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Who are the Seven Gentile Prophets mentioned in the Talmud?

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Article written by : “Abdullah”

This article  critically examines what we do know of the seven Gentile prophets that are explicitly mentioned by name in the Talmud (Baba Bathra 15b).

(Job):

We are all familiar with prophet Job (ayyub) and his story of steadfast faith but he was not of the stock of Jacob (Yaqub) According to the Talmud he was from the Land of Edom, It is also believed by the rabbis of the Talmud that moses wrote the book of Job. This interesting note is placed at the end of the book of Job in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament (The Bible Prophet Jesus used and preferred over the Hebrew Text which had become so perverse):

And Job died, an old man and full of days: and it is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up. This man is described in the Syriac book as living in the land of Ausis, on the borders of Idumea and Arabia: and his name before was Jobab; (42:17C) and having taken an Arabian wife, he begot a son whose name was Ennon. And he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha, so that he was the fifth from Abraam. (Job 42:17 LXX)

(Eliphaz the Temanite) :

This prophet is mentioned in the Book of Job and is from the stock of Edom he is called a Temanite after the son of Esau whose name was Teman in Genesis 36.

And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz.Gen 36:11 KJV

Its interesting to note that Eliphaz also seems to be a family name.

(Bildad the Shuhite):

Another Prophet mentioned in the book of Job who was a descendent of Keturah the wife of Abraham( Who according to Rashi, identifies Keturah with Hagar the mother of Ishmael showing that Hagar produced a prophetic stock).His name Patronym is taken from Shuah the son of Abraham and Keturah.

Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. Gen 25:1-2 KJVA

Josephus says the following about the sons of Keturah and their settlings in Arabia:

Now, for all these sons and grandsons, Abraham contrived to settle them in colonies; and they took possession of Troglodytis (the area along both sides of the Red sea), and the country of Arabia the Happy (the Greater Part of Arabia as far as Yemen), as far as it reaches to the Red Sea. Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 1.15.1

(Zophar the Naamathite):

A friend of Prophet Job who is identified with a place in Arabia called Naamah. The Septuagint Identifies him with a group of people called Minaeans ( a rich, Yemeni people), of whom he was called their king (Job 2:11).

(Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite):

This prophet is mentioned in the book of Job and was a Descendant of Nahor the brother of Abraham. (see Genesis 22)

(Balaam and his Father):

The Person who was originally sent to Curse the Children of Yacub but was later given revelations from God to send blessings on them, little is mentioned of his father though the Talmud asserts he was a prophet also.

It’s interesting to note that almost all of these prophets are Arabs who lived in Arabia, some were descendents through Keturah (who may be Hagar according to Rashi), Esau, and a nephew of Abraham. This is in no way a comprehensive list and according to the Talmud there were many other but these are the ones just named in the Hebrew Old Testament. Even Rashi states in his commentary on the Tanakh that even the gentiles were sent prophets so the gentile nations should not have an excuse to say, “Had we had prophets we would have repented.(Rashi’s commentary on Numbers 22:5)” The lies that someone can not be a prophet because they are not Jewish can now be laid to rest.

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