So far in our historical account of Israel and Judah, we’ve seen the bad kings of the northern kingdom of Israel with their capital city of Samaria, resort to paganism and corrupt ways. As a result, God sent the Assyrians to take them captive and haul them away as judgment. The prophets Hosea, Amos and Micah warned them, but they didn’t listen. That kingdom and its people are now gone. In its place are a new breed of half-Jews, half-Gentiles in Samaria. The rest of the 10 tribes of Israel are scattered all over.
The only tribes out of the 12 left are Judah, Benjamin and the Levites, who were the priests. Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin and of course, Jesus was of the tribe of Judah. Those had to stay in existence for God’s plan of salvation to happen. Part of that, was the promise that the royal lineage of David would continue.
We’re jumping back to 2 Kings before we study the next part of Isaiah’s prophecy, so you can see the detestable things that this next king did. Meet Manasseh, the worst of the worst. How bad was he? Let’s dig in…
2 Kings 21 – Manasseh Rules in Judah
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother was Hephzibah. 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. 3 He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had destroyed. He constructed altars for Baal and set up an Asherah pole, just as King Ahab of Israel had done. 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 son in the fire. He practiced sorcery and divination, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger.
7 Manasseh even made a carved image of Asherah and set it up in the Temple, the very place where the Lord 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 my servant Moses gave them—I will not send them into exile from this land that I gave their ancestors.” 9 But the people refused to listen, and Manasseh led them to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the Lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land.
10 Then the Lord said through his servants the prophets: 11 “King Manasseh of Judah has done many detestable things. He is even more wicked than the Amorites, who lived in this land before Israel. He has caused the people of Judah to sin with his idols. 12 So this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of those who hear about it will tingle with horror. 13 I will judge Jerusalem by the same standard I used for Samaria and the same measure I used for the family of Ahab. I will wipe away the people of Jerusalem as one wipes a dish and turns it upside down. 14 Then I will reject even the remnant of my own people who are left, and I will hand them over as plunder for their enemies. 15 For they have done great evil in my sight and have angered me ever since their ancestors came out of Egypt.”
16 Manasseh also murdered many innocent people until Jerusalem was filled from one end to the other with innocent blood. This was in addition to the sin that he caused the people of Judah to commit, leading them to do evil in the Lord’s sight.2 Kings 21:1-16 NLT
He brought pagan idolatry into the temple just like Constantine did a thousand years later. The people knew the law, yet they ignored it and continued their pagan worship including, astrology, witchcraft, sorcery, and other occult practices.
Now, we’re going to hop on over 2 Chronicles, which has an additional account of Manasseh’s life. 1 and 2 Chronicles is a review of Israel’s history of the kings. Some is repetitive, however, it does add some accounts that the writer of 1 and 2 Kings either missed, or didn’t feel was important. We don’t know. I was planning to do the Chronicles as a review once we got done with the whole history and the prophets. Nevertheless, this account of Manasseh is important enough to the story and the teaching of God’s forgiveness when people repent, to include it here.
10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God.
14 Afterward he rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, west of the Gihon spring in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate and encircling the hill of Ophel; he also made it much higher. He stationed military commanders in all the fortified cities in Judah.
15 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. 16 Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. 17 The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.
18 The other events of Manasseh’s reign, including his prayer to his God and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, are written in the annals of the kings of Israel. 19 His prayer and how God was moved by his entreaty, as well as all his sins and unfaithfulness, and the sites where he built high places and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself—all these are written in the records of the seers. 20 Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in his palace. And Amon his son succeeded him as king.2 Chronicles 33:10-20 NLT
As you can see, it took Manasseh being captured, hauled away like an animal for him to see the error of his ways. He repented, and God forgave him. He then got rid of all the pagan gods and idols, and restored the temple and proper worship.
Back to 2 Kings…
17 The rest of the events in Manasseh’s reign and everything he did, including the sins he committed, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 18 When Manasseh died, he was buried in the palace garden, the garden of Uzza. Then his son Amon became the next king.
Amon Rules in Judah
19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz from Jotbah. 20 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Manasseh, had done. 21 He followed the example of his father, worshiping the same idols his father had worshiped. 22 He abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and he refused to follow the Lord’s ways.
23 Then Amon’s own officials conspired against him and assassinated him in his palace. 24 But the people of the land killed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah the next king.
25 The rest of the events in Amon’s reign and what he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. 26 He was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza. Then his son Josiah became the next king.2 Kings 21:19-26 NLT
Like Father, Like Son
Following in a father’s footsteps is usually a good thing if the father is a God-fearing man. Interestingly enough, even after Manasseh’s repentance, his evil ways, in which his son Amon was raised, was deep-rooted in Amon’s character. No matter what Manasseh did to clean up his act, he couldn’t clean up, erase, or undo the damage his past sin had done to his son.
Unfortunately, we see this scenario happen generation after generation. It’s sad. Nonetheless, God is the God of second chances. Just like Manasseh repented and was spared a life of slavery, YOU can repent and see how God can change your life. He’s the only one who can release you from the slavery of sin, addiction or religion.
Are you a slave to sin, addiction or religion? If so, then it’s time to GET RIGHT WITH GOD!
The Good News is that Jesus died on the cross, taking all our sins away forever! ALL our sins — past, present and future! If you repent, He will forgive you and give you a NEW LIFE! Here’s what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.