Now that we have talked about Abraham and Moses, the first and great prophets, we can move on into more prophets of the Bible. These prophets appear in many forms and we start to see a greater role that these prophets play through the middle of the Hebrew Bible. Let’s continue our study.
After Moses, the next prophet we see is a woman, Miriam. Miriam is actually Moses and Aaron’s sister and she plays a very interesting role. She sings and dances a short song of praise to God and that is all we see in this short scene in Exodus 15. Then we see another women prophet, Deborah during the time of the judges. In Judges 4:4, it mentions Deborah as a judge but it also mentions that she is a prophetess. This word is the feminine form of the same Hebrew word for a prophet, indicating the same role. These two examples give evidence that the role of prophet is not limited to gender.
We then see prophets like Gad and Nathan who was almost a personal prophet to King David who received messages from God. He would let David know about warfare and tell him of his shortcomings. We start to see a greater role of prophets here as speakers to kings and officials of nations, especially Israel.
Then we get to prophets like Elijah and Elisha. These prophets were known for their miracles and acts of wonder. They spoke to the people through signs and wonders they performed through the power of God. Miracles like using flour and oil that did not get used up, raising people from the dead, healing the sick, and making an axe head float. All of these signs were to prove they were from God, He was among them, and a wake up call that they needed to follow Yahweh again. One major role these prophets played was to confront the evil leaders of Israel. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah challenges the leaders of Israel to a showdown of the gods. Elijah tells them that they have abandoned God’s commands and are following false gods. God ends up winning through the prayer of Elijah and proving who really is the true God. This scene creates a picture that sometimes the role of prophets is also to confront rebellious leaders and tell them to turn back to God when they have strayed from the path of God.
So now we start to see a much larger role prophets can play in the course of history. They can be judges or rulers, assistants to kings and officials, and even miracle-workers. Prophets are messengers of God and how they get their message across depends on how God deems necessary, whether by word or deed.