Anna the Prophetess
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Luke 2:36a (Holman) There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter
of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to be dedicated in the Temple, Simeon, who recognized the child was the Messiah, greeted them. “Also” in the Temple was a prophetess Anna, daughter of Phanuel. Her name meant gracious. Being of the tribe of Asher means she may have been from Galilee.
As a prophetess, she was able to discern God’s will, and communicate it to people. When Anna spoke, people listened. They knew she understood YHWH’s ways, and could articulate how to apply them to people’s lives.
Other women in the Bible served as God’s spokespersons. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron (EX 15:20), led Israel in worshiping God after He parted the Red Sea. Deborah (JG 4:4), who led a successful attack against the forces of King Jabin of Canaan, boldly proclaimed God’s commands.
When King Josiah found the book of the Lord, and was weeping over the nation’s sins, he sent messengers to consult Huldah (2 Chronicles 34:22), who verified Israel’s disastrous condition. Philip the Evangelist, one of the original seven deacons, had four daughters who were prophetesses (AC 21:8-9). My family has an interesting woman-preacher story. My father-in-law was saved under the preaching of a lady in a Genera