Sons of the Prophets

Concise Bible Dictionary:

These are referred to in the Old Testament, and at times were numerous. They are spoken of as being at Bethel, Jericho, and Gilgal (2 Kings 2:3,53And the sons of the prophets that were at Beth-el came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. (2 Kings 2:3)
5And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. (2 Kings 2:5)
; 2 Kings 4:3838And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. (2 Kings 4:38)). At one place their dwelling was too limited, and they cut down timber to build themselves a larger place (2 Kings 6:1-21And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. 2Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. (2 Kings 6:1‑2)). We read of them only in the days of Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha, who were held in repute by them. When Elijah was about to be taken up, these prophets apparently had a revelation concerning it, and they sent fifty men “to view afar off,” and afterward sent fifty to look for the prophet (2 Kings 2:7,177And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. (2 Kings 2:7)
17And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. (2 Kings 2:17)
; compare 1 Sam. 10:1010And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. (1 Samuel 10:10)). The “company of prophets” with psaltery, tabret, pipe, and harp, whom Saul met, were probably sons of the prophets (1 Sam. 10:55After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: (1 Samuel 10:5)). The hundred prophets whom Obadiah hid from the persecution of Jezebel may have been of the same (1 Kings 18:44For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) (1 Kings 18:4)). From whence these prophets were gathered, and what their functions were is not recorded.

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

The disciples of the prophets were called sons, as teachers are sometimes called fathers (2 Kings 2:12; 6:2112And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. (2 Kings 2:12)
21And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them? (2 Kings 6:21)
). These “sons of the prophets” formed a peculiar order, whose mission seems to have been to assist the prophet in their duties, and in time to succeed them. They were not a monastic order, as some suppose, nor were they merely theological students, though they probably studied the law and the history of God’s people, together with sacred poetry and music.
The “schools of the prophets” in which these “sons” were trained are supposed to have been founded by the prophet Samuel, though their origin and history are involved in obscurity. They were located not only in Bethel, as appears from the text, but also in Rama (1 Sam. 19:19-2019And it was told Saul, saying, Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah. 20And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. (1 Samuel 19:19‑20)) in Jericho (2 Kings 2:55And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. (2 Kings 2:5)) in Gilgal (2 Kings 4:3838And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets. (2 Kings 4:38)) and probably in other places. See 1 Samuel 10:5,105After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: (1 Samuel 10:5)
10And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. (1 Samuel 10:10)
and 2 Kings 6:11And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. (2 Kings 6:1). Their members were numerous; a hundred are spoken of in Gilgal (2 Kings 4:4343And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. (2 Kings 4:43)) and at least fifty in Jericho (2 Kings 2:77And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. (2 Kings 2:7)).
How long the “schools of the prophets” lasted is not definitely known. They seem to have flourished most in the time of Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha. Fifty years after. Elisha’s death Amos prophesied; and, according to his statement, he had no training in a prophetic school, though it does not follow that none existed in his day. See Amos 7:1414Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: (Amos 7:14).