Prophets as Seers

In what ways were prophets called to be seers?

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Another term for prophets is "seer." In Hebrew, this is either ?ozeh, most prominently, or else ro'eh. Both terms, ?ozeh and ro'eh, come from two verbs, which are synonymous — "to see" — chazah and raah. Interestingly, it's mainly prophets in the south of Judah that are called ?ozeh — seer — but at the same time, the normal word for "to see" in Judahite Hebrew is raah. So, in that context, we might speculate that the choice of the term ?ozeh may be suggesting a specialized kind of seeing and maybe as something different from ordinary seeing. In the context of the Prophets and the biblical understanding of the prophets, my guess would be that "seer" is not meant so much to be, as we might think, kind of a clairvoyant who sees the future beyond ordinary sight, but it's one who actually comes into the presence of the Lord, into the Lord's heavenly court, the divine counsel or heavenly council, and sees and hears the deliberations going on in the heavenly court, hears the decrees of Yahweh, and then is sent by this heavenly court to go proclaim that message.

Answer by Dr. Douglas Gropp

Dr. Douglas Gropp was formerly Professor of Old Testament and Associate Academic Dean at Redeemer Seminary