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Home > Dictionaries > Holman Bible Dictionary > SONS OF THE PROPHETS

Holman Bible Dictionary

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Members of a band or guild of prophets. “Sons of” refers to membership in a group or class and does not imply a family relationship. “Sons of the prophets” suggests a community or guild of prophets. The most extensive use of the expression occurs in the Elisha stories where the prophet is portrayed as the leader of the prophetic guild. In that capacity, Elisha cared for the needs of a prophet's widow (2 Kings 4:1-7), agreed to the building of a common dwelling (2 Kings 6:1-7), and presided at a common meal (2 Kings 4:38-44). The sons of the prophets functioned either as witnesses (2 Kings 2:3,2 Kings 2:5,2 Kings 2:7,2 Kings 2:15) or as agents of Elisha's ministry (2 Kings 9:1-3).

The single reference outside the Elisha cycle to the sons of the prophets is to someone identified as “a certain man of the sons of the prophets” who condemned Ahab's release of Ben-Hadad (1 Kings 20:35-42). The “company of prophets” (1 Samuel 10:5,1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 19:20) are groups of prophets whose charismatic spirit involved Saul in prophecy (1 Samuel 10:10) and, later, both Saul and his messengers (1 Samuel 19:20).

Amos' famous declaration, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet” (1 Samuel 7:14 NAS) is probably a declaration of independence from the prophetic guilds of his day. Similarly, Jeremiah's claim that God made him a prophet even before conception (Jeremiah 1:5) may obliquely represent a rejection of association with the prophetic schools of Judah. See Prophet.

Fred L. Horton, Jr.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'SONS OF THE PROPHETS'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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