And in a supporting role . . .
“Hilkiah (the high priest) and those the king had sent with him went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe.” – 2 Chronicles 34:22
The prophet Hulda gets a scant nine lines in the Bible, and in them we learn more about her husband than we do about her.
Nonetheless, she must have been impressive, for when King Josiah needed a prophet to authenticate the Word of God, it was to Hulda that he turned.
Josiah had ordered a renovation of the temple, and during this work Hilkiah had discovered a scroll, “The Book of the Law,” which many scholars are convinced was the Book of Deuteronomy (or a portion of it.)
When the scroll was read to Josiah, he tore his clothes, because of the dire calamities described in it. That is why he sent his people to consult Hulda, who apparently had a finely attuned ear for the Word of God.
Hulda confirmed that the scroll was indeed God’s Word and that much of the news in it was bad news because of the nation’s idolatry.
As in many biblical stories there is much here we aren’t told. We don’t know Hulda’s age or appearance. What we do know is that a bunch of powerful men in a patriarchal age came to her for guidance about the ways of God. And we do know that Hulda was not afraid to “speak truth to power” as we would say today.
Sprinkled throughout our holy book are verses here and there like these that name the numerous cast of supporting characters in the great multi-generational drama of God’s ways with the world.
Holy One, attune our ears to hear your Word, that we too might be found faithful in the supporting roles to which you call us.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A writer and author, his most recent publications are Romans, Parts 1 and 2 (with Michael S. Bennett), new titles in the “Listen Up!” Bible Study Series. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.