Can God speak to non prophets, or do they simply become prophets the moment that God speaks to them?

Or to put it less philosophically. Can I as regular Joe ever hear the voice of God? Could God have a special message for non prophet Joe? Or does God's message to me make me a retroactive prophet?

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    Can I suggest an edit to "Does G-d" rather than "Can G-d"? If He can create a universe out of nothing, that particular task doesn't sound like much of a challenge, assuming He wants to tackle it... Jul 18, 2019 at 7:22
  • It's not really a question about God's ability, but rather our classification. Christians say God can do what he wants, so God can become a human man and die. Judaism I think would say sure, God "could" do that, but that doesn't mean theologically we would consider it
    – Aaron
    Jul 18, 2019 at 7:58
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    Based on simyou's answer there are two approaches - prophets de-facto - people that G-d in fact addressed them personally, and prophets de-jure - those who our Sages count them as such.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 18, 2019 at 12:33
  • @JoshK See my comment - whom do we call prophets - those who G-d speaks to or those who we want to call so.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 18, 2019 at 12:34
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    He can do anything He wants to. He spoke in the form of a bat kol to plenty of non-prophets in the Talmud and probably afterwards, maybe even now.
    – Gary
    Jul 18, 2019 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


Usually we say that someone is a prophet as soon as God has spoken to them. I understand your question to be if there are cases of God speaking to people who we know have not done any preparation and who have not learned to achieve a state which is conducive to prophecy.

Looking back to the earlier stories in Bereishis we find this a few times. God speaks to Cain, Avimelech, and Laban, none of whom are prophets. Later we find God 'extending' from the prophecy of Moshe to the seventy elders, who apparently were not worthy of prophecy on their own.

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    Also, king Shaul (שמואל א פרק י פסוק יא). That actually became a phrase in Hebrew Jul 18, 2019 at 7:49
  • So who/what defines a prophet?
    – Al Berko
    Jul 18, 2019 at 12:31

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