As the three great monotheistic religions of the world, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism share a lot of similarities. A well-connected world has allowed us to read each other’s religious texts. We’ve covered some amazing Islamic versions of Biblical characters. Not to be outdone, this list contains epic and amazing stories of Biblical characters as told in Jewish literature.
10Moses The Giant-Killer
Long before David was born, Moses was already into the whole giant-slaying business. The Israelites had already defeated Sihon, a giant king of the Amorites. Next up on their list was his equally giant brother King Og. Og had long ago served Abraham as his slave Eliezer and secretly desired his wife Sarah; he also taunted his master that he would die childless.
As punishment, God added 500 years to his lifespan and made him king (wait—wasn’t this supposed to be a punishment?) but with the ultimate irony that one of Abraham’s descendants would kill him. Og was so huge that his feet touched the ground when he sat on his city walls. When Og saw the Israelite camp, he tore off the top of a mountain and tried to fling it at the Israelites. However, God had earlier sent ants to chew their way through the mountaintop, which fell off and comically bonked him on the head. Moses saw the now-helpless giant and and took the opportunity. With a 5.5-meter (18 ft) battleaxe in hand, Moses leaped 10 feet into the air, and mortally wounded Og at the ankles, proving once and for all he was a badass in any religion.
9Adam’s Demonic Ex-Wife
Adam already had a woman in his life way before Eve came out of his rib; the only problem was the fact that she was a literal demon. Lilith had been created by God from the same dust as Adam. Unfortunately, they only lived a short time together, as Lilith insisted on being recognized as Adam’s equal and pointed to their identical origins to prove her point. When she was told she would always be considered inferior to Adam, Lilith invoked God’s Holy Name and flew off to the Red Sea where she copulated with other demons and produced lots of demonic offspring.
God sent angels to track her down after He heard Adam’s complaint that his wife left him. They found her and threatened to kill 100 of her demon children daily unless she went back to Adam. Lilith ignored their threat and retaliated that she and her children would harm Adam’s future descendants. Later, when an inconsolable Adam refused to sleep with Eve after Cain killed Abel, Lilith visited him in the night and slept with him without his knowledge. Their unholy union produced countless other demonic offspring, who went on to terrorize the world. However, they later met their match in one of Adam’s descendants.
8Solomon Made A Deal With The Devil
King Solomon possessed a magic ring which allowed him to control demons. He used the ring to subjugate many demons, including the demon-king Asmodeus. One day, Solomon decided to rub it in and taunted Asmodeus, saying that he couldn’t understand why demons regarded themselves as superior beings when a “mere” human imprisoned their very leader. Asmodeus suggested that Solomon lend him his magic ring so he could also prove his greatness. Solomon agreed and gave Asmodeus his ring. The demon took it and instantly flung Solomon off to a faraway land and installed himself as king.
The disgraced Solomon was forced to wander and beg for three years. The people he met thought he was a madman who claimed to be the real king. He managed to become the Ammonite king’s cook and fell in love with his daughter. Both were banished to the desert and to avoid death they traveled until they reached a port-city. At the market, the princess bought a fish and was surprised to see a ring inside it. Solomon recognized it as his magic ring. He put it on and instantly teleported back to the palace, where he deposed the impostor Asmodeus.
7Abraham Was A One-Man Wrecking Machine
Abraham was eating in his tent when the Archangel Michael gave him the bad news: Lot had just been captured by the four kings, who defeated five rebellious city-states. One of these city-states was Sodom, the place where Lot settled after he parted ways with Abraham. Losing no time, Abraham mobilized his men to rescue his nephew. All of them refused to fight except for Eliezer. Together, the duo proceeded to the kings’ encampment where Lot was detained. God gave Abraham supernatural strength, which he used to unleash hell on the four armies. He threw stones and projectiles at the enemy soldiers with such force that they were instantly killed. God also made him invulnerable to arrows and projectiles. In addition to this unfair invincibility cheat code, God made the night sky bright so he could see better and even sent the angel Lailah to fight for him. In the end, Abraham stopped the carnage when his strength diminished at Dan, the infamous place where Jeroboam, the idolatrous future-king of Israel, would institute calf idol worship. It didn’t matter, though, since Abraham had successfully rescued his nephew in one of the most incredible ways possible.
6Methuselah The Demon-Slayer
Methuselah was more than just the oldest guy in history; he was also a demon-slayer, and was he ever good at it. After Lilith slept with Adam, she produced lots of demonic offspring who spread and terrorized the world. Methuselah was king of the world at the time and saw their evil deeds; for three days he prayed and fasted for divine guidance. On the third day, God instructed him to forge a sword with his Holy Name on it. Methuselah used the sword and killed 94 demons in a single minute. He killed countless more before the first-born demon Agrimus groveled at his feet to stop the slaughter. Methuselah accepted and led off the demon-king in chains; he also banished the rest of the demons into the far corners of the earth.
5Job The Godfather
Job was a very hands-on type of rich guy. He performed his charitable duties very zealously. His home had doors on all four sides so that anyone could enter from any direction. His tables were always filled with free food, and his servants waited constantly on his guests. He dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the poor so much that his richer guests also offered to help him out. He also gave out loans to anyone in need, with only the condition that the borrower should donate his future profits to the poor. If he was unable to pay the loan, Job took the IOU note and tore it up in the man’s presence. His biggest concern, however, was for the widows and orphans. Job regularly visited the dying and pledged to take care of his family in case of his untimely departure. Also, he wasn’t above strong-arming people. Fortunately, Job used his army on behalf of the poor. His men intimidated the unjust into paying their dues and they also provided security for the poor at trials where the defendant was known to be violent.
4The Miraculous Tomb Of Daniel
Even in death, Daniel was as miraculous as he was controversial. The city in which his tomb was situated was divided by a river into two sections: the poor one, and the wealthy one, the latter of which had Daniel’s tomb. The poor inhabitants wanted Daniel’s tomb on their side as they believed it would make them rich. They quarreled with their wealthy neighbors so frequently that the issue threatened to turn the city upside-down, until both sides reached a compromise: They just took turns. The practice persisted until their king personally stopped it and came up with a better solution. He suspended the tomb with chains in the middle of the river and erected an ecumenical house of prayer. Furthermore, he prohibited fishing near the prayer house. The tomb displayed its miraculous cursing properties whenever a traveler passed by. Those who were wicked drowned in the river, while those who were righteous emerged unharmed.
3Jonah Did Not Want To Leave The Fish’s Belly
In this undoubtedly more awesome version, the fish that swallowed Jonah neared its allotted lifespan on Earth, after which the Leviathan, an even larger monster would eat it. Jonah liked his new pad so much that he threatened to kill the Leviathan should it even attempt to touch a scale on the fish’s head. The sea monster backed off, and as gratitude the fish toured Jonah around the world and showed him places like Hell and the Underworld. Just like Captain Nemo, Jonah turned the fish into his Nautilus; he saw the outside world through the eyes of the fish and was contented to stay inside the fish’s belly.
After three days, God realized that Jonah wasn’t going to leave anytime soon and sent a bigger, pregnant fish who demanded that the prophet be transferred to its belly. Jonah shared the space with the baby fish and found it so uncomfortable that he prayed to God to save him from his new cramped quarters.
2Balaam And Phinehas’ Magic Contest
Phinehas, the Israelite High Priest, led his people to war against Midian after the Midianites and Moabites had been earlier advised by Balaam to let their women seduce the Israelite men. Naturally, after they wandered around the lonely desert for so long, the Israelite men fell for the hot women and so incurred God’s wrath. Phinehas killed the ringleaders and saved them from further destruction. As the Midianites were close to defeat, Balaam flew away (up in the air). Phinehas saw him and commanded his subordinate Zaliah to go after him, so Zaliah flew and chased Balaam, but the latter eluded him as he went higher and hid in the clouds. Finally, Phinehas invoked a prayer to flush Balaam out of hiding and allow Zaliah to capture him.
Brought before Phinehas, Balaam begged for his life but to no avail. When Phinehas ordered Zaliah to kill him, it was unsuccessful, as Balaam’s magic protected him from any weapon. Phinehas then gave Zaliah a sword graven with serpents on both sides and with the awesome inscription “Kill him with that to which he belongs—through this he will die.” With the sword, Zaliah finally killed Balaam.
1Joseph Nearly Destroyed Egypt
The stories start off similarly enough: Joseph (ruling Egypt because of a famine and a misunderstanding) accused Benjamin of stealing his cup and said he must stay behind as collateral. (Joseph really missed his brothers, apparently.) From there, it gets a lot more epic. First, Judah pleaded with Joseph, and when that failed he threatened to kill him and Pharaoh. Joseph commanded his son Manasseh to stomp the ground and produce an earthquake. Judah backed down slightly, but the standoff intensified so much that the angels from heaven watched the spectacle and described it as a fight between a lion and a bull.
Judah cried out so loudly that his voice could be heard 650 kilometers (400 mi) away. After a while, the rest of the brothers joined the fray. They shook the earth and promised to destroy Egypt. Judah chewed some brass rods and spat them out as fine powder in a show of force; he also turned a five-kilogram (11 lb) stone to dust. Not one to back off, Joseph splintered a marble pedestal with a single kick, while Manasseh did the same bit with the stone. Judah ordered Naphtali to make a head count of all the Egyptians so that they could divide them equally for battle. Naphtali ran quickly across the entire breadth of Egypt and reported the entire Egyptian population to Judah.
In the meantime, Manasseh assembled the army to fight the brothers. The brothers were frightened at first, but Judah exhorted them to fight. They let out a battle cry so loud that the army stampeded out of fright, women gave birth prematurely, city walls crumbled, and Pharaoh and Joseph were knocked out of their thrones. Pharaoh begged Joseph to accede to the demands of the brothers. Joseph realized the standoff would really destroy Egypt, so he made himself known to his brothers.