The Female Prophets of Israel


Seven prophetesses among the number of great Jewish women; Mothers, warriors, Teachers and advisors’. Who were these? — Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Hulda, Esther, etc.

(1) The First Prophet is Sara, Abraham's wife, also known as Yiskah who dedicated her life; body and soul, publishing the idea of the existence of one God

1 ‘Sarah’, as it is written, The father of Milkah and the father of Yiscah’,18 and R. Isaac said [on this]. Yiscah is Sarah; and why was she called Yiscah? Because she discerned [sakethah] by means of the holy spirit, as it is said, In all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken to her voice.19 Another explanation is: because all gazed [sakin] at her beauty.

(2) The second woman prophetess is Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, was a midwife who saved thousands of Jewish children condemned to be killed by the Pharaoh of Egypt.

2 ‘Miriam’, as it is written, And Miriam the prophetess the sister of Aaron.20 Was she only the sister of Aaron and not the sister of Moses? — R. Nahman said in the name of Rab: [She was so called] because she prophesied when she was the sister of Aaron [only]21 and said, My mother is destined to bear a son who will save Israel. When he was born the whole house was filled with light, and her father arose and kissed her on the head, saying, My daughter, thy prophecy has been fulfilled. But when they threw him into the river her father arose and tapped her on the head, saying. Daughter, where is thy prophecy? So it is written, And his sister stood afar off to know;22 to know, [that is,] what would be with the latter part of her prophecy.

The fourth of the judges who ruled over the Jewish people after the death of Yehoshua Bin Nun, was not a man, but a woman, one of the most renown of all times, the Prophetess Deborah. She was one of the seven women prophetesses whose prophecies are recorded in the Bible. She was the wife of Lapidot (Mr. Torches) Deborah lived in the Mountains of Ephraim, between Ramah and Bet-El. In the midst of the sin and idolatry, Deborah remained true to God and His Torah. She was wise and God fearing, and the people flocked to her for advice and help. Deborah held court beneath a palm-tree, in the open air. There, where everyone could hear her, she warned the Jewish people and urged them to leave their evil ways and return to G‑d. The entire Jewish nation respected this great prophetess.


3 ‘Deborah’, as it is written, Now Deborah a prophetess, the wife of Lapidot. 23 What is meant by a woman of flames 23? [She was so called] because she used to make wicks for the Sanctuary. And she sat under a palm tree 24 Why just a palm tree? — R. Simeon b. Abishalom said: [To avoid] privacy.25 Another explanation is: Just as a palm tree has only one heart, so Israel in that generation had only one heart devoted to their Father in heaven.

Yael the brave, was the one who killed the Cruel Governor, Sisera, a brute who oppressed the Jewish people. With this act of bravery he brought the victory to the Jews.

Yael was the wife of Cheber the Kenite, Yael plays an important role in the story of Israel’s wars with the Canaanites, described in the Book of Judges. In the narrative about the military heroine Deborah, Yael kills Sisera, the Canaanite general of King Yabin, after he escapes from the battle with Deborah’s general, Barak. Yael’s deeds are recounted in Judges 4 and in the poetic Song of Deborah in Judges 5. The song is old, most probably dating to the late 12th century B.C.E., and may be the earliest poem in the Hebrew Bible.

Chana was the wife of Ekana, mother of Samuel the Prophet


4 ‘Hannah’, as it is written, And Hannah prayed and said, My heart exulteth in the Lord, my horn is exalted in the Lord.26 [She said], my horn is exalted’, and not, my cruse is exalted’, thus implying that the royalty of [the hour of] David and Solomon, who were anointed from a horn,27 would be prolonged,28 but the royalty of [the house of] Saul and Jehu,29 who were anointed with a cruse, would not be prolonged. There is none holy as the Lord, for there is none beside thee.30 R. Judah b. Menashia said: Read not bilteka, ‘beside thee’], but read lebalotheka [‘to survive thee’]. For the nature of the Holy One, blessed be He, is not like that of flesh and blood. It is the nature of flesh and blood to be survived by its works, but God survives His works. Neither is there any rock [zur] like our God.30 There is no artist [zayyar] like our God. A man draws a figure on a wall, but is unable to endow it with breath and spirit, inward parts and intestines. But the Holy One, blessed be He, fashions a form within a form and endows it with breath and spirit, inward parts and intestines.


Ruth was the Moabite who renounced Moav royalty title to convert to Judaism, and so she was granted the merit to be the mother of Davidic dinasty, Lineage of King David and the future Messiah deserved to be born from her.

Abigail is depicted as a real Eshet Chail, This Prophetess is counted among the 23 real righteous and upright Jewish women of all time. She ended as one of the wives of king David. Our sages said that although Kings are not allowed to have more than 18 wives; however if they were women such Abigail, there would not be any reason to limit the number of them.

ABIGAIL THE PROPHETESS5 ‘Abigail’, as it is written, And it was so, as she rode on her ass and came down by the covert of the mountain.31 ‘By the covert [sether] of the mountain’? It should say from the mountain’! — Rabbah b. Samuel said: It means that she came with reference to blood that came from the hidden parts [setharim]. She brought some blood and showed it to him.32 He said to her: Is blood to be shown by night? She replied: Are capital cases tried at night?33 He said to her: Talmud - Mas. Megilah 14b He [Nabal] is a rebel against the king and no trial is necessary for him.1 She replied; Saul is still alive, and your fame is not yet spread abroad in the world. Then he said to her: Blessed be thy discretion and blessed be thou, that hast kept me this day from bloodguiltiness.2 The word damim [bloodguiltiness] is plural, to indicate two kinds of blood.3 The passage teaches that she bared her thigh4 and he went three parasangs by the light of it.5 He said, Listen to me. She replied, Let not this be a stumbling-block to thee.6 The word ‘this’ implies that something else would be, and what was that? The incident of Bathsheba; and so it was eventually.7 The soul of thy lord shall be bound up in the bundle of life.8 When she left him she said to him, and when the Lord shall have done good to my lord . . . then remember thy handmaid.9 R. Nahman said: This bears out the popular saying, While a woman talks she spins.10 Some adduce the saying: The goose stoops as it goes along, but its eyes peer afar.


R. Nahman said: Hulda was a descendant of Joshua. It is written here [in connection with Hulda]. The son of Harhas,26 and it is written in another place [in connection with Joshua], In Timnath-Heres.27 R. ‘Ena Saba cited the following in objection to R. Nahman: ‘Eight prophets who were also priests were descended from Rahab the harlot, namely, Neriah, Baruch, Serayah, Mahseyah, Jeremiah, Hilkiah, Hanamel and Shallum.’ R. Judah says: Hulda the prophetess was also one of the descendants of Rahab the harlot. [We know this] because it is written here ‘the son of Tikvah’ and it is written elsewhere [in connection with Rahab]. ‘the line [tikvath] of scarlet thread’!28 — He replied: ‘’Ena Saba’29 — or, according to another report. ‘Black bowl’,30 — the truth can be found by combining my statement and yours’.31 We must suppose that she became a proselyte and Joshua married her. But had Joshua any children? Is it not written, Nun his son, Joshua his son?32 — He had no sons, but he had daughters. ‘Hulda, as it is written, So Hilkiah the Kohen and Ahikam and Achbor etc.11 But if Jeremiah was there, how could she prophesy? — It was said in the school of Rab in the name of Rab: Hulda was a near relative of Jeremiah, and he did not object to her doing so. But how could Josiah himself pass over Jeremiah and send to her? — The members of the school of R. Shila replied, Because women are tender-hearted.

Huldah, the wife of Shallum ben Tikvah, was one of seven prophetesses mentioned in Tanach who lived in different times. These seven prophetesses were: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah and Esther.

Huldah lived in the time of the reign of Josiah in Jerusalem (3285–3316). It was during this time that the spirit of prophecy came to her, and she became known as a prophetess. This was also the time of the outstanding prophets Jeremiah and Zephaniah.

According to the Midrash,1 Jeremiah prophesied in the streets of Jerusalem; Zephaniah delivered his prophecies in the synagogues; and Huldah had a school for women in Jerusalem, whom she taught the word of G‑d insofar as it pertained to Jewish women, mothers and daughters.

In the Talmud2 it is stated that Huldah was a relative of the prophet Jeremiah. She was a descendant of Joshua bin Nun (of the tribe of Ephraim). The prophet Jeremiah was also a descendant of Joshua—on his mother’s side. On his father’s side, Jeremiah was a kohen, the son of Hilkiah, who came from a long line of kohanim going back to Aaron (of the tribe of Levi).

Huldah’s husband, Shallum, had a prominent position in the royal court. He was the keeper of the king’s wardrobe, in charge of the king’s robes and clothes for all occasions. He was also one of the king’s instructors when Josiah was still a child. Josiah was only eight years old when he inherited the crown from his father, Amon. His father, who had turned to idolatry, was murdered in a plot by his palace servants after he had ruled for two years.

Young Josiah had eminent teachers: Hilkiah, the kohen gadol (he was the great-grandfather of Ezra the Scribe); the prophet Jeremiah; Shafan the scribe, and his son Ahikam; as well as Shallum and his wife, Huldah, who took care of him in his early childhood. Under their teaching and influence Josiah developed into a G‑d-fearing person. He did not follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather (King Manasseh), who worshipped idols and encouraged idolatry in the kingdom of Judah. Rather did he follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather Hezekiah, who was a G‑d-fearing, Torah-loving king. At the age of sixteen years Josiah grasped the reins of his kingdom firmly in his hands, and began to introduce changes in the spiritual life of his people which brought a new era into the land. For he steered the people toward the old spirit of fear of G‑d and devotion to His Torah and Mitzvot.

Some years later, in the eighteenth year of his reign, the young king undertook the huge task of restoring the Beit Hamikdash, which had been neglected for so many years. He called a mass rally for the purpose of getting the people to participate in the great undertaking. The people responded enthusiastically, and the contributions flowed in generously. The work of repairing and restoring the Beth Hamikdash swung into stride under the able supervision of the high priest Hilkiah.

In the midst of this work, Hilkiah was thrilled to discover an ancient Sefer Torah from the time of Moses. This unique Torah scroll had been kept in the Holy of Holies of the Beit Hamikdash, but in the time of the idol-worshipping kings the upright kohanim removed it from there and hid it in a secret place in the Beit Hamikdash. For it had once happened that the treacherous King Ahaz had burnt a Sefer Torah.

Now the high priest came upon this hidden Torah scroll, and he gave it to the king’s scribe Shafan to take it to the king.

The king told Shafan to read from it. It so happened that the scroll opened at the section in Deuteronomy containing the admonition (tochachah) where G‑d warns the Jewish people of the terrible consequences of neglecting the Torah and Mitzvot, leading to destruction and exile.

The king was deeply shaken and heartbroken—remembering how his father and grandfather had lived, desecrating the Holy Land with idolatry and evil. He rent his clothes (a sign of mourning and repentance), and ordered Hilkiah and four more royal messengers to go to the holy prophets to inquire as to what should be done in view of the divine warning that had just been received.

Normally they would have immediately gone to the greatest prophet of that time, Jeremiah, but he was not in Jerusalem. G‑d had sent him to visit the Jewish exiles in Assyria, where they had lived in captivity ever since Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, had conquered the northern kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel (in the year 3205). Jeremiah was to bring them a message of encouragement and hope, assuring them that G‑d had not forgotten them, and that neither should they forget G‑d, but bear bravely their exile until the day when G‑d would gather in all Jewish exiles dispersed in various lands and bring them back to the Land of Israel.

In Jeremiah’s absence, the king’s messengers went to the prophetess Huldah, hoping at the same time that her compassionate womanly heart and tender feelings would soften a possibly harsh prophecy that awaited them.

Huldah delivered to them the following prophecy:

Thus says the L‑rd G‑d of Israel: Tell the man that sent you to me, thus says the L‑rd: ‘I will bring a calamity on this place, and upon its inhabitants—all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read—because they have forsaken Me and have worshipped other gods . . . Therefore My anger shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.

But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the L‑rd, you shall say: Thus says the L‑rd G‑d of Israel regarding the word which you have heard: Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the L‑rd when you heard what I decreed against this place and against its inhabitants . . . and you rent your clothes and wept before Me—I heard you. Therefore I will gather you unto your fathers, and you will go to your grave in peace; your eyes shall not see all the misfortune which I will bring upon this place.3

No sooner had the messengers brought the answer from the prophetess Huldah to the king than he immediately sent for the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem and ordered them to summon the entire nation—“small and great”—to the Beit Hamikdash.

Standing on a platform, the king read to the people the solemn words of the Torah from the scroll that was found in the Beit Hamikdash—the divine warning followed by the covenant that Moses and all the Jews had made with G‑d. Now the king renewed this covenant for the entire nation—“To walk in the way of G‑d, to keep His mitzvot, commandments and laws with all their heart and soul.”

The whole nation solemnly accepted the renewed covenant and undertook to carry it out fully.

Under the personal leadership of the king, and with the help of the high priest Hilkiah, the nation began to clean up the land of all idolatry with its abominable customs. A spirit of repentance, holiness and purity filled the entire nation.

Pesach—the Festival of Liberation—was approaching. King Josiah resolved to strengthen the feeling of true freedom—freedom from the slavery of the previous generations which were addicted to idol-worship—by an extraordinary national celebration of this great festival. Indeed, such an inspired and joyous Pesach celebration had not taken place since the days of the Prophet Samuel.

The prophetess Huldah had an important share in the great spiritual revival of the Jewish people under the reign of King Josiah, through her prophecy and influence.

Huldah’s prophecy came true. King Josiah still had another 13 years to live: he reigned for 31 years. But he did not have to witness the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Beit Hamikdash. That took place at the end of the eleven-year reign of his son Zedekiah. (In the meantime, Josiah’s two older sons and a grandson succeeded him for brief periods: Jehoahaz for three months and Jehoiakim for 11 years, followed by the latter’s son Jehoiachin, or Jeconiah, for 100 days.)

Nor did the prophetess Huldah have to witness—as did her relative the prophet Jeremiah—the terrible destruction she had foretold. But her prophecy and influence—as one of the seven divine prophetesses that our Jewish nation had—remained an everlasting inheritance of our people.

Esther Ha'Malka, cousin of Mordechai descendant of King Shaul, she was one of the greatest Jewish women, and thanks to her quasi suicidal intervention before King Persian Ahasverush, she managed to stop the plan of extermination and genocide against the Jews, motivating the Jews to sincerely make Teshuvah (to repent).


7 ‘Esther,’ the prophetess as it is written, Now it came to pass on the third day that Esther clothed herself in royalty.20 Surely it should say,’royal apparel’? What it shows is that the holy spirit clothed her. It is written here, ‘and she clothed’, and it is written in another place. Then the spirit clothed Amasai, etc.



This is Yehudit (Judith), the daring Jewish woman who seduced the Syrian Greek General, Holofernes who wanted to eliminate Judaism, and after succeeding in befriending him decapitated him, with that she indicated by prophecy the Jewish army the military strategy to adopt.


Rachel the wife of Rabbi Akiva, gave up her family and her fortune to marry Young Akiva Ben Yosef, who was a simple poor countryman, but thanks to her, he began to study and became the Master par excellence of the Oral Torah undoubtedly, one of the greatest Rabbis of all time and one of the richest, all thanks to this great woman.


R. Nachman said: Haughtiness does not befit women. There were two haughty women, and their names are hateful, one being called a hornet22 and the other a weasel.23 Of the hornet it is written, And she sent and called Barak,24 instead of going to him. Of the weasel it is written, Say to the man,25 instead of ‘say to the king’.


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