1 Samuel 10:9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying. 11When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”
12A man who lived there answered, “And who is their father?” So it became a saying: “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

אֲבִיהֶ֑ם (’ă·ḇî·hem)
Noun - masculine singular construct | third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 1: Father

In https://biblehub.com/1_samuel/10-12.htm, 25 out of 26 translate it as singular "father".

1 Answer 1


What is the meaning of "And who is their father" in 1 Samuel 10:12?

1 Samuel 10:12 [MT] :

[12] And a man from there, answered and said, "And who is their father?" It, therefore became a proverb, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" (וַיַּ֨עַן אִ֥ישׁ מִשָּׁ֛ם וַיֹּ֖אמֶר וּמִ֣י אֲבִיהֶ֑ם עַל־כֵּן֙ הָיְתָ֣ה לְמָשָׁ֔ל הֲגַ֥ם שָׁא֖וּל בַּנְּבִאִֽים)

The literal Ivri (עִבְרִי) translation of "וּמִ֣י אֲבִיהֶ֑ם" = "And-who [is] their-Father"


וּמִ֣י "Vu-Mi" = "And-[Who]"


אֲבִיהֶם "Av-i-hem" = "their-Father"

[https://www.pealim.com/dict/6009-av/ ]


אֲב “Av” = “Father" [Noun / (Masculine) Singular]

אֲבִ-י “Avi” = “My-Father”

הֶם “Hem“ = "They" [Pronoun / 3rd-Person (Masculine) Plural]

יהֶם “i-Hem” = “Their” [Suffix / Possessive Pronoun]


A symbolic meaning of "וּמִ֣י אֲבִיהֶ֑ם" could be To whom do their hearts belong? referencing [1 Samuel 10:9] : "God gave him another heart" (וַיַּהֲפָךְ־ל֥וֹ אֱלֹהִ֖ים לֵ֣ב אַחֵ֑ר) signifying the "Neviim" (נְבִאִ֖ים) / Prophets as children of "Elohim" ( אֱלֹהִ֖ים ) / God - Their Father.

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