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In Shmuel 1 9 9 we find the following:

לְפָנִ֣ים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל כֹּֽה־אָמַ֤ר הָאִישׁ֙ בְּלֶכְתּוֹ֙ לִדְר֣וֹשׁ אֱלֹהִ֔ים לְכ֥וּ וְנֵלְכָ֖ה עַד־הָרֹאֶ֑ה כִּ֤י לַנָּבִיא֙ הַיּ֔וֹם יִקָּרֵ֥א לְפָנִ֖ים הָרֹאֶֽה׃

Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for the prophet of today was formerly called a seer.

And as Rashi spells out clearly

כי לנביא היום. למי שקורים אותו נביא היום, היו קורים לפנים 'רואה':

The term Navi usurped the term Roeh.

How can this claim be made? The term Navi is found numerous times in the Torah. A few that come to mind are Bamidbar 11 29:

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ מֹשֶׁ֔ה הַֽמְקַנֵּ֥א אַתָּ֖ה לִ֑י וּמִ֨י יִתֵּ֜ן כָּל־עַ֤ם יְהוָה֙ נְבִיאִ֔ים כִּי־יִתֵּ֧ן יְהוָ֛ה אֶת־רוּח֖וֹ עֲלֵיהֶֽם׃

There 12 6:

וַיֹּ֖אמֶר שִׁמְעוּ־נָ֣א דְבָרָ֑י אִם־יִֽהְיֶה֙ נְבִ֣יאֲכֶ֔ם יְהוָ֗ה בַּמַּרְאָה֙ אֵלָ֣יו אֶתְוַדָּ֔ע בַּחֲל֖וֹם אֲדַבֶּר־בּֽוֹ׃

& Devarim 34 10:

וְלֹֽא־קָ֨ם נָבִ֥יא ע֛וֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל כְּמֹשֶׁ֑ה אֲשֶׁר֙ יְדָע֣וֹ יְהוָ֔ה פָּנִ֖ים אֶל־פָּנִֽים׃

marked as duplicate by msh210 Jul 20 '18 at 10:14

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  • 1
    Do those instances in the Torah mean what in Shmuel is called Roeh? – Double AA Jul 19 '18 at 20:59
  • My hunch - I think this is more of a historical context dealing specifically with when B'nai Yisra'el were living according to tribes in the land of Irsael, itself. True, there were a few Shoftim that were also prophets, but, perhaps, people didn't address them as such, or they weren't sought out for the purpose of inquiring about the future. – DanF Jul 19 '18 at 21:00
  • @Double I think Rashi definitely seems to say that. Thats why I quoted him. Radak is also quite clear. – user6591 Jul 19 '18 at 21:08
  • @DanF The words in Bamidbar 11 29 were said concerning the prophecy of Eldad and Medad who's prophecy was about the future of Moshe not bringing klal yisroel into eretz yisroel. – user6591 Jul 19 '18 at 21:13
  • Presumably the terminology changed twice. – Orangesandlemons Jul 19 '18 at 22:19

R"i Kara there explains that Sefer Shmuel was written after the time of Shmuel Hanavi, and the words "לפנים בישראל", "formerly in Israel" refer to the generation of Shmuel. However, even prior to that, a seer may have been referred to as a Navi. See a slightly different take in Radak there, but working with slightly different chronology.

Malbim, on the other hand, notes a difference between a Navi and a Roeh, that a Roeh would address personal issues through Ruach Hakodesh, and a Navi only addresses the masses for religious reasons. His understanding of this Passuk is that a Roeh, or seer, no longer existed, and the reason they used to be called Roim is because they used to have Ruach Hakodesh for all personal purposes as well, and now they no longer do, so they are only called Neviim.

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