2 Kings 22:14
So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Went unto Huldah the prophetess.—Why not to Jeremiah or Zephaniah? Apparently because Huldah “dwelt in Jerusalem,” and they did not, at least at this time. Anathoth in Benjamin was Jeremiah’s town. Huldah, however, must have enjoyed a high reputation, as prophets are mentioned in 2Kings 23:2.

Keeper of the wardrobe.—Either the royal wardrobe or that of the priests in the Temple. (Comp. 2Kings 10:22.) In either case Shallum was a person of consideration, as is further shown by the careful specification of his descent.

In the college.—This is the rendering of the Targum, as if mishneh (“second”) were equivalent to the later Mishna. The word really means the second part of the cityi.e., the lower city. (See Nehemiah 11:9; Zephaniah 1:10.)

2 Kings 22:14. So Hilkiah the priest, &c., went unto Huldah the prophetess — This is the only mention we have of this prophetess; and certainly it tends much to her honour that she was consulted on this important occasion, when, it is supposed, that not only Jeremiah, but Zephaniah also, was a prophet in Judah. But Zephaniah, perhaps, might not at that time have commenced a prophet; because, although we are told he prophesied in the days of Josiah, (Zephaniah 1:1,) yet we are nowhere informed in what part of Josiah’s reign he entered on the prophetic office. And Jeremiah might then be absent from Jerusalem, at his house at Anathoth, or some more remote part of the kingdom; so that, considering Josiah’s haste and impatience, there might be no other proper person to apply to than this prophetess. And the king and his ministers, who went to inquire, being well assured of her fidelity in delivering the counsel of God, concluded rightly, that it was much more to be regarded what message God sent, than by whom it was conveyed. — See Poole and Dodd. Now she dwelt in the college — Where the sons of the prophets, and others who devoted themselves to the study of God’s word, used to meet and discourse of the things of God, and receive the instructions of their teachers.

22:11-20 The book of the law is read before the king. Those best honour their Bibles, who study them; daily feed on that bread, and walk by that light. Convictions of sin and wrath should put us upon this inquiry, What shall we do to be saved? Also, what we may expect, and must provide for. Those who are truly apprehensive of the weight of God's wrath, cannot but be very anxious how they may be saved. Huldah let Josiah know what judgments God had in store for Judah and Jerusalem. The generality of the people were hardened, and their hearts unhumbled, but Josiah's heart was tender. This is tenderness of heart, and thus he humbled himself before the Lord. Those who most fear God's wrath, are least likely to feel it. Though Josiah was mortally wounded in battle, yet he died in peace with God, and went to glory. Whatever such persons suffer or witness, they are gathered to the grave in peace, and shall enter into the rest which remaineth for the people of God.Went unto Huldah - It might have been expected that the royal commissioners would have gone to Jeremiah, on whom the prophetic spirit had descended in Josiah's 13th year Jeremiah 1:2, or five years previous to the finding of the Law. Perhaps he was at some distance from Jerusalem at the time; or his office may not yet have been fully recognized.

The prophetess - Compare the cases of Miriam Exodus 15:20; Numbers 12:2 and Deborah Judges 4:4.

Keeper of the wardrobe - literally, "of the robes." Shallum had the superintendence, either of the vestments of the priests who served in the temple, or of the royal robe-room in which dresses of honor were stored, in case of their being needed for presents (see 2 Kings 5:5 note).

In the college - The marginal translation "in the second part" is preferable; and probably refers to the new or outer city - that which had been enclosed by the wall of Manasseh, to the north of the old city 2 Chronicles 33:14.

14. Achbor—or Abdon (2Ch 34:20), a man of influence at court (Jer 26:22). The occasion was urgent, and therefore they were sent—not to Zephaniah (Zep 1:1), who was perhaps young—nor to Jeremiah, who was probably absent at his house in Anathoth, but to one who was at hand and known for her prophetic gifts—to Huldah, who was probably at this time a widow. Her husband Shallum was grandson of one Harhas, "keeper of the wardrobe." If this means the priestly wardrobe, [Harhas] must have been a Levite. But it probably refers to the royal wardrobe.

she dwelt … in the college—rather, "in the Misnah," taking the original word as a proper name, not a school or college, but a particular suburb of Jerusalem. She was held in such veneration that Jewish writers say she and Jehoiada the priest were the only persons not of the house of David (2Ch 24:15, 16) who were ever buried in Jerusalem.

Unto Huldah the prophetess; for we read of women prophetesses, both in the Old and New Testament; as Miriam, Exodus 15:20, Deborah, Judges 4:4, Hannah, 1Sa 2, Elisabeth, and the blessed Virgin, Lu 1, and Philip’s daughters, Acts 21:9.

Quest. But why did he send to this woman, and not rather to Zephaniah, or Jeremiah, who were prophets in Josiah’s days?

Answ. Either, first, Because the king’s earnest affection in this business required great haste; and she was in Jerusalem, which is therefore noted in the following part of the verse, when Jeremiah might at this time be at Anathoth, or in some more remote part of the kingdom; and the like may be said of Zephaniah, who also might not be a prophet at this time, though he was afterward, in the days of Josiah, which is all that is affirmed of him, Zephaniah 1:1. Or,

2. Because the king or his courtiers had longer and greater experience of the eminency of her prophetical gifts than of Jeremiah’s, who began not to prophesy till the thirteenth year of Josiah, Jeremiah 1:2; and being well assured of her fidelity in delivering the mind and counsel of God to those that inquired of her, they rightly concluded that it was much more considerable what message God sent, than by whom it was conveyed to them. In the college; where the sons of the prophets, or others who devoted themselves to the study of God’s word, used to meet and discourse of the things of God, and receive the instructions of their teachers. Others both ancient and modern render it, in another or the second part, to wit, of the city, i.e. in the suburbs, which also were fortified and walled about by Hezekiah, 2 Chronicles 32:5.

So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went down to Huldah the prophetess,.... Such as were Miriam and Deborah; in imitation of those Satan had very early his women prophetesses, the Sibyls, so called from their being the council and oracle of God, and consulted as such on occasion, as Huldah now was; and the first of the Sibyls, according to Suidas (n), was a Chaldean or a Persian; and some say an Hebrew; and Pausanias expressly says (o), that with the Hebrews above Palestine was a woman prophetess, whose name was Sabba, whom some called the Babylonian, others the Egyptian Sibyl. Aelian relates (p) that one of them was a Jewess:

the wife of Shallum, the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; but whether the king's wardrobe in the palace, or the priest's in the temple, is not certain; he is called Hasrah, 2 Chronicles 34:22 who is here called Harhas:

now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college; in the college of the prophets; in the house of instruction, as the Targum; the school where the young prophets were instructed and trained up; though Jarchi observes, that some interpret this "within the two walls"; Jerusalem it seems had three walls, and within the second this woman lived; there were gates in the temple, as he also observes, called the gates of Huldah (q), but whether from her cannot be said: this place of her dwelling seems to be mentioned as a reason why these messengers went to her, because she was near, as well as well known for her prophetic spirit, prudence, and faithfulness, and not to Jeremiah, who in all probability was at Anathoth; and so also is the reason why they went not to Zephaniah, if he as yet had begun to prophesy, because he might be at a distance also: and they communed with her; upon the subject the king sent them about.

(n) In voce (o) Phocica, sive, l. 10. p. 631. (p) Var. Hist. l. 12. c. 35. (q) Misn. Middot, c. 1. sect. 3.

So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the {g} college;) and they communed with her.

(g) Or the house of doctrine, which was near the temple, and where the learned assembled to search the scriptures and the doctrine of the prophets.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. Huldah the prophetess] Except Miriam the sister of Moses, who is called ‘a prophetess’ in Exodus 15:20, and Deborah (Jdg 6:4) in the days of the judges, Huldah is the only woman spoken of in the Old Testament as endowed with prophetic gifts. For the term ‘prophetess’ as used in Isaiah 8:3 signifies only ‘a prophet’s wife’. Of Huldah we know only what is told us in this history. She lived in Jerusalem, and her husband, Shallum, was probably a Levite, as he had charge of what must have been the wardrobe for the vestments of the priests. The narrative here shews in what esteem she was held both by king and people, and her language in her answer has quite the prophetic character. She speaks not her own words but the message of the Lord the God of Israel, and even as Isaiah in the case of Hezekiah, she promises to Josiah, in the Lord’s name, that his supplication shall be answered. For ‘wife’ the LXX. has μητέρα, ‘the mother’, of Shallum, but with no warrant from the Hebrew.

Tikvah … Harhas] These names appear in 2 Chronicles 34:22 as Tikvath and Hasrah.

keeper of the wardrobe] See above on 2 Kings 10:22. There seems no doubt that the robes here alluded to are the robes of the priests, which are called by the same Hebrew word (בנדים) in Exodus 28:2-4; Exodus 29:5 and many subsequent passages of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers.

in the college] R.V. in the second quarter. The Hebrew word ‘Mishneh’ here rendered ‘college’ has always something to do with ‘second’ or ‘double’, and in Zephaniah 1:10 it clearly refers to a part of the city of Jerusalem, and A.V. there translates it by ‘second’ (R.V. second quarter). Probably it was some additional suburban portion of the city, which was known by this name.

Verse 14. - So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahi-ham, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asa-hiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah. The principal prophets at or very near the time were Jeremiah, whose mission had commenced in Josiah's thirteenth year (Jeremiah 1:2) and Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, whose prophecy appears by internal evidence to have belonged to the earliest part of Josiah's reign (Pusey, 'Minor Prophets,' p. 438). It might have been expected that the matter would have been laid before one of these two persons. Possibly, however, neither of them was at Jerusalem. Jeremiah's early home was Anathoth, and Zephaniah may have finished his course before Josiah's eighteenth year (see Pusey, l.s.c.). Huldah may thus have been the only possessor of the prophetic gift who was accessible. The son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; literally, keeper of the garments (comp. 2 Kings 10:22): In Chronicles the name of the keeper is given as "Hasrah." Now she dwelt at Jerusalem in the college - rather, in the lower city (comp. Zephaniah 1:10 and Nehemiah 11:9; literally, in each place, "the second city ") - and they communed with her; literally, spoke with her; ἐλάλησαν πρὸς αὐτήν, LXX. 2 Kings 22:14Nothing further is known of the prophetess Huldah than what is mentioned here. All that we can infer from the fact that the king sent to her is, that she was highly distinguished on account of her prophetical gifts, and that none of the prophets of renown, such as Jeremiah and Zephaniah, were at that time in Jerusalem. Her father Shallum was keeper of the clothes, i.e., superintendent over either the priests' dresses that were kept in the temple (according to the Rabbins and Wits. de proph. in his Miscell. ss. i. p. 356, ed. 3), or the king's wardrobe. The names of his ancestors תּקוה and הרחס are written תּוקהת and חסרה in the Chronicles. Huldah lived at Jerusalem בּמּשׁנה, "in the second part" or district of the city, i.e., in the lower city, upon the hill Ἄκρα (Rob. Pal. i. p. 391), which is called המּשׁנה in Zephaniah 1:10, and משׁנה העיר in Nehemiah 11:9, and ἄλλη πόλις in Joseph. Ant. xv. 11, 5.
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