A name employed in the New Testament with reference to Abraham,1 the sons of Jacob,2 and to David.3 This name is generally applied to the progenitors of families or "heads of the fathers"4 mentioned in Scripture, and they are spoken of as antediluvian (from Adam to Noah) and postdiluvian (from Noah to Jacob) patriarchs. But the expression "the patriarch," by way of eminence, is applied to the twelve sons of Jacob, or to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

From Greek πατριά (patria), "lineage, progeny" and ἄρχων (archōn), "leader", "ruler."



  1. Heb. 7:4.
  2. Acts 7:8, 9.
  3. 2:29.
  4. Josh. 14:1.


  • Easton, M.G. (1897). Easton's Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This article incorporates text from Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897) by M.G. Easton, which is in the public domain.