The Entire Counsel of the Word

May 26, 2023 | Articles

First and Second Samuel are all about the history of Israel’s first king, Saul and his successor, David.

After the close of II Samuel, scripture moves to the kings of the divided kingdom: the northern kingdom of Israel (composed of ten tribes) and the southern kingdom of Judah with its two tribes. The history of the kings of both kingdoms and a description of their reigns if found in the books of 1 and 11 Kings and 1 and 11 Chronicles.

The northern kingdom of Israel had no good kings. From its inception, the nation had been led into idolatry by King Jeroboam; the infidelity continued through all the succeeding kings until Israel was invaded by the Assyrian empire.

The southern kingdom of Judah had both good and bad kings. Many ruled like the kings of Israel and built high places for idol worship. Unfortunately, many tames the succeeding son of a good king would undo everything good his father had put in place and lead the nation away from God.

Hezekiah was one of the most successful and God-honoring kings of the southern kingdom of Judah. There is much scripture devoted to his reign and its goodness (in II Kings 2 and chapters 18-20, II Chronicles 29-32, and Isaiah 37-39). After his death, his son Manasseh began his reign at the age of twelve. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He wor- shiped pagan gods, practiced sorcery, and even sacrificed his own sons in the fire. His evil behavior angered the Lord, and He sent the commanders of the Assyrian army to take Manasseh prisoner to Babylon. The II Kings account of Manasseh doesn’t include any record of his imprisonment. It focuses mainly on how he led Judah astray with his detestable practices.

However, in II Chronicles we read something totally astounding. When Manasseh was in prison in Babylon, he sought the Lord and humbled himself before God. When he prayed, the scriptures say “the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So, he brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then (emphasis added) Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God.” Afterwards, Manasseh got rid of the idols he had put in the Lord’s temple and encouraged the people to worship the one true Lord.

We learn at least two important things from the story. (1) It is never too late to repent and start living for God. Ma- nasseh had a black and white conversion, and he lived it out when he was restored to his kingdom. (2) The importance of studying the whole counsel of God’s Word cannot be stressed enough. If we read only the account of Manasseh’s reign in II Kings, we would miss out on the miraculous conversion story and he would remain in our minds as an evil king forever.

Manasseh’s story is Just one more example of how the Bible provides all the commentary we need to understand it fully! When we study any passage, we must careful to consider what the rest of scripture says about it.


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