God has not established any one person as the ultimate interpreter. While it is true that translations are not exactly the same as the original language, it is still the Scriptures which interpret themselves, as people study the Bible – in personal study, and corporate study – having their minds opened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit.
Every person who studies the Bible gets something important which is to be shared with others. God has evidently allowed a wide variety of ways to live out in real, day-to-day life what people understand the Bible to mean. We are to teach each other, and learn from each other.
Rules of Engagement
1) Honor, and give honor to, God and His words (the scriptures).
2) Give respect to each other, even (and maybe especially) when there is not agreement. (No name calling, character bashing, or assigning of motives).
3) Adding citations and scripture passages, when possible, is of added benefit to keep us all on the same page.
Huldah was a woman prophet during the reign of King Josiah, from 640-609 B.C. (so about 2,600 years ago). She was married to Shallum, Keeper of the Wardrobe, and together they lived in Jerusalem, the Second District. Rabbinic literature maintains she taught publicly in her own academy and the Gate of Huldah, on the western wall of the second temple, was named in honor of her establishment (pictured above).
Her most famous contemporary was the prophet Jeremiah, yet it was to her that King Josiah, along with the High Priest Hilkiah, the Chief Scribe Shaphan, and four other high ranking attendants, brought in person their urgent entreaty.
Huldah's story is found in the Bible in the following two Old Testament passages:
2 Kings 22:13-20 [New International Version (NIV)]
13 “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
14 Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.
15 She said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ 18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”
So they took her answer back to the king.
2 Chronicles 34:22-28 [New International Version (NIV)]
22 Hilkiah and those the king had sent with him went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath,the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.
23 She said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 24 ‘This is what the Lordsays: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people—all the curses written in the book that has been read in the presence of the king of Judah. 25 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all that their hands have made, my anger will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched.’ 26 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 27 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. 28 Now I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.’”
So they took her answer back to the king.
Pretty heady stuff!! Instead of going to the prophet Jeremiah, the King, high priest, and their delegation went to the prophet Huldah. The fate of the nation hung on her words. Whatever she heard from the Lord and spoke to them would be their command to obey. If ever there was a woman who taught and had authority over men, it was the prophet Huldah.
Now for the apostle Paul's instructions to Timothy nearly 700 years later:
1 Timothy 2:8-15
Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
So what do you think? How can both of these passages harmonize? If you have extra scholarship, by all means, bring it to the table, so we can all benefit from your study.