Huldah's Exile

Though Scripture mentions Huldah’s name only twice, coded writing and anagrams show that she was Jehoiachin’s Queen Mother, and that during the Exile she was a prophet, priestess, author, elder, and merchant in Judah, Babylon, Egypt, and finally in Judah again. Huldah lived from about 640 to 564 BCE. She wrote Scripture, led in exile as an elder, and prospered in trade. Most importantly, with young Cyrus she headed a disastrous 574 expedition to retake Jerusalem.

Indeed, her biography, taken from the book Huldah, can serve as a text on the Babylonian Exile of the Jews. (An ex seminarian told us that in an hour he learned more about the Exile reading Huldah than he did from taking a whole semester of Israelite history.)

Huldah, a beautiful Moabite, rose to prominence by marrying a prince of Judah. Later, when Queen Mother, she led Asherah worship in both Judah and Egypt. Huldah and her son King Jehoiachin were exiled to Babylon. Some years later they traveled to Egypt, where they grew rich through trading—wealth they later donated to recapturing Jerusalem. In 573 the Jerusalem venture ended disastrously, but Huldah escaped. She spent her last years in hiding, though she still wrote and edited scripture.

No less than 144 of the 929 chapters of Scripture contain significant encodings of her name. Coded writing gives us sixteen psalms by Huldah, including the last words of Jesus. She coauthored the magnificent penitential Psalm 51, the most heavily encoded chapter in Hebrew Scripture. Even so, most of her writing was outside the psalter. The lovely Song of Deborah in Numbers 6 was Huldah’s, and anagrams show that she inserted the names of queen mothers in Second Kings. Possibly her most important words were in Genesis 5. There she wrote that the Lord had made both women and men equal in likeliness to God.

Huldah was a contemporary of Jeremiah, and probably edited his prophecies. Jeremiah’s first chapter includes the Lord’s call: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” But within that text are sixteen coded spellings of “Huldah-the-prophetess” and one of “Huldah-the-Queen-Mother.” These break into three separate groups, each of which has less than one chance in a thousand of being coincidental. Apparently, Jeremiah’s extraordinary call was her own.

Well before the Jerusalem catastrophe, Huldah was at odds with Ezekiel and Jeremiah. They had good cause. She was both a foreigner and an Asherah priestess, and had had several husbands. Worst of all, Huldah had financed the assault upon Jerusalem which was certain to endanger fellow Jews in Babylon. With her stood Daniel, Second Isaiah, Baruch, Jehoiachin, Ezra, and Cyrus. Against her were the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah, as well as the Dtr group, all of whom used Scripture to oppose her.

Proverbs contains rich characterizations of Huldah. She is the long-sought-after Woman of Wisdom of Proverbs 1 and 8. But elsewhere her detractors sketched her as Foreign Woman, a play upon her Moabite origin. However, chapter 31 ends Proverbs with a landslide of Huldah athbash encodings. The author eloquently described the Woman of Worth, using coded writing to name Huldah as his subject. The author did this with over sixty statistically significant encodings of “Huldah-wife-of-Jehoiakim,” “Huldah-the-prophetess,” and the like. Despite extreme verbal abuse, Huldah helped to shape Israel’s history.

Discovering Huldah also leads us to the Yom Kippur’s source. Leviticus 18, the basic text for Yom Kippur’s atonement, contains numerous Cyrus and Huldah anagrams. (Five Huldah anagrams were even fashioned from the word for “sin offering”.) Today’s deeply personal holiday is surely founded upon guilt incurred from the tragic 573 slaughter at Jerusalem.  Indeed, Huldah may prove to be one of antiquity’s greatest women. The book Huldah tells her story, and that of the Babylonian Exile of the Jews. Two full chapters of that book are available on this site under Excerpts.