Who Are the Female Prophets?
Dear visitor, in this article we will talk about female prophets. Our primary source is the Bible, the word of God.
Are There Female Prophets?
In ancient Israel, in early Judaism, and in the first-century church, prophets had a revered place and position. Unlike rulers and priests, who earned their place through inheritance and tradition, prophets took their places because of their unique abilities. They heard from God, and what they heard they spoke for God. Although their speeches did not always contain a prophecy, the prophets mediated between God and humanity.
There are women in the Bible that are clearly identified as prophets, especially in Hebrew (Hebrew: neviah; Greek: prophētis). Now we will look at who these women are:
In the Bible, she is described as 5 female prophets, and the first of them is Miriam, who is mentioned in the Torah. Miriam was the older sister of Moses and the high priest Aaron. All three brothers were prophets and all three were leaders.
In the Book of Micah, God reminds his people of the leadership of these three brothers, including Miriam:
“I brought you out of Egypt,
I rescued you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you.” Micah 6:4
The scriptures do not record any of Miriam’s prophetic messages, but a song she sang:
The Prophet Miriam, Harun’s sister, took the tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, playing with tambourines. Miriam sang to them this tune:
“Sing songs to the LORD,
Because he was exalted,
He threw the horses into the sea.” Exodus 15: 20 – 21
Miriam is mentioned in five books of the Old Testament. Various accounts in the Bible show that he was a highly respected member of God’s people. Although Miriam’s prophetic actions and messages are not recorded, she tells us that she was a prophet and leader.
Deborah is the only female judge mentioned in the Bible’s book of Judges. He was also a prophet.
Judges are people who led the people for a period after the Israelites entered the land of Canaan. There are 12 judges in total and one of them, Deborah, is a woman. Here we can see once again the importance that God gives to women.
At that time Israel was ruled by the prophet Deborah, wife of Lappidot. Deborah used to sit under the palm tree between Rama and Bethel in the mountainous region of Ephraim, and hear the cases of the Israelites who came to her.
Unlike most other judges, no bad words are said about Debora’s character, abilities or actions. He was an effective spokesman for God, and his prophetic leadership extended to commanding the army’s general, Barak. Moreover, he was not afraid to follow his words with actions; He willingly entered the battlefield with Barak.
Like Miriam, Deborah sings a recorded victory song in the scriptures. (Judges 5:1 – 31) Unlike Miriam, the Bible shows some of Deborah’s prophetic ministry in action.
The Prophet Isaiah Mentioned
We know almost nothing, not even her name, of the woman the Prophet Isaiah spoke of at Isaiah 8:3. Isaiah refers to the prophetess as my wife:
“My wife, who was a prophet, became pregnant some time after that and gave birth to a son.” Isaiah 8:3
Isaiah speaks of the son borne by this prophetess and her symbolic name:
I and the children the LORD gave me are signs and signs in Israel of the LORD Almighty who dwells on Mount Zion. Isaiah 8:18
We read the story about another female prophet, Hulda, repeated at 2 Kings 22:8-20 and 2 Chronicles 34:1-28. According to the story, Josiah, the young king of Judah, was told that the book of the law (Deuteronomy) was discovered after it had been forgotten for many years. Later, Josiah’s secretary reads him the scroll.
As a godly king, Josiah is deeply concerned with what he hears, assigning a delegation of five of his most important men:
“Go and inquire of the LORD, for me and for all the people of Judah, about the words of this book that has been found.” (2 Kings 22:13).
The delegation goes directly to Hulda. This indicates that Hulda was well known and respected by the king and his men. There are similarities here between King Hezekiah sending a delegation to the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 37:1-7) and some elders of Israel going to the prophet Ezekiel for information from the Lord (Ezekiel 20:1 ff.).
Josiah’s men speak to Hulda on behalf of the king and the nation. And Hulda answers and speaks in the name of the Lord. Some say, “This is what the LORD says…” three times in his recorded prophecy.
Noadya is mentioned by name in a short prayer spoken by Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the cupbearer of the Persian ruler Artaxerxes I, but was now governor of Judah appointed by Artaxerxes I. As governor, Nehemiah initiated new policies and projects that did not please everyone. One of these projects was to build a wall around Jerusalem.
Noadia and the other prophets opposed what Nehemiah did. The scriptures don’t tell us what the prophets had a problem with, but they clearly gave Nehemiah a hard time.
Nehemiah felt threatened and prayed to God for help:
“O God, do not forget the evil done by Tobiah and Sanballat,” I prayed, “and do not forget what the prophetess Noadya and the other prophets did, who wanted to frighten me.” (Nehemiah 6:14).
Noadya and two powerful men, Tobiah, an Ammonite official, and Sanballat, the governor of Samaria, are mentioned in the same prayer. This is certainly an indication of Noadya status and influence.
Nehemiah’s words also imply that he was a leader, perhaps the actual leader, among other prophets.
Despite the difference of opinion with Nehemiah, there is no clear indication that Noadya was a false prophet. By comparison, some women are clearly described as prophesying falsely and are themselves prophesied by Ezekiel according to God’s instructions (Ezekiel 13:17-23).
We will talk about Anna, one of the female prophets mentioned in the Bible. Anna is described in Luke’s Gospel as a prophet who spent her time in the temple in Jerusalem “worshiping day and night with fasting and prayer” (Luke 2:36-37). Old and single, she chooses not to remarry after her husband’s death years ago. In Luke 2:37 it is unclear whether Anna was eighty-four years old or had lived as a widow for eighty-four years. Either way, she is portrayed as a respectable woman of exemplary devotion.
Luke presents Anna as Simon’s counterpart: both are old, pious, and guided by the Holy Spirit (Luke 2:25-35). When Mary completed the 40-day purification period after giving birth, Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple for presentation. Simon is there, recognizing who the child is, and speaking to Mary as if prophesying. Simeon is glad and happy to die to see Christ, but Anna looks to the future. Understanding who the child is, Anna speaks prophetically to a much wider audience.
Daughters of Philip
On the Day of Pentecost, at the birth of the church, Peter emphasized prophetic service:
“In the last days, says God,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your youth sees,
Your elders will have dreams.
Those days, men and women
I will pour my Spirit upon my servants,
They too will prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18
Four of these girls are mentioned at Acts 21:9:
“This man had four prophetic unmarried daughters.”
Being virgins demonstrates their dedication to service, as Anna did by choosing to live as a widow.