Huldah the Truth Teller
So the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophetess Huldah the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; she resided in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter, where they consulted her. She declared to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel…” – 2 Kings 22:14-15a (NRSV)
When King Josiah realized how far his people had strayed from God’s law, he needed to know the consequences of their greed and idolatry. He sent the priest Hilkiah to “go, inquire of the Lord for me.” Hilkiah and the other temple advisors went to the prophet Huldah.
Some Biblical scholars contend that Hilkiah consulted Huldah instead of Jeremiah because he thought she’d soften the bad news of God’s judgment. After all, she was a woman; her prophecy might show more compassion than the jeremiads of her male counterpart.
Huldah didn’t tell the people what they wanted to hear. She told them the truth. A hard truth, but a truth that would truly set them free. Free to acknowledge the impact of their greed and misuse of others. Free to acknowledge their need for God’s mercy and guidance to get back on track. A truth they had to hear if they were ever to know true peace—as a nation and within themselves.
King Josiah listened to Huldah’s prophecy. He called the people to renew the covenant to walk in God’s ways and follow God’s commands. Because Huldah told the truth, the nation began to heal. Can we listen to the truth tellers of our time, too?
Thank you for Huldah and other prophets who tell us the truth. Give us the courage to hear. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Parts 1 and 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.