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I don't think there were any gerim amongst the nevi'im, but would it have been possible?

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How is Sarah "easily described as not being a convert"? Did she have a more Jewish upbringing than the other matriarchs? –  Isaac Moses Jan 11 '13 at 15:12
@IsaacMoses did she have a less Jewish upbringing than Avraham? –  yoel Jan 11 '13 at 17:32
How do you distinguish either Avraham or Sarah from the other matriarchs on the "is similar to a convert" scale? –  Isaac Moses Jan 11 '13 at 17:40
@IsaacMoses It seems intuitive to me. I think there is an assumption that the other matriarchs converted prior to marrying Yitzchak and Yaakov, whereas I presume Sarah converted at the same time as Avraham. –  yoel Jan 11 '13 at 19:36
Balaam was a prophet and he wasn't even Jewish. –  Daniel Apr 11 '13 at 20:06

4 Answers 4

up vote 21 down vote accepted

There is a tradition, recorded in various sources, that the prophet Ovadiah was an Edomite convert. This tradition is born of the fact that there is nothing within his short (one chapter) oracle that concerns Judeans or Israelites; the entire thing is an oracle about the Edomites instead.


  • Sanhedrin 39b;
  • Tanchuma, Tazria 8.

See also Rashi and Radak on Ovadiah 1:1.

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Not to mention that there were non-Jews who had the gift of prophecy, including the rasha Billaam. If he could be a prophet, why not a convert? –  Bruce James Jan 11 '13 at 12:41
@BruceJames One could argue Billaam was given the gift of prophecy only to prove to gentiles that they did not refrain from repenting for lack of a prophet to guide them in God's ways( see Rashi on Bamidbar 22:5 s.v. "'Eretz Benei Amo"). So, one couldn't learn from that about gentiles qualifying to become prophets, or mi-Qal va-Chomer whether Gerim qualify either. –  Tamir Evan Jan 11 '13 at 13:39
@TamirEvan, except that he was not just a prophet for that one instance. He was a career-prophet. In addition, that does not negate the fact that, yes, non-Jews could be prophets. That's just a (possible) reason why G-d structured prophecy that way, not a proof that only one person ever was made a prophet outside of Klal Yisrael. –  Seth J Jan 24 '13 at 15:57
@SethJ I didn't say that Billaam's gift of prophecy was, in itself, limited, nor that non-Jews couldn't be prophets, nor that only one gentile was ever made a prophet( I wasn't even voicing my own opinion in the matter). I was saying that, according to the Rashi I cited, the bar for gentiles, especially Billaam, becoming prophets was lowered( to deny gentiles an excuse for not repenting), and one could not learn from them to Gerim who, like native born Jews, don't enjoy the same leniency( and have to be better qualified for prophecy). –  Tamir Evan Jan 24 '13 at 20:51

Not only did Adam and Ḥavah receive prophecy, but so did their son - after murdering his brother - and Noaḥ. And Lot and his family were visited and spoken to by angels. Hagar received prophecy after being exiled, and Pharaoh and his servants received prophetic dreams.

Certainly before Avraham there were no "Jews". Avraham himself "converted", if you can call it that, and so did all of Klal Yisrael, essentially, during the Exodus - and they all received prophecy at Har Sinai.

As for the status of Lot, he was either a "gentile" or a "convert", and the same would have been true of his family.

Similar for Hagar.

Pharaoh and his servants definitely were not Jewish, but, interestingly, Muslims believe that Pharaoh converted at the Sea in order not to drown (and I seem to recall a Midrash or something similar that he converted after everything - does anyone know if I'm making that up?).

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Don't forget Lavan. –  Double AA Jan 24 '13 at 16:29

Tana D'Bei Eliyahu: " I testify on Myself heaven and earth, whether man or woman, whether gentile or Jew, whether slaveman or slavewoman, everyone according to his actions, the Ruach Hakodesh will dwell on him". from shaarei kedusha available here: http://dafyomireview.com/shaarei_kedusha.php?na=1

(i.e. anyone can reach Ruach HaKodesh even women, slaves, or non-Jews).

as far as being an official prophet, not clear

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According to R. Yehudah Halevi, a convert cannot be a prophet. The question on R. Yehudah Halevi's view is that Chazal say Ovadiah was a convert. This question, which was raised by the commentators on the Kuzari, is addressed by R. Yitzchak Sheilat who suggests that R. Yehudah Halevi's view depends on a possible dispute in the Gemara about whether Ovadiah was a convert. According to the Rambam, R. Sheilat notes, a convert can certainly be a prophet.

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Where is this dispute about if Ovadiah was a Prophet? –  Double AA Jan 15 '13 at 20:37
@DoubleAA I fixed his typo. –  Ariel K Jan 17 '13 at 0:12
Does anyone ask from Bilam or Job? –  Baby Seal Jan 16 '14 at 3:27

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