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Nevi'im (נביאים) is Hebrew for "The Prophets." Nevi'im is the second of the three major sections in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).

Table of contents
1 Contents
2 Nevi'im Rishonim (First Prophets) נביאים ראשונים
3 Nevi'im Aharonim (Latter Prophets) נביאים אחרונים
4 Liturgical Use: The Haftarah
5 The Targum to Nevi'im
6 See also


Nevi'im is traditionally divided into two parts:
In the Jewish tradition, Samuel and Kings are counted as one book each. In addition, twelve relatively short prophetic books are counted as one; this collection of small books is called Trei Asar, meaning "The Twelve Minor Prophets." ("Minor Prophets" refers to the length of the books, not their importance.) The Jewish tradition thus counts a total of eight books in Nevi'im as the second section of Tanakh (out of a total of 24 books in the entire Tanakh):

Nevi'im Rishonim (First Prophets) נביאים ראשונים

Nevi'im Aharonim (Latter Prophets) נביאים אחרונים

Liturgical Use: The Haftarah

Haftarah is a text selected from the books of Nevi'im which is read publicly in the synagogue after the reading of the Torah on each Sabbath, as well as on Jewish festivals and fast days. The Haftarah usually has a thematic link to the Torah reading that precedes it. When the Haftarah is read in the synagogue, its related blessings are sung before and after it.

The Haftarah is read with cantillation according to a unique melody (not with the same cantillation tune as the Torah). The tradition to read Nevi'im with its own separate melody is attested to in medieval sources, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic. A Sephardic source notes that the melody for the haftarot is a slight variation of the tune used for reading the books of nevi'im in general.

Note that although selections from Nevi'im are read as haftarot over the course of the year, the books of Nevi'im are not read in their entirety (as opposed to the Torah). Since Nevi'im as a whole is not covered in the liturgy, the melody for certain rare cantillation notes which appear in the books of nevi'im but not in the haftarot have been lost.

J.L. Neeman (The Tunes of the Bible - Musical Principles of the Biblical Accentuation, Tel Aviv, 1955 [Hebrew]) suggested that "those who recite Nevi'im privately with the cantillation melody may read the words accented by those rare notes by using a "metaphor" based on the melody of those notes in the five books of the Torah, while adhering to the musical scale of the melody for Nevi'im." Neeman includes a reconstuction of the musical scale for the lost melodies of the rare cantillation notes (vol. 1, pp. 136, 188-189).

The Targum to Nevi'im

According to the Talmud, the Targum on Nevi'im was composed by Jonathan ben Uziel. Like Targum Onkelos on the Torah, this is an eastern (Babylonian) Targum with early origins in the west (Land of Israel); see Targum.

Like the Targum to the Torah, Targum Jonathan to Nevi'im served a formal liturgical purpose: it was read alternately, verse by verse, in the public reading of the haftarah and in the study of Nevi'im.

Yemenite Jews continue the above tradition to this day, and have thus preserved a living tradition of the Babylonian vocalization for the Targum to Nevi'im.

See also

Hebrew Bible, Tanakh, Ketuvim, Haftarah, cantillation.