Author and podcaster Kat Armas writes of truth telling as a valued part of her upbringing and finds support for this way of being in the Scriptures:
I learned very young that when there’s a problem, you confront it. It’s how you get by…. For me, confrontation has always been equated with intimacy…. It wasn’t until I left my context, my culture, that I realized how rare it is to value confrontation and truth telling, and what length many people will go to in order to silence the prophets in our midst.
I imagine Huldah the prophet held to similar values.
Her story is found in 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 34. It’s not surprising that we don’t know much about her or hear of her often. I wonder if her story goes untold because it’s hard to reconcile a truth-telling woman, a prophet who instructs a man—the king—in the way of God, with the narratives that are forced on women by much of the church. Some in the church tell women that they can’t lead men, that the Bible says so, but what about Huldah? She was called by God to tell the truth….
I wish we knew more about Huldah’s calling…. What was it like for a woman to be called to such a powerful position of spiritual leadership and authority? Did she have a vision that empowered her like Isaiah did, or was she terrified and trying to get out of it like Jonah? I wonder if she was young like Josiah, who became king as a child and eventually went to Huldah for spiritual counsel. Were there women in her life, abuelitas [grandmothers] who discipled her, told her about her antepasados [ancestors] and everything they went through in Egypt, in the desert? Did she have role models like Miriam, a woman without husband or children, the first woman to ever be called a prophet? Did Huldah look up to the way Miriam led Israel in song and dance and to how they were committed to her—refusing to march in the wilderness until she was healed from her disease (Numbers 12:15)?
Armas describes how Josiah the king sought out the prophet Huldah “to receive direction from God through the prophet”:
And Huldah did just that—boldly. She warned of the coming destruction, declaring that the written word they found was indeed God’s true word. She also delivered good news, validating Josiah’s repentance on first reading the book. She let the messengers know that Josiah’s actions would bring forth peace. After Huldah’s word got back to him, Josiah responded by continuing his reform. [See 2 Kings 22:12–20; 2 Chronicles 34:19–33].
Huldah’s prophetic words shifted national policy. Her commitment to telling God’s truth—even and especially the hard truth—specifically to men in power, changed the course of history.
Kat Armas, Abuelita Faith: What Women on the Margins Teach Us about Wisdom, Persistence, and Strength (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2021), 68–69.
Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Jenna Keiper, Bisti Badlands. Benjamin Yazza, Untitled 6. Jenna Keiper, Taos Snow. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.
Like this bird, the Hebrew prophets sing truth from new vantage points.
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My husband and I are Protestants who regularly attended church for 67 years. But we began to feel that our community was exclusionary and judgmental, a realization that began to erode our trust in the institution. Richard Rohr and CAC have been a steady, refreshing, loving new look at God and his love. It has freed us from doctrinaire beliefs which seemed to encourage hatred, meanness, and violence. Thank you for renewing our Spirits. —Marilyn A.