Bava Bathra 15b (original text here) says that there were seven prophets that primarily prophesied for gentiles, including Job and his four friends.

Is the Talmud saying that the book of Job speaks primarily to Gentiles, or is it referring to other unwritten prophecies of Job and the others? If its referring to the Book of Job's words, in what way does the book of Job speak more to Gentiles than to Jews?

  • interesting. wonder why Yonah is not counted there.
    – ray
    Jan 21, 2014 at 9:00
  • @ray Obadia too!
    – Baby Seal
    Jan 21, 2014 at 9:12
  • and Isaiah.....
    – ray
    Jan 21, 2014 at 9:23
  • @ray Isaiah talks about the Jews alot
    – Baby Seal
    Jan 21, 2014 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


The Books of Obadiah, Nahum, and Jonah contain prophecies that are predominately addressing Gentiles. The Talmud does not mention them as prophets of the Gentiles though, only Beor, Bilaam, Job, and his 4 companions.

So perhaps the Talmud is referring to the general trend of their prophecy, most of which remained unwritten (Megillah 14b), not specifically to their written works. Obadiah, Nahum, and Jonah mostly prophesied for Israel. The Talmud's 7 mostly prophesied for the Gentiles. We don't see the bulk of their prophecy because it wasn't eternally applicable and didn't need to be written down.

Alternatively, The Talmud could simply be stating to whom the prophecy was said, and not about whom it was said, or for whom it was most pertinent. So the Book of Job, while codified by Moses (B Bath 14a), was originally prophesied by Job and his friends to Gentiles.

This approach finds merit upon examining Bilaam's prophecy (Num 23, 24), which contained much pertaining to Israel, and may have been his only prophetic experience (Nahmanides on Num 22:31), yet Bilaam is listed by the Talmud.

  • I'm not so sure Bilaam prophecied besides for Israel in parsha Balak. there are commentaries which say that God rested His presence on Him only for the honor of Israel, which implies that His only prophecy was in that parsha. the rest may have been just kishuf.
    – ray
    Jan 21, 2014 at 10:41
  • would you say that most of his prophecy there was for other nations or for israel
    – ray
    Jan 21, 2014 at 11:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .