An Enigma Wrapped In A Conundrum


Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah.

~ 2 Kings 21:1 (CSB)


If you want your children to turn out well; spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.

~Abigail Van Buren

When discussing the kings of Israel, David is universally recognized at the greatest but second place is debated. I personally lean toward Josiah but many believe second place goes to Hezekiah. When it comes to the worse kings, everyone agrees that Manasseh holds that dishonor. He was the absolute most horrible king in Judah’s sorted history. What is going on here? How can such a good king have such a sorry son to take his place? This has already happened once with David and Solomon. I have always wondered how this came to be. This time, as I read through the King material, I decided to find the answer. Manasseh’s mother was Hephzibah; surely she was a pagan related perhaps to Ahab who influenced her son in this wickedness. It would make sense. Hezekiah got married late in life. As for as we know, Hephzibah is his only wife and she gave him two children, a boy and a girl. Perhaps she pointed her son in the wrong direction. Unlike other kings, Hezekiah didn’t have a harem and it is very likely that he had the closest thing to a traditional family of any of the kings. What is going on? What went wrong for Manasseh to be such a horrible person. Was it his mother’s fault or perhaps both mother and father?

I was shocked with my discoveries. Hephzibah is a beautiful Hebrew name, it means “My delight” or “My delight is in the LORD” and by all accounts, this woman lived up to her name. The Jews have information that I don’t have access to and according to the Midrash and other Jewish writings, Hephzibah was the daughter of Isaiah the prophet and Isaiah coached Hezekiah to marry her so that he could produce and heir to the throne. Some even think that Isaiah may have entertained the thought that Hezekiah was the Messiah. Before you shake your head in disagreement, Hezekiah was more David like than any king in Judah’s history and they were looking for one like David. The only other time the Jewish name Hephzibah is used is by Isaiah in chapter 62:4, You will no longer be called Deserted, and your land will not be called Desolate; instead, you will be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land will be married. There is no evidence anywhere that Hephzibah was a bad person; as a matter of fact, the Jews believe she was grieved deeply by her son’s behavior. How do we reconcile this story with Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. {NKJV}. The CSB reads differently, Start a youth out on his way; even when he grows old he will not depart from it. Manasseh did have a late conversion experience according to the Chronicles but it was almost a deathbed confession and I have often questioned the man’s sincerity. I think the answer may lie in the fact that Proverbs 22:6 is a generality and not a law. As I have told countless grieving parents, “Cain and Able had the same parents and one turned out to be a devil.”

When all is said and done, we still have a story shrouded in mystery and in this life, we may not find the answers that we are looking for. I think the evidence would tell us that Manasseh, the wicked king, had godly parents. Hezekiah was in his 40’s when Manasseh was born and perhaps he spoiled him but again this is conjecture. Sometimes parents do all they know to do to guide their children and still their children go astray.

  • I don’t do to many human interest stories because they are hard to come by but last night I was talking to a couple who lost their only son to an aneurysm. It happened so suddenly that they didn’t get to say good bye. This past Saturday the mother celebrated a birthday. She arose early for her morning coffee and Q.T; then she checked her Facebook page. The first message she saw was from her son…True love comes from a mother and I am so proud to call you my mom. You are not getting older, you are getting better. I love you mom! This message appeared on the mothers time line. It was originally sent on November 24, 2014, two years before the boys untimely passing. His mother wept tears of joy mixed with grief as she shared this with me last night. She said repeatedly, it was a message from him and it means so much to me. There are some bad things about Facebook but there are also some good things and this is one of them.
  • Dale Windsor’s {Our Praise and Worship Leader at Grace Point} dad fell and broke his arm and hip. Bro. Van is 88 and had just attended the COLS of his wife and Dale’s mom {Jean} last Friday. He had surgery yesterday morning and is going to rehab this Tuesday.
  • I took Chloe to see RALPH WRECKS THE INTERNET on TG day. Ralph has a good heart but he is big, clumsy and he acts before thinking things through. He had to get on social media to accomplish his goal but he made the mistake of going into the comment room….where all the comments were posted. Ralph began reading all the ugly and negative post that were a personal attack on his character. He was discouraged and heart broken. The character running the media center came in to get Ralph and he said, “Ralph, I forgot to warn you. Never read the comments.” As most of you know, I never read the comments but a few days ago, I was going to my sermon blog and an entire page of comments popped up instead of the page I was looking for so I thought, “What the heck.” There were a couple that I didn’t understand but then I came across a couple that were good, really good. My head began to swell immediately and then I looked at the next comment. It deflated my ego in a millisecond. I stopped reading. Someone at GP mentioned the Blog yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised. I knew of only one person from GP who reads it. I just want to thank you for reading the blog. I really enjoy preparing them.
  • We have a lot to do this week, so much that we don’t know where start: May the LORD give me wisdom. Lord willing, David and I will get some drone shots of Grace Point: weather permitting.

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