Yitro is such an important tzaddik in the Torah, I was wondering if he is a prophet?

  • 2
    How do you know he was such a tzaddik?
    – Double AA
    Mar 4, 2016 at 19:43
  • I mean they even made a parsha with his name in it!Even Moses or aharon didn't have a parsha named after themselves.
    – user12119
    Mar 4, 2016 at 20:34
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    @user12119 There's a parasha named after Balaq and he's the opposite of a tzadik.
    – Daniel
    Mar 4, 2016 at 20:37
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    R. Netanel ibn al-Fayumi quotes the Sages as referring to Yitro as a prophet.
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 4, 2016 at 20:50
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    @sabbahillel He is a Temani Rishon from about 850 years ago. He quotes this from Chazal, so his greatness is not really the issue, but rather the greatness of Chazal. The Temanim retained many Midrashim that were lost to other communities. "As our sages of blessed memory explain, “Seven prophets prophesied to the nations of the world before the giving of the Torah: Laban, Jethro, Balaam, Job, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.” From Bustan al-`Uqul. Cited here.
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 6, 2016 at 13:51

1 Answer 1


@mevaqesh cites נתנאל בירב פיומי as having said.

“Seven prophets prophesied to the nations of the world before the giving of the Torah: Laban, Jethro, Balaam, Job, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.”

The gemara Bava Basra 15b (ArtScroll 15b1 top of the page) gives a different list which does not include Yisro.

Seven Prophets prophesied for the nations of the world and these are: Bil'am, his father, Iyov (Job), Elifaz the Teimanite, Bildad the Shuchite, and Tzofar the Na'amassite and Elihu the son of Berachel the Buzite (the four friends who came to console Iyov).

Yisro is not listed among the known prophets sent to the Bnai Yisrael. Before Sinai only Avraham Yitzchak Yaakov Moshe and Aharon are listed in List of Jewish Prophets After Sinai it continues with Yehoshua, Pinchas, Elkanah, Eli, Shmuel, etc.

Thus Yisro is not listed as one of them, nor is he explicitly called a prophet in the Torah. he has a parsha named for him because of his advice to Moshe and his behavior.

One should note that just as there were many prophets sent to Bnai Yisrael whose names were not included, there could have been others sent from among the nations whose names are not included and Yisro could have been among them.

Note that Adam, Noach, Shem and Eiver are not in the lists. We see that Rivkah went to "inquire of Hashem" about the problems with her pregnancy. The implication seems to be that she went to ask a prophet. Note that even if one says that she "asked" directly and was granted a prophesy, she is not in the list of 7 female prophets.

While there were many others, their names are not passed down to us.

The Talmud (Megillah 14a) says that there had been twice as many prophets as the number of people who left Egypt (2,600,000), but only those whose messages were for future generations were recorded. This count was 48 male and 7 female Prophets.

Of course, there is much debate about who is included in the list. Rashi (Megillah 3a) suggests that Daniel wasn't a prophet and should be replaced by Shemaia, who told Rehavam not to go to war with Yeravam and the northern kingdom. Rabbein Hananel and the Vilna Gaon start from Moshe and add in the sons of Korach.

Rashi also comments that "two [of the prophets] I don't know," referring to numbers 47 and 48. Another commentator says the missing two prophets are Oded and Hanani Haroeh.

  • 1
    What is Prohets and Prophecy? Why do you assume that it the authoritative work on the topic, whose silence answers the question?
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 4, 2016 at 22:12
  • @mevaqesh This is a quote from a valid summary website which gives the list of prophets as given in the talmud and medrashim as well as rashi. There are other sites as well. The point is that Yisro is not listed in the "official" list of know neviim. that is all that I was saying. I could have given other sites as well but it was not needed. You can google for others. Mar 6, 2016 at 3:43
  • We do know that there were other prophets besides for those listed/counted as one of the 48 prophets, those whos propesy was not given also for future generations Mar 6, 2016 at 8:30
  • @SamuelManuel yes, that is what I said, I just answered the question that Yisro is not listed among the known prophets. Also the medrash of 600,000 prophets speaks of those after har Sinai and entry into the land. Note that the elders (and Eldad and Medad) are not spoken of as prophets but as those granted prophesy fo a limited time). Mar 6, 2016 at 12:33
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    Before Sinai only Avraham Yitzchak Yaakov Moshe and Aharon are listed in Prophets and Prophecy Well obviously this list leaves much to be desired, as the Torah records God speaking to Adam, yet he is not listed. If you claim that he wasn't a proper prophet by some undefined benchmark, then you reduce your answer to a matter of semantics: these are the prophets who are the real prophets, as defined by the prophets that are included in the list. There is no reason to assume that the OP meant anything other than whether he prophesied; not whether his prophecy had some unspoken characteristic.
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 6, 2016 at 13:58

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