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PROPHETESS (נְבִיאָה, H5567; προφη̂τις, G4739). A female prophet, possibly also the wife of a prophet.

A variety of women are referred to by this term. Miriam, the sister of Moses, led the response to the “Song of Moses” (Exod 15:20). The charismatic leader Deborah judged Israel (Judg 4:4). When the Book of the Law was recovered at the time of King Josiah, his officers consulted Huldah (2 Kings 2:14). Nehemiah was opposed by a prophetess named No-adiah (Neh 6:14). Her stature is suggested by the merely anonymous mention of the prophets associated with her. The wife of Isaiah is called a prophetess, perhaps because of her relation to him (Isa 8:3).

In the NT the venerable Anna shared in the prophetic revelation concerning the coming Messiah (Luke 2:36ff.). There is ample evidence of prophetic activity among women in the apostolic period (Acts 2:17; 1 Cor 12:10, 28ff.; 13:1f.; 14:1-33). The four daughters of Philip prophesied (Acts 21:9), though they are not designated as prophetesses. The last reference is Revelation 2:20 where the term is arrogantly assumed by the seductive “Jezebel.”

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


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