The big question about Huldah is why we know about her at all.
King Josiah was on the throne of Judah. The northern kingdom, known as Israel, had gone into captivity a few generations back. Jeremiah and Zephaniah, and possibly other writing prophets, were on the scene. The priests had lost God's sacred book, and the temple was in ruins.
Josiah thirsted for God. He destroyed idols and wanted to restore Temple worship.
And the workers found God's book.
Well, if you've got to lose the Bible, i suppose there isn't a better place to lose it.
They found .... what?Today we don't know exactly what book this was. It definitely would not have included the New Testament, or even the whole of what we call the Old Testament. All of that hadn't been written yet. Scripture calls the found book "the book of the Law," so likely any poetic books or books of prophecy weren't included. The history books, those already written anyway, would've been in the king's storehouse.
So we're talking Deuteronomy or the five books of Moses.
The false worship described in the Book had been the way of life for these people for generations. And the Law gave God's prescription for such disobedience.
It was dire.
The king hoped this could be averted.
Enter HuldahSo with two guys running around giving God's message, why this lady we haven't otherwise heard of?
Some things to consider in answering:
- Jeremiah was rather young at this time. We can't say for sure; late teens to mid twenties are suggested by scholars, but he could have been as young as, Valerie's guess, 8. In the culture, you had to be of a certain age to be respected.
- Jeremiah was never popular. He said such nasty things. God wouldn't do anything like that to His people, right?
- And, at some point, he took a little trip. Hard to reach someone when they're out of town, what with no phones & all.
- Zephaniah didn't have a
goodwelcome message either. His book is very short, and it's hard to say whether he had already had his say & slipped from the scene, hadn't yet begun, or simply wasn't widely enough known. Whatever the reason, he wasn't consulted on this.
- She was definitely handy to get to. Right in town, close to the palace.
- Huldah was "one of us." Her husband held the minor position of Keeper of the King's Wardrobe. In other words, he supervised what the king wore & helped him dress. The Keeper of the Wardrobe was in a way analogous to the barber. It wasn't a high-ranking position. He heard the king's confidences & advised him at this private time of day.
- Maybe they thought a woman, one of "the gentler sex," and "one of our own kind" as well, can persuade the Lord to relent.
- We may not know much of Huldah, but she was well-known in her own time and to the rabbis of old.
God's word stands; He would fulfill it, and Huldah didn't back away from the
However, God is merciful as well. He saw what was in Josiah's heart, and spared him the calamity.
Did you notice "Thus says the LORD" in the passage? If they thought the lady of their own kind would say nicer things, they were wrong. It was God's idea to postpone the calamity. Jeremiah or Zephaniah would've had the same word.*
So, what about Huldah? What's in it for me?She was a lady who walked with God. The king and his court, probably all Jerusalem, knew that she had a genuine "line to power." Not only did they consult her, no one doubted her words. Not that they liked her message, but unlike Jeremiah, they didn't doubt her.
Did she take an active role in the coming reforms? Maybe not, but her words influenced them. Isn't that just as good?
Am i walking closely enough with God? Do those around me know it?
*If you know the story, you will know that Josiah definitely did not die in peace. However, this does not mean the prophecy was wrong. He died before the calamity, which was the point. As far as we can tell, he didn't belong in that battle. And death in battle is better than being beseiged for years, then ending your life in captivity.
Background Information on Huldah
"Huldah the Prophetess" kinda wordy, but very worthwhile. Part of a short series.
A Jewish article on Huldah