Archive | June 2015

Some Observations About Huldah

Huldah, The Prophetess - 2 Kings 22 verses 14-20

Further problematical is that the Huldah passage is riddled with name variants: ‘Huldah’ [Holda, Olda] is the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah [var. Tokhath, or Thecua, or Thecuan] son of Harhas [var. Hasrah, or Araas, or Aras].

The Septuagint adds another complication, by designating Huldah as “mother”, rather than “wife”, of Shallum.

R. Cohn (who has also written about Judith: Wise Woman of Bethulia), tells of Huldah as being “the first scripture authority, the founder of biblical studies”, and “Israel’s most successful prophet”, and “a scholar to whom Israelites came to for instruction”. (

Cohn tells of Huldah’s obedience, too, to the word of Moses:

The prophetess Huldah, who is very closely related to the book of Deuteronomy, heeded Moses’ wish for other inspired leaders to reach out to the “Instructions” and through inspiration make them their own. Therefore, before we leave the Book of Deuteronomy I want to discuss Huldah and her role in “democratizing” scripture. Some scholars even think that she wrote the book but I have yet to find any evidence for such a claim, although I certainly will keep looking for it!

Huldah as author of the Book of Deuteronomy? Not likely!

Cohn continues, on the singular importance of the prophetess Huldah (though perhaps overstating some aspects of it):

Huldah the Prophetess the First to Declare Scripture Holy

We read in 2 Kings 22:14-20 (and Chron. 34:11-28) about the discovery of a hidden scroll uncovered during a remodel of the Temple during the time of King Josiah. After learning of the scroll, Josiah requests the prophetess Huldah to verify that it is the word of God. “Huldah the prophetess… holds a unique place in history. It was she who, for the first time, designated a written document as Holy Scripture. …. Whatever the actual circumstances for the introduction of Deuteronomy, Huldah is given the credit for “canonizing” the book. Not only did she sanction the scroll but she also interpreted it” (Camp, Female Voice, p.100). “The authority to pass judgment on this initial entry into the canon was given to a [woman]. At the beginning of the Bible we find Huldah; in her we discover the first scripture authority, the founder of biblical studies” (Swidler, p. 783). As a result, more than just the prophet could savor and ponder the words of God; more than the High Priest in the Holy of Holies could access God. “Without Huldah’s verification of the Book of Deuteronomy in the seventh century B.C.E., Judaism might have disappeared with the next foreign invasion (which came soon enough after the scroll’s discovery)”.