Huldah (Hebrew: חֻלְדָּה) was a prophet and the wife of Shallum.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Prelude[edit | edit source]
In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Josiah of Judah, Josiah sent Shaphan to high priest Hilkiah in order to ask Hilkiah to ascertain the amount of the money being collected by the Temple so that Hilkiah could then distribute it to the workers were repairing the Temple. While bringing out the money, Hilkiah recovered the lost Book of Law that God had given to Moses. Hilkiah shared this discovery with Shaphan, and Shaphan relayed the words of the book to Josiah.
Upon hearing the words of the Book of Law, Josiah became deeply concerned and repentant and torn his clothes in recognition of how the Israelites had not been following God's law as written in the book. Josiah then commanded Hilkiah, Shaphan, Shaphan's son Ahikam, Achbor, and his servant Asaiah to consult the prophet Huldah and learn of God's will.
Prophecy[edit | edit source]
They went to Huldah, and Huldah relayed the word of God to them:
Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel:Tell the man who sent you to me, thus says the Lord:But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord, you shall say this to him:Behold, I am bringing a catastrophe on this place (Judah) and on its inhabitants, [according to] all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. Because they have abandoned (rejected) Me and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it will not be quenched.Thus says the Lord God of Israel,Regarding the words which you have heard, because your heart was tender (receptive, penitent) and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I have heard you,declares the Lord.Therefore, behold, [King Josiah,] I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be taken to your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil (catastrophe) which I will bring on this place.— 2 Kings 22:15–22:20 (AMP)
Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel:Tell the man who sent you to me, thus says the Lord:But you shall say the following to King Josiah of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord:Behold, I am bringing evil on this place and on its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book which they have read in the presence of the king of Judah. Because they have abandoned (rejected) Me and have burned incense to other gods, in order to provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands, My wrath will be poured out on this place and it will not be extinguished.Thus says the Lord God of Israel, concerning the words which you have heard,Because your heart was gentle and penitent and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and its inhabitants, and humbled yourself before Me, and tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,declares the Lord.Behold, I will gather you to your fathers [in death], and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I am going to bring on this place and on its inhabitants.— 2 Chronicles 34:23–34:28 (AMP)
God was going to punish the Israelites for not obeying Him, but since Josiah repented and humbled himself, Josiah would be allowed to live the remainder of his life in peace; God's punishment would come after Josiah's reign.
Outcome[edit | edit source]
Josiah's men then relayed what they've heard to Josiah. Josiah then set out to reform Judah and bring his people back to God. He gathered the priests, prophets, and people and transmitted the Book of Law to them. Josiah formed a covenant with God and vowed to follow and confirm God's law as written, and he had the people enter into the same covenant with God.
Josiah then had Hilkiah burn all the idols that were in the Temple. Josiah expelled idolatrous priests and prostitutes from the kingdom, torn down temples and shrines to idols, and banned pagan practices such as child sacrifices. Josiah also re-institute Passover, which had not been celebrated since the time of the prophet Samuel.
As promised, God did not destroy the kingdom of Judah during Josiah's reign; instead, Josiah's son and grandsons experienced Judah's destruction by the Babylonians.