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The bible doesn't seem to give much information for who "the prophetess" in Isaiah 8:3 is. Who is she? Many seem to assert that she is his wife, but cite no evidence to support this.

The word הַנְּבִיאָ֜ה (the prophetess) occurs 5 times in the bible.

  1. Exodus 15:20
  2. 2 Kings 22:14
  3. 2 Chronicles 34:22
  4. Nehemiah 6:14
  5. Isaiah 8:3

I'm not sure of the time in which Isaiah lived, but I think he was alive in 2 and 3. Could it be that he committed adultery with Shallum's wife? If so, is it in the nature of God to incorporate sin in his revelation?

Is there evidence that she is his wife?

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Hi Stephen and welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics! Intriguing question and I'm curious now too. – Jon Ericson Nov 29 '12 at 19:05
Could the prophetess revealed here be a future prophecy? One that is to take place? Given this book "if" inspired by God and perhaps written "outside of time" ....could some of these writings still be yet to be? – user890 Dec 3 '12 at 9:35
up vote 5 down vote accepted

That is a good question, Stephen. Isaiah does not give many details, but he also does not claim that God told him to go in to this woman. He only claims that God provided the name for the child.

There are a few things to consider:

  1. Isaiah was told to take his son with him in the previous chapter (Isaiah 7:3), which should indicate that he did have a wife.

    Isaiah 7:3 (ESV)
    And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer's Field.

  2. Isaiah was not rebuked for committing adultery, while other high-level people had been. Such happenings are poor examples for all of those who look to these individuals, and God typically dealt with them. If you remember Psalm 51, David was afraid that God's spirit would be removed from him in the same way that God's spirit had been removed from the previous king.

  3. If Isaiah had committed adultery, the passage containing Isaiah 57:3 would ring hollow since it would have come from an adulterer.

    Isaiah 57:3 (ESV)
    But you, draw near, sons of the sorceress, offspring of the adulterer and the loose woman.

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Hi and welcome to the site! Those are great points. And that seems the most natural reading to me. It seems a bit like people who have pseudonyms (say, "The Prophet") and refer to their wives as Mrs. pseudonym ("Mrs. Prophet" or "prophetess"). I don't know if that would be historically accurate, however. – Jon Ericson Nov 30 '12 at 18:57
Thanks, Jon! There is some historical merit for your point (regardless of whether "Prophetess" can be proven). The wife of the King always had a corresponding title. – Peg Leg 3941 Nov 30 '12 at 19:23
It's odd to me that he's referring to her in such a distant way: "the prophetess". It doesn't imply a relationship at all. He could have said "the love of my life" or "my wife" or something like that instead. – Stephen Dec 2 '12 at 21:53
@Stephen though you'd have to know Hebrew idiom to know whether it would be impersonal or not. Perhaps it is a question of emphasis: by using this title Isaiah is emphasising her role rather than her relationship to himself, for narrative effect? – Jack Douglas Dec 6 '12 at 10:26
That makes sense to me now, because it shows credibility of both parents – Stephen Dec 20 '12 at 16:37

The Bible Uses the Word Prophetess 8 times Exodus 15:20 - Mariam Judges4:4 - Deborah 2 Kings 22:14 - Huldah 2 Chronicles 34:22 - Huldah Nehemiah 6:14 - Noadiah Isaiah 8:3 - ? Luke 2:36 - Ana Revelation 2:20 - Jezebel > False Prophetess

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