This is a record of a woman prophet named Huldah, who existed during King’s Josiah’s time (Josiah 640-609 BC). (She was mentioned briefly in 2 Kings 22, and 2 Chronicles 34.)
She became the king’s counsel over the most important spiritual matter even when there were powerful and influential men like the high priest, the court secretary, personal advisor and other priests and advisors to the king. Why? She knew the Book of the Law and they didn’t. She was in close communication with God. She heard from God and spoke His messages. She was the only prophet then.
Summary notes: Note how a true prophet is someone who knows God and His words, can hear God accurately and faithfully convey His messages. This is regardless of what gender or social class the prophet is. She was just a wife of the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.
- The king asked five court officials and religious leaders (including the high priest) for advice and interpretation of the very serious words of God he just heard. He assumed they could ask and hear God direct. He said to them, “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.”
- But they had not been reading God’s words or hearing from God. They had to go and consult with the prophet Huldah.
- She was already known and respected as the prophet whom people would consult.
- She spoke to them without hesitation the two very clear and specific messages she heard from God: (1) She said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you…All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. ” (2) “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: 19 You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people…And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. 20 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace.” So they took her message back to the king.
- The king listened and believed in her messages. The prophet Huldah’s words from God confirmed what king Josiah had feared. He immediately took action to clean up the nationwide spiritual pollutions.
2 Kings chapter 22 New Living Translation (NLT) Josiah Rules in Judah
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king,.. 2 He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.
3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, the court secretary, to the Temple of the Lord. He told him, 4 “Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money the gatekeepers have collected from the people at the Lord’s Temple. 5 Entrust this money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the Lord’s Temple. Then they can use it to pay workers to repair the Temple…”
Hilkiah found the Book of God’s Law
8 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.
9 Shaphan went to the king and reported,..” So Shaphan read it to the king.
11 When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12 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: 13 “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.”
14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the New Quarter[a] of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.
15 She said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city[b] and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. 17 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.’
18 “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: 19 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. 20 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.
Chapter 23 Josiah’s Religious Reforms
1 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.
4 Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens…