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Meet the Ante-Abrahamic Prophets

From the day Adam began teaching his children about their Creator, there have been prophets and there have been covenants. The holy writ says the first prophets walked and talked with Adam and with angels.

Some of the long-lived prophets who predated Abraham appear not only in canonized scripture, but also in tribal mythology and ancient documents unearthed in more modern times.

The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) records ten ancient prophets:
Adam (aka Adapa, Atab, Atabba, HaAdamah, Ancient of Days, آدم ,אָדָם)Seth ben Adam (aka Shet, Sheth, שֵׁת)Enos ben Seth (aka Anoush, Enosh, אֱנוֹשׁ)Enoch ben Jared (aka Enoc, Chanok, Hanokh, Henoch, Idris, ادريس ,חֲנוֹך)Methuselah ben Enoch (aka Mathusala, Mathusalam, Methusael, Methusalah, Metushelach, מְתוּשֶׁלַח)Noah ben Lamech (aka Noach, Noe, Nuh, نوح ,נוֹחַ)Shem ben Noah (aka Sam, Sceaf, Sem, Seskef, שֵׁם)Salah ben Cainan (aka Sala, Salih, Shâlikh, Shehiah, Shelach, Shelah, صلاح ,שָׁלַח)Eber ben Salah (aka Abin, `Aybar, `Ever, Heber, Hoodh, Hud, هو…
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Meet the Patriarchal Prophets

From the Chaldean city of Ur to Egypt and on to Canaan, the nomadic people of the Patriarchal period roamed large tracts of the Middle East.

The Patriarchy that began with Abraham and included the Exodus continued to the period of the Judges. The sixteen prophets from this era are:
Abram ben Terah (aka Abraham, Avram, Avraham, Ibrahim, ابراهيم ,אַבְרָהָם ,אַבְרָם)Isaac ben Abraham (aka Yitzhak, Celi, Yitshaq, Isaak, Ishaq, Yitzchak, اسحاق ,יִצְחָק)Jacob ben Isaac (aka Israel, Sarurn, Ya'akov, Yaakov, Ya'quob, Yisra'el, Yakov, Ya'qub, Yaquob, اسرائيل ,يعقوب ,יִשְׂרָאֵל ,יַעֲקֹב)Joseph ben Jacob (aka Jehoseph, Yosef, Yusuf, Zaphenath-Pa'aneah, يوسف ,יוֹסֵף)Job ben Zerah (aka Jobab, Iob, Iyov, Aiyub, Ayoub, Ayub, أيوب ,אִיּוֹב)Caleb ben Jephunneh (aka Carmi, Chelubai, כָלֵב)Hur ben Caleb (Chur, חור)Jethro ben Reuel (aka Hobab, Jether, Shoaib, Yethro, Yitro, شعيب ,יִתְרוֹ)Moses ben Amram (aka Moshe, Musa, موسى ,מֹשֶׁה)Aaron ben Amram (aka Aharon, Haroun, Harun, هارون ,…

Meet the Judge Prophets

Following the Patriarchal period, the nation called Israel evolved into a loose federation of tribes ruled by Judges, and held together by a common faith and a common ancestry.

While there were more than twenty judges during this period -- Samson being the most infamous -- only four were considered to have the status of Prophets. (One additional judge -- Deborah -- is included in the list of Prophetesses.)

The four Prophet-Judges are:
Othniel ben Kenaz (aka Othoniel, ʻOtniʼel, עתניאל)Ehud ben Gera (aka ʾĒhûḏ, אהוד)Eli ben Ithamar (aka `Eli, עֵלִי)Gideon ben Joash (aka Gid`on, Jerubbaal, Jerubbesheth, Yerubba`al, יֶר-בַּעַל ,גדְעוֹן) Image: Detail from 'Prophet Samuel,' a pigment on plaster fresco at the Kiev, Russia Golden Domed Monastery

Meet the Monarchy Prophets

The loose federation of Israelite tribes eventually gave way, and in its place rose a monarchy and the best-known period of Israel's history: The Kings.

The nine Prophets who guided Saul, David, Solomon and Rehoboam through the period of the unified kingdom are:
Elkanah ben Jeroham (aka Elka'nah, אֱלְקָנָה)Samuel ben Elkanah (aka Shem'u-el, Shmuel, שְׁמוּאֵל)Nathan (aka Natan, Nosson, נָתָן)Gad (aka גָד)Ahimelech ben Ahitub (aka Ahiah, Ahijah, Achimelekh, אֲחִימֶלֶךְ)Abiathar ben Ahimelech (aka Avyatar, אֶבְיָתָר)Shemaiah HaNavi (aka Shemayah, שְׁמעיָה)Iddo the Seer (aka Aidoin, Iadi, Jadon, Jaddo, Oded, עְדִּי)Agur ben Jakeh (aka אגור בן יקה) Image: Detail from 'Nathan Rebukes David,' woodcut illustration by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld originally printed in Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden.

Meet the Prophets of Israel

As the monarchy fell apart after the death of King Solomon, the kingdom split into two: The Northern Kingdom of Israel, with its ten tribes, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah with its two tribes.

The Northern Kingdom was home to nine prophets:
Ahijah ben Seraiah (aka Abijah, Achiah, Achiya, Achyah, Ahaiah, Ahiyah, HaShiloni, the Shilonite, אֲהָיָּה)Micaiah ben Imlah (aka Micah, Micha, Micheah, Mikhayahu, Michoyhu, מִיכָיְהוּ)Beeri (aka Be'eri, בְּאֵרִי)Hosea ben Beeri (aka Hoshei'a, Hoshe'a, Oseas, Osee, הוֹשֵׁעַ)Amos (aka `Amos, עָמוֹס)Jonah ben Amittai (aka Dhun Nun, Ionas, Jonas, Yonah, Yunus, يونس ,יוֹנָה)Elijah the Tishbite (aka Elias, Eliyah, Eliyahu, Eliyohu, Ilyas, إلياس ,אֱלִיָּהוּ)Elisha ben Shaphat (aka Al-Yasa`, اليسع ,אֱלִישַׁע)Oded the Samarian (aka Obed, עֹדֵד)Image: Detail from 'Jonah,' Sistine fresco by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, c. 1511

Meet the Prophets of Judah

The Southern Kingdom of Judah had the longest list of prophets -- twenty-one in all. Working with good kings and bad, these prophets fought to save Judah from destruction.

In the end, though, the temple was destroyed, Jerusalem came under siege, and the Jews were carried away into captivity.

The Prophets of the Southern Kingdom are:
Oded the Exhorter (aka Obed, עֹדֵד)Azariah ben Oded (aka Azaryah, Azaryohu, עֲזַרְיָה)Hanani (aka Chanoni, Haroeh, חֲנָנִי)Jehu ben Hanani (aka Yehu, Yeihu, יְהוּא)Jahaziel ben Zechariah (aka Haziel, Yachziel, יַחֲזִיאֵל)Eliezer ben Dodavah (aka Eliezar, Elozor, אֱלִיעֶזֶר)Obadiah of Eliphaz (aka Abdy, Ovadiah, Ovadyah, עֹבַדְיָה)Joel ben Pethuel (aka Ioel, Yo'el, יוֹאֵל)Zechariah ben Jehoiada (aka Zekaryah, זְכַרְיָה)Amoz ben Josiah I (aka Amotz, Omotz, אָמֹוץ)Isaiah ben Amoz (aka Esaias, Esaye, Yeshayah, Yeshayahu, יְשַׁעְיָהוּ)Zechariah ben Jeberechiah (aka Zekaryah, זְכַרְיָה)Micah of Moresheth (aka Michah, Micheas, Mikha, Miykah מִיכָה)Nahum (aka …

Meet the Prophets of the Captivity

The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem was followed by a seventy-year exile that left most of the Jewish population spread throughout Mesopotamia -- primarily modern-day Iraq and Iran.

The period called the Captivity gave rise to four prophets:
Daniel of Judah (aka Belteshazzar, Belteshatztzar, Daniyel, Daniyyel, דָנִיֵּאל)Ezekiel ben Buzi (aka Dhul-Kifl, Ezechiel, Ezechlel, Hizqeel, Yechezkel, Yechezqel, Yehezkel, Zulkifl, ذو-الكفل ,יְחֶזקֵאל)Mordecai ben Jair (aka Mordechai, Mordekhai, מָרְדֳכַי)Seraiah ben Neriah (aka Serayah, Soroyoh, שֶׁר־צִוָּ) Image: Detail from 'Daniel in the Lion's Den,' by Peter Paul Rubens c. 1615

Meet the Prophets of the Return

Following the Babylonian captivity, Cyrus decreed that the enslaved Jews would be permitted to return to their homelands, rebuild the temple and reinstitute their religious practices.

The five prophets who oversaw that return, and who authored the final portions of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) are:
Ezra ben Seraiah (aka Azariah, Azaryah, Esdras, עֶזְרָא)Haggai (aka Aggeus, Chaggai, Hagai, חַגַּי)Malachi (aka Malachy, Mal'akhi, מַלְאָכִי)Nehemiah ben Hachaliah (aka Nechemia, Nechemyah, נְחֶמְיָה)Zechariah ben Berechiah (aka Zachariah, Zacharias, Zachary, Zekaryah, Zekharyah, זְכַרְיָה) Image: Detail from 'Zechariah,' Sistine fresco by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, c. 1509

Meet the Prophetesses

The Imahot -- the Jewish matriarchs -- and other prominent holy women make up the Prophetesses of the Hebrew Bible.

Wives and mothers, most of them, the joy and sorrow of their lives call out to modern readers. We'll meet each of them individually in future postings.

The twelve Prophetesses of the Old Testament are:
Eve, the matriarch of all living (aka Ava, Chava, Chavva, Chavvah, Eve of Elda, Havva, Hawah, Nin-Khawa, חַוָּה)Sarai, daughter of Haran (aka Sarah, Sara, שָׂרָה ,שָׂרָי)Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel (aka Rebecca, Rivka, Rivkah, Rivqah, רִבְקָה)Leah, daughter of Laban (aka Lea, Le'ah, לֵאָה)Rachel, her sister (aka Rahel, רָחֵל)Miriam, sister of Moses and daughter of Amram (aka Miryam, מִרְיָם)Deborah, judge and wife of Lapidoth (aka Devorah, דְבוֹרָה)Hannah, judge and wife of Elkanah (aka Chana, Channah, חַנָּה)Ruth the Moabite, possibly a daughter of King Eglon (aka Rut, רוּת)Abigail, wife of Nabal and David (aka Avigail, Avigayil, אֲבִיגָיִל)Huldah, daughter of S…

Warning: Strong Language

Because words related to religion can be loaded with unintended meaning, here's fair warning: We use a handful of sometimes-loaded words throughout this site. Some examples:

Scriptures -- We use the following words interchangeably: Tanakh, Hebrew Bible, Old Testament, Jewish Bible, Ancient Scriptures, Canonized Scriptures, Holy Books. We hope this practice will honor the faith of every believer, without disparaging any.

Prophets -- In the spirit of Moses' teachings in Numbers 11:29, the term prophet can be somewhat amorphous. We use it liberally to mean:

• The main holy character of a canonized book of scripture.
• The putative author of a book of scripture.
• Any of the 55 prophets acknowledged by Rashi.
• The inspired leader or head of the assembly of God's people.

In future postings we will list each of the Prophets according to their time period.

Biblical names -- The King James Version of the Bible is endemic in Western culture, so we generally use spellings found in that e…

Best-Loved Quotations

"And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"
-- Num. 11:29

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
-- 1 Cor. 13:11-12

"Rise above the shrill clamor over rights and prerogatives, and walk in the quiet dignity of a daughter of God."
-- GB Hinckley, 1984

"The Master said, "I will not be afflicted at men's not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know men."
-- Confucian Analects