Bible History Summary of the Old Testament Prophets. The prophets of the Old Testament were the source of God’s revelation to humanity. The word prophet comes from two Greek words, “pro” which means “before, in front of, or in place of,” and “fayme” which means “to speak.” The Old Testament describes a prophet as follows: 1) a man of God (1 Samuel 2:27); 2) a servant and messenger of the Lord (Isaiah 42:19); 3) a seer (Isaiah 30:10); a man of the Spirit or “inspired man” (Hosea 9:7); a watchman for the people (Ezekiel 3:17). See below for scriptures and Bible history of the Old Testament Prophets.
Ancient Prophets The ancient prophets started with Adam, the first man, and ended with Melchizedek, the King of Salem. The ancient prophets are described in the book of Genesis. The ancient prophets are Adam, Seth, Enos, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, Eber, and Melchizedek.
Patriarchal Prophets The patriarchal prophets lived in the times of the great patriarchs of the Bible from Abraham through Joshua. The patriarchal prophets are described in the book of Genesis through the book of Joshua. The patriarchal prophets are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Caleb, Hur, Jethro, Moses, Aaron, Assir, Joshua, Phinehas, Boaz, Beor, and Balaam/
Judge Prophets The judge prophets emerged when Israel evolved into a federation of tribes who were ruled by Judges. The judge prophets are described in the book of Judges and the books of Samuel. The judge prophets are Eli, Gideon, Elkanah, and Samuel.
King’s Prophets The king’s prophets guided the following Kings of Israel: Saul, David, Solomon and Rehoboam. The king’s prophets are describe in the books of Samuel. The king’s prophets are Nathan, Gad, Ahimelech, Abiathar, Shemaiah, and Iddo.
Prophets of Israel and Judah After the death of King Solomon the kingdom of Israel split into two halves. The Southern Kingdom of Israel, called Judah, had two tribes and the Northern Kingdom of Israel, referred to as Israel, had ten tribes. The prophets of this time were referred to as the Prophets of Israel and the Prophets of Judah. The prophets of Israel and Judah are described in the books of Kings and the books of Chronicles. Many of these prophets are Major or Minor prophets and have a separate book in the Bible detailing their prophesies. The prophets of Israel are Ahijah, Micaiah, Beeri, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Elijah, Elisha, and Oded. The prophets of Judah are Oded the Exhorter, Azariah, Hanani, Jehu, Jahaziel, Eliezer, Obadiah, Amoz, Isaiah, Zechariah, Micah, Nahum, Maaseiah, Neriah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Urijah.
ELIJAH 875-850 BC; Central Message: Yahweh, not Baal, is God (1st Kings 18:21, And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”); Location: Tishbe; Bible Passages: 1st Kings 17:1 – 2nd Kings 2:18.
MICAIAH 856 BC; Central Message: Judgment on Ahab, proof of prophecy (1st Kings 22:28); Location: Samaria; Bible Passages: 1st Kings 22, 2nd Chronicles 18.
ELISHA 855-800 BC; Central Message: God’s miraculous power (2nd Kings 5:15, And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.); Location: Abel Meholah; Bible Passages: 1st Kings 19:15-21, 2nd Kings 2-9, 13.
JONAH 786-746 BC; Central Message: God’s universal concern (Jonah 4:11); Location: Gath Hepher; Bible Passages: 2nd Kings 14:25, Jonah.
HOSEA 786-746 BC; Central Message: God’s unquenchable love (Hosea 11:8-9); Location: Israel; Bible Passages: Hosea.
AMOS 760-750 BC; Central Message: God’s call for justice and righteousness (Amos 5:24); Location: Tekoa; Bible Passages: Amos.
ISAIAH 740-698 BC; Central Message: Hope through repentance & suffering (Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool”Isaiah 1:18–>); Location: Jerusalem; Bible Passages: 2nd Kings 19-20, Isaiah.
MICAH 735-710 BC; Central Message: Call to walk humble, love mercy and do justice (Micah 6:8, “The hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”Micah 6:8–>); Location: Moresheth Gath Jerusalem; Bible Passages: Jeremiah 26:18, Micah.
ODED 733 BC; Central Message: Do not go beyond God’s command (2nd Chronicles 28:9); Location: Samaria; Bible Passages: 2nd Chronicles 28:9-11.
NAHUM 686-612 BC; Central Message: God’s jealousy protects His people (Nahum 1:2-3); Location: Elkosh; Bible Passages: Nahum.
ZEPHANIAH 640-621 BC; Central Message: Hope for the humble and the righteous (Zephaniah 2:3); Location: ?; Bible Passages: Zephaniah.
JEREMIAH 626-584 BC; Central Message: Faithful prophet points to new covenant (Jeremiah 31:33-34); Location: Anathoth / Jerusalem; Bible Passages: 2nd Chronicles 36:12, Jeremiah.
HULDAH 621 BC; Central Message: God’s book is accurate (2nd Kings 22:16); Location: Jerusalem; Bible Passages: 2nd Kings 22, 2nd Chronicles 34.
HABAKKUK 608-598 BC; Central Message: God calls for faithfulness (Habakkuk 2:4); Location: ?; Bible Passages: Habakkuk.
OBADIAH 580 BC; Central Message: Doom on Edom to bring God’s kingdom (Obadiah 21); Location: Jerusalem; Bible Passages: Obadiah.
Captive Prophets When the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed the people of Israel were exiled and became captives of the Babylonians. The prophets of this time were referred to as the Captive Prophets. The captive prophets are Daniel, Ezekiel, Mordecai (Book of Ester), and Seraiah (book of Jeremiah).
EZEKIEL 593-571 BC; Central Message: Future hope for new community of worship (Ezekiel 37:12-13); Location: Babylon; Bible Passages: Ezekiel.
Prophets of the Return. After the people of Israel returned from captivity there were several prophets, and these prophets are called the prophets of the return. The prophesies of these prophets are described in their own separate book of the Bible. The prophets of the return are Joel, Ezra, Haggai, Malachi, Nehemiah, and Zechariah.
JOEL 539-331 BC; Central Message: Call to repent and experience God’s Spirit (Joel 2:28-29); Location: Jerusalem; Bible Passages: Joel.
HAGGAI 520 BC; Central Message: The priority of God’s house (Haggai 2:8-9); Location: Jerusalem; Bible Passages: Ezra 5:1 – 6:14, Haggai.
ZECHARIAH 520-514 BC; Central Message: Faithfulness will lead to God’s universal rule (Zechariah 14:9); Location: Jerusalem; Bible Passages: Ezra 5:1 – 6:14, Zechariah.
MALACHI 500-450 BC; Central Message: Honor God and wait for His righteousness (Malachi 4:2); Location: Jerusalem; Bible Passages: Malachi.
Major Prophets. The major prophets refer to the longer books of the Old Testament containing the prophecies of key prophets. The Major prophets include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations (Jeremiah), Ezekiel and Daniel.
Minor Prophets. The minor prophets refer to the shorter books of the Old Testament containing the prophecies of key prophets. These books are also referred to as the Twelve Prophets because they consist of 12 books. The minor prophets include Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.