In the Old Testament era, God called five women to be his authentic prophets to the world. The Jewish people accepted them. But sadly we Christians don’t.
Most of us Christians are familiar with Isaiah and Ezekiel and the many other male prophets. They were called by God and spoke with definitive authority. Righteous kings submitted to their words and altered the policies of the nation.
But we Christians often forget that God also called women to the office of prophet. They too spoke with definitive authority. As they did with the male prophets, righteous kings submitted to the words of the female prophets and altered the policies of the nation.
To their credit, no man in the Old Testament objects to submitting to a female prophet. Just as with her male counterpart, a female prophet is viewed by her nation as speaking with final authority from the Most High God.
There may have been any number of female prophets during the era of the Old Covenant. The Bible mentions five:
Miriam is a child of Amram, and a sibling of Moses and Aaron:
1 Chronicles 6:3. The children of Amram: Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
Miriam was present when Pharaoh’s daughter adapted the infant Moses, and recommended a suitable nurse:
Exodus 2:7. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”
After Pharaoh’s army was drowned in the Red Sea, Miriam led public worship:
Exodus 15:20. Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dances.
Exodus 15:21. Miriam answered them, “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously. The horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
Along with her siblings Moses and Aaron, the LORD God called Miriam to be his prophets to the Hebrew people:
Micah 6:4. For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage. I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
IN OUR DAY
In our day, some Jewish people honor Miriam at the Passover Seder. They place place a “Cup of Miriam” next to the customary Cup of Elijah.
Judges 4:4. Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, judged Israel at that time.
2 Kings 22:14. So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the second quarter); and they talked with her.
2 Chronicles 34:22. So Hilkiah, and they whom the king had commanded, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the second quarter), and they spoke to her to that effect.
Nehemiah 6:14. Remember, my God, Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and also the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.
Isaiah 8:3. I went to the prophetess, and she conceived, and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, “Call his name ‘Maher Shalal Hash Baz.’
The Bible and the Jewish tradition and the early Christians accept female prophets. How anti-biblical that most of us Christians and our modern-day denominations do not.
For more, see our companion article on Female Prophets in the New Testament.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.