She inspired King Josiah and a nation to repent. Her name? Huldah, a prophetess who lived in the 2nd District of Jerusalem during the time of King Josiah’s reign. Not a lot is said about her. However, her role in the nation of Judah was one of great significance.
Here is their story: King Josiah, eight years old, had become king and reigned for 31 years. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s eyes, followed the example of his ancestor King David, and continued doing what was right. (Reference 2 Kings 22:1-7)
Fast forward to the 18th year of his reign, 2 Kings 22:8-11 “Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!’ Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it. Shaphan went to the king and reported, ‘Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.’ Shaphan also told the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.’ So Shaphan read it to the king. When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: ‘Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.’” Josiah’s response was a fitting response given the fact He had heard the Words of the Lord. He listened to the Book of the Law which was now found, filled with despair, he tears in clothes in act of remorse. The king was not dignified in that moment of despair. Even Josiah himself took note, “We have not been doing everything it says we must do.” King Josiah wanted to know what they should do. As a result, he sent Hilkiah, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah to go to the temple, speak to the Lord for him (King Josiah), the people, and Judah. King Josiah had recognized God was angry at them because of their ancestors’ disobedience to the Words written on the scroll.
The men made their way over to consult Huldah about what they had found. For them to go to her, it was obvious she was respected, and she had a message from the Lord for them, 2 Kings 22:15-20 “She said to them, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched. But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city. So they took her message back to the king.'”
Huldah spoke boldly and confidently. She gave the men the message the Lord had her to give without hesitation. The message the Lord gave her was clear, and she had the courage to tell them exactly what God wanted. Huldah was willing to be used.
King Josiah’s response to the message God gave Huldah to give him is remarkable: 2 Kings 23:1-3 “Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. 3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.” He took the warning Huldah gave and he acted on the Word of the Lord. King Josiah took the lead, called everyone together in one place for the reading of the Word of God, and they pledged themselves to the Covenant. The King vowed to keep the commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul in the presence of God. King Josiah gave himself over to the ways of God. He removed the idolatrous priests who offered sacrifices to pagan gods, removed pagan worship and shrines of prostitution from the Temple of the Lord, idolatrous priests were not allowed to eat of the unleavened bread with the other priests, destroyed altars on the palace roof and the upper room of the palace and any other altar for worship to other gods, and the list goes on of the actions King Josiah made. He took drastic action. (Reference 2 Kings 23)
Like Huldah, are you willing to be used by the Lord to carry out the task He has given you? Are you willing to be shaped and molded by the Lord like King Josiah was? Will you, like Josiah, set your face like stone determined to do the will of God? Will you push aside God’s Word, or will you draw close to Him and take immediate action on what needs to change in your life? Is there anything you have to do so your life falls in line with God’s Word?
Remember our God never fails. He is the One who strengthens you and delivers you. You need only to go to Him and call out to Him. But if you go to the Lord for counsel and He tells you what to do, then be prepared to jump into action and follow every instruction He gives you.
But Samuel replied,
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22
In His Service,
Linda A. Knowles
Executive Director, Thread of Hope, Inc.