Bath Kol/Heavenly Voice
Judeo-Christian Research
research@juchre.org

 

6 Tevet 5762
December 21, 2001

 

Bat Kol, a heavenly divine voice which revealed God's judgment to man. According to rabbinic tradition, it was heard at several instances in the biblical period, and with the cessation of prophesy remained the sole means of communication between God and man.

(Encyclopedic Dictionary of Judaica)

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And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? (Genesis 3:9)

And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. (Genesis 22:11)

And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. (Exodus 3:4)

Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? (Deuteronomy 4:33)

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, (Job 38:1)

While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. (Daniel 4:31)

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17)

While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (Matthew 17:5)

And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Mark 1:11)

And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. (Mark 9:7)

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Luke 3:22)

And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. (Luke 9:35)

Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. (John 12:28-30)

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. (Acts 9:4)

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. (2 Peter 1:17,18)

And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. (Revelation 10:4)

And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (Revelation 11:12)

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: (Revelation 14:2)

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (Revelation 14:13)

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4)

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"After the death of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the last of the prophets, the Holy Spirit ceased from Israel; nevertheless they receive communications from God through the medium of the bat-kol."

(Tosefta Sotah 13:2)


[A quick search in the Talmud and Midrash Rabbah on the phrase "bath kol" brings up the following (this is only a partial list).]

Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 51b
This is self-evident, for the Bath Kol went forth [and proclaimed so]! If you like I can reply that this statement was made before the Bath Kol [had issued forth],

Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 52a
we pay no attention to a Bath Kol.

Talmud - Mas. Berachoth 61b
Their portion is in life. A bath kol went forth and proclaimed, Happy art thou, R. Akiba, that thou art destined for the life of the world to come.

Talmud - Mas. Eiruvin 6b
V. Glos. and cf. infra 13b. The bath kol announced that the halachah was always in agreement with Beth Hillel.

Talmud - Mas. Eiruvin 7a
recognize the authority of a bath kol.

Talmud - Mas. Eiruvin 21b
the washing of the hands a bath kol26 issued and proclaimed: My son, if thy heart be wise, my heart will be glad, even mine;27 and, furthermore, it is said in Scripture: My son, be wise, and make my Talmud - Mas. Eiruvin 54b
A bath kol issued forth asking him,52 ‘Do you prefer that four hundred years shall be added to your life or that you and your generation shall be privileged to have a share

Talmud - Mas. Pesachim 94a
said: What answer did the Bath Kol give that wicked man [Nebuchadnezzar] when he asserted, ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High’? A Bath Kol came forth

Talmud - Mas. Pesachim 94a
A Bath Kol came forth and rebuked him: ‘Thou wicked man, son of a wicked man,

Talmud - Mas. Rosh HaShana 21b
to be like Moses, but a bath kol went forth and said to him, It is written uprightly even words of truth, ‘There arose not a prophet again in Israel like Moses’. The other said: Among the

Talmud - Mas. Rosh HaShana 21b
without warning, whereupon a bath kol went forth and said, It is written uprightly even words of truth, ‘At the mouth of two witnesses’ etc.

Talmud - Mas. Yoma 9b availed themselves of the Bath Kol.

Talmud - Mas. Yoma 9b
(24) Bath Kol (v. Glos.). Just as some part of the cedar is unaffected by the worm, surviving the ruin, so was the gift of the divine voice a remnant of God's grace, even after the destruction. V.,

Talmud - Mas. Megilah 3a
of the Hagiographa, but a Bath Kol went forth and said, Enough! What was the reason? — Because the date of the Messiah is foretold in it.

Talmud - Mas. Megilah 12a
A bath kol went forth and said to them, Your predecessors met their end on account of vessels, and yet you use them again [shonim]?

Talmud - Mas. Megilah 29a
A bath kol went forth and said to them: Why do ye desire litigation [tirzu din] with Sinai? Ye are all full of blemishes as compared with Sinai.

Talmud - Mas. Chagigah 14a
Ta'an. 24b-25a: ‘Every day a Bath Kol goes forth and says: The whole world is fed for the sake of Hanina, my son; Yet is Hanina, my son, satisfied with a kab of carobs from Sabbath eve to Sabbath

Talmud - Mas. Chagigah 14b
on Mount Sinai, when a Bath Kol was sent to us, [saying]: Ascend hither, ascend hither! [Here are] great banqueting chambers, and fine dining couches prepared for you; you and your disciples

Talmud - Mas. Chagigah 15a
A Bath Kol went forth and said: Return, ye backsliding children — except Aher. [Thereupon] he said: Since I have been driven forth from yonder world, let me go

Talmud - Mas. Mo'ed Katan 9a
whereat a Bath Kol came forth and an nounced to them: ‘All of you are destined for the life of the world to come.

Talmud - Mas. Kethuboth 77b
A bath kol went forth and said to him, ‘Return the thing to him, for it is required for the mortals’.

Talmud - Mas. Kethuboth 103b
On the day that Rabbi died a bath kol went forth and announced: Whosoever has been present at the death of Rabbi is destined to enjoy the life of the world to come.

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 2a
the creation of a child, a Bath Kol20 issues forth and proclaims, The daughter of A is for B; the house of C is for D; the field of E is for F! — There is no contradiction, the latter dictum

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 10b
a Bath Kol issued forth and proclaimed, ‘Thou didst rescue Tamar and her two sons from the fire. By thy life, I will rescue through thy merit three of thy descendants from

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 10b
how did he know this? A Bath Kol issued forth and proclaimed, ‘From Me came forth secrets.’

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 13b
a Bath Kol made the proclamation, ‘So Moses died there’, the great Sage of Israel.

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 33a
the High Priest, heard a Bath Kol issue from within the Holy of Holies announcing, ‘The young men who went to wage war against Antioch have been victorious.

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 33a
he heard a Bath Kol issue from within the Holy of Holies announcing, ‘Annulled is the decree which the enemy intended to introduce into the Temple’.

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 33a
noted down the time [when the Bath Kol spoke] and it tallied. Now it was in Aramaic that it spoke! — If you wish I can say that it is different with a Bath Kol since it occurs for the purpose of being generally understood;

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 48b
they made use of the Bath Kol. On one occasion [some Rabbis] were sitting in the upper chamber of Gurya's house in Jericho; a Bath Kol was granted to them from heaven which announced, ‘There is in your midst one man who is deserving that the Shechinah should alight upon him, but his generation

Talmud - Mas. Baba Bathra 3b
One day he heard a Bath Kol say, ‘Every slave that rebels now will succeed.’

Talmud - Mas. Baba Bathra 73b
a Bath Kol called out: ‘Do not go down here for a carpenter's axe was dropped [into this water] seven years ago and it has not [yet] reached the bottom.

Talmud - Mas. Baba Bathra 74a
I heard a Bath Kol saying: ‘Woe is me that I have made an oath and now that I have made the oath, who will release me?’

Talmud - Mas. Baba Bathra 74b
A Bath Kol came forth, saying unto us: ‘What have you to do with the chest of the wife of R. Hanina b. Dosa who is to store in it purple-blue for the righteous in the

Talmud - Mas. Makkoth 23b
[But] it was a Bath Kol that came forth and said, ‘She is right, constrained by Me these things came about.’

Talmud - Mas. Makkoth 23b
‘And they said’? [But] it was a Bath Kol that came forth and said, ‘I am witness in this matter.’

Talmud - Mas. Makkoth 23b
it was a Bath Kol that came forth and said, ‘She is his mother’.

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Midrash Rabbah - Leviticus VI:5
R. Isaac said: A Bath Kol2 went forth from Mount Horeb, saying: ‘Thus much is half of the blood.’

Midrash Rabbah - Esther III:7
Sometimes he heard a Bath Kol say demus, and the bird escaped, and sometimes he heard it say spikla and it was caught.

Midrash Rabbah - Esther IX:2
should be hanged on it. A Bath Kol answered him: ‘For thee is the tree fitting: the tree has been made ready for thee from the beginning of the world.’

Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs I:5
Solomon with them, but a Bath Kol went forth and said, ’Touch not mine anointed ones’ (Ps. CV, 15).

Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs IV:17
the authority to Judah, but a Bath Kol went forth saying, 'Leave it in abeyance till its proper time shall come., When did its time come [to be transmitted to Judah]? After the death of Joshua, as it

Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs VIII:13
What is this? The Bath Kol, as it says, Except the Lord of Hosts had left unto us a very small remnant (Isa. I, 9).

Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs VIII:13
(3) So the Bath Kol is not the same thing as prophecy.

Midrash Rabbah - Lamentations Prologue XXV
while a Bath Kol issued announcing, ’Return, O backsliding children (Jer. III, 14), Return unto Me, and I will return unto you (Mal. III, 7).’ When they did not repent, it said,

Midrash Rabbah - Lamentations I:50
A Bath Kol issued forth and proclaimed, ’A joyful mother of children’ (Ps. CXIII, 9); and the Holy Spirit cried out, FOR THESE THINGS I WEEP.

Midrash Rabbah - Lamentations II:4
A Bath Kol issued forth and proclaimed, ’Woe to the worthless shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye’ (Zech. XI, 17). It

Midrash Rabbah - Ecclesiastes VII:25
'A Bath Kol went forth and said, ' BE NOT RIGHTEOUS OVERMUCH. more than thy Creator!

Midrash Rabbah - Ecclesiastes IX:6
and Houses of Study, a Bath Kol goes forth and says to them, GO THY WAY, EAT THY BREAD WITH JOY. your prayer has been heard before Me [and was] as the sweet savour.’

Midrash Rabbah - Ecclesiastes IX:6
accepted [as an offering].’ A Bath Kol issued forth and said to him, ‘Abraham, Abraham, GO THY WAY, EAT THY BREAD WITH JOY... FOR GOD HATH ALREADY ACCEPTED THY WORKS, God hath accepted thy sacrifice.’

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BATH KOL (lit. ‘daughter of a voice’); (a) a reverberating sound; (b) a voice descending from heaven (cf. Dan. IV, 28) to offer guidance in human affairs, and regarded as a lower grade of prophecy.

(The Soncino Talmud)
(The Soncino Midrash Rabbah)

 

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