During the reign of King Josiah, a high priest by the name of Hilkiah found a book of the law. He then gave the book to the king’s secretary named Shaphan, who then read the book to King Josiah. When King Josiah heard the words that were written in the book he tore his clothes because he realized that the kingdom was sinning and in judgment from God. So King Josiah sent Hilkiah, Shaphan, and some other important men to find the prophetess Huldah so that they could follow the words in detail. For this reason, Huldah appears on the Biblical Timeline during the reign of King Josiah.
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Huldah was the wife of Shallum, the keeper of the wardrobe. Her name means weasels. She is only mentioned in the Bible in 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 34. When the men found her, she told them that God was going to bring disaster on Israel because of their idolatrous behavior. The prophetess told them to tell King Josiah that the Lord was going to spare him from this fate and that he was going to carry it out at a later date.
The officials then brought back Huldah’s words to the king and told him what was about to happen. The King then gathered all of the people in Israel both the great and the small and had the word of the law read to them. The king then made a covenant to walk in the ways of the Lord. King Josiah’s efforts caused the people to follow after and worship the Lord all of the days that he was alive. However, King Josiah died in battle at the hands of the Egyptians because he didn’t obey God’s command not to go to war with this empire.
Historical sources also claim that Huldah was used to speaking God’s word to kings and officials. She was also a woman who spoke prophesies to other women of the time and she was the only female prophetess recorded in the Bible during this era in Israel’s history. God had used female prophets in the past such as Deborah in the book of Judges and Miriam in the book of the Exodus. Huldah like any other prophet of her time had to pass the tests associated with being a prophet.
Huldah had great knowledge of the Torah. The Talmud also states that the women prophetesses were regarded as more compassionate than the males, and that is why the officials sought her out as opposed to Jeremiah. Huldah was considered to be the cousin of Jeremiah. Some historians and scholars also claim that her memory was kept alive through a gate in Israel called the “Gate of Huldah.”
1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 24 are the only two places where Huldah is mentioned in the Bible.
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