The Nuttall Encyclopedia
The prophets of Israel as an organised class, who first figure as guardians of the spiritual interests of the nation to the time of Samuel, when it was threatened with extinction piecemeal at the hands of the Philistines, and whose mission it was to recall the divided tribes to a sense of their unity as the chosen of Jehovah, and to see that they were welded into one under a single king; they lived together in communities, appeared in companies, wore a distinctive dress, and were called the sons of the prophets; while they were performing and discharging their offices they were true to their calling, but when order was established they, as is usual in such cases, became more and more lax, until first Elijah, and then another and another who were for most part not of the order, had, if they would be true to their own souls, to remind the nation of what its authorised teachers, in their unfaithfulness, were failing to do, and in consequence suffering God's cause to go to wreck.
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'Nebiim'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/nut/n/nebiim.html. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.