What You Should Know about Huldah in the Bible
- Jason Soroski Contributing Writer
- 2022 23 Feb
What does the king of Judah do when he doesn’t know what to do? In this case, he sends a group of men to seek advice from someone you may not expect - a wise and godly woman. Huldah the prophetess was well-known and highly respected; she prophesied and taught in Jerusalem in the same period as the prophet Jeremiah. Tradition holds that Huldah and Jeremiah were relatives through their common ancestor Rahab. She is also one of the many people in Scripture who are not well known yet had enormous influence in their day. She was a woman whose life of leadership and service was devoted to God. Not only did she have the ear of the king, but she also clearly heard the voice of God and proclaimed it boldly.
The Lost Law Is Found Again
Up until the time of King Josiah, the Kingdom of Judah had suffered under many godless kings who denied the truth of God and instead turned to false teachings and worship of idols. This idolatry even extended into the Temple itself, where the Torah scroll (also known as The Law) had not only been ignored, but hidden away by previous evil priests.
2 Kings 22:8-20 tells of how the good King Josiah worked to restore true worship of God, along with the building itself. When this work was undertaken, the High Priest discovered “a book” that turned out to be the Law of God as given by Moses. Josiah was heartbroken to know that for so many years, the Law of God had been forgotten, hidden, and neglected.
Based on what he read in the newly discovered Law, Josiah knew that this was a significant development. He felt shame and remorse that God’s Word had been neglected for so long and knew that God’s wrath was a likely result of this neglect. Although this had happened long before his reign as king, he felt responsible and was determined to set things right.
All the King’s Men
With this in mind, he called five of his most trusted men to “go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us” (v.13)
Wanting to seek out God and wanting to know how to respond and what to how to lead, he sent five of his most trusted men, including the High Priest himself, to seek out advice from a woman, Huldah the Prophetess. This is recorded in verse 14, “Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.”
In case you missed that, five of the most important men in the nation were charged with finding Godly advice, and their first thought was to seek out Huldah. Huldah advised these men of what the Lord had in mind to do, and although it was not all bad news, it was not exactly what they had hoped to hear; ”‘this is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’”
Why Did They Fear God Would be Angry?
These men had read the same thing and were likely hoping to avoid the consequence that was going to come as a result of the nation turning away from God. But what was it that they had read that made them all reach this conclusion? We do not know for sure, but it could well have been Deuteronomy 4:25-27, “After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and arousing his anger, I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you.”
This word was given to Moses, by God, and then given to the people who had been rescued from slavery in Egypt. At that time, it may have seemed impossible that a people who had seen so many miracles of God, including the parting of the Red Sea, would ever turn away from him! Yet this is exactly where Josiah found his nation. Being a good king, he wanted to do all he could to honor God in his lifetime and establish true and proper worship no matter what happened next.
Fortunately for him, Huldah had an additional message, “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place” (2 Kings 22:19-20).
What it Means for Us Today
Although her influence on the people of Judah was great, Huldah is not mentioned again in Scripture outside of this encounter recorded also in 2 Chronicles 34:22-28. We learn from her story that God may use anyone he pleases to accomplish his work and to speak his message of truth. The king, the high priest, and other learned men chose to turn to this woman when they needed confirmation of what they had read, and the wisdom of God in how to respond. Like Jeremiah, who we are likely far more familiar with, Huldah was well-known and well-respected in her time as a woman of deep faith and was unafraid to share unpleasant truths of God with the leaders of her day. Strong men of faith continue to work together with strong women of faith to seek God diligently and serve him daily.
Huldah continues to be honored in her native city of Jerusalem, as one of the gates into the city was named for her long ago, ensuring that her legacy continues.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/jjneff
Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net.
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These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
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