What is the biblical definition of a prophet?


#1

I thought a prophet was merely somebody who told prophecies or had a message from God to the people, but David wrote down prophecies in Psalms-yet he isnt traditionally viewed as a bibical prophet. Moses definitley was a prophet, but Joshua and Judah also finished his work of going to war with the Caananites-are they "prophets in a way, since they followed in his footsteps? What level of connection with God does a bibical figure need to be a prophet?


#2

From the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) Holy Bible

Prophet:

“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” - Deuteronomy 18:18

False Prophet:

“And her prophets have daubed for them with whitewash, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord has not spoken.” - Ezekiel 22:28


#3

Would you consider King David to be a prophet or not?


#4

Basically, the original definition of a nabi ‘prophet’ or ro’eh ‘seer’ is someone who acts as God’s spokesperson. We often think of ‘prophets’ as people who foretell the future and ‘prophecies’ as predictions of future events, but that’s only half of it. In Israelite thought, anyone who is in touch with the supernatural and speaks a message that is attributed to God - irregardless of the content or whether it refers to the present or the future or the past - is a nabi. You might say that their primary function was to receive messages from the Deity via some medium - a dream, a trance, an omen - and people often consulted them (and sometimes paid - there were also ‘professional’ prophets who did this for a living) in that capacity.

The thing is, when the Old Testament books were composed, people came to have this tendency to apply the term ‘prophet’ in a wider sense: most important righteous figures in the OT (especially those who are said to have on occasion came into conversation with God or received a message from God), even those who are not strictly ‘prophets’ in the original sense, came to fit the bill. That’s why Judaism now has the tradition of there being forty-eight male prophets, which includes what at first might seem unlikely candidates like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Phinehas, Jehu, or Mordecai. Yes, even David and Solomon are part of the forty-eight.

It might interest you to know that in Judaism, the Old Testament is divided into three sections: the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nebi’im), and the Writings (Ketubim). Guess what? The ‘Prophets’ section encompass some of what we would call the historical books (Joshua, Judges 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings) - the ‘Former Prophets’ - and the actual prophetic books like Isaiah or Ezekiel or Hosea - the ‘Latter Prophets’. (Note: Daniel, 1-2 Chronicles, Esther, Ruth, and the Psalms are in the ‘Writings’ section.)

Guess what? David and Solomon are also traditionally considered ‘prophets’ in Christianity. I guess we got it from the extended Jewish definition of the word and not so much in the narrower original definition.


#5

King David was a prophet as well as being a king according to this source: New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia


#6

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s a nabi.** You might say that their primary function was to receive messages from the Deity via some medium - a dream, a trance, an omen - and people often consulted them (and sometimes paid - there were also ‘professional’ prophets w]Basically, the original definition of a nabi ‘prophet’ or ro’eh ‘seer’ is someone who acts as God’s spokesperson. We often think of ‘prophets’ as people who foretell the future and ‘prophecies’ as predictions of future events, but that’s only half of it.** In Israelite thought, anyone who is in touch with the supernatural and speaks a message that is attributed to God - irregardless of the content or whether it refers to the present or the future or the past - iho did this for a living) in that capacity.

The thing is, when the Old Testament books were composed, people came to have this tendency to apply the term ‘prophet’ in a wider sense: most important righteous figures in the OT (especially those who are said to have on occasion came into conversation with God or received a message from God), even those who are not strictly ‘prophets’ in the original sense, came to fit the bill. That’s why Judaism now has the tradition of there being forty-eight male prophets, which includes what at first might seem unlikely candidates like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Phinehas, Jehu, or Mordecai. Yes, even David and Solomon are part of the forty-eight.

It might interest you to know that in Judaism, the Old Testament is divided into three sections: the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nebi’im), and the Writings (Ketubim). Guess what? The ‘Prophets’ section encompass some of what we would call the historical books (Joshua, Judges 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings) - the ‘Former Prophets’ - and the actual prophetic books like Isaiah or Ezekiel or Hosea - the ‘Latter Prophets’. (Note: Daniel, 1-2 Chronicles, Esther, Ruth, and the Psalms are in the ‘Writings’ section.)

Guess what? David and Solomon are also traditionally considered ‘prophets’ in Christianity. I guess we got it from the extended Jewish definition of the word and not so much in the narrower original definition.

Why are David and Solomon considered prophets, if they didnt serve the role as spokesmen? David and Solomon were kings and warriors-they werent preaching about God to the people in the land like Jonah was.


#7

Well, they were righteous, they were chosen by God, and as per the Bible, God spoke to them from time to time through various ways (even if these were just personal messages). And if you agree with our Christian interpretation that the Psalms include some inspired ‘messages from God’ in the form of messianic prophecies, that’s another point of consideration. All in all, in the extended definition of ‘prophets’, they’d count. Heck, in the Jewish list of forty-eight male prophets you have guys like Abraham (who often talked with God, but did not preach or proclaim His words to people like say, Jonah did), Jehu (who did have God speak through him - via a prophet) or Mordecai (who didn’t get any (recorded) messages from God, but was righteous all the same) counted as prophets!

To sum what I just said: the original definition of ‘prophet’ was someone who received messages from God and relayed it to people. But later, the definition became extended to include people who talked with God or received a message from Him (but did not necessarily preach to other people) and righteous, God-chosen people in general.


#8

What messages from God did David and Solomon relay to the people?


#9

I think you’re focusing on the wrong parts of my posts. :smiley: Read the part that follows afterwards:

“But later, the definition became extended to include people who talked with God or received a message from Him (but did not necessarily preach to other people) and righteous, God-chosen people in general.”

David and Solomon are ‘prophets’ in the extended definition of the word, not the original one.

No offense; I’ll kindly advise you to read my posts again. :slight_smile:


#10

That definition doesn’t make any sense. If they didnt preach to people, how could their message have been received by the people?


#11

I think I made the wrong choice of words. What I mean is, God spoke to David and Solomon through various means. Just that fact - where God speaks to someone - can qualify someone as a ‘prophet’ according to the extended Jewish definition. That’s why Abraham is also according to that definition a ‘prophet’ even he did not actually preach a la Jonah: because he spoke with God from time to time.

Or better yet, you can consider a ‘prophet’ - in the extended sense, of course - someone who has bequeathed permanent messages to mankind. Even if they were not actual seers (as per the original definition) during their lifetime, even if they did not preach to people, as long as there was something they did or said that can be considered to be a message to humanity, they’re in. Under this definition, David and Solomon would still be ‘prophets’ - their ‘message’ I think would be in the form of the books attributed to them: the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs.

Just my advice: reread all of this post (don’t just pick a specific part) before you comment. Then ask me again. Okay? :slight_smile:


#12

The Psalms and Proverbs, despite being inspired werent the will of god. Prophets like Jonah and Ezekiel revealed the will of god to the people.


#13

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

PROPHET. The biblical term “nabi” means one who spoke, acted, or wrote under the extraordinary influence of God to make known the divine counsels and will. Yet commonly associated with this primary function to proclaim the word of God, a prophet also prophesied by foretelling future events. His role, then, was to both proclaim and to make the proclamation credible.


#14

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