This question talks about how in John 7:52, the Pharisees claimed that "no prophet comes out of Galilee." The accepted answer discusses how commentators often point out the Pharisees' mistake, and N.T. Wright points out that "both the prophets Jonah and Hosea came from Galilee." In addition, I found this link, which says that 5 prophets came from Galilee: Jonah, Nahum, Hosea, Elijah, and Elisha. BibleStudyTools.org has an article with a discussion about how Micah, Elijah, and Jonah being from Galilee, and how Nahum and Hosea could possibly have come from Galilee.

Which prophets are from Galilee, and how do we know? An associated question, what is the source of the uncertainty surrounding this question? Perhaps I could word the question, what is the (Biblical and archeological) basis for saying that these 5 prophets are from Galilee?

  1. Jonah from Gath-hepher

    2 Kings 14:25 "He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher."

Wikipedia on Gath-hepher says it is in modern-day Galilee (maybe that's what it is saying?). Joshua 29:13 describes more where this place is.

  1. Micah from Moresheth

    Micah 1:1 The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

BibleAtlas.org doesn't mention Galilee at all in the article on Moresheth, nor does Wikipedia in their article on Moresheth-Gath. Wikipedia says Moresheth = Moresheth-Gath.

  1. Elijah from Gilead

    1 Kings 17:1 "Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, 'As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.'"

2 Kings 15:29 actually seems to differentiate between Gilead and Galilee, which suggests that Gilead is not contained within Galilee.

Wikipedia on Gilead makes no mention of Galilee, and the Bible Atlas also seems to differentiate Gilead from Galilee by saying that in Gilead there is "the white chalk of the desert plateau, the same as that found in Samaria and Lower Galilee."

  1. Elisha

(I don't know the basis).

  1. Hosea

(I don't know the basis).

I would like to see the basis for 4 and 5 (Elisha and Hosea) being from Galilee, and I would like to see how we can know 1-3 are actually from Galilee. I would also be interested if there are any other claims that additional prophets are from Galilee. My questions stems from the fact that none the verses say explicitly from Galilee, and I have seen almost nothing supporting the connection between the city mentioned and Galilee. Pardon my lack of knowledge in biblical geography. Perhaps it is obvious that these cities are contained in the region that is Galilee. There may also be a notable difference between the geographical boundaries in Galilee between the Old and New Testament timeframes or even within the Old Testament timeframe, which contains several thousand years of history on its own.

I don't see how any denominational restriction will affect the answers, so I don't propose any.

  • 1
    John 7:52 says "No prophet COMES out of Galilee". Note, he didn't say "came out of Galilee". There is a big difference here. The people in John's time where waiting for the Messiah, who was the Prophet that Moses mentioned in Deu 18:18 (NIV): "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him". Thus, they were waiting for one particular prophet, the Messiah, who the Bible said should come out of Bethlehem, in Judah; not Galilee. Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 11:04
  • Micah 5:2 (NIV) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 11:05
  • Thanks for the correction. I had trusted the referred question's quotation without checking. Though they were waiting for the Messiah, and John 7:40-41 describes a discussion that the Messiah will not come out of Galilee, it was clear and specific in John 7:40-41 that they were referring to the Messiah. John 7:52, however, does not seem to restrict "no prophet" to just "the Prophet." This restriction to just the Messiah seems artificial. Would you disagree? As the Messiah will come out of Galilee per Matthew 2:23 ("he will be called a Nazarene", a city in Galilee). Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 20:30
  • 1
    @Constantthin There is not a specific prophecy, but probably is referring to a general theme from multiple Old Testament prophets. Namely, that the Messiah would be despised (Psalm 22:6, Isaiah 49:7, 53:3) similar to how Nazareth was despised at the time of Jesus (John 1:46, 7:41, 52). So they looked down on him bc of his origins (like Nathaniel did) and thus 'would be called a Nazarene' in a general pejorative sense. Or something like that. Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 4:41
  • 1
    Gilead is not Galilee. Gilead is on the eastern side of the Jordan. See e.g Judges ch12 vv1-6 where Ephraaim need the fords of the Jordan to get back from Gilead. and Amos ch1 v2 where Gilead is being raided by Damscus. Mant Bible maps show it there. Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 6:37

4 Answers 4


What prophets came from Galilee?

In John 7:52, the Pharisees told Nicodemus, “Search and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.” Were they correct that no prophet ever came out of Galilee?

The Prophet Jonah was from from Gath-hepher. The Prophet Micah from Moresheth. The Prophet Elijah from Gilead. The Prophet Elisha was from Abel-meholah and the Prophet Hosea was from the Ephraimite Kingdom which is part of Galilee.

It seems so incredible that these supposed experts did not know that five prophets came out of Galilee: Jonah, Nahum, Hosea, Elijah, and Elisha. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, which is in Galilee. He was called Jesus of Nazareth, so the Pharisees assumed that He was born in Galilee.

The Pharisees were adamant that no prophet ever came out of Galilee because they thought it was proof that Jesus was not a prophet and could not be the Messiah. They knew the Scriptures prophesied the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (John 7:42, Micah 5:2). So the Pharisees were wrong on two points: No prophet had come from Galilee and that Jesus could not be the Messiah. For whatever reason, Jesus never stated during His public ministry that He was born in Bethlehem.

Now before going on into my explication, I feel that a few maps of the regions involved would help clarify a few basic problems here. At lest they would shed some light on the situation at hand.

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Map of Judea at the time of Jesus

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Map of Samaria at the time of Jesus

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Map of Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee

In John 7:45-52, the Pharisees say that no prophet has arisen from the Galilee. But in 2 Kings 14:23-27 it says that Jonah was from Gath Hepher, which is in Galilee. How do you answer the person who would say that this is a contradiction in the scriptures?

In the John passage you quoted, the Pharisees declared that no prophet had arisen from the Galilee, and as you say Jonah was from the Galilee. For that matter, Nahum was also from the Galilee, since he was from the tribe of Simeon, which settled in the Galilee, and some scholars believe Micah may have been a Galilean as well. So clearly, the Pharisees were wrong about prophets not originating in the Galilee. Prophets do, in fact, arise from the Galilee.

When the Pharisees mistakenly claimed (or more likely intentionally lied) by stating that no prophet arises from the Galilee, they were attempting to discredit Jesus. They were playing to a widely held bias against Galileans in their day. In fact, the common name for the Galilee region was the "Galilee of the Gentiles," since it was considered an area inhabited by people who were something "less than Jew."

The Pharisees were also wrong when they tried to associate Jesus with the Galilee in this way. Jesus was not from the Galilee. Jesus was from Bethlehem, the ancestral home of David and the tribe of Judah, therefore he was only a Galilean by association, not by birth. So, even if the Pharisees had been correct in saying that no prophet arises from the Galilee, Jesus could still defend Himself against their accusations since He was not born in that region.

If the Pharisees had bothered to do their homework (or if they had honest intentions), they would have known Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which is exactly the place where the Messiah was predicted to be born in Deuteronomy 18:15. So, there is no contradiction in scripture. The Pharisees' statements were simply not true. They were included by John in his gospel to record how the Pharisees were making false statements against Jesus in an effort to discredit Him.

A possible contradiction in scripture?

The Prophets Jonah, Micah and Elijah are easily identifiable as being from Galilee; however the Prophets Elisha and Hosea need a little more intuition as to decipher that they are also from Galilee.

The Prophet Hosea is from the Ephraimite Kingdom which is part of Galilee. As recorded in the Book of Joshua, the territory allocated to the Tribe of Ephraim was at the center of Canaan, west of the Jordan, south of the territory of Manasseh, and north of the Tribe of Benjamin. The region later named Samaria (as distinguished from Judea or Galilee) consisted mostly of Ephraim's territory.

Osee (Hôsheá‘—Salvation), son of Beeri, was one of the Minor Prophets, and a subject of the Ephraimite Kingdom which he calls "the land", whose king is for him "our king", and the localities of which are familiar to him, while he speaks of Juda but seldom and does not even make mention of Jerusalem. - Osee

Map of Ephraim

Map of Ephraim

The Prophet Elisha or Eliseus was the son of Shaphat, a wealthy land-owner of Abel-meholah and he became the attendant and disciple of Elijah.

Abel-meholah (Hebrew: אָבֵל מְחוֹלָה, Avel Mehola) was a ancient city frequently mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament of Christianity). It is best known for being the birthplace and residence of the prophet Elisha. It is traditionally located near the Jordan River, south of Beit-She'an.


The site of Abel-meholah has not yet been identified with certainty. Jerome and Eusebius refer to it as both a town and an area in the Jordan Valley, about ten Roman miles south of Bethshean. Epiphanius of Salamis, mentioning the village, writes that in his day it was called Beth-meholah.

In the late 19th century, explorers were trying to identify the exact mound. Conder stated with some confidence that the site "is now called 'Ain Helweh". Noth and Ottosson identified Abel-meholah with Tell Abu el-Kharaz, east of the Jordan River.

Modern scholars generally agree that it has to be found in that area and west of the Jordan River, probably at the spot where Wadi al-Malih, a stream which might preserve the ancient name Meholah, merges into the Jordan. Two tells in that general area, Tell Abu Sifri and Tell Abu Sus, are suitable candidates with the latter being more likely. Tell Abu Sifri is situated at the confluence of Wadi al-Helweh and Wadi al-Malih, while Tell Abu Sus is closer to the Jordan. Neither of the two have yet been excavated.

Two Israeli settlements in the area, Mehola and nearby Shadmot Mehola, are named after the biblical city.

Bethshan and surrounding area

Bethshan and surrounding area

If we accept that this is the location of Bethshan, being just north of Mount Gilboa, places it squarely in Galilee.

The definition of Galilee varies depending on the period, author, and point of view (geological, geographical, administrative). Ancient Galilee consisted in broad terms of the Upper and Lower Galilee. Today the northwestern part of the Upper Galilee is in Southern Lebanon, with the rest being in Israel. The Israeli Galilee is often divided into these subregions, which often overlap:

  • Upper Galilee extends from the Beit HaKerem Valley northwards into southern Lebanon. Its eastern border is the Hula Valley and the Sea of Galilee separating it from the Golan Heights. To the west it reaches to the Coastal Plain which separates it from the Mediterranean.

  • Lower Galilee covers the area north of the Valleys (Jezreel, Harod and Beth Shean Valley) and south of the Beit HaKerem Valley. Its borders to the east on the Jordan Rift Valley. It contains the Arab city of Nazareth and the village of Cana.

  • The "Galilee Panhandle" (Hebrew: אצבע הגליל, Etzba HaGalil, lit. "Finger of Galilee") is a panhandle along the Hulah Valley, squeezed between the Lebanese border and the Golan Heights; it contains the towns of Metulla and Qiryat Shemona, the Dan and part of the Banias rivers.


I find it highly significant that the Pharisees claimed that no prophet is from Galilee when, as you pointed out in your question, Jonah, one of the greatest prophets in terms of the results of his preaching, is from that area.

John chapter 7 starts by saying that:

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.

So we see that because of Jesus' unpopular message to the Jews, they sought to kil Him and He fled to Galilee. This fits the scene of Jesus' first rejection in Lk. 4:16-30.

In Luke Jesus is also rejected by the Jews on account of His unpopular teachings toward the Jewish nation. He reminds them in Lk. 4:24-27 of another prophet that was persecuted on account of his unpopular message to the Israelites.

The following words on this part of Luke is so well stated:

By this relation of events in the lives of the prophets, Jesus met the questionings of His hearers. The servants whom God had chosen for a special work were not allowed to labor for a hardhearted and unbelieving people. But those who had hearts to feel and faith to believe were especially favored with evidences of His power through the prophets. In the days of Elijah, Israel had departed from God. They clung to their sins, and rejected the warnings of the Spirit through the Lord's messengers. Thus they cut themselves off from the channel by which God's blessing could come to them. The Lord passed by the homes of Israel, and found a refuge for His servant in a heathen land, with a woman who did not belong to the chosen people. But this woman was favored because she had followed the light she had received, and her heart was open to the greater light that God sent her through His prophet. It was for the same reason that in Elisha's time the lepers of Israel were passed by. But Naaman, a heathen nobleman, had been faithful to his convictions of right, and had felt his great need of help. He was in a condition to receive the gifts of God's grace. He was not only cleansed from his leprosy, but blessed with a knowledge of the true God. Our standing before God depends, not upon the amount of light we have received, but upon the use we make of what we have. Thus even the heathen who choose the right as far as they can distinguish it are in a more favorable condition than are those who have had great light, and profess to serve God, but who disregard the light, and by their daily life contradict their profession. The Desire of Ages, p. 238, 239.

So the fact that John 7 starts with Jesus fleeing on account of persecution are significant to me in light of Luke 4:24-27.

But more than this is the fact that Jesus said the only sign that will be given to the Jews is the sign of Jonah - a prophet of Galilee. So let's go back to that now for a moment.

Jesus said as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, so too will He be in the grave for three days and three nights. For too long that is where I stopped looking at this comparison of Jesus since He makes the interpetation so plain.

That is until I looked at the bigger picture surrounding this sign. Jonah did his biggest and most powerful work after the 3 day stint in the biological submarine (whale or other big fish) - Nineveh repented! So too did Christ after spending 3 days buried in the grave, resurrect and thousands were converted in a day - and ever since then too.

My conclusion is this. These Pharisees were closing their eyes to the really potent potential of this area called Galilee when they said no prophets come from there because the only one prior to Jesus that I know of was certainly someone to remember.

This, and the fact that Jesus even reminds them of the prophet Jonah when He talks about the only sign to be given them should have been enough for them to at least go and think about... What greater evidence could a nation need to repent than what God had seen fit to give?!

I am not sure about the other 4 prophets on your list but I just thought I'd share the bit I found significant to me about Jonah as being from Galilee.


Since my comment is almost invisible and the point is important for the question, I will add this to the answers;

Gilead is not Galilee. Gilead is on the eastern side of the Jordan. See e.g Judges ch12 vv1-6 where Ephraim need the fords of the Jordan to get back from Gilead. and Amos ch1 v2 where Gilead is being raided by Damsacus. Many Bible maps show it there. In Joshua ch17 v1 Gilead is associated with Bashan, which is also on the eastern side, as the portion of the eastern half of Manasseh.


The passage demonstrates how disputes arise from ignorance. Some identfied Jesus as the Prophet (v41, spoken of by Moses). Some asserted that Christ must arise from Bethlehem (v42, spoken of by Micah). And there was a division as to whether Jesus was the Messiah.

The truth is that Jesus was born Bethlehem even though he lived in Galilee.

The wonderful thing about honest and open seeking into the truth, greater truths are revealed.

The Pharisees mishandled the truth by making and maintaining mistaken assumptions.

Is anything much different today?

  • This doesn't appear to answer the question. Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 12:55

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