The Chronicler’s account is much briefer than that of the writer of the Book of Kings. Concerning King Manasseh and his “relationship” with God, particularly God “speaking” to him. Let me show you what I mean.
“And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.” 2nd Chronicles 33:10, King James Version. Then, the following verse: “Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.”
Now the “parallel” account. “And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets, saying ….” 2nd Kings 21:10, whereupon then comes a detailed report of the “chastisement” God send His people for their sins. “Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day. Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.” Wow, 2nd Kings 21:11-16.
I am flooded with thoughts!
First of all, Chronicles merely tells us “God spoke.” As in “the Lord spoke to Manasseh.”
But Kings tells us “how” He did so. “The Lord spoke by His Servants the Prophets.” Including the great Isaiah, if we have our dates right!
Folks, that “string of words” (God’s “servants the prophets”) occurs 19 times in the Bible, if I’ve counted correctly this morning. In the Old Testament 17 times, and in the New Testament 2 more times. The noun “servants” is “ebed” in Hebrew, meaning “slave!” It’s derived from a root verb meaning “to work.” Thank God for the Prophets!
Second, look how “brief” Chronicles records the misdeeds (wicked sins) of Manasseh! When compared to Kings anyway. One verse as compared to six verses! Chronicles again, a verse we shall study tomorrow. “Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.” 2 Chronicles 33:11
What a difference! I am again convinced that the prevailing emphasis in Chronicles is GRACE, while the point in Kings is SIN and RIGHTEOUSNESS. God is both, kind and holy!
Third, Chronicles (and only Chronicles) mentions the (astounding) fact that Manasseh “repented” of his multitudes of sins … once he was in prison. And not of word of any such thing from Kings! Again, I’m going “ahead” to show you: “And when Manasseh was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him (the Lord): and he was intreated of him, and (God) heard his supplication.” Thrilling, in ways!
Yet the Book of Kings next says of the Monarch: “Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.” No “sign” of any remorse, just the terrible damage he did all those many years. What an illustration of the “consequences” of sin, of its “wages.” All the way to his “death!”
Lastly today, in Chronicles we are told the obvious, but still told nonetheless. About the people NOT LISTENING to the warnings from God. “And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: BUT THEY WOULD NOT HEARKEN.”
I guess the writer of Kings figured we would automatically see that the people did not obey the Prophets! Plus, he wants to show us how God defends his Uprightness and requires obedience from the Jews, His own.
These things being said, I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR GOD’S GRACE. Aren’t you? And for Scripture like 1st John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
A King’s turning back to God, sorrowfully at that. Such an act is rare in any history book, and (looks like) barely made it into the Bible! It’s like a gigantic diamond shining in a dark, damp coal mine! A jewel in the rough! Light in darkness! “Christ receiveth sinful men!”
— Dr. Mike Bagwell