Read 2 Kings 21
Manasseh King of Judah
21 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my Name.” 5 In the two courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.
7 He took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. 8 I will not again make the feet of the Israelites wander from the land I gave their ancestors, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them and will keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them.” 9 But the people did not listen. Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.
10 The Lord said through his servants the prophets: 11 “Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil than the Amorites who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his idols. 12 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 13 I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and give them into the hands of enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their enemies; 15 they have done evil in my eyes and have aroused my anger from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until this day.”
16 Moreover, Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end—besides the sin that he had caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
17 As for the other events of Manasseh’s reign, and all he did, including the sin he committed, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 18 Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in his palace garden, the garden of Uzza. And Amon his son succeeded him as king.
Amon King of Judah
19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. 20 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. 21 He followed completely the ways of his father, worshiping the idols his father had worshiped, and bowing down to them. 22 He forsook the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and did not walk in obedience to him.
23 Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace. 24 Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon, and they made Josiah his son king in his place.
25 As for the other events of Amon’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 26 He was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza. And Josiah his son succeeded him as king.
This is a lesson on leadership and legacy, but also sin and redemption. King Manasseh is known as one of the most evil kings in Judah’s history, but there is more to his story than we read in chapter 21. His life ultimately points to a God rich in mercy.
King Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king of Judah. Manasseh was born during the last 15 years of his father, Hezekiah’s, life. However, he did not follow the legacy and leadership of his father’s faithfulness to God. Manasseh’s reign was marked by sin for almost 55 years. As detailed in verses 3-9, Manasseh led idol worship outside and inside the Temple, sacrificed his own son, and led his people away from God to commit more evil than the nations before them. Later, we learn the shedding of innocent blood filled Jerusalem and the prophets of the day warn of Judah’s impending disaster. Before Manasseh dies, we see an important turn of events.
Manasseh’s evil reign is also recorded in 2 Chronicles 33. This account adds he is captured, taken to Babylon as a prisoner and finds himself in a dark place. “In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly…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” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13). The chapter also includes how Manasseh began to serve and follow God while urging the people of Judah to do the same. There were still consequences to his sin, but his leadership and legacy began a shift back to serving God. Within 2 years of his death, his grandson, Josiah, would continue to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
We serve a God of great mercy. His mercy is even given to those who appear to be beyond redemption. “If we confess our sins, then he is faithful and just and will forgive us” (1 John 1:9). No one is beyond redemption!
- What do we learn from how God reacts to Manasseh’s prayer?
- Do you, or someone you know, feel like your life is beyond redemption? Allow the truth to encourage you or use it to encourage someone else.
- Is there anything that you are holding onto with pride? Pray and ask God to help you, like Manasseh, change.
Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century British preacher, once said, “Oh! I do not wonder at Manasseh’s sin one half so much as I wonder at God’s mercy.”
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