King Manasseh, the longest reigning (55 years) and one of the worst Kings. Apparently he sacrificed children. He converted the temple to worship of the stars, which was the Assyrian religion.
Also king Amon, too boring to mention.
I wondered why the worship of other Gods keeps coming back, what is the attraction? Some suggest it might have been economic, to encourage trade deals.
Certainly that’s how it seemed in Solomon’s time, he’d marry to make an alliance and then build an altar for the wife’s religion. That’s how Molech the child sacrifice God got on the scene.
A historian suggested that Mannaseh’s reign was economically quite prosperous, he had a better foreign policy than Hezekiah. Of course the Bible is mostly interested in his religious impact.
This bio includes his repentance, not mentioned in Kings.
There is an apocryphal “prayer of Mannasah” which is a really beautiful prayer. They have an ancient scrap from the dead sea scrolls and a later Greek version, but no complete consistent one, so it didn’t make the cut in our Bible version.
Even if it’s just a poet imagining what he would have said, rather than his actual prayer, it certainly catches an awareness of how much God can forgive;
“I am not worthy to look up and see the height of heaven because of the multitude of my iniquities.
I am weighted down with many an iron fetter, so that I am rejected because of my sins, and I have no relief;
for I have provoked your wrath and have done what is evil in your sight,
setting up abominations and multiplying offences.
And now I bend the knee of my heart,
imploring you for your kindness...”
It only came later in his life, after he caused the streets to run red with the blood of prophets and their followers. But God can forgive much!
That is two Kings in a row who have had repentance in their story. It’s a powerful, wonderful move that makes a tangible difference in this world.
The transformation it can make in people makes you believe, and want to believe, in God. People find it confronting to be told to repent, it’s like a bad Christan cliche, but to witness it in others is very convincing and attractive.
In anticipation, you can worry it will make you seem weak, or be a needlessly unpleasant airing of your worst moments, which is how the church got in such a pickle.
Our egos mean we kid ourselves we get away with a lot more than we actually do. By the time we repent, the need for it is often bleeding obvious to those around us.
And from the outside, it generally seems strong, because it marks you as a person of principle, honesty, fairness and honour.
But above all it’s healing, of relationships and of self.
All of my family are in pain for different reasons at the moment, is the weekend, praying we have some moment of grace.