More than Words

May 11, 2012 - 5:00 am

“Hilkiah and those the king had sent with himwent to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.” — 2 Chronicles 34:22

During the time of Josiah, there lived three renowned prophets. Jewish tradition teaches that Jeremiah prophesied in the streets of Jerusalem; Tzefaniah prophesied in the synagogues; and Huldah – a woman – had a school for women. Together they formed the spiritual leadership of the nation.

Josiah was a good king and took on the huge task of restoring God’s Temple. Kings before him had neglected and even desecrated the holy space. During the renovations the workers were thrilled to uncover an ancient Torah scroll that had been hidden away in the Temple walls. But the joy was short lived when they discovered that the scroll was open to an ominous section in Deuteronomy that describes all of the terrible things that will happen to the Jewish people if they forsake the ways of God. The king was deeply shaken and heartbroken, remembering how his father and grandfather had lived. He rent his clothes and ordered his men to take the scroll to a prophet for further clarification and advisement. 

From all of the great prophets that were available at the time, the men chose to go to Huldah. Why? 

The truth is that any prophet they would have gone to would have said exactly the same thing. A prophet is required to speak the word of God word for word. The king and his men already had a good idea of what the prophet was going to tell them. They knew that they could not change what they were about to hear, but they could change the way in which it was said. Huldah, as a compassionate woman, would give over the prophecy with love and grace. If they were about to hear bad news, at least she would break it gently.

As Josiah anticipated, Huldah prophesied that the Jewish people were about to experience the exile described in Deuteronomy. It wouldn’t happen in Josiah’s lifetime because of his righteousness, but it was on its way.

The reaction to the prophecy is positive. Josiah leads the people in repentance and even though they never fully return to God, perhaps it was that strengthening of spirit that gave the Jews the ability to withstand the harsh exile. This productive reaction and positive outcome can be attributed to Huldah. Had another prophet conveyed the message it might have lead to despair and more distance from God. But Huldah’s gentle tone inspired hope and encouraged change.

Every time we speak, people hear so much more than  just the words we say. They hear how we say them. So whenever we open our mouths to speak, we have an opportunity to encourage and give hope through our words and tone, or we have the ability to tear down and cause despair.

As it says in Proverbs, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (16:24).





     

4 Responses to More than Words

  1. Diane C. Kennedy says:

    Praise Be To God! You did it again Brother Eckstein! I know God led me to this, your website, because everyday God has something to “say” or teach me…and you did it again this morning. I was just reading in Deutoronomy this morning of “all” the requirements God required of His people…and I thought to myself…”Wow Lord, your really expected a lot.” Me, being born not Jewish, and I have never been one to follow a lot of rules, am amazed at how much God required. And I understand His reasonings of requirement….a vast multitued that could take forever to go over….obedience, health, etc., etc…..and of late, giving a sermon in my church where some men do not believe in women in the pulpit due to something Paul wrote in the New Testament…I find what you have shared interesting also…that even though it has been taught against women being in the pulpit, here in the Old Testament it is a “woman” they went to, and their reasonings are understandable. So many things God has spoken to me about in this that you have shared. Thank You for being “open” to God and to His Word and to His leading….may He “continually” Bless You “and” Your Family….In His Love….Shalom :-)

    • charles hayden says:

      Dear sir, In 1972 I begain a relationship with the Lord. In the Good Sheperd community of Redwood city ca, I was disipled by 30 wemon. The grace that was instilled in me by them was to love others with a unconditional Love. I am now 75 and that grace is still active in me to this day. I lift up all wemon this day because of thier unconditional Love.

  2. Dorothy Joseph-Haynes says:

    Huldah the prophetess was respected and reverenced for her Words of Wisdom. She taught the women how much tradition, values as well as worship and time with God is so important. Huldah’s spirit was of Godly meekness, love filled with compassion and a strong desire to live truthfully for Father YHWH. Then, there was Jezebel, the kings’ wife, Ahab…who because she was lived vainly, she was everything opposite of Huldah. In saying that, There was a reason Paul preached womens’ submissiveness and the other remain ‘quietness’ in the church. Sometimes what we read is not literally what the Apostles meant. There are many women God is using today. You can see and ‘feel’ when the True Spirit of the Lord God is resting on a woman. Which leads us to the real questions. We can not become upset as women when we are on a ball field nornally reserved for me. What we ask ourselves as women is, ‘Will we be of a prophetess spirit such as Huldah or Jezebel?’

  3. SLewis says:

    Thank you for this Inspiring Devotional, Rabbi. King Josiah one of my favorite kings of the Bible, Jeremiah again one of the favorites of the prophets!
    A Word spoken in Season How Good it is! ~ Proverbs 15:23 ~

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