They Laughed at Them and Mocked Them

They Laughed at Them and Mocked Them
2 Chronicles 30:1-11

For if you return to the Lord… the Lord your God… will not turn His face from you…. So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh… but they laughed at them and mocked them. (2 Chron 30 from vv 9 and 10, NKJV)

This deserves a big gasp. Humanity holds untold lost opportunities for the individual to accept the reality of our God of the Hebrew Bible, and take up the cross of our Lord this God and our Christian savior. Most lost souls lose their lives without much thought, while some proactively laugh at us and mock our claims from our Hebrew and Christian Bible. The record of individual lives lost to salvation in the course of the four thousand years or so since the time of Abraham and his accounting for as righteous stretches into the billions.

But this particular case involving the northern kingdom of Israel, and a surviving remnant from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, who received yet another Godly offer to come and follow, but refused — with laughter and mocking! — is one of the most notable.

You might have missed this in your reading of the Old Testament faith-history of Chronicles, and so we point it out in this Bible Bit.


The situation is this: The year is 715 BC (as reckoned by the compilers of our Thompson Chain Bible, so we will go with that.) This is a significant period of time, as it has been only seven years since the northern kingdom of Israel was finally smashed by the empire of Assyria, and the political existence and nation-state of Israel was destroyed. (In 722.) The northern kingdom of Israel and southern kingdom of Judah had existed separately in an uneasy state of disunity for over 200 years (since 931). The two Hebrew kingdoms and dozen tribes were united (more or less) prior to this for about 120 years under kings Saul, David, and Solomon. Add to this time span the period of Israel statehood under strong “judges” going back to Joshua’s entry into the promised land in the neighborhood of 1400 and we get around 675 years of the nation-state of Israel holding land as a distinct, self-determining political entity.

And now 10/12’s of the state, and a substantial number of everybody who was anybody was killed, or carted off to places unknown. Never to be seen again.

None of this recounting is a Bible Bit, as all of this is (or should be) well-known to faithful Jews and Christians. This is big history and a big event. (The next big event you should recall comes in 587 and 586 with the crushing of the remaining kingdom of Judah, and the carting off of the remaining everybody who is anybody to Babylon and Susa.)

Our Bible Bit regards the Chronicler’s failure to mention the fall of Israel during his heavily Judah-oriented narrative of faith-history, and the easy-to-miss few lines regarding Judah’s appeal to all remaining Jews remaining on the lands of former Israel to wake the heck up, come to a refreshed Passover service, and follow the Lord God!

Here’s how the New King James Version translates the narrative of the Chronicler in 2 Chronicles 30. We’ll give you some background following this passage:

2 Chron 30:1-11, NKJV And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel. For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at the regular time, because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves, nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem. And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly. So they resolved to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem, since they had not done [it] for a long [time] in the [prescribed] manner. Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king and his leaders, and spoke according to the command of the king: “Children of Israel, return to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel; then He will return to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. “And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see. “Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers [were, but] yield yourselves to the LORD; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. “For if you return to the LORD, your brethren and your children [will be treated] with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God [is] gracious and merciful, and will not turn [His] face from you if you return to Him.” So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.

We read this and are astonished. But then, we humans are astonishingly resistant to appeals from God and his Messiah.

The background is this: Israel has ceased to exist, and has been gone for seven years. In the mean time, Hezekiah has recently become King of Judah, and he is a particularly good and Godly man. He follows the particularly unGodly king Ahaz, and Ahaz’s sixteen years of encouraging false, pagan, Canaanite deity worship and ritual.

Hezekiah hastily cleans and has sanctifies the much-abused temple and the dormant classes of Jewish priesthood and Levitical temple maintenance men, ceremonial staff, business administrators, and priest-helpers. This goes imperfectly but Hezekiah and a newly devout people get the work done and get themselves (somewhat, see later in chapter 30) cleansed and sanctified. The temple is ready for Godly religious worship, sacrificial services, and daily life and ritual.

A Passover service is first on the Hezekiah’s list of temple to-do list.

His subjects from the Benjamin and Judah tribes in Judah are on board, but good king Hezekiah knows there are Jewish persons remaining on the land of former Israel. He wants these brothers and sisters to participate in the Passover service, and, in the process, repent of their unGodly worship, repent of their unGodly wickedness, and choose this new day for their house and homes to follow the true Lord God.

Here’s the King James Version translation of our chapter 30 passage:

2 Chron 30:1-11, KJV: And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel. For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation. So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done [it] of a long [time in such sort] as it was written. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, [who] therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers [were, but] yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children [shall find] compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God [is] gracious and merciful, and will not turn away [his] face from you, if ye return unto him. So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.

This little reference to the recent (seven years ago) Assyrian take-over of Israel will fly by your eyes if you aren’t paying attention. Here again, this time from the English Standard Version:

From the ESV, 2 Chron 30: 6 So couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his princes, as the king had commanded, saying, “O people of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may turn again to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your fathers and your brothers….

It is almost funny that the Chronicler, writing away on his long narrative of Judah’s half of ancient Hebrew kingdom history, fails to explicitly write something notable somewhere in the vicinity of chapter 30, such as:

Hey! It was at this point, here during the reign of king Ahaz in the southern kingdom of Judah, and at the beginning of his successor king Hezekiah, that the mighty empire of Assyria finally finished crushing the northern kingdom of Israel and wiped it and its people out of existence (except for a few persons who managed to not be killed or exiled, and were invited to a big party by their cousin Hezekiah). — a passage which the Chronicler should have added

A nice little exercise is to read through chapters 27 through 32 of Second Chronicles, and look for the non-existent statement reminding the reader of the Jewish history-altering events of 722 involving the northern kingdom of Israel, the powerful Assyrian kings Shalmaneser and Sennacherib (see Sennacherib in ch. 32), and the final king of Israel, Hoshea. For the parallel time frame passage written with both Israel and Judah in view, see 2 Kings chapters 17 and 18. Chapter 17 in 2 Kings covers the Assyrian takeover, and 18 covers Hezekiah down south in surviving Judah. But then jump back to 2 Chronicles and chapter 32. 🙂

Hezekiah, King of Judah, 1856–1863, Hippolyte Flandrin (French), Metropolitan Museum of Art

And again, let’s not forget the missed opportunity of those who choose (by neglect or explicit decision) to reject Christ, and perhaps even mock him. This time from the Hebrew Names Version:

2 Chron 30:1-11, HNV: Hizkiyahu sent to all Yisra’el and Yehudah, and wrote letters also to Efrayim and Menashsheh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Yerushalayim, to keep the Pesach to the LORD, the God of Yisra’el. 2 For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the assembly in Yerushalayim, to keep the Pesach in the second month. 3 For they could not keep it at that time, because the Kohanim had not sanctified themselves in sufficient number, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Yerushalayim. 4 The thing was right in the eyes of the king and of all the assembly. 5 So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Yisra’el, from Be’er-Sheva even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Pesach to the LORD, the God of Yisra’el, at Yerushalayim: for they had not kept it in great numbers in such sort as it is written. 6 So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Yisra’el and Yehudah, and according to the mitzvah of the king, saying, You children of Yisra’el, turn again to the LORD, the God of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yisra’el, that he may return to the remnant that have escaped of you out of the hand of the kings of Ashshur. 7 Don’t be you like your fathers, and like your brothers, who trespassed against the LORD, the God of their fathers, so that he gave them up to desolation, as you see. 8 Now don’t you be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; but yield yourselves to the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. 9 For if you turn again to the LORD, your brothers and your children shall find compassion before those who led them captive, and shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him. 10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Efrayim and Menashsheh, even to Zevulun: but they ridiculed them, and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless certain men of Asher and Menashsheh and of Zevulun humbled themselves, and came to Yerushalayim.

“But they ridiculed them, and mocked them.” Wow! And coming within recent memory of personal witness to God using the Assyrian empire to put the biggest of big hurts on them. Remarkable. Truly astounding.


At Bible Bits, we recognize that most people will and do reject God and Christ Jesus our Lord. We know that Jesus himself looked people in the eye, preached his very best sermons, used his best illustrations, and exploited his own special brand of multi-media experiences in his contemporary services of his day, AND STILL HE DID NOT PERSUADE MAJORITIES TO FOLLOW HIM.

At the same time however, to the extent we (without the hand of a guiding, directing Holy Spirit) have any influence over other persons’ decisions via our evangelism-by-blog, we exercise this influence by urging folks to read the actual Bible for themselves.

And that’s what this Bible Bit is intended to inspire you to do. Read the actual Bible for yourself. Don’t finish your life without reading for yourself the claims made by the Bible.


We pray that you enjoy a few temporal nice things and mercies today, brought to you by the will of God. God’s blessings to you!

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