Patriarchs (Bible)

The patriarchs (Hebrew: אבות Avot or Abot, singular Hebrew: אב Ab) of the Bible, when narrowly defined, are Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob, also named Israel, the ancestor of the Israelites. These three figures are referred to collectively as the patriarchs, and the period in which they lived is known as the patriarchal age.

Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, imagined here in a Bible illustration from 1897.
Isaac blessing his son, as painted by Giotto di Bondone
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel by Eugène Delacroix

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam hold that the patriarchs, along with their primary wives, known as the matriarchs (Sarah, Rebekah and Leah) are entombed at the Cave of the Patriarchs, a site held holy by the three religions. Rachel, Jacob's other wife, is said to be buried separately at what is known as Rachel's Tomb, near Bethlehem, at the site where she is believed to have died in childbirth.

More widely, the term patriarchs can be used to refer to the twenty male ancestor-figures between Adam and Abraham. The first ten of these are called the antediluvian patriarchs, because they came before the Flood.