Biblical Siblings

The Bible records some bitter sibling rivalries, such as the one that led Cain to murder his brother Abel. Other siblings in Scripture were loyal friends. How well do you know these famous brothers and sisters?

Aaron, Abraham, Dinah, Esau, Jacob, John, Japheth, Miriam, Jude, Reuben, Seth, Lazarus, Simon Peter, Shem, James (There are more names listed than needed, and some may be used more than once.)

  1. After Cain killed Abel, Adam and Eve had a third son. Who was this "other" brother?
  2. Seeing the huge crowd following Jesus, his brothers came to take charge of him, saying, "He is out of his mind." Which two brothers later became leaders of the early church and authors of New Testament books?
  3. Of the three brothers on Noah's ark, which one fathered the Israelites and was the ancestor of Jesus Christ?
  4. Jesus' description of these two brothers, who were also business partners, was "The Sons of Thunder." Who were they?
  5. Two brothers, Nahor and Haran, had a much more famous biblical brother, who raised Haran's son after Haran died, and sent a messenger to Nahor's household when he needed a bride for his son. Who is the famous third brother?
  6. When Andrew learned that the promised Messiah had come, the first thing he did was find his brother and bring him to Jesus. Who was Andrew's brother?
  7. Moses' older sister tenderly watched over him as a baby. His brother accompanied him to Pharaoh's palace. But later these siblings spoke against Moses. Who were they?

Answers

  1. Seth (Gen. 4:25). Seth's descendants called on the name of the Lord and became the ancestors of Christ (Luke 3:38), while those who deny Jesus as Lord "have taken the way of Cain" (Jude 1:4, 11) cursed for his crime.
  2. James and Jude (Mark 3:21). Mark 6:3 names four brothers: James, Joseph, Judas (Jude), and Simon. James led the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) and authored the book of James (the disciple James had been martyred). The author of Jude calls himself "a brother of Jesus."
  3. Shem (Gen. 9 and 10). Abraham and Jesus trace their lineage from Shem. The term "anti-semitism," meaning "hostility toward Jews," comes from the name Shemites. God blessed Shem for covering his father's nakedness in love (1 Pet. 4:8), making it clear that blessings come from honoring our parents (Eph. 6:2-3).
  4. James and John (Mark 3:17). These impulsive sons of Zebedee were, with Peter, the disciples closest to Jesus. James was the first of the Twelve to be martyred by King Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:2) about a.d. 43. John wrote the Gospel, three epistles, and the book of Revelation.
  5. Abram (Abraham) (Gen. 11:27-31; 24). Haran had died before Abram and Nahor left Ur of the Chaldeans, so Abram became the guardian of Haran's son, Lot. Nahor settled in Aram, while Abram and Lot went on to the Promised Land. Later, Abraham (Abram) sent his servant to Nahor's family to find a wife for Isaac.
  6. (Simon) Peter (John 1:35-44). A fisherman, Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist until he met Jesus. Simon, renamed Peter by Jesus (Matt. 16:18), became a leader of the early church and authored 1 and 2 Peter.
  7. Aaron and Miriam (Num. 12:1-15). Miriam guarded baby Moses in the Nile and sang victory songs with him at the Red Sea. Aaron served as Moses' spokesman to Pharaoh and held his hands up in battle. When the two spoke against Moses, however, God punished Miriam with leprosy, restoring her after the brothers prayed.

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