In 2 Kings 21 we read of the reign of Manasseh. He is an enigma to say the least. He reigned in Judah, the southern kingdom for 55 years! This is the longest any king reigned in Israel or Judah. Yet, he was the most wicked king of either nation. His list of sins included Baal worship, astrology, fortune telling, and he even offered his own child as a sacrifice to a pagan god. He was a murderer who shed innocent blood throughout his kingdom. How could God allow this king to reign so long and yet be so wicked. God’s promise to His people is repeated in this chapter. God promised a long and prosperous life…”provided they are careful to observe all I have commanded them as laid down in the whole Law which my servant Moses prescribed for them. But they would not listen, and Manasseh misled them into doing worse things than the nations whom Yahweh had destroyed for the Israelites.” Either God doesn’t judge sin or he doesn’t reward obedience. What’s the answer?

The solution is found in 2 Chronicles 33, and in the Apocryphal book “The Prayer of Manasseh.” In 2nd Chronicles we read that God brought judgment upon Judah for these wicked practices. It says, “Therefore the Lord brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.”

According to the Tyndale Bible Dictionary “This short prayer, ascribed to King Manasseh of Judah, is often regarded as the finest composition in the entire English Apocrypha. During the Reformation, Protestants highly valued its piety. However, neither Protestants, Roman Catholics, nor the Eastern Orthodox regard it as Scripture.” That doesn’t mean it’s false. Most secular history is not in the bible, and much of it is true. This could be true without being in the Scriptures. After his release from prison, he rededicated his life to Yahweh and attempted to clean up all the evil he did earlier.

The point for you and me? God forgives! God Restores! God doesn’t carry grudges! “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)