Manasseh Rules in Judah
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years.
This means that he was born in the last fifteen years of Hezekiah’s life, the additional fifteen years that Hezekiah prayed for (2 Kings 20:6). Those additional fifteen years brought Judah one of its worst kings.
As the Bible commentator C. Knapp said: “Had this good king been able to foresee the wickedness of his unworthy son, he would doubtless have had no desire to recover from his sickness. Better by far die childless than beget a son such as Manasseh proved to be.”
2 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites.
This list of Manasseh’s sins will break your heart and turn your stomach.
3He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had broken down. He constructed altars for the images of Baal and set up Asherah poles. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them.
4 He built pagan altars in the Temple of the Lord, the place where the Lord had said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 He built these altars for all the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. 6 Manasseh also sacrificed his own sons in the fire in the valley of Ben-Hinnom.
He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger.
7 Manasseh even took a carved idol he had made and set it up in God’s Temple,
2 Kings 21:7 tells us that this idol was Asherah, the Canaanite goddess of fertility, who was worshiped through ritual prostitution. This means that Manasseh made the temple into an idolatrous brothel, dedicated to Asherah.
the very place where God had told David and his son Solomon: “My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. 8 If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws, decrees, and regulations given through Moses—I will not send them into exile from this land that I set aside for your ancestors.” 9 But Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the Lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land.
1 Kings 21:9 tells us what the attitude of the people was: they paid no attention. This described the basic attitude of the people of Judah during the 55-year reign of such a bad king as Manasseh. They paid no attention to the generous promises of God, promising protection to His obedient people. In addition, they were willingly seduced by Manasseh’s wickedness and were attracted to do more evil.
10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. 11
2 Kings 21:16 tells us of the terrible extent of Manasseh’s sin: Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the LORD.
So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. 12 But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God!
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
14 After this Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, from west of the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley to the Fish Gate, and continuing around the hill of Ophel. He built the wall very high. And he stationed his military officers in all of the fortified towns of Judah. 15 Manasseh also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the Lord’s Temple. He tore down all the altars he had built on the hill where the Temple stood and all the altars that were in Jerusalem, and he dumped them outside the city. 16 Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the Lord, the God of Israel.
Will one of my readers agree to underwrite an American tour for the Oslo Gospel Choir?! I would love to hear them sing this song in person, and sing it with them, for (as Manasseh now knows) “there is no salvation except in the name of the Lord!” HERE is “His Name Will Shine.”
17 However, the people still sacrificed at the pagan shrines, though only to the Lord their God.
18 The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, his prayer to God, and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel. 19 Manasseh’s prayer, the account of the way God answered him, and an account of all his sins and unfaithfulness are recorded in The Record of the Seers. It includes a list of the locations where he built pagan shrines and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself and repented. 20 When Manasseh died, he was buried in his palace. Then his son Amon became the next king.
His true repentance was wonderful, but the consequences of his sin had a definite negative effect on the nation — exile to Babylonia.
2 Kings 24:3-4 (NIV)
Surely these things happened to Judah according to the LORD’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive.
Amon Rules in Judah
21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. 22 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Manasseh, had done. He worshiped and sacrificed to all the idols his father had made. 23But unlike his father, he did not humble himself before the Lord. Instead, Amon sinned even more.
24 Then Amon’s own officials conspired against him and assassinated him in his palace. 25 But the people of the land killed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah the next king.
In the northern kingdom, assassins usually proclaimed themselves the new rulers. Here in the southern kingdom, however, the people stood up for what was right and kept the line of David on the throne.
Psalm 89:3-4 (NIV)
You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant,
‘I will establish your line forever
and make your throne firm through all generations.’”
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.