Author logo People and characters in the Bible

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Names beginning with P

This guide is intended for visitors who want to learn more about the Bible. Please use the hyperlinks in the table above to navigate this page. If you have any comments or suggestions to make about this guide, please e-mail me by clicking on this link.


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Paarai was an Arbite, a soldier of David's bodyguard. 2 Samuel 23.35

Pagiel was the son of Ochran, a representative of Asher in the census conducted by Moses. Numbers 1.13; 2.27; 7.72-77; 10.26

Palal was the son of Uzai, an assistant of Nehemiah in the repairs to the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah 3.25

Pallu was the second son of Reuben, father of Eliab and the ancestor of an important Reubenite clan. Genesis 46.9; Exodus 6.14; Numbers 26.5, 8; 1 Chronicles 5.3

Palti (1) was a Benjaminite, the son of Raphu, and one of the twelve spies whom Moses sent into Canaan. Numbers 13.9

Palti (2) was the son of Laish from Gallim. Saul married Michal, his daughter, to Palti, having apparently dissolved her first marriage (to David). After he became king in Judah, David demanded the return of Michal. Palti tried to appeal against this decision but was dissuaded from protest by the threats of Abner. 1 Samuel 25.44; 2 Samuel 3.15, 16

Paltiel (1) was an Issacharite, the son of Azzan, and one of the elders appointed by Moses to apportion the land of Canaan to the twelve tribes. Numbers 34.26

Paltiel (2) is an alternative form of the name of Palti. 1 Samuel 25.44; 2 Samuel 3.15, 16

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Parmashta was a son of Haman. After the failure of Haman's plot against them, the Jews of Susa killed Parmashta. Esther 9.9

Parmenas was one of the seven deacons of the Jerusalem church. Acts 6.5

Parshandatha was a son of Haman. After the failure of Haman's plot against them, the Jews of Susa killed Parshandatha. Esther 9.7

Pashhur (1) was the son of Immer, a priest and chief officer of the temple and an opponent of the prophet Jeremiah whom he had beaten and placed in the stocks. Jeremiah denounced Pashhur as a false prophet, and foretold his death in captivity in Babylon. Jeremiah 20.1-6

Pashhur (2) was the son of Malchiah, a servant of Zedekiah who sent him to the prophet Jeremiah to discover whether or not Jerusalem would fall to Nebuchadrezzar. Later Passhur was one of those who persuaded the king to make an attempt on the life of the prophet. Jeremiah 21.1; 38.1-6

Pathrusim was the fifth son of Egypt, a descendant of Noah. Genesis 10.14

Patrobas was a Christian greeted by Paul in the final paragraph of his letter to the church in Rome. Romans 16.14

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Paul was the great evangelist of the early church. Born Saul, in Tarsus in Cilicia, he was brought up as a Pharisee, being taught by Gamaliel. He became a tent-maker by trade and was initially an opponent of the church. He witnessed the stoning of Stephen, and planned to persecute the church in Damascus. On the road to Damascus he saw a vision of Jesus, which left him blind. In the vision, Christ instructed him to be baptised. He did this and his sight was restored. Paul at once became a preacher of Christianity. The Jews of Damascus made a plot against his life, but Paul was lowered from the city walls in a basket, and so escaped harm.

After a period of work in the churches of Jerusalem, of Caesarea, of Tarsus and of Antioch, Paul began his wider missionary work. Following a brief ministry in Jerusalem Paul and Barnabas were called to embark on a mission to Asia Minor - it is at this point that the narrative in Acts uses the Roman name, Paul, where before it uses the Jewish form of Saul. Paul and Barnabas paid a short visit to Cyprus, then travelled widely in Asia Minor before returning to Antioch. The journey was marked by a number of miraculous incidents (notably the blinding of Bar-jesus, a magician, and the healing of a cripple in Lystra) as well as by the success with which Paul's message met among the Gentiles, and the opposition it excited among the Jews in Asia Minor.

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Paul subsequently undertook two more such journeys, though no longer accompanied by Barnabas (with whom he had quarrelled over the conduct of John Mark). The second journey was notable for the conversion of Timothy, who was to become prominent in the church; for the beating, imprisonment and miraculous deliverance of Paul and Silas in Philippi; the general opposition to and slight success of Paul's message in Thessalonica and Athens, and the establishment, in spite of the opposition of the Jews there, of a church in Corinth.

After a brief stay in Ephesus, Paul returned to Antioch, before setting out on his third journey. He stayed for a long time in Ephesus (during which Demetrius provoked the silversmiths' riot) and passed through Macedonia, after which he and his companions again returned to Syria.

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Despite being warned by the prophet Agabus that imprisonment awaited him in Jerusalem, Paul went to the capital to worship. When the Jews rioted in protest at his entering the temple, Felix, the Procurator of Palestine, arrested him. Both Felix and his successor Porcius Festus kept Paul in custody, without proper trial. During Festus's period of office Paul appealed to Caesar and was sent to Rome for his case to be heard before the emperor. Though shipwrecked on the way, landing on Malta, Paul at last reached Rome, where, despite opposition from the Jews, he was able to teach freely. It is traditionally maintained (though no Biblical account of this exists) that Paul was executed for his faith in Rome.

As well as the narratives in Acts, the New Testament contains a large number of letters written by Paul to the various churches with which he had dealings, and to a handful of individual friends. Acts 7.58; 8.1, 3; 9.1-30; 11.25, 26, 30; 12.25; 13.1-14.28; 15.2-4, 12, 22-28.3; Romans 1.1-16.27; 1 Corinthians 1.1-16.24; 2 Corinthians 1.1-13.14; Galatians 1.1-6.18; Ephesians 1.1-6.24; Philippians 1.1-4.23; Colossians 1.1-4.18; 1 Thessalonians 1.1-5.28; 2 Thessalonians 1.1-3.18; 1 Timothy 1.1-6.21; 2 Timothy 1.1-4.22; Titus 1.1-3.15; Philemon 1-25; 2 Peter 3.15

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Paulus, Sergius was the Roman proconsul of Cyprus at the time of the visit of Paul and of Barnabas to the island. Paulus, whom Luke describes as “a man of intelligence”, was keen to hear the message of Paul, but was at first dissuaded by the Jewish false prophet Bar-jesus. When Bar-jesus was blinded miraculously at the command of Paul, the governor apparently accepted the apostle's message. Acts 13.7-12

Pedahel was the son of Ammihud, a representative of Naphtali in the division of Canaan. Numbers 34.28

Pedaiah (1) was the son of Parosh, a worker with Nehemiah on the repairs to the wall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah 3.25

Pedaiah (2) was an assistant of Ezra, present at his public reading from the book of the law. Nehemiah 8.4

Pedaiah (3) was a Levite whom Nehemiah appointed treasurer of the storehouses in Jerusalem. Nehemiah 13.13

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Pekah was the son of Remaliah, a king of Israel (ruled ca. 737-732 B.C.). Originally an officer in the army of Pekahiah, Pekah, with fifty Gileadite soldiers, overthrew his master in the second year of his reign, killing him at Samaria. Pekah's five-year reign, during which parts of Israel were lost to Tiglath-pileser, began in the fifty-second year of Azariah of Judah, and ended when Hoshsea assassinated Pekah and seized the throne. 2 Kings 15.25-32, 37; 16.1, 5; 2 Chronicles 28.5, 6; Isaiah 7.1-9; 8.6

Pekahiah was the son of Menahem, a king of Israel (ruled ca. 738-737 B.C.). The idolatrous Pekahiah ruled for two years only before Pekah, one of his officers, usurped his throne. 2 Kings 15.22-26

Pelaiah was an associate of Ezra, a Levite who helped explain to the common people the book of the law. Nehemiah 8.7

Pelatiah was the son of Benaiah, an adviser of Zedekiah. As Ezekiel condemned him for giving bad counsel to the king, Pelatiah suddenly died. Ezekiel 11.1-13

Peleg was a descendant of Noah, the son of Eber, father of Reu and brother of Joktan. Genesis 10.25; 11.16-19; 1 Chronicles 1.19, 25; Luke 3.35

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Penninah was one of the two wives of Elkanah. Before Hannah, Elkanah's other wife, became the mother of Samuel, Penninah ridiculed her for her barrenness. 1 Samuel 1.2-7

Perez was the son of Judah and Tamar, the twin brother of Zerah, father of Hezron and Hamul, and an ancestor of Boaz, David and Joseph. During Tamar's labour Zerah's hand emerged and was bound with a scarlet thread, but was then retracted, and Perez was the first of the twins to be delivered. Genesis 38.27-30; 46.12; Numbers 26.20; Ruth 4.12, 18; 1 Chronicles 2.4, 5; 4.1; Matthew 1.3; Luke 3.33

Persis was a friend of Paul, greeted by him in the closing paragraph of his letter to the church in Rome. Romans 16.12

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Peter was the son of John, one of the twelve apostles, also known as Simon or Simon Peter. Jesus called Peter and his brother, Andrew, from the relative obscurity of a small fishing business in Galilee, to be among his twelve closest followers. With James and John, Peter was present at the transfiguration. Though it was Peter who first openly acknowledged Jesus as Messiah, he was to deny knowledge of him during his trial. After the resurrection Peter was reconciled with his master, who commissioned him to lead the infant church.

After Jesus's ascension Peter quickly established himself in the forefront of the Christian sect, performing regular baptisms of converts to the new faith, and working miracles of healing. With James, Peter thwarted an attempt by conservative Jews, at the council of Jerusalem, to force all Christians to observe the Mosaic Law. Peter's original name was Simon. Jesus named him “Cephas”, an Aramaic word, meaning, “rock”. In the Greek New Testament this was transliterated as “Petros” (rock) from which the familiar form of the name is derived. Matthew 4.18-20; 8.14; 10.2; 14.28-31; 15.15; 16.16-19, 22, 23; 17.1-8, 24-27; 18.21, 22; 26.33-35, 37-41, 58, 69-75; Mark 1.16-18, 29, 36; 3.16; 8.29, 32, 33; 9.2-8; 11.21; 13.3; 14.29-31,33,37,54,66-72; 16.7; Luke 4.38; 5-3-11; 6.14; 8.45,51; 9.20, 28-36; 12.41; 18.28; 22.8-13, 31-34, 54-62; 24.34; John 1.40-42, 44; 6.8, 68; 13.6-9, 24, 36-38; 18.10, 11, 15-18, 25-27; 20.2-10; 21.2, 3, 7,15-22; Acts 1.13, 15-22; 2.14-41; 3.1-4-3, 7-31; 5-3, 4, 8, 9, 15, 29-32; 8.14-23; 9.32-43; 10.6, 9-48; 11.2-18; 12.3-19; 15.7-11, 14; 1 Corinthians 1.12; 3.22; 9.5; 15.5; Galatians 1.18; 2.7-14; 1 Peter 1.1-5.14; 2 Peter 1.1-3.18

Pethahiah was a Levite, an assistant of Ezra in helping lead the people of Jerusalem in public worship. Nehemiah 9.5

Pethuel was the father of the prophet Joel. Joel 1.1

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Pharaoh (from an Egyptian word meaning “great house” or “royal palace”) is a traditional title given to an Egyptian ruler in ancient times. In the Old Testament the title refers to several otherwise anonymous Egyptian rulers. The first appears in a narrative in Genesis, concerning Abraham's staying in Egypt during a famine. Next comes the Pharaoh whose prophetic dream was interpreted by Joseph, and who appointed him second ruler in the land. A third Pharaoh is the ruler who opposed Moses' requests for freedom of worship for the Israelites, and who, after reluctantly letting them go, attempted to attack them. A fourth Pharaoh gave his daughter in marriage to Solomon, while he, or his successor, later gave sanctuary to Solomon's enemy, Hadad. Genesis 12.15-20; 39.1; 40.2-41.46, 55; 44.18; 45.16-20; 46.31-33; 47.1-11, 20-26; 50.4-7; Exodus 1.8-22; 2.5, 7, 15; 3.10, 11; 4.21-23; 5.1-6.1,11,13, 27, 29-11.10; 12.29-32; 13.15, 17; 14.3-18, 23, 28; 15.4,19; Deuteronomy 6.21; 29.2; 1 Kings 3.1; 9.16; 11.18-22; 2 Kings 17.7; Isaiah 19.11; 30.2-5; 36.6; Jeremiah 37.5; Ezekiel 17.17; 29.2-5; 30.20-25; 31.2-18; 32.31, 32; Acts 7.10-13, 18, 19; Romans 9.17

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Philemon was a Colossian Christian, owner of the slave Onesimus, whose running away prompted Paul to write his letter to Philemon. This attempts to effect a reconciliation between master and slave. Philemon 1-25

Philetus was an associate of Hymenaeus. Both men are condemned, for a heretical doctrine of the resurrection, in Paul's second letter to Timothy. 2 Timothy 2.17, 18

Philip (1) was one of the twelve apostles, from Bethsaida in Galilee. Philip figures in John's accounts of his bringing Nathanael to Jesus, of the feeding of the five thousand, and of his bringing a group of Greeks to meet Jesus. Matthew 10.3; Mark 3.18; Luke 6.14; John 1.43-48; 6.5-7; 12.21, 22; 14.8-11; Acts 1.13

Philip (2) was a half-brother of Herod Antipas, the first husband of Herodias, who was divorced from him and then married by Herod. John the Baptist was killed for his condemnation of this arrangement. Matthew 14.3; Luke 6.17,18

Philip (3) was a son of Herod the Great, tetrarch (ruler of a fourth part) of Iturea and Trachonitis at the time of Jesus's birth. Luke 3.1

Philip (3), known as the Evangelist, was one of the seven deacons of the church in Jerusalem, along with Stephen. After Stephen's death, Philip became an itinerant preacher, conducting a successful mission in Samaria, where his converts included Simon Magus. His most celebrated convert was an Ethiopian eunuch, a minister of the Candace (the queen of his country). Philip later settled in Caesarea, becoming the father of four daughters all of whom prophesied. Shortly before his arrest in Jerusalem, Paul stayed at Philip's house. Acts 6.5; 8.5-13, 26-40; 21.8, 9

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Philologus was a Christian greeted by Paul in the closing paragraphs of his letter to the church at Rome. Romans 16.15

Phinehas (1) was the son of Eleazar, a grandson of Aaron and Putiel and father of Abishua. Phinehas, a priest, killed Zimri and Cozbi the Midianite, and investigated the altar that Reuben, Gad and Manasseh built on the west bank of the Jordan. Exodus 6.25; Numbers 25.7-13; 31.6; Joshua 22.13-32; 24.33; 1 Chronicles 6.4, 50; Psalms 106.30

Phinehas (2) was the son of Eli, brother of Hophni and father of Ichabod. Both Phinehas and Hophni were priests at Shiloh, and notoriously corrupt. God revealed their impending punishment to Eli's servant, Samuel. Shortly after this the brothers fell in battle against the Philistines. 1 Samuel 1.3; 2.12-17, 22-25, 27-35; 3.10-14; 4.4, 11, 17-21

Phlegon was a Christian greeted by Paul in the closing paragraphs of his letter to the church at Rome. Romans 16.14

Phoebe was a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae. In his letter to the Christians of Rome, Paul commends her. Romans 16.1

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Phygelus was an apostate Christian whom Paul mentions in his second letter to Timothy. 2 Timothy 1.15

Pilate, Pontius was the Procurator of Judaea (A.D. 26-36) who was responsible for confirming the sentence of execution of Jesus. Despite his apparent wish to acquit the prisoner, Pilate was forced to yield to the wishes of the priestly party. Caesar eventually recalled him to Rome to answer charges of misconduct. Matthew 27.2, 11-26, 58, 62-65; Mark 15.1-15, 43-45; Luke 3.1; 13.1; 23.1-25, 52; John 18.29-19.16, 31, 38; 1 Timothy 6.13

Pildash was the sixth son of Nahor and Milcah. Genesis 22.22

Pinon was an Edomite chieftain, a descendant of Esau. Genesis 36.41; 1 Chronicles 1.52

Piram, king of Jarmuth, was an Edomite chieftain, one of five who formed an alliance against the Gibeonites. After Joshua defeated them, they fled to a cave at Makkedah, but Joshua found them and put them to death. Joshua 10.3-27

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Poratha was a son of Haman, whom the Jews of Susa killed after the failure of Haman's plot against them. Esther 9.8

Potiphar was the captain of the guard in Egypt, and the master of Joseph whom he bought as a slave from Midianite traders. Initially Joseph prospered in Potiphar's service, but he was later sent to prison after Potiphar's wife accused Joseph (who had resisted her sexual advances) of attempted rape. Genesis 37.36; 39.1-20

Potiphera was the Priest of On in Egypt, and father of Asenath, who became the wife of Joseph. Some Bible scholars have suggested that Potiphera is identical with Potiphar, and that different narrative traditions assign different jobs to him. Genesis 41.45, 50; 46.20

Prisca is an alternative form of the name of Priscilla. Acts 18.2, 3, 18, 26; Romans 16.3-5; 1 Corinthians 16.19; 2 Timothy 4.19

Priscilla was the wife of Aquila. An edict of Claudius expelled Jews from Rome, and the couple had to leave the imperial capital. Both became companions of Paul, whom they met and worked with in Corinth. They accompanied Paul to Ephesus where he left them. A reference (in Paul's letter to the Roman church) to Priscilla and Aquila and the church that met in their house suggests that they later returned to Rome. Acts 18.2, 3, 18, 26; Romans 16.3-5; 1 Corinthians 16.19; 2 Timothy 4.19

Prochorus was one of the seven deacons of the Jerusalem church. Acts 6.5, 6

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Puah (1) was one of the two midwives of the Israelites at the time of the Exodus from Egypt. Exodus 1.15

Puah (2) was the second son of Issachar, according to the Chronicler. He is also known as Puvah. Genesis 46.13; Numbers 26.23; 1 Chronicles 7.1

Publius was a Roman official of Malta at the time of Paul's shipwreck on the island. During his three-day stay on Publius's estate, Paul healed Publius's father of fever and dysentery. Acts 28. 7, 8

Pudens was a companion of Paul, who sends greetings from Pudens at the end of his second letter to Timothy. 2 Timothy 4.21

Pul was an alternative form of the name of Tiglath-pileser III, king of Assyria. Menahem's payment of a thousand silver talents averted Pul's threatened invasion of Israel. 2 Kings 15.10, 20; 1 Chronicles 5.26

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Purah was a servant of Gideon, with whom he carried out a reconnaissance of the camp of the Midianite army. Judges 7.10, 11

Put was the third son of Ham, a grandson of Noah. Genesis 10.6; 1 Chronicles 1.8

Putiel was the father-in-law of Eleazar, and the maternal grandfather of Phinehas. Exodus 6.25

Puvah (2) was the second son of Issachar, according to the Chronicler. He is also known as Puah. Genesis 46.13; Numbers 26.23; 1 Chronicles 7.1

Pyrrhus was a Christian of Beroea, the father of Sopater. Acts 20.4

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