The king commanded... "Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found... - 2 Kings 22:13
What a day this is in Jerusalem. Josiah, newly become king, has undertaken a renewal of the temple building. In a long-forgotten closet an ancient scroll is unearthed, probably part of the book of Leviticus. To the king's horror, he realizes that there are festivals that have gone unobserved by his predecessors, and he doesn't know what he should do.
Dutifully, a little royal delegation sets about finding the wisest person to help the king in his dilemma. This is where the story becomes fascinating. They do not head for the chief priest in the temple. Nor do they consult Jeremiah or Ezekiel, both young prophets at this time. Instead, we are told they go to the Second Quarter of Jerusalem to a certain woman named Huldah, a prophet. The feminists might celebrate this moment. The more glum might mutter: "How low
has Israel fallen that there isn't even a male prophet to interpret the word of God." You choose.
Huldah consults the Lord on behalf of the anxious delegates. Her message is not a cheery one: disaster is coming. Jerusalem will not escape the force of invading Babylon. The people have chosen other gods for too long and they refuse to repent. The only positive note is that God sees the willing heart of the young king and these horrors will not happen in his lifetime.
Back to the palace they go with their words of doom. The king accepts them even as he urges the people to change in whatever time they have left. Josiah inaugurates a Passover celebration and he attempts to remove the idols that have taken up residence in the house of God. His people do not follow his example.
This is an amazing little moment as a woman filters the message from God and she is believed by her questioner. More importantly, she is named in a world where so many women are referred to only as "the daughter of" or "the wife of." Yes, her husband is both named and given employment, keeper of the wardrobe, but she is the important one.
Huldah knows and speaks truth, even when it is hard. What courage that took. Have we a hard truth to speak?