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12/30/2008

Why Do We Hear So Little of Huldah?

A combination of history, culture, and male domination have buried Huldah over the decades. The gate area where it is thought that she could be found as a prophet-in-residence of the temple mount area were probably known as the "first" or "old gates" indicating their antiquity.
At some point, just when is unclear, but perhaps at the time after the prophets, the tradition of calling these the "Huldah Gates" settled into culture. When the Ottoman Empire took over Jerusalem, they built a mosque and in the process they closed off, bricked up, and totally hide most of the old, first or Huldah gates. In essence they were hidden.
Some Jewish scholars state that one or more gates to the Temple were named for Chuldah (Huldah), and that the Midrash(Rabbinic commentaries on the Scriptures) says this gate was "never destroyed. Rashi comments that this was the gate where she sat and taught; it is referred to as "Mishneh" in the verse (Melachim II 22:14). .... [There is a comment added to Rashi's commentary on that verse in Melachim, suggesting that Chuldah taught... to the sages by that gate....] (http://ohave.tripod.com/chumash/chuldah.htm).
She resided in an area adjacent to the temple, in a western section called the "Second Quarter" which in some older translations is called "the college." It may be inferred that she was one of the group that had been found to be true to God since the king had spent several years ridding the land of pagan priests, temples, groves, and idols. She, along with Hilkiah the High Priest, and unnamed others, can be considered to have passed the test as King Josiah cleansed the land. Some scholars understand that the prophets had areas where they worked: some roamed, some were rural, and some were city. Some, like Huldah, were part of the daily working of the temple. People would have come to her to do as King Josiah ordered his ambassadors to do and "Go, inquire of the Lord for me." (2 Chron. 34.21).
Male biases about the role of women further eroded her presence from the pages of scripture and scholarly books and thus from church sermons. Many men made the decision that women could not be prophets, leaders, or teachers and thus blinded themselves to the examples shown through out scriptures of women doing just those things! Jesus recognized this trait when he talked about those who "had ears to hear" or "eyes to see".

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If you would like more information on implementing a Daughters of Huldah or a Sisters of Huldah group in your church or community, or in starting a RFA chapter please contact:

Marilyn A. Hudson
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