Women in Ministry 2: Huldah

Have you ever heard of Huldah?  If not, don’t feel bad.

Many haven’t heard of her.  I grew up in church and I don’t think I ever heard her mentioned once.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned her once in my own ministry either.  It’s unfortunate, because this prophet’s words launched Israel’s greatest revival.[1]  I think it’s time for Huldah to get the attention she deserves.

It all started with King Josiah, who was unique among the kings of Judah and Israel because he actually wasn’t terrible.  Unlike most of the kings, he “did what was right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 22:2).  The temple in Jerusalem, and for that matter almost all the religious practices of God’s people, had morphed into something almost unrecognizable from the faithful worship that had taken place in the old days.  Pagan idols and rituals had crept in to their worship and taken over their temple.  Thankfully, for a reason that only God knows, King Josiah sent his secretary to the high priest Hilkiah with the instructions to appropriate funds to repair the temple.

Apparently the renovation was a good idea, because in the process Hilkiah discovered a dusty old scroll that turned out to be the “book of the law,” which is believed to have been the first five books of the Bible.  They cracked it open for the first time in generations and proceeded to read all of God’s stern warnings about what would happen if the nation didn’t remain faithful to Him.

Oops.

Josiah knew they’d messed up bad.  Something had to be done.  They needed some guidance, and it had to be good.  They needed a prophet.

Josiah passed over prophetic heavy-hitters of the day such as Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habakkuk[2] and decided to take this critical issue up with someone else: Huldah.  So in a scene that is packed with relevance for our discussion today, the King and his right hand men, along with the high priest of the Temple, rolled up to Huldah’s door and asked her what to do about this new discovery.

I’ll say that again: the king, his men, and the high priest went and consulted a woman on an issue of utmost spiritual and political importance.  And her prophecy thundered throughout the entire land, bringing about a reform unlike any before it.  And yet, women have not been allowed to lead in ministry throughout most of history, and to a large extent this continues today.  Josiah proceeded to smash every trace of paganism to be found in the nation.  He restored the celebration of the Passover meal for the first time since the days of the Judges.  Pagan sorcerers were put away and God’s law was once again upheld.

Now that’s what I call a word of the Lord!

If God used Huldah then, then God wants to raise up more Huldahs now.  Perhaps there is a revival waiting to sweep across the land when our sisters in Christ are enabled and encouraged to open their mouths and speak.  If that’s the case, then it’s the church’s job to find ways to do it.

Don’t believe what I said?  Read it for yourself! 2 Chronicles 34:8-28, 2 Kings 22:3-30.  Next time, we’ll move into the New Testament, and learn about how the very first preachers of the gospel were women.


[1] McKnight, S. (2011). Junia is Not Alone: Breaking our Silence About Women in Ministry. Englewood: Patheos Press.

[2] Ibid.

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