This past week I have been preparing for a speaking engagement in the fall which will focus on women in the Bible. These are women who many people may have never heard of. Women like………
Jehosheba who was a sister to King Ahaziah of Israel. When her brother died their mother Athaliah ordered all her grandsons to be executed so she could claim the throne for herself. Jehosheba spirited one of her nephews, one year old Jehoash away and saved his life. She hid him in the temple for six years.
Huldah who was a prophetess and helped raise King Josiah of Israel. When he was reigning as king he ordered a temple restoration during which an old Torah scroll was found. It was the prophetess Huldah Josiah consulted on what the words in the scroll meant for him and his people. He respected Huldah’s advice and insight. It inspired him to begin a spiritual renewal amongst his people.
The Daughters of Zelophead were five sisters who were about to lose their father’s inheritance because they had no brothers. They had the courage to approach Moses to ask him to change a law that didn’t allow women to inherit their father’s property. Moses changed the law because of their request and that decision made a difference for many other women who also found themselves in the same position as the Daughters of Zelophead.
Pharoah and the Midwives from the Golden Haggadah- Catalonia- early 14th century
Shiprah and Puah acted as midwives for the women of Israel who were slaves in Egpyt. The Pharoah told them they must kill all male babies they helped deliver. Shiprah and Puah did not obey him and when Pharoah confronted them about it they lied to him. Together the two midwives saved many children’s lives.
I am really looking forward to learning more about other women in the Bible whose stories were rarely heard in the past.
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Huldah was a teacher, a prophetess, a caregiver for a king and descendant of the great Israelite leader Joshua. I knew very little about Huldah still I started working on a religious education curriculum lesson about Josiah. Josiah whose story is found in 2 Kings 22 became king when he was only eight. According to Midrash sources he was cared for in his childhood by Huldah and her husband Shallum who was the keeper of the king’s wardrobe. Josiah’s father and grandfather had been corrupt and evil but under the tutelage of Huldah and Shallum, Josiah grew to be a man of integrity who wanted the children of Israel to follow God’s way.
Huldah had a religious school in Jerusalem. She was a scholar whom Israelites came to consult.
In 2 Kings 22 King Josiah consults his friend Huldah when an ancient copy of God’s laws are found during a temple cleanup. Josiah realizes his people have not been obedient to God and asks Huldah what he should to.
The two southern gates of the temple in Jerusalem were named after Huldah because they led to the building where she held her school. The gates are still called Huldah’s Gates today.
In my curriculum I created a Facebook page for Huldah listing all her pertinent information and creating posts from people asking Huldah for advice. I invited children to write a Facebook post of their own consulting Huldah about something important to them about which they might need advice. The male prophets tend to be front in centre in most of the Bible and I want young people, especially young women, to know that there were female prophets as well who played a key role in the history of Israel.
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