Huldah the Prophetess (11 Chronicles 34:22-30)

The Women Of Good Hope Bible Study

by Adah L. Hutchcraft


       Manasseh, King of Judah came to power in 697 B.C. at the age of twelve and reigned for fifty-five years (II Chron. 33:1). Manasseh had the longest reign of any king over Judah and, sadly, was the wickedest of all Judah’s kings. Manasseh rebuilt the idols his father Hezekiah destroyed and reestablished Baal worship. He sacrificed his own children in burnt offerings to false gods and became heavily influenced by witchcraft and the occult. Blood flowed in Judah.

    As a result of his corruption, Manasseh lead Israel to become more wicked than the sinful heathen nations God had destroyed. God spoke to Manasseh and Judah, but they would not listen. So the Lord punished the king and had him captured by the Assyrians. While he was imprisoned, Manasseh humbled himself before God in prayer. When he was returned to Jerusalem the King acknowledged God as the only God and did everything he could to undo the corruption he had brought. But Judah continued in sin throughout and after Manasseh’s death.

    King Amon, Manasseh’s son, committed the same sins as his father but did not humble himself. As a result, Amon reigned only two years and was murdered in his own home. The people then killed all conspirators against Amon and made Josiah, his son, king over Judah (II Chron. 33:22-25).

King Josiah began to reign when he was eight years old. He was not like his father and grandfather. He was different because Josiah pleased God. When Josiah turned sixteen he began to seek the God of David with a tender heart. When he was twenty, Josiah began to reform Israel. He destroyed the places of Idol worship and their graven images. Josiah tore down the altars erected to false gods and purged Israel of their heathen priests. Once this was done Josiah returned to Jerusalem to undergo repairing the Temple of God.  

    Once the object of distraction was removed the Temple of God became the primary focus. Josiah was twenty-six when the Temple began to be restored. He sent a scribe, a recorder, and the official of the city to give the Levites’ money to Hilkiah, the high priest, so he could pay workers to repair the Temple. Hilkiah also took the money that was already in the temple to be given to the builders.

   While Hilkiah was retrieving the money from the Temple he fell upon the book of the law which God gave Moses. Hilkiah told the Kings’ scribe, Shaphan, what he had found. Shaphan took the book of the law to Josiah and read it to him. The Law said that God would withdraw Himself from Israel if they did not obey Him. Josiah knew too well that Israel’s history was repulsive. So when the king heard the Word of God he ripped his clothes and told his messengers to inquire of the Lord and any godly soul in the land about what he should do. So the King’s messengers and Hilkiah the priest went to Huldah the prophetess to know the will of God.

Huldah the prophetess went straight to the quick. Israel would be judged for their sins, and because they were heart idolaters, judgment could not be averted. Huldah sent God’s message to the Josiah, proclaiming the curses of the law upon Israel for their rebellion. These words would be hard for Josiah to bear. He had done as much as he could to purify Israel of their past iniquities, but Israel’s heart had not been moved. Judah’s demise was inevitable.

    If Huldah had stopped with Israel's judgment the news might have overwhelmed Josiah’s heart. But fortunately the prophetess went on. Huldah sent this message to the King: “Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before me, I truly have heard you...You shall be gathered to your grave in peace, so your eyes will not see all the evil I will bring on this place and its inhabitants”. (II Chron. 34:27-28)

    God honored Josiah because Josiah had honored God. The king would not be able to waver Israel’s punishment, but he would not be a part of it either. Israel was so wicked that God could not spare them even for Josiah. But God would deliver the king from the sorrow Israel would suffer for their transgressions. Israel would be judged but Josiah would receive mercy through death. Soon after Huldah spoke God’s Word to Josiah, he died in battle with the Egyptians.           

Huldah the prophetess has little recorded about her, but she had a very important part in history because of this -- she faithfully delivered the Word God had given her. She did not withhold God’s blessing or His judgment from Israel and her King. Huldah was not at liberty to do anything but tell what God had said, and that is what she did. She could not excuse herself from proclaiming God’s message because she was a woman, neither could Huldah select what she would disclose to Josiah’s messengers. God does not give anyone liberty to extract or discard His Word. No part must be left out. Huldah was responsible to deliver both blessing and judgment; pain and peace. Christians are called to do the same with God’s Word. We are not to withhold the knowledge and insight God gives, whether pleasing or painful, from those God calls us to speak to.

God sends his people to those who are seeking to know His will. Some have good hearts but lack knowledge of God (Acts 10, 11). Others hear the Word of God with tender hearts but need counsel in how to respond obediently to the Gospel (Acts 2:37). The knowledge God gives supersedes earthly wisdom. God’s Word cannot be known or understood unless God Himself reveals it. No amount of education, life experience or common sense can give people insight that will save their eternal souls. God is the object, bearer and giver of heavenly knowledge. The ungodly do not have access to it. So when God shows Himself to His children they are in turn called to proclaim Him to others. Who else will? If we have faith and obey the Lord and are available for His use, He will make opportunity for us to give to others what He has given us.