Manasseh Reigns in Judah
21 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem will I put my name.” And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. And the carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the LORD said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever. And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel.
Manasseh’s Idolatry Denounced
And the LORD said by his servants the prophets, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has committed these abominations and has done things more evil than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols, therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such disaster that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.”
Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.
Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh and all that he did, and the sin that he committed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? And Manasseh slept with his fathers and was buried in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza, and Amon his son reigned in his place.
Amon Reigns in Judah
Amon was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manasseh his father had done. He walked in all the way in which his father walked and served the idols that his father served and worshiped them. He abandoned the LORD, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the LORD. And the servants of Amon conspired against him and put the king to death in his house. But the people of the land struck down all those who had conspired against King Amon, and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his place. Now the rest of the acts of Amon that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? And he was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza, and Josiah his son reigned in his place.
2 Kings 21 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It’s hard to imagine how an offspring of Hezekiah like Manasseh could be so polar opposite. When Manasseh took to the throne after his father died, he made reforms that were sheer evil. At one point even in the passage it says he did things that were worse than the pagan nations! He rebuilt everything his father had rid the land of: altars to Baal, Asherah poles, he worshipped the stars, he built counter altars to other gods in the temple itself, he not only dabbled but practiced demonic sorcery and the occult and he even sacrificed his children in the fire. Atrocious!
God spoke. A horrific upheaval would come upon the people of Judah that all who heard of the story their ears would tingle. God would not be mocked and He would bring a punishment that would grab this disobedient king and people by the neck. God would cleanse the land like someone washes a dish, turning it upside down.
As you can imagine, the words of God spoken through the prophets did not go well. Manasseh dug his heels in and began to eradicate and persecute the people of God. So much innocent blood was shed of the godly. Tradition holds during this time he had Isaiah sawn in two as Hebrews mentions.
And God would act as promised. The upheaval would be devastating. But as Brad continues with an amazing event in the life of Manasseh we see through even the darkest of our sins and enduring divine punishment – He is the God of second chances.
2 Kings 21 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
This chapter is filled to the brim with the evil of Manasseh. He would be remembered as the king who led his people back into the darkness of which they hadn’t seen since King Ahab. His actions were appalling.
Kings and Chronicles overlap in their stories about Israel and Judah. Check out this story about Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33…
Although the LORD warned Manasseh and his people, they refused to listen. 11 So the LORD let the commanders of the Assyrian army invade Judah. They captured Manasseh, stuck hooks in him, put him in chains, and took him to Babylon. 12 In his suffering he became humble, turned to the LORD his God, and begged him for help. 13 God accepted Manasseh’s prayer and answered it by letting him go back to Jerusalem and rule again. This convinced Manasseh that the LORD was God.2 Chronicles 33:10-13 GNB
What an amazing testimony! Manasseh was taken captive, and he hit rock bottom. He was undoubtedly raised by Hezekiah with a firm foundation, and he knew who the living God was. It would be in this moment that he would call out to the Lord, and even though he didn’t deserve it, the Lord answered. Amazingly, he was forgiven and restored back to his leadership position. We read on in 2 Chronicles that he does not take this forgiveness for granted.
He removed from the Temple the foreign gods and the image that he had placed there, and the pagan altars that were on the hill where the Temple stood and in other places in Jerusalem; he took all these things outside the city and threw them away. 16 He also repaired the altar where the LORD was worshiped, and he sacrificed fellowship offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He commanded all the people of Judah to worship the LORD, the God of Israel.2 Chronicles 33:15-16 GNB
In an unbelievable turn of events, Manasseh’s heart was changed. He lived out his calling as king as God had intended and led the people back to the Lord. Ironically, his father, Hezekiah, started off so strong for the Lord, but when given a second chance, he lived selfishly for himself. Manasseh started off so evil, but when given a second chance, he lived wholeheartedly for the Lord. It’s a great story of repentance and heart change, but more so, about the mercy of God.