The reign of King Manasseh in the Deuteronomist history and the Chronicler’s history: A study in reception
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One of the most marked differences between the Deuteronomic History and that of the Chronicler concerns the assessment of King Manasseh’s reign. The Deuteronomist portrays Manasseh as the most evil of all Judah’s kings (2 Kings 21:1–18) and the main cause for the doom of Judah. Even the pious Josiah, the paragon of the Deuteronomist (2 Kings 23:25), could no longer avert this doom (2 Kings 23:26). The Chronicler initially echoes the view of the Deuteronomist History, repeating some sentences from Kings verbatim (2 Chronicles 33:1–10). But 2 Chronicles 33:11–20 introduces some information not found in 2 Kings. Here we are told that Manasseh after he had been taken captive by the Assyrians, repented of his sins and concluded his reign in an aura of sanctity. In this respect, the two accounts differ fundamentally. I intend to examine the views of selected scholars from the past roughly fifty years on this discrepancy. How they assess these two accounts and to what extent their diverse assessments are based on the different methodologies that they used. I intend to examine, particularly, their views on the following aspects of Manasseh’s reign: religious customs, the administrative role, the judicial role and the political role.