When they brought out the silver that had been deposited in the Lord’s temple, the priest Hilkiah found the book of the law of the Lord written by the hand of Moses. Consequently, Hilkiah told the court secretary Shaphan, “I have found the book of the law in the Lord’s temple,” and he gave the book to Shaphan.
Shaphan took the book to the king, and also reported, “Your servants are doing all that was placed in their hands. They have emptied out the silver that was found in the Lord’s temple and have given it to the overseers and to those doing the work.” Then the court secretary Shaphan told the king, “The priest Hilkiah gave me a book,” and Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. Then he commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, the court secretary Shaphan, and the king’s servant Asaiah, “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was found. For great is the Lord’s wrath that is poured out on us because our ancestors have not kept the word of the Lord in order to do everything written in this book.”
So Hilkiah and those the king had designated went to the prophetess Huldah, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her about this.
2 Chronicles 34:14-22
In recent weeks, the topic of women teaching the Bible has become a prominent issue in some religious circles after audio emerged of a well-known male preacher making fun of another well-known female author and speaker at a conference of like-minded preachers. These men latch onto a few passages that they read out of context and assert there is an absolute ban on women preachers without looking at the broader story of God and His people found in the Bible. This man’s views on women in ministry are already well known, so the comments are not totally surprising but hearing them presented in such an ugly way stirred something in people. And it should.
As I read this passage preparing for this week, I couldn’t help but notice the role that Huldah played in the reforms carried out by Josiah. When Josiah had sent men to check on the repairs being done to the Temple in Jerusalem, they were given a copy of the Book of the Law by Hilkiah, the priest. What was read to King Josiah so disturbed him that he needed to hear from God what this meant for Israel at this time. He sent a delegation to inquire of someone who could discern God’s message for them in these words. These men went to a prophetess named Huldah who spoke God’s message to them. The matter of fact way that this is presented would indicate that there was no debate on who to go to in this time of need. Huldah was apparently recognized as a trustworthy messenger of God.
Though the majority of the leaders mentioned in the Bible are men, much of that can be understood within the cultural context in which the books that were compiled in the Bible were written. There are also times throughout the history of Scripture that God used women to speak His word and lead His people. We cannot flippantly ignore these parts of the Bible as well. We need to affirm that God has and still does speak through women as well as men.
- Who are some of the women that have played an important role in your spiritual growth?