Our sages teach that there were seven women famed for their prophecy. (Talmud Megilla 14a states that only prophecies with a message for the future were recorded. In reality, there were many more than the 55 prophets listed in the Bible.) Jewish Treats presents the female prophets to you, accompanied by short commentaries of who they were:

1) Sarah, the wife of Abraham, had her request for the banishment of Hagar and Ishmael supported by God Himself, who told Abraham to listen to her, as she was a greater prophet than her husband.

2) Miriam, the older sister of Moses, was actually blessed with prophecy at an early age. It was Miriam who encouraged her parents to reunite after separating so that Moses might be conceived.

3) Deborah was both a prophetess and a Judge over Israel. She led the nation into war, and victory, against the Canaanite General Sisera.

4) Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, was barren for over 10 years. Hannah’s near-silent prayers, challenging God on her very essence of being a woman, became the model for Jewish prayer.

5) Abigail interceded with the-not-yet-king David on behalf of her stingy husband, Nabal, who refused to pay David for guard work. Abigail stepped in to diffuse the future king’s rage. When, shortly thereafter, Nabal died, David and Abigail were wed.

6) Huldah, a cousin of the prophet Jeremiah, prophesied in one of the gates of the First Temple. Her consultation with King Josiah is recorded in the Second Book of Kings.

7) Esther, the heroine of Purim and wife of the Persian King Ahashverosh, was the only person who could persuade the king to revoke the order that he had issued calling for the destruction of all the Jews of Persia.

This Treat was originally posted on January 8, 2009.

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