pillars of the building down which topples the structure killing his enemies and himself.

Ruth and naomi
Ruth and Naomi

  • After a tragedy, Naomi is left alone and tells the two wives of her sons, Ruth and Orpah, to return to their homes

  • Orpah leaves and Ruth stays to help, “Where you go, I will go…”

  • Ruth took work gathering harvest grains in a field owned by Boaz

  • Boaz shows her kindness and orders his servants to drop extra grain for her.

  • Eventually they marry and Ruth gives birth to Obed, the father of David.

Biblical allusions

  • Saul was selected as a young man to become the king of Israel

  • Though humble at first, he experiences several victories that make him cocky

  • In one battle he curses anyone who eats until it is over, causing the hungry men to eat of the spoil before cooking it which is a sin

  • He performs a sacrifice which is the job of a priest, not a king

  • As a result of his transgressions, Saul loses his kingdom

  • David is selected to be the next king, though only a young shepherd boy

David before the throne
David-Before the Throne

  • “The Lord seeth not like man seeth, for man looketh on outward appearance. The Lord looketh in the heart.” It is on these grounds that David is chosen, and he fits the bill

  • During yet another battle with the Philistines, David hears of the Giant Goliath

  • He volunteers to fight him though still a young man

  • He defeats Goliath with a single throw from a sling

  • David’s easy defeat causes the Philistines to flee

  • Saul’s exploits become insanity fueled by Jealousy as he attempts to kill David

  • David refuses to overtake Saul by force, seeing that it would be a sin.

  • Saul has a moment of clarity and gives the throne to David, the more worthy ruler. David Marries and has 6 kids, most famously, Absalom

David the king
David-The King

  • When given the opportunity to kill the sons of Saul and of his friend Jonathan, he instead showed hospitality and friendship

  • During a battle, David stays home instead of going out. Wandering the palace, David sees Bathsheba bathing and he takes her

  • His sin becomes all too apparent when Bathsheba gets pregnant

  • David tries to cover up the sin by taking Uriah from the field and telling him to visit with his wife.

  • Uriah will not when he knows his comrades are in battle, so David sends him to the front lines

  • On one level it worked, but you cannot hide sin from the OTG

  • Nathan, a profit, sees the sin and David finally accepts responsibility

  • David’s children are rebellious as penance. Absalom attempts to usurp David, but in a battle becomes caught by his hair in a tree. David, always about forgiveness, gave orders to spare him. But one of David’s generals shot three arrows into his heart.

  • David stays a faithful and Godly king to the end of his life


  • Second son of David and Bathsheba

  • Known mostly for his enormous wealth

  • Had reportedly 700 wives and 300 concubines

  • Was considerably talented for a young king (18 at time of ascension) built upon the kingdom of David through peace and diplomacy

  • In one story, two harlots both claim to the mother of the same child. Solomon resolves this by suggesting he cut the child in half. One says OK the other gives up her claim to save the child. In this way, Solomon knows she is the true mother

  • Later in life, Solomon allows his greed to get the better of him

  • Had he stayed the path of the good man, the kingdom of Israel would have lasted forever, but his sin of extravagance caused the permanent breakup of the kingdom.

Ahab jezebel and elijah
Ahab, Jezebel and Elijah

  • Ahab was king of Israel and he married the wicked Jezebel.

  • She persuades Ahab to follow “false idols” (Baal) and she has many prophets of OTG killed

  • Elijah tries to warn the King but Jezebel threatens to kill him. He flees.

  • Ahab like the garden of a neighbor, so Jezebel persuades him to ask for it as king. When the man refuses, she claims he has sinned and the man is executed

  • Elijah performs a miracle to prove the truth of Yahweh. He sets up two sacrifices of bullocks one for Baal the other for Yahweh. Yahweh’s bullock magically catches fire in response to Elijah’s prayers. The false prophets are killed in response to this.

  • Faced with undeniable evidence, Jezebel still renounces the “truth of your God.” She dies an unbeliever.

Biblical allusions

  • God and Satan discuss man’s constancy. A bet is made

  • Job loses his children, wealth

  • Job loses his health

  • He wonders WHY these things have befallen him. Friends say he must have sinned. Wife says forsake the lord.

  • Job knows neither of these are correct and after some inward searching decides to love, obey and fear the OTG

  • God appears and attempts to answer Job’s question by asking a series of rhetorical questions.

  • The answer to Job’s “why” is still a mystery


  • One of the great prophets of OT.

  • Tries to save Israel by warning them off their evil ways

  • Tells, most famously, of a future prophet king who will unite Israel again

  • Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, quotes Isaiah

  • Also predicts that a nation will be born in a single day, which occurs with the conquering of Israel


  • Tragic story of a failed prophet

  • Attempts to warn Israel of its evil ways and tells the people to again worship in the Temple.

  • They refuse and scorn him

  • He continues, by prophesying the coming of the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar

  • They refuse and imprison him

  • Israel is destroyed and Jeremiah is released with the knowledge that Israel will never return